What happened on your birthday?

more events on December 8

  • 2022

    Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, dies at the age of 96, in her home at Balmoral.

  • 2013

    Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever recorded, slams into the Philippines, with sustained winds of 195 mpg (315 kph) and gusts up to 235 mph (380 kph); over 5,000 are killed (date is Nov 7 in US).

  • 2011

    Princess Josephine of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat (Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda), and Prince Vincent of Denmark, Count of Monpezat (Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander).

  • An attempted assassination of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords is part of a shooting spree in which Jared Lee Loughner kills 6 and wounds 13.

  • 2010

    The Japanese solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS passes the planet Venus.

  • SpaceX becomes the first privately held company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.

  • 2008

    Georgia invades South Ossetia, touching off a five-day war between Georgia and Russia.

  • 2007

    An EF2 tornado hits Brooklyn, New York, the first in that borough since 1889.

  • 2004

    The Cuzco Declaration signed in Cuzco, Peru, establishing the South American Community of Nations.

  • More than 10,000 US troops and a few Iraqi army units besiege an insurgent stronghold at Fallujah.

  • The largest passenger ship in history, the RMS Queen Mary 2, is christened by Queen Elizabeth II, granddaughter of Queen Mary.

  • 2003

    Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

  • 2002

    US President George W. Bush signs into law the No Child Left Behind Act, intended to improve America’s educational system.

  • 2001

    US President George W. Bush establishes the Office of Homeland Security.

  • 2000

    Dispute begins over US presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore; Supreme Court ruling on Dec. 12 results in a 271-266 electoral victory for Bush.

  • The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley is raised to surface, 136 years after it sank following its successful attack on USS Housatonic in the outer harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.

  • 1995

    U.S. Air Force pilot Captain Scott O’Grady is rescued by U.S. Marines in Bosnia.

  • Jacques Chirac is elected president of France.

  • 1994

    USAir Flight 427 crashes on approach to Pittsburgh International Airport, killing all 132 people aboard; subsequent investigation leads to changes in manufacturing practices and pilot training.

  • Valeri Polyakov, a Russian cosmonaut leaves earth, bound for the Mir space station; he will spend a record 437 days in space.

  • 1991

    The leaders of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine sign an agreement that dissolves the Soviet Union and establishes the Commonwealth of Independent States.

  • Croatia votes to sever its ties with Yugoslavia.

  • Macedonian Independence Day; voters overwhelmingly approve referendum to form the Republic of Macedonia, independent of Yugoslavia.

  • 1990

    Iraq annexes the state of Kuwait as its 19th province, six days after Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait.

  • CBS television temporarily suspends Andy Rooney for his anti-gay and anti-black remarks in a magazine interview.

  • 1989

    NASA Space Shuttle Columbia begins its eighth flight, NASA’s 30th shuttle mission.

  • 1988

    Wildfires in Yellowstone National Park in the US, the world’s first national park, force evacuation of the historic Old Faithful Inn; visitors and employees evacuate but the inn is saved.

  • Angola, Cuba and South Africa sign a cease-fire treaty in the border war that began in 1966.

  • 1987

    An Israeli army tank transporter kills 4 Palestinian refugees and injures 7 others during a traffic accident at the Erez Crossing on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, leading to the First Intifada.

  • The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed.

  • A dozen people are killed and over 60 wounded when the IRA detonates a bomb during a Remembrance Day ceremony in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, honoring those who had died in wars involving British forces.

  • 1985

    Thomas Creighton dies after having three heart transplants in a 46-hour period.

  • 1984

    The Soviet Union announces it will not participate in Summer Olympics planned for Los Angeles.

  • 1983

    Wilson B. Goode is elected as the first black mayor of the city of Philadelphia.

  • Brigadier General Efrain Rios Montt is deposed as president of Guatemala in the country’s second military coup in 17 months.

  • 1982

    The Washington, D.C., police shoot and kill a man threatening to blow up the Washington Monument.

  • The musical Cats begins a run of nearly 18 years on Broadway.

  • The United States accuses the Soviets of killing 3,000 Afghans with poison gas.

  • AT&T agrees to divest 22 subdivisions as part of an antitrust agreement.

  • 1980

    John Lennon is shot to death outside his Manhattan apartment building.

  • 1979

    Pink (Alecia Beth Moore), multiple award-winning singer, including three Grammys (“Lady Marmalade,” “Trouble,” “Imagine.”)

  • Iraq’s president Saddam Hussein executes 22 political opponents.

  • The United States advises the Shah to leave Iran.

  • 1978

    Ken Warby of Australia sets the world water speed record, 317.60 mph, at Blowering Dam in Australia; no other human has yet (2013) exceeded 300 mph on water and survived.

  • Pioneer-Venus 2 is launched to probe the atmosphere of Venus.

  • 1977

    Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos discovers what is believed to be the tomb of Philip II of Macedon at Vergina in northern Greece.

  • 1975

    Frank Robinson of the Cleveland Indians becomes first black manager of a major league baseball team.

  • Ella T. Grasso becomes Governor of Connecticut, the first female governor in the US who did not come into office by succeeding her husband.

  • 1974

    President Gerald Ford pardons former President Richard M. Nixon for any crimes arising from the Watergate scandal he may have committed while in office.

  • President Richard Nixon resigns from the presidency as a result of the Watergate scandal.

  • Hank Aaron hits his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s record.

  • 1973

    In the Yom Kippur War an Israeli armored brigade makes an unsuccessful attack on Egyptian positions on the Israeli side of the Suez Canal.

  • Two bombs explode near Trafalgar Square in Great Britain injuring 234 people.

  • 1971

    Martin Freeman, actor (The Office BBC Two TV series; Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey).

  • The Kennedy Center opens in Washington, DC with a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass.

  • South Vietnamese ground forces, backed by American air power, begin Operation Lam Son 719, a 17,000 man incursion into Laos that ends three weeks later in a disaster.

  • 1970

    Tom Anderson, entrepreneur; co-founder of Myspace website.

  • Matt Damon, actor, screenwriter, producer, philanthropist; shared Academy Award and Golden Globe for screenplay Good Will Hunting; appeared in Saving Private Ryan, Invictus.

  • Yuji Nishizawa, hijacked All Nippon Airways flight, July 23, 1999.

  • The Nixon administration discloses the deaths of 27 Americans in Laos.

  • 1969

    The “Days of Rage” begin in Chicago; the Weathermen faction of the Students for a Democratic Society initiate 3 days of violent antiwar protests.

  • President Richard Nixon meets with President Thieu of South Vietnam to tell him 25,000 U.S. troops will pull out by August.

  • 1968

    South Vietnam’s Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky arrives in Paris for peace talks.

  • U.S. forces in Vietnam launch Operation SEALORDS (South East Asia Lake, Ocean, River and Delta Strategy), an attack on communist supply lines and base areas in and around the Mekong Delta.

  • James Earl Ray, the alleged assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr., is captured at the London Airport.

  • 1967

    In the biggest battle yet in the Mekong Delta, 365 Viet Cong are killed.

  • Guerrilla Che Guevara captured in Bolivia.

  • Israeli airplanes attack the USS Liberty, a surveillance ship, in the Mediterranean, killing 34 Navy crewmen.

  • Boxer Muhammad Ali is indicted for refusing induction in U.S. Army.

  • 1966

    Sinead O’Connor, Irish singer, songwriter; has frequently generated controversy with her views on social issues such as organized religion and women’s rights.

  • Republican Edward Brooke of Massachusetts becomes the first African American elected to the Senate in 85 years.

  • Australia announces that it will triple the number of troops in Vietnam.

  • 1965

    Vietnam War, Operation Hump: US 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team ambushed by over 1,200 Viet Cong in Bien Hoa Province. Nearby, in the Gang Toi Hills, a company of the Royal Australian Regiment also engaged Viet Cong forces.

  • C. J. Ramone, musician, sometimes vocalist of The Ramones.

  • More than 4,000 Marines land at Da Nang in South Vietnam and become the first U.S. combat troops in Vietnam.

  • South Vietnamese bomb the North Vietnamese communications center at Vinh Linh.

  • 1964

    Teri Hatcher, actress; Lois Lane on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV series; won Golden Globe for Best Actress as Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives TV series.

  •  M. Ashman, author, co-editor of Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey, and a founding member of TED Global, the international organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.

  • 1963

    Brad Silberling, screenwriter, director (City of Angels); wrote and directed Moonlight Mile (2002) based on the murder of his girlfriend, actress Rebecca Schaeffer, by a stalker.

  • England’s “Great Train Robbery;” 2.6 million pounds ($7.3 million) is stolen

  • President John F. Kennedy attends the unveiling of the Mona Lisa.

  • 1962

    Bay of Pigs invaders get thirty years imprisonment in Cuba.

  • The U.S. Defense Department reports the creation of the Military Assistance Command in South Vietnam.

  • 1961

    Max Conrad circles the globe in a record time of eight days, 18 hours and 49 minutes in Piper Aztec.

  • 1960

    John F. Kennedy is elected 35th president, defeating Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the closest election, by popular vote, since 1880.

  • President Dwight Eisenhower dedicates NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

  • Penguin Books in Britain is charged with obscenity for trying to publish the D.H. Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

  • The Soviet Union charges American pilot Francis Gary Powers with espionage.

  • 1959

    Erik Gundersen, motorcycle speedway rider; won 3 Speedway World Championships, 2 Long Track World Championships, and 7 World Team Cup awards (riding for Denmark in the latter).

  • 1958

    President Dwight Eisenhower orders the National Guard out of Little Rock as Ernest Green becomes the first black to graduate from an Arkansas public school.

  • 1956

    Don Larsen of the New York Yankees pitches the first perfect game in World Series history against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

  • 1955

    The United States, Australia, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Thailand sign the mutual defense treaty that established the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).

  • Barbara Kingsolver, novelist (The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams).

  • 1954

    Rickie Lee Jones, singer, songwriter, musician; listed on VH1 list of greatest women of rock music.

  • Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptics Society and editor of Skeptic magazine.

  • Anne Diamond, journalist, TV host (Good Morning Britain) social activist; led Back to Sleep campaign that drastically reduced the number of cot deaths (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) among UK infants.

  • France and Vietnam open talks in Paris on a treaty to form the state of Indochina.

  • President Dwight Eisenhower proposes stripping convicted Communists of their U.S. citizenship.

  • 1953

    Kim Basinger, actress, singer, producer; won Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for L.A. Confidential (1997).

  • Anna Quindlen, novelist.

  • After being turned away at a local diner, 86-year-old African American activist Mary Church Terrell and civil rights groups score a major victory as Supreme Court rules against segregated lunch counters in Washington, D.C.  

  • 1952

    Edward Zwick, director, producer whose films often are based on historic events (Glory, The Last Samurai).

  • Beth Henley, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (Crimes of the Heart).

  • Allied fighter-bombers stage the largest raid of the war on North Korea.

  • President Truman orders the seizure of U.S. steel mills to prevent a strike.

  • Elizabeth becomes Queen of England after her father, King George VI, dies.

  • 1951

    Japanese representatives sign a peace treaty in San Francisco.

  • 1950

    Mary Hart, actress, journalist; hosted Entertainment Tonight TV program 1982–2011.

  • U.S. troops repel the first North Korean attempt to overrun them at the Battle of Naktong Bulge, which continued for 10 days.

  • 1949

    Bonnie Raitt, blues singer, songwriter, musician. Rolling Stone magazine included her on its lists of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

  • Sigourney Weaver, actress; (Aliens film series, Gorillas in the Mist).

  • 1948

    The United Nations approves the recognition of South Korea.

  • Johnny Ramone, musician, songwriter, founding member of The Ramones band.

  • Svetlana Y Savitskaya, Soviet cosmonaut, the first woman to walk in space (July 25, 1984).

  • The U.S. Supreme Court rules that religious instruction in public schools is unconstitutional.

  • 1947

    Gregg Allman, singer, songwriter, musician; founding member of The Allman Brothers Band.

  • Ann Beattie, writer (Chilly Scenes of Winter, Picturing Will).

  • Sara Paretsky, detective novelist.

  • David Bowie, singer, songwriter, producer, actor (“Starman”).

  • 1946

    President Harry S. Truman vows to stand by the Yalta accord on self-determination for the Balkans.

  • 1945

    Korea is partitioned by the Soviet Union and the United States.

  • The final surrender of German forces is celebrated as VE (Victory Europe) day.

  • Phyllis Mae Daley receives a commission in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She will become the first African-American nurse to serve duty in World War II.

  • 1944

    The United States conducts the longest, most effective air raid on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima.

  • Germany’s V-2 offensive against England begins.

  • U.S. forces complete the capture of the Marianas Islands.

  • 1943

    Larry Martin, paleontologist; leading opponent of the "birds are living dinosaurs" theory.

  • Jim Morrison, singer, songwriter, poet; lead singer for The Doors and Rick & the Ravens.

  • U.S. carrier-based planes sink two cruisers and down 72 planes in the Marshall Islands.

  • R. L. Stine, author, screenwriter, producer; known as the “Stephen King of children’s literature” for his hundreds of horror novels written for younger readers.

  • Chevy Chase, actor, comedian, known for his roles on Saturday Night Live TV series and comedic movies (National Lampoon’s Summer Vacation, Caddyshack).

  • Faye Wattleton, women’s rights advocate.

  • American B-24 bombers strike Japanese-held Wake Island for the first time.

  • Japanese forces attack American troops on Hill 700 in Bougainville. The battle will last five days.

  • British General Orde Wingate leads a guerrilla force of “Chindits” against the Japanese in Burma.

  • 1942

    The United States and Great Britain invade Axis-occupied North Africa.

  • U.S. Marines capture the Japanese airstrip on Guadalcanal.

  • Andrew Weil, physician and author (Spontaneous Healing).

  • The Battle of the Coral Sea between the Japanese Navy and the U.S. Navy ends.

  • The Soviets open a rail link to the besieged city of Leningrad.

  • Japanese troops capture Rangoon, Burma.

  • The Japanese land on Singapore.

  • 1941

    Bobby Elliott, drummer, member of the band The Hollies.

  • Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita begins his attack against the British army at Singapore.

  • Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader.

  • 20 B-17s fly in their first mission with the Royal Air Force over Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

  • Martial law is proclaimed in Holland in order to extinguish any anti-Nazi protests.

  • Graham Chapman, comedian, actor, member of the Monty Python group.

  • 1940

    The German Luftwaffe attacks Great Britain for the first time, beginning the Battle of Britain.

  • Peter Benchley, novelist (Jaws, The Deep).

  • German commandos in Dutch uniforms cross the Dutch border to hold bridges for the advancing German army.

  • Ted Koppel, television journalist.

  • Great Britain begins rationing sugar, meat and butter.

  • 1939

    Sir James Galway, virtuoso flute player known as "The Man With the Golden Flute."

  • Lynne Stewart, US attorney convicted of conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists (2005) and perjury (2010).

  • Paul Hogan, comedian, actor; won Golden Globe for his role as “Crocodile” Dundee (1986).

  • Nazi Germany annexes Western Poland.

  • Herb Adderley, American football player.

  • Italy invades Albania.

  • 1938

    Crystla Bird Fauset of Pennsylvania, becomes the first African-American woman to be elected to a state legislature.

  • Bob Eubanks, popular US TV game show host (The Newlywed Game).

  • 1937

    Dustin Hoffman, American actor.

  • The Japanese Army occupies Beijing.

  • Thomas Pynchon, novelist (Gravity’s Rainbow).

  • 1936

    Rona Barrett, gossip columnist; co-host of NBC’s Tomorrow program (1980-81).

  • 1935

    Senator Huey Long of Louisiana is shot to death in the state capitol, allegedly by Dr. Carl Austin Weiss, Jr.

  • The Works Progress Administration (WPA) is approved by Congress.

  • Elvis Presley, rock ‘n roll singer, actor in over thirty films.

  • 1933

    Flip Wilson (Clerow Wilson Jr.), comedian and actor; won a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards for his 1970s TV variety series, The Flip Wilson Show.

  • Michael Frayn, playwright (A Very Private Life, Noises Off).

  • Mahatma Gandhi—actual name Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi—begins a hunger strike to protest British oppression in India.

  • 1932

    Japan tells the League of Nations that it has no control over her designs in China.

  • Ben Bova, noted author of works of science fact and fiction, a six-time winner of the Hugo Award for science fiction and fantasy writing.

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected 32nd president of the United States.

  • Indian Air Force established.

  • Patsy Cline, country singer (“Crazy”, “I Fall to Pieces”).

  • 1931

    Morley Safer, journalist; 60 Minutes correspondent (1970– ).

  • James Dean, film actor and 1950s teenage icon (Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden, Giant).

  • 1930

    Maximilian Schell, actor, writer, director, producer; won Academy Award for Best Actor for Judgement at Nuremberg (1961).

  • Gary Snyder, beat poet.

  • 1929

    Bobby Bowden, US college football coach; holds NCAA record for most career wins and bowl wins by any Division I FBS coach.

  • 1928

    Theodore Sorensen, advisor to John F. Kennedy.

  • 1927

    Patti Page, singer (“Tennessee Waltz,” “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?”).

  • 1926

    Cesar Milstein, molecular biologist.

  • Neal Cassaday, writer, counterculture proponent.

  • 1925

    Sammy Davis Jr., singer ("The Candy Man"), dancer, actor (Ocean’s 11); member of the "Rat Pack".

  • Peter Sellers, English comic actor, famous for his role as Inspector Clouseau.

  • Germany is admitted into the League of Nations.

  • The first national congress of the Ku Klux Klan opens.

  • Barbara Pierce Bush, First Lady to 41st President, George H. W. Bush.

  • 1924

    The gas chamber is used for the first time to execute a murderer.

  • 1923

    Adolf Hitler attempts a coup in Munich, the “Beer Hall Putsch,” and proclaims himself chancellor and Ludendorff dictator. .

  • John McPhee, writer (Oranges, A Sense of Where You Are).

  • Cyd Charisse, dancer, actress.

  • 1922

    Jean Ritchie, singer, songwriter of folk music ("Blue Diamond Mines").

  • Christiaan Barnard, South African surgeon, performed the first human heart transplant operation.

  • Lilian Gatlin becomes the first woman pilot to fly across the United States.

  • Sid Caesar, comedian and television star, best known for “Your Show of Shows,” and “The Sid Caesar Show.”

  • 1921

    First live radio broadcast of a football game; Harold W. Arlin was the announcer when KDKA of Pittsburgh broadcast live from Forbes Field as the University of Pittsburgh beat West Virginia University 21–13.

  • Margaret Gorman of Washington, D.C., is named the first Miss America.

  • Betty Bloomer Ford, first lady to President Gerald Ford.

  • French troops occupy Dusseldorf.

  • Spanish Premier Eduardo Dato is assassinated while leaving Parliament in Madrid.

  • 1920

    President Woodrow Wilson declines to send a representative to the League of Nations in Geneva.

  • Sloan Wilson, American author (The man in the Gray Flannel Suit, A Summer Place).

  • Carmen McRae, jazz vocalist and pianist.

  • 1919

    The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives pass the Volstead Prohibition Enforcement Bill.

  • The first transatlantic flight by a navy seaplane takes-off.

  • 1918

    US Army corporal Alvin C. York kills 28 German soldiers and captures 132 in the Argonne Forest; promoted to sergeant and awarded US Medal of Honor and French Croix de Guerre.

  • Ernest Hemingway is wounded in Italy while working as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross.

  • Robert Preston, actor (The Music Man).

  • 1917

    Rodney Porter, British biochemist and Nobel Proze winner.

  • 1916

    Richard Fleischer, film director, (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Soylent Green).

  • Peter Ulrich Weiss, German novelist and dramatist (Marat/Sade, The Investigation).

  • Francis Crick, British scientist who co-discovered of the structure of DNA.

  • 1915

    Germany begins a new offensive in Argonne on the Western Front.

  • 1914

    The German cruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Nurnberg, and Liepzig are sunk by a British force in the Battle of the Falkland Islands.

  • 1913

    Delmore Schwartz, poet and writer.

  • The 17th Amendment is ratified, requiring direct election of senators.

  • 1912

    First Balkan War begins as Montenegro declares war against the Ottoman Empire.

  • 1911

    Elizabeth Bishop, poet.

  • 1910

    The Democrats prevail in congressional elections for the first time since 1894.

  • Mary Lou Williams, jazz pianist and composer.

  • Baroness de Laroche becomes the first woman to obtain a pilot’s license in France.

  • The Boy Scouts of America is incorporated.

  • 1909

    Katherine Hepburn, American actress who won four Oscars. Her movies included Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story and The African Queen.

  • Pope Pius X lifts the church ban on interfaith marriages in Hungary.

  • 1908

    Arthur J. Goldberg, labor lawyer instrumental in the merger of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

  • Nelson Rockefeller, U.S. vice president to Gerald Ford.

  • The House of Commons, London, turns down the women’s suffrage bill.

  • A subway line opens linking the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

  • 1906

    Richard Llewellyn, author (How Green Was My Valley).

  • Karl Ludwig Nessler first demonstrates a machine in London that puts permenant waves in hair. The client wears a dozen brass curlers, each wearing two pounds, for the six-hour process.

  • Robert Turner invents the automatic typewriter return carriage.

  • Philip C. Johnson, architect.

  • Roberto Rossellini, Italian film director.

  • Henry Roth, writer (Call it Sleep).

  • Chester F. Carlson, physicist, inventor of xerography, the electrostatic dry-copy process.

  • 1905

    The mutinous crew of the battleship Potemkin surrenders to Romanian authorities.

  • 1904

    President Theodore Roosevelt is elected president of the United States. He had been vice president until the shooting death of President William McKinley.

  • The U.S. dispatches Marines to Tangiers, Morocco, to protect Ion Pedicaris, the wealthy son of a U.S. ambassador, after his family is kidnapped by hostile native tribes in what became known as the “Perdicaris Affair.” 

  • U.S. Marines land in Tangier, North Africa, to protect the Belgian legation.

  • The Bundestag in Germany lifts the ban on the Jesuit order of priests.

  • In a surprise attack at Port Arthur, Korea, the Japanese disable seven Russian warships.

  • 1903

    Between 30,000 and 50,000 Bulgarian men, women and children are massacred in Monastir by Turkish troops seeking to check a threatened Macedonian uprising.

  • 1902

    Louise Beavers, film actress.

  • 1901

    Ernest Orlando Lawrence, inventor of the cyclotron and winner of the 1939 Nobel Prize for physics.

  • 1900

    Margaret Mitchell, American writer who found success in her first and only novel, Gone With the Wind.

  • Albert Friedrich Frey-Wyssling, Swiss botanist and molecular biology pioneer.

  • Theodore Dresier’s first novel Sister Carrie is published by Doubleday, but is recalled from stores shortly due to public sentiment.

  • Maximilian Harden is sentenced to six months in prison for publishing an article critical of the German Kaiser.

  • Claude Pepper, Democratic senator and congressman from Florida, champion of senior citizens rights.

  • British General Buller is beaten at Ladysmith, South Africa as the British flee over the Tugela River.

  • The Boers attack the British in Ladysmith, South Africa, but are turned back.

  • 1899

    The first household refrigerating machine is patented.

  • 1898

    British General Horatio Kitchener defeats the Khalifa, leader of the dervishes in Sudan, at the Battle of Atbara.

  • 1897

    Journalist Charles Henry Dow, founder of the Wall Street Journal, begins charting trends of stocks and bonds.

  • 1896

    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling.

  • 1895

    Juan Peron, Argentinean dictator.

  • Edmund Wilson, American critic and essayist.

  • China cedes Taiwan to Japan under Treaty of Shimonoseki.

  • 1894

    James Thurber, American writer, cartoonist and editor (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty).

  • 1893

    Edgar “Yip” Harburg, lyricist (“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?,” “Over the Rainbow”).

  • Mary Pickford (Gladys Smith), early film actress.

  • 1892

    A coal mine explosion kills 100 in McAlister, Oklahoma.

  • 1890

    Eddie Rickenbacker, U.S. fighter pilot in World War I, aviation pioneer.

  • 1889

    Montana becomes the 41st state of the Union.

  • Robert A. Taft, U.S. Senator from Ohio who unsuccessfully sought the presidential nomination from the 1940s until 1952.

  • 1887

    Doc Holliday, who fought on the side of the Earp brothers during the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral 6 years earlier, dies of tuberculosis in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

  • Congress passes the Dawes Act, which gives citizenship to Indians living apart from their tribe.

  • 1886

    Siegfried Sassoon, British author and poet famous for his anti-war writing about World War I.

  • Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton invents Coca Cola.

  • 1884

    Hermann Rorshach, Swiss psychiatrist, inventor of the inkblot test.

  • Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States (1945-1953).

  • 1883

    Emiliano Zapata, Mexican revolutionary leader.

  • 1880

    President Rutherford B. Hayes declares that the United States will have jurisdiction over any canal built across the Isthmus of Panama.

  • 1879

    Leon Trosky, Russian Communist leader.

  • The first ship to use electric lights departs from San Francisco, California.

  • Otto Hahn, co-discoverer of nuclear fission

  • 1878

    Marshall Walter Taylor, “Major Taylor,” the world’s fastest bicycle racer for a 12-year period.

  • 1876

    Thomas Edison patents the mimeograph.

  • 1871

    The Great Chicago Fire begins in southwest Chicago, possibly in a barn owned by Patrick and Katherine O’Leary. Fanned by strong southwesterly winds, the flames raged for more than 24 hours, eventually leveling three and a half square miles and wiping out one-third of the city. Approximately 250 people were killed in the fire; 98,500 people were left homeless; 17,450 buildings were destroyed.

  • Prussian troops begin to bombard Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.

  • 1869

    William Vaughn Moody, poet and playwright (The Great Divide).

  • 1867

    Frank Lloyd Wright, influential American architect.

  • 1865

    Matthew A. Henson, explorer with Robert Peary who first reached the North Pole (though some recent scholarship disputes this claim).

  • Four of the conspirators in President Abraham Lincoln‘s assassination are hanged in Washington, D.C.

  • General Robert E. Lee‘s retreat is cut off near Appomattox Court House.

  • Confederate raider William Quantrill and men attack a group of Federal wagons at New Market, Kentucky.

  • 1864

    President Abraham Lincoln is re-elected in the first wartime election in the United States.

  • Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston retreats into Atlanta to prevent being flanked by Union General William T. Sherman.

  • Union troops arrive at Spotsylvania Court House to find the Confederates waiting for them.

  • In the Battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, Federals are routed by Confederate Gen. Richard Taylor.

  • 1863

    Union General William Averell’s cavalry destroys railroads in the southwestern part of West Virginia.

  • Confederate Lieutenant Dick Dowling thwarts a Union naval landing at Sabine Pass, northeast of Galveston, Texas.

  • Demoralized by the surrender of Vicksburg, Confederates in Port Hudson, Louisiana, surrender to Union forces.

  • Residents of Vicksburg flee into caves as General Ulysses S. Grant‘s army begins shelling the town.

  • 1862

    The Union is victorious at the Battle of Perryville, the largest Civil War combat to take place in Kentucky.

  • At the Battle of Cross Keys, Confederate Gen. Richard Ewell and his men defeat Union Gen. John C. Fremont, setting up Stonewall Jackson to move the next day against Union forces at nearby Port Republic.

  • General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson repulses the Federals at the Battle of McDowell, in the Shenendoah Valley.

  • The Confederate ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (formerly U.S.S. Merrimack) is launched.

  • On the second day of the Battle of Pea Ridge, Confederate forces, including some Indian troops, under General Earl Van Dorn surprise Union troops, but the Union troops win the battle.

  • Union troops under Gen. Ambrose Burnside defeat a Confederate defense force at the Battle of Roanoke Island, N.C.

  • Frank Nelson Doubleday, founder of Doubleday publishing house.

  • 1861

    CSS Sumter captures the whaler Eben Dodge in the Atlantic. The American Civil War is now affecting the Northern whaling industry.

  • Charles Wilkes seizes Confederate commissioners John Slidell and James M. Mason from the British ship Trent.

  • Tennessee votes to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy.

  • Delegates from seceded states adopt a provisional Confederate Constitution.

  • 1859

    The truce at Villafranca Austria cedes Lombardy to France.

  • Kenneth Grahame, Scottish author (The Wind in the Willows).

  • 1855

    Arrow, a ship flying the British flag, is boarded by Chinese who arrest the crew, thus beginning the Second Chinese War.

  • The first train crosses Niagara Falls on a suspension bridge.

  • 1853

    The first bronze statue of Andrew Jackson is unveiled in Washington, D.C.

  • 1851

    Kate (O’Flaherty ) Chopin, novelist, short story writer (The Awakening).

  • 1847

    Bram Stoker, author (Dracula).

  • 1846

    The first major battle of the Mexican War is fought at Palo Alto, Texas.

  • 1845

    A French column surrenders at Sidi Brahim in the Algerian War.

  • 1844

    Brigham Young is chosen to head the Mormon Church, succeeding Joseph Smith.

  • 1841

    Antonin Dvorak, composer and violinist.

  • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., U.S. Supreme Court Justice

  • 1840

    King William I of Holland abdicates.

  • 1839

    John D. Rockefeller, financier, philanthropist, founder of Standard Oil.

  • 1838

    Ferdinand von Zeppelin, German designer and manufacturer of airships.

  • 1834

    Dmitri Ivanovich Medeleyev, Russian chemist, developed the periodic table of elements.

  • 1832

    Some 300 American troops of the 6th Infantry leave Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, to confront the Sauk Indians in what would become known as the Black Hawk War.

  • 1829

    Louis Moreau Gottschalk, American pianist.

  • 1828

    Jean Henri Dunant, Swiss philanthropist, founder of the Red Cross and YMCA, first recipient (jointly) of the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Jules Verne, French novelist, one of the first writers of science fiction (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea).

  • 1822

    29-year old poet Percy Bysshe Shelley drowns while sailing in Italy.

  • 1820

    William T. Sherman, Union general in the American Civil War.

  • 1815

    With Napoleon defeated, Louis XVIII returns to Paris.

  • A rag-tag army under Andrew Jackson defeats the British on the fields of Chalmette in the Battle of New Orleans.

  • 1813

    David D. Porter, Union admiral during the American Civil War.

  • 1810

    James Wilson Marshall, discoverer of gold in California.

  • Robert Schumann, German composer.

  • 1807

    At Eylau, Napoleon‘s Marshal Pierre Agureau attacks Russian forces in a heavy snowstorm.

  • 1804

    Alvan Clark, telescope manufacturer

  • 1799

    Simon Cameron, political boss.

  • 1794

    French troops capture Brussels, Belgium.

  • The United States Post Office is established.

  • 1793

    The Louvre opens in Paris. But wasn’t it already a Palace and it merely opens to the people?

  • 1790

    George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address.

  • 1789

    The U.S. House of Representatives holds its first meeting.

  • 1786

    Jacques Balmat and Dr. Michel-Gabriel Paccard become the first men to climb Mont Blanc in France.

  • Nicholas Biddle, head of the first United States bank.

  • 1783

    Hannah Hoes Van Buren, wife of Martin Van Buren

  • 1765

    Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin.

  • 1760

    The French surrender the city of Montreal to the British.

  • 1758

    The British attack on Fort Carillon at Ticonderoga, New York, is foiled by the French.

  • 1755

    British forces under William Johnson defeat the French and the Indians at the Battle of Lake George.

  • Britain breaks off diplomatic relations with France as their disputes in the New World intensify.

  • 1753

    Miguel Hidalgo, Mexican nationalist.

  • 1745

    England, Austria, Saxony and the Netherlands form an alliance against Russia.

  • 1726

    Lewis Morris, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

  • 1724

    John Smeaton, English engineer.

  • 1709

    Peter the Great defeats Charles XII at Poltava, in the Ukraine, effectively ending the Swedish empire.

  • 1702

    Queen Anne becomes the monarch of England upon the death of William III.

  • 1690

    Belgrade is retaken by the Turks.

  • 1686

    The Austrians take Budapest from the Turks and annex Hungary.

  • 1685

    Fredrick William of Brandenburg issues the Edict of Potsdam, offering Huguenots refuge.

  • 1681

    The Treaty of Radzin ends a five year war between the Turks and the allied countries of Russia and Poland.

  • 1668

    Alain Rene Lesage, French writer (The Adventures of Gil Blas, Turcaret).

  • 1663

    The British crown grants Rhode Island a charter guaranteeing freedom of worship.

  • 1660

    The first Shakespearian actress to appear on an English stage (she is believed to be a Ms. Norris) makes her debut as Desdemona.

  • 1656

    Edmond Halley, mathematician and astronomer who predicted the return of the comet that bears his name.

  • 1648

    Ibrahim, the sultan of Istanbul, is thrown into prison, then assassinated.

  • 1644

    The Dutch colony of New Amsterdam surrenders to the British fleet that sails into its harbor. Five years later, the British change the name to New York.

  • 1636

    The invading armies of Spain, Austria and Bavaria are stopped at the village of St.-Jean-de-Losne, only 50 miles from France.

  • 1628

    John Endecott arrives with colonists at Salem, Massachusetts, where he will become the governor.

  • 1626

    Christina, Queen of Sweden (1644-54).

  • 1625

    Giovanni Domenico Cassini, astronomer.

  • 1621

    Jean de La Fontaine, poet and author (Fables).

  • 1620

    The King of Bohemia is defeated at the Battle of Prague.

  • 1618

    Johannes Kepler discovers the third Law of Planetary Motion.

  • 1608

    The first French settlement at Quebec is established by Samuel de Champlain.

  • 1605

    Philip IV, king of Spain and Portugal (1621-65).

  • 1587

    Mary, Queen of Scots is beheaded in Fotheringhay Castle for her alleged part in the conspiracy to usurp Elizabeth I.

  • Johannes Fabricus, astronomer who discovered sunspots.

  • 1576

    The 17 provinces of the Netherlands form a federation to maintain peace.

  • 1570

    Charles IX of France signs the Treaty of St. Germain, ending the third war of religion and giving religious freedom to the Huguenots.

  • 1565

    Spanish explorers found St. Augustine, Florida, the first permanent European settlement in what is now the United States.

  • 1559

    An act of supremacy defines Queen Elizabeth I as the supreme governor of the church of England.

  • 1542

    Mary, Queen of Scotland (1542-67).

  • 1541

    Hernando de Soto discovers the Mississippi River which he calls Rio de Espiritu Santo.

  • 1529

    The Ottoman Sultan Suleiman re-enters Budapest and establishes John Zapolya as the puppet king of Hungary.

  • 1504

    Michelangelo’s 13-foot marble statue of David is unveiled in Florence, Italy.

  • 1450

    Jack Cade’s Rebellion–Kentishmen revolt against King Henry VI.

  • 1306

    King Wenceslas of Poland is murdered.

  • 1226

    Louis IX succeeds Louis VIII as king of France.

  • 1099

    Christian Crusaders march around Jerusalem as Muslims watch from within the city.

  • 876

    Charles the Bald is defeated at the Battle of Andernach.

  • 793

    The Vikings raid the Northumbrian coast of England.

  • 632

    Muhammad, the founder of Islam and unifier of Arabia, dies.

  • 563

    Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism.

  • 412

    St. Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople

  • 392

    Theodosius of Rome passes legislation prohibiting all pagan worship in the empire.

  • 65

    Quintus "Horance" Horatius Flaccus, Roman poet and satirist best known for his three books Odes.