What happened on your birthday?

more events on December 1

  • 2011

    Osama Bin Laden is killed in Abbottabad Pakistan by US Navy SEALS in Operation Neptune Spear.

  • 2009

    The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom takes over judicial functions of the House of Lords.

  • 2007

    The I-35W bridge at Minneapolis, Minnesota, collapses into the Mississippi River during evening rush hour, killing 13 people and injuring 145.

  • 2004

    Armed terrorists take children and adults hostage in the Beslan school hostage crisis in North Ossetia, Russia.

  • In Asuncion, Paraguay, a fire in the Ycua Bolanos V supermarket complex kills nearly 400 people and injures 500.

  • 2001

    Trans World Airlines’ final flight following the carrier’s purchase by American Airlines; TWA began operating 76 years earlier. The final flight, 220, piloted by Capt. Bill Compton, landed at St. Louis International Airport.

  • 2000

    Serbia joins the United Nations.

  • 1999

    The euro, the new money of 11 European nations, goes into effect on the continent of Europe.

  • 1998

    On National Day, Vietnam releases 5,000 prisoners, including political dissidents.

  • 1992

    Bosnian Serbs begin sniping in Sarajevo, after Croats and Muslims vote for Bosnian independence.

  • 1991

    Ukraine’s voters overwhelmingly approve a referendum for independence from the USSR.

  • Siege of Dubrovnik begins in the Croatian War of Independence.

  • 1990

    Channel Tunnel sections from France and the UK meet beneath the English Channel.

  • 1989

    East Germany’s parliament changes its constitution, abolishing a section that gave the Communist Party the leading role in the state.

  • Denmark introduces the world’s first “civil union” law granting same-sex couples certain legal rights and responsibilities but stopping short of recognizing same-sex marriages.

  • 1988

    Benazir Bhutto, politician, becomes the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of Pakistan and the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state

  • Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh begins his national radio show.

  • 1986

    Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North pleads the 5th Amendment before a Senate panel investigating the Iran-Contra arms sale.

  • The Tass News Agency reports the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.

  • Two days of anti-government riots in Port-au-Prince result in 14 dead.

  • As the United States builds its strength in the Mediterranean, Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi threatens to retaliate if attacked.

  • 1985

    The wreck of the Titanic found by Dr. Robert Ballard and Jean Louis Michel in a joint U.S. and French expedition.

  • The Pentagon accepts the theory that an atomic war would block the sun, causing a “nuclear winter.”

  • 1982

    Honda opens a plant in Marysville, Ohio, becoming the first Asian automobile company to produce cars in the US.

  • First compact disc player, released by Sony.

  • The United States transfers control of the Panama Canal Zone to Panama.

  • 1981

    AIDS virus officially recognized.

  • LaTavia Roberson, singer, songwriter; original member of Destiny’s Child group.

  • Antigua and Barbuda gain independence from the United Kingdom.

  • 1979

    US returns sovereignty of the Panama Canal to Panama.

  • US spacecraft Pioneer 11 makes the first-ever flyby of Saturn.

  • 1978

    The U.S. reports finding wiretaps in the American embassy in Moscow.

  • 1975

    Legendary boxing match: Muhammad Ali defeats Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla in Manila.”

  • 1974

    Five Nixon aides–Kenneth Parkinson, Robert Mardian, Nixon’s Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell–go on trial for conspiring to hinder the Watergate investigation.

  • Yutaka Yamamoto, founder of Ordet animation studios (Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens).

  • A grand jury indicts seven of President Nixon‘s aides for the conspiracy on Watergate.

  • 1973

    Leon Jaworski appointed as new Watergate Special Prosecutor.

  • 1972

    America’s Bobby Fischer beats Russia’s Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland, to become world chess champion.

  • 1971

    Indian Army recaptures part of Kashmir, which had been occupied by Pakistan.

  • First CT or CAT brain scan performed, at Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon, London.

  • Walt Disney World opens near Orlando, Florida, the second of Disney’s “Magic Kingdoms.”

  • 1970

    Dr. Hugh Scott of Washington, D.C. becomes the first African-American superintendent of schools in a major U.S. city.

  • Students from Kent State University riot in downtown Kent, Ohio, in protest of the American invasion of Cambodia.

  • The U.S. Army charges Captain Ernest Medina for his role in the My Lai massacre.

  • 1969

    America’s first draft lottery since 1942 is held.

  • Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seizes power in Libya following a coup.

  • Mickey Mantle announces his retirement from baseball.

  • 1968

    The Motion Picture Association of America officially introduces its rating system to indicate age-appropriateness of film content.

  • President Lyndon B. Johnson calls a halt to bombing in Vietnam, hoping this will lead to progress at the Paris peace talks.

  • Mohamed Atta, Egyptian terrorist; a ringleaders of the 9/11 attacks who piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

  • In the second day of battle, U.S. Marines, with the support of naval fire, continue their attack on a North Vietnamese Division at Dai Do.

  • The U.S. Army launches Operation Pegasus, the reopening of a land route to the besieged Khe Sanh Marine base.

  • Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara is replaced by Clark Clifford.

  • South Vietnam President Nguyen Van Thieu declares martial law.

  • U.S. troops drive the North Vietnamese out of Tan Son Nhut airport in Saigon.

  • 1967

    Tina Arena (Filippina Lydia Arena), singer, songwriter, actress, record producer; first Australian to receive the Order of State; awarded Knighthood of the Order of National Merit, by the President of the French Republic (2009).

  • The first issue of Rolling Stone hits the streets.

  • 1966

    Andrew Adamson, New Zealand film director, producer, screenwriter (Shrek; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe); he was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2006.

  • Charles Whitman, shooting from the Texas Tower at the University of Texas, kills 16 people and wounds 31 before being killed himself.

  • The U.S. Marines launch Operation Holt in an attempt to finish off a Vietcong battalion in Thua Thien Province in Vietnam.

  • 1965

    Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and 770 others are arrested in protest against voter discrimination in Alabama.

  • 1964

    Karen Marie Moning, bestselling author; her Highlander and Fever series blend urban fantasy with Celtic mythology.

  • Max Matsuura (Masato Matsuura), record producer, president of Avex Group, one of Japan’s largest music labels.

  • Japanese “bullet trains” (Shinkansen) begin high-speed rail transit between Tokyo and Osaka.

  • The first Free Speech Movement protest erupts spontaneously on the University of California, Berkeley campus; students demanded an end to the ban of on-campus political activities.

  • Arthur Ashe becomes the first African-American to play on the U.S. Davis Cup tennis team.

  • President Lyndon B. Johnson rejects Charles de Gaulle‘s plan for a neutral Vietnam.

  • 1963

    Mark McGwire, “Big Mac,” pro baseball player who broke Roger Maris’ single-season home run record; admitted in 2010 to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.

  • The U.S. postmaster introduces the ZIP code.

  • Governor George Wallace vows to defy an injunction ordering integration of the University of Alabama.

  • 1962

    The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson debuts; Carson will remain The Tonight Show host until 1992.

  • 1961

    The Federal Republic of Cameroon is formed by the merger of East and West Cameroon.

  • Diana Frances Spencer, Princess of Wales.

  • British troops land in Kuwait to aid against Iraqi threats.

  • Fidel Castro announces there will be no more elections in Cuba.

  • 1960

    Tim Cook, business executive; CEO of Apple, inc. (2011– ).

  • Nigeria becomes independent from the UK.

  • Singer Chubby Checker releases “The Twist,” creating a new dance craze. The song had been released by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters the previous year but got little attention.

  • Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane is shot down over Russia.

  • 1,000 Black students pray and sing the national anthem on the steps of the old Confederate Capitol in Montgomery, Ala.

  • Four black students stage a sit-in at a segregated Greensboro, N.C. lunch counter.

  • 1959

    Fidel Castro seizes power in Cuba as General Fulgencio Batista flees.

  • 1958

    Candace Bushnell, author (Sex and the City, The Carrie Diaries).

  • Charlie Kaufman, screenwriter, director, producer (Being John Malkovich; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) replaces the 43-year-old National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in the US.

  • Charles de Gaulle becomes premier of France.

  • 1957

    “”In God We Trust” appears on US paper currency as an act to distinguish the US from the officially atheist USSR; the motto had appeared on coins at various times since 1864.

  • Gloria Estefan, sincere, songwriter, actress; among top-selling 100 artists worldwide (“Words Get in the Way,” “Anything for You”).

  • US and Canada create North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).

  • 1955

    Rosa Parks refuses to sit in the back of a Montgomery, Alabama, bus, defying the South’s segregationist laws.

  • Jeff Reardon, pro baseball pitcher known as “The Terminator” for his intimidating pitching mound presence and 98 mph fastball.

  • 1954

    The Geneva Accords divide Vietnam into two countries at the 17th parallel.

  • The U.S. Air Force Academy is founded in Colorado.

  • 1952

    Nancy Lopez, professional golfer.

  • 1951

    Algerian National Liberation Front begins guerrilla warfare against the French.

  • Australia, New Zealand and the United States sign the ANZUS Treaty, a mutual defense pact.

  • Jim Carroll, musician and writer of The Basketball Diaries.

  • United Nations forces again move northward across the 38th Parallel in Korea.

  • Three A-bomb tests are completed in the desert of Nevada.

  • 1950

    Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Software and Electronic Frontier Foundation.

  • Two members of a Puerto Rican nationalist movement attempt to assassinate President Harry S Truman.

  • Randy Quaid, actor (The Last Detail; won Golden Globe for his portrayal of Pres. Lyndon Johnson in LBJ: The Early Years).

  • Lead elements of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division arrive in Korea from the United States.

  • American ground troops arrive in South Korea to halt the advancing North Korean army.

  • Gwendolyn Brooks becomes the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry called Annie Allen.

  • 1949

    Pablo Escobar, Colombian drug lord whose Medellin Cartel killed thousands.

  • Mao Zedong establishes the People’s Republic of China.

  • 1948

    North Korea is established.

  • The Berlin Airlift begins, relieving the surrounded city from the Soviet siege.

  • 1947

    Dave Arneson, game designer; co-created Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game with Gary Gygax, establishing the roleplaying game genre.

  • First flight of F-86 Sabre jet fighter, which would win fame in the Korean War.

  • 1946

    Lynne Russell, journalist; first woman to anchor a nationally televised prime time news program in US (CNN Headline News, 1983–2001).

  • Tim O’Brien, novelist (The Things They Carried, In the Lake of the Woods).

  • Eleven Nazi war criminals are sentenced to be hanged at Nuremberg trials—Hermann Goring, Alfred Jodl, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachin von Ribbentrop, Fritz Saukel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Julius Streicher, and Alfred Rosenberg.

  • Greg Errico, drummer and producer (Sly & the Family Stone).

  • President Harry S Truman establishes the Atomic Energy Commission.

  • A miner’s strike in the U.S. idles 400,000 workers.

  • 1945

    Bette Midler, singer, songwriter, actress, producer; her awards include 3 Grammys, 4 Golden Globes, 3 Emmys and a special Tony for her contribution to Broadway (1974).

  • John H. Johnson publishes the first issue of Ebony magazine.

  • The New York State Commission Against Discrimination is established–the first such agency in the United States.

  • Martin Bormann, private secretary to Adolf Hitler, escapes the Führerbunker as the Red Army advances on Berlin.

  • U.S. Rangers and Filipino guerrillas rescue 513 American survivors of the Bataan Death March.

  • In Operation Bodenplatte, German planes attack American forward air bases in Europe. This is the last major offensive of the Luftwaffe.

  • 1944

    Richard “Kinky” Friedman, singer, songwriter, humorist, author; known for his satirical lyrics and commentary (“Sold American”); ran as an independent for Governor of Texas (2006).

  • The U.S. First Army begins the siege Aachen, Germany.

  • Yuri Romanenko, Soviet cosmonaut who set the record for the longest stay in space with 326 days aboard the Mir Space Station

  • The Polish underground begins an uprising against the occupying German army, as the Red Army approaches Warsaw.

  • The Messerschmitt Me 262, the first combat jet, makes its first flight.

  • U.S. Army troops invade two Kwajalein Islands in the Pacific.

  • 1943

    American troops invade Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.

  • British troops in Italy enter Naples and occupy Foggia airfield.

  • Over 177 B-24 Liberator bombers attack the oil fields in Ploesti, Romania, for a second time.

  • The British RAF conducts strategic bombing raids on all European railway lines.

  • American tanks and infantry are battered at German positions at Faid Pass in North Africa.

  • 1942

    National gasoline rationing goes into effect in the United States.

  • Ralph Klein, Canadian politician; Premier of Alberta (1992–2006) and leader of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta (1992–2006); known as “King Ralph” for his political longevity.

  • The German Army grinds to a complete halt within the city of Stalingrad.

  • C. J. Cherryh, fantasy and science fiction author (The Chanur series, Gene Wars, Heroes in Hell).

  • A federal judge in Sacramento, Cal., upholds the government’s detention of Japanese-Americans and Japanese nationals as a war measure.

  • Jerry Garcia, lead singer of the Grateful Dead.

  • Ensign Henry C. White, while flying a J4F Widgeon plane, sinks U-166 as it approaches the Mississippi River, the first U-boat sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard.

  • Axis troops capture Sevastopol, Crimea, in the Soviet Union.

  • America begins sending Lend-Lease materials to the Soviet Union.

  • The U.S. Navy begins a partial convoy system in the Atlantic.

  • Japanese troops land on Java in the Pacific.

  • Planes of the U.S. Pacific fleet attack Japanese bases in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands.

  • 1941

    The first Civil Air Patrol is organized in the United States.

  • Great Britain declares a state of emergency in Malaya following reports of Japanese attacks.

  • Japan’s Tojo rejects U.S. proposals for a Pacific settlement as fantastic and unrealistic.

  • The Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo plane makes its first flight.

  • The German Army completes the capture of Crete as the Allied evacuation ends.

  • The film Citizen Kane—directed by and starring Orson Welles—opens in New York.

  • Bulgaria joins the Axis as the Nazis occupy Sofia.

  • 1940

    Richard Pryor, influential comedian, actor, satirist.

  • Bobbie Ann Mason, American writer (Shiloh and Other Stories, In Country).

  • 1939

    Lily Tomlin, multiple-award-winning actress, comedian, writer, producer (Laugh-In, Nashville, The Magic School Bus).

  • Seiji Ozawa, conductor.

  • Germany invades Poland, beginning World War II in Europe.

  • Synthetic vitamin K is produced for the first time.

  • The Douglas DC-4 makes its first passenger flight from Chicago to New York.

  • The Spanish Civil War effectively ends with the official recognition of Franco’s government.

  • 1937

    Bill Anderson, country singer, songwriter; known as Whisperin’ Bill, he ranked among the top country songwriters of the 1960s and ’70s and has continued to pen No. 1 hits into the 21st century.

  • The Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany becomes operational.The Nuremberg Trial would later bring high-ranking Nazis to justice.

  • President Franklin Roosevelt signs an act of neutrality, keeping the United States out of World War II.

  • At a party at the Hormel Mansion in Minnesota, a guest wins $100 for naming a new canned meat–Spam.

  • 1936

    The Rodeo Cowboy’s Association is founded.

  • Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini announces the Rome-Berlin axis after Count Ciano’s visit to Germany.

  • Yves Saint Laurent, fashion designer

  • 1935

    Woody Allen [Allen Stewart Konigsberg], American actor, writer and director (Annie Hall).

  • Gary Player, professional golfer from South Africa; the only non-American to win the Grand Slam; inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame 1974.

  • Julie Andrews (Julia Elizabeth Wells), actress and singer whose films include Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.

  • Germany officially establishes the Luftwaffe.

  • 1934

    Josef Stalin’s aide, Sergei Kirov, is assassinated in Leningrad.

  • The Philippine legislature accepts a U.S. proposal for independence.

  • 1933

    Nazi storm troops become an official organ of the Reich.

  • 1932

    Albert Collins, guitarist.

  • Christopher Lasch, American social critic and writer.

  • The Lindbergh baby is kidnapped from the Lindbergh home near Princeton, New Jersey.

  • 1931

    The Empire State Building opens in New York.

  • Boris Yeltsin, The first president of the Republic of Russia and prime minister of the Russian Federation.

  • 1930

    A.R. Gurney, American playwright (Love Letters, The Dining Room).

  • Fran Tarkenton, NFL quarterback

  • A Loening Air Yacht of Air Ferries makes its first passenger run between San Francisco and Oakland, California..

  • 1929

    Milan Kundera, Czech writer (The Farewell Party, The Unbearable Lightness of Being).

  • The yo-yo is introduced in the United States by Louie Marx.

  • 1928

    China’s Chiang Kai-shek begins attacks on communists.

  • 1927

    Adolf Hitler holds his first Nazi meeting in Berlin.

  • 1926

    Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jean Mortenson, later Norma Jean Baker), film actress and icon.

  • 1925

    Martin Rodbell, Nobel Prize-winning biochemist.

  • After a seven-year occupation, 7,000 British troops evacuate Cologne, Germany.

  • 1924

    Legendary Oklahoma marshal Bill Tilghman, 71, is gunned down by a drunk in Cromwell, Oklahoma.

  • Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the U.S. (1977-1981)

  • Terry Southern, novelist and screenwriter (Dr. Strangelove, Easy Rider).

  • Adolf Hitler sentenced to five years in prison for the “Beer Hall Putsch.”

  • 1923

    Victoria de Los Angeles, Spanish opera soprano.

  • Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company buys the rights to manufacture Zeppelin dirigibles.

  • Rocky Marciano, world heavyweight boxing champion who retired undefeated.

  • An earthquake levels the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Yokohama, killing 300,000.

  • Joseph Heller, American author best known for Catch-22, originally published in 1961.

  • Sadi Lecointe sets a new aviation speed record flying an average of 208 mph at Istres.

  • 1921

    A white mob attacks the thriving Black community of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing 85 people in what comes to be known as the Tulsa Race Massacre.

  • Howard Nemerov, writer, another Pulitzer Prize recipient.

  • Richard Wilbur, Pulitzer Prize winning poet and translator.

  • The Allies reject a $7.5 billion reparations offer in London. German delegation decides to quit all talks.

  • 1920

    Germany’s Workers Party changes its name to the Nationalist Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nazis).

  • 1919

    Joseph E. Murray, transplant physician.

  • The Korean coalition proclaims their independence from Japan.

  • J.D. [Jerome David] Salinger, U.S. novelist (The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey).

  • 1918

    An American army of occupation enters Germany.

  • England’s Royal Air Force is formed.

  • The first gasoline pipeline begins operation. Along the 40 miles and three inches of pipe from Salt Creek to Casper, Wyoming.

  • 1917

    Robert Lowell, Jr., poet, won Pulitzer Prize in 1947 for Lord Weary’s Castle.

  • 1916

    King Constantine of Greece refuses to surrender to the Allies.

  • Bulgaria declares war on Romania as the First World War expands.

  • Roland Robert Tuck, British fighter ace during World War II.

  • The Battle of the Somme begins. Approximately 30,000 men are killed on the first day, two-thirds of them British.

  • The National Defense Act increases the strength of the U.S. National Guard by 450,000 men.

  • Glenn Ford, actor (The Blackboard Jungle, 1955).

  • 1915

    Jean Stafford, American writer (The Mountain Lion).

  • Sydney Pollack, film director (Tootsie, Out of Africa).

  • Willie Dixon, blues musician.

  • Germany conducts the first zeppelin air raid over England.

  • The British luxury liner Lusitania leaves New York Harbor for a voyage to Europe. A week later it would be torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat.

  • The Allies announce their aim to cut off all German supplies and assure the safety of the neutrals.

  • The German submarine U-24 sinks the British battleship Formidable in the English Channel.

  • 1914

  • Ralph Waldo Ellison, African-American author (Invisible Man).

  • 1913

    Mary Martin, American actress.

  • 1912

    Albert Berry completes the first in-flight parachute jump, from a Benoist plane over Kinlock Field in St. Louis, Missouri.

  • 1911

    Italian planes perform the first aerial bombing on Tanguira oasis in Libya.

  • 1909

    President William Howard Taft severs official relations with Nicaragua’s Zelaya government and declares support for the revolutionaries.

  • Kate Smith, singer famous for her rendition of “God Bless America.”

  • U.S. troops leave Cuba after installing Jose Miguel Gomez as president.

  • 1908

    The Italian Parliament debates the future of the Triple Alliance and asks for compensation for Austria’s action in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

  • The Ford Model T, the first car for millions of Americans, hits the market. Over 15 million Model Ts are eventually sold, all of them black.

  • 1907

    Walter Reuther, labor leader who merged the American Federation of Labor with the Congress of International Organizations.

  • The Pure Food and Drug Act becomes law in the United States.

  • 1905

    Twenty officers and 230 guards are arrested in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the revolt at the Winter Palace.

  • Alberta and Saskatchewan become Canadian provinces.

  • Berlin and Paris are linked by telephone.

  • Germany contests French rule in Morocco.

  • 1904

    Vladimir Horowitz, Russian-born American virtuoso pianist.

  • Helen Keller graduates with honors from Radcliffe College.

  • Glenn Miller, big band leader during the 1930s and ’40s.

  • 1903

    Amy Johnson, English aviator.

  • 1902

    Nordahl Brun Greig, Norwegian writer and wartime hero during WWII.

  • The Austro-Hungarian army is called into the city of Agram to restore the peace as Serbs and Croats clash.

  • William Wyler, film director (The Best Years of Our Lives, Ben Hur).

  • Langston Hughes, African-American poet

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Hay protests Russian privileges in China as a violation of the “open door policy.”

  • 1901

    John van Druten, English playwright (I am a Camera).

  • Clark Gable, American film actor (Mutiny on the Bounty, Gone With the Wind).

  • 1900

    Kaiser Wilhelm II refuses to meet with Boer leader Paul Kruger in Berlin.

  • 1899

    Thomas Dorsey, American songwriter, singer and pianist, the “father of gospel music.”

  • 1898

  • Molly Picon, comic actress and singer.

  • The U.S. Navy under Commodore George Dewey defeats the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines.

  • 1896

    Mark Clark, U.S. Army general during World War II.

  • 1895

    Alberta Hunter, blues singer.

  • J. Edgar Hoover, founding director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

  • 1894

    By an act of Congress, Labor Day is declared a national holiday.

  • 1893

    A machine for making shredded wheat breakfast cereal is patented.

  • 1892

    James M. Cain, author (The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce).

  • 1891

    Facilities opened on Ellis Island, New York, to cope with the vast flood of immigrants coming into the United States.

  • 1890

    Yosemite National Park is dedicated in California.

  • 1886

    Rex Stout, writer, creator of detective character Nero Wolfe.

  • 1883

    William Manchester, U.S. historian and biographer.

  • Lon Chaney, film actor.

  • 1882

    The first Labor Day is observed in New York City by the Carpenters and Joiners Union.

  • 1881

    Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan Earp are exonerated in court for their action in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Ariz.

  • 1880

    Grantland Rice, American sportswriter.

  • Sholem Asch, Polish-born American novelist and playwright (The Nazarene, The Mother).

  • Sir Frederick Roberts frees the British Afghanistan garrison of Kandahar from Afghan rebels.

  • 1879

    E.M. [Edward Morgan] Forster, English novelist (A Passage to India, A Room With a View).

  • 1878

    General Lew Wallace is sworn in as governor of New Mexico Territory. He went on to deal with the Lincoln County War, Billy the Kid and write Ben-Hur. His Civil War heroics earned him the moniker Savior of Cincinnati.

  • John Masefield, English poet.

  • James Graham, inventor of the first naval aircraft-carrying ship and first man to film a total eclipse of the sun.

  • Hattie Caraway, first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

  • 1877

    U.S. troops are authorized to pursue bandits into Mexico.

  • President Rutherford B. Hayes withdraws all Federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction.

  • 1876

    The Ottomans inflict a decisive defeat on the Serbs at Aleksinac.

  • Susan Glaspell, playwright, (Alison’s House).

  • Montenegro declares war on the Turks.

  • 1875

    Edgar Rice Burroughs, novelist who created Tarzan, the Ape Man.

  • Congress passes the Civil Rights Act, which is invalidated by the Supreme Court in 1883.

  • 1873

    San Francisco’s first cable cars begin running, operated by Hallidie’s Clay Street Hill Railroad Company.

  • 1872

    The first long-distance gas pipeline in the U.S. is completed. Designed for natural gas, the two-inch pipe ran five miles from Newton Wells to Titusville, Pennsylvania.

  • 1871

    Stephen Crane, poet and novelist (The Red Badge of Courage).

  • German troops enter Paris, France, during the Franco-Prussian War.

  • 1870

    The Prussian army crushes the French at Sedan, the last battle of the Franco-Prussian War.

  • 1869

    Louis Riel seizes Fort Garry, Winnipeg, during the Red River Rebellion.

  • 1868

    James Buchanan, the 15th president of the United States, dies.

  • Edmond Rostand, French dramatist (Cyrano de Bergerac).

  • The Hampton Institute is founded in Hampton, Va.

  • 1867

    Canada, by the terms of the British North America Act, becomes an independent dominion.

  • Reconstruction in the South begins with black voter registration.

  • 1866

    Wild woman of the west Myra Maybelle Shirley (Belle Starr) marries James C. Reed in Collins County, Texas.

  • 1865

    At the Battle of Five Forks, Gen. Robert E. Lee begins his final offensive.

  • 1864

    The Condor, a British blockade-runner, is grounded near Fort Fisher, North Carolina.

  • Confederate forces under General John Bell Hood evacuate Atlanta in anticipation of the arrival of Union General William T. Sherman‘s troops.

  • Union General Ulysses S. Grant gives general Philip H. Sheridan the mission of clearing the Shenandoah Valley of Confederate forces. After nearly 10 months of trench warfare, Confederate resistance at Petersburg, Virginia, suddenly collapsed.

  • The Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, begins as Confederate general Robert E. Lee tries to turn Union general Ulysses S. Grant’s flank.

  • 1863

    Oliver Herford, American humorist and poet.

  • Belle Boyd, a Confederate spy, is released from prison in Washington.

  • In the first day’s fighting at Gettysburg, Federal forces retreat through the town and dig in at Cemetery Ridge and Cemetery Hill.

  • The Battle of Chancellorsville begins as Union General Joe Hooker starts his three-pronged attack against Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

  • The first wartime conscription law goes into effect in the United States.

  • President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves in the Confederacy.

  • Confederate General Braxton Bragg and Union General William Rosecrans readjust their troops as the Battle of Murfreesboro continues.

  • 1862

    President Abraham Lincoln gives the State of the Union address to the 37th Congress.

  • Union artillery stops a Confederate attack at Malvern Hill, Virginia.

  • General Robert E. Lee assumes command of the Confederate army outside Richmond after General Joe Johnston is injured at Seven Pines.

  • 1861

    The U.S. gunboat Penguin seizes the Confederate blockade runner Albion carrying supplies worth almost $100,000.

  • Lieutenant General Winfield Scott, 50 year-veteran and leader of the U.S. Army at the onset of the Civil War, retires. General George McClellan is appointed general-in-chief of the Union armies.

  • A furious Governor Sam Houston storms out of a legislative session upon learning that Texas has voted 167-7 to secede from the Union.

  • 1856

    The first installment of Gustav Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary appears in the Revue de Paris after the publisher refuses to print a passage in which the character Emma has a tryst in the back seat of a carriage.

  • 1847

    Julia Moore, poet.

  • Maria Mitchell, American astronomer, discovers a comet and is elected the same day to the American Academy of Arts—the first woman to be so honored. The King of Denmark awarded her a gold medal for her discovery.

  • 1839

    The British government decides to send a punitive naval expedition to China.

  • Louis-Marie-Hilaire Bernigaud, French chemist, inventor of rayon.

  • 1838

    Charles Darwin presents a paper on his theory of evolution to the Linnean Society in London.

  • 1837

    Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment during America’s Civil War.

  • William Dean Howells, novelist.

  • 1836

    Protestant missionary Dr. Marcus Whitman leads a party to Oregon. His wife, Narcissa, is one of the first white women to travel the Oregon Trail. The Oregon Trail emigrants who chose to follow Stephen Meek thought his shortcut would save weeks of hard travel. Instead, it brought them even greater misery.

  • 1834

    Slavery is abolished throughout the British Empire.

  • 1831

    John B. Hood, Confederate general.

  • 1830

    Mother (Mary Harris) Jones, reformer and labor organizer.

  • William Lloyd Garrison publishes the first edition of a journal entitled The Liberator, calling for the complete and immediate emancipation of all slaves in the United States.

  • 1828

    Balfour Steward, Scottish physicist and meteorologist.

  • 1824

    The Camp Street Theatre opens as the first English-language playhouse in New Orleans.

  • 1821

    William Becknell leads a group of traders from Independence, Mo., toward Santa Fe on what would become the Santa Fe Trail.

  • 1819

    Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick

  • 1818

    Jems Renwick, architect.

  • Maria Mitchell, the first female astronomer in the U.S.

  • 1815

    Otto Von Bismarck, chancellor of Germany.

  • Napoleon lands at Cannes, France, returning from exile on Elba, with a force of 1,500 men and marches on Paris.

  • 1814

    Philip Kearney, Union general.

  • 1812

    American navy captain James Lawrence, mortally wounded in a naval engagement with the British, exhorts to the crew of his vessel, the Chesapeake, “Don’t give up the ship!”

  • 1810

    Frédéric Chopin, composer and pianist.

  • 1808

    In France, Napoleon creates an imperial nobility.

  • A U.S. law banning the import of slaves comes into effect, but is widely ignored.

  • 1807

    Aaron Burr is arrested in Mississippi for complicity in a plot to establish a Southern empire in Louisiana and Mexico.

  • 1805

    The state of Virginia passes a law requiring all freed slaves to leave the state, or risk either imprisonment or deportation.

  • 1804

    George Sand (Amandine-Aurore Lucile Dupin), French novelist.

  • 1803

    Ohio becomes the 17th state to join the Union.

  • 1801

    The American schooner Enterprise captures the Barbary cruiser Tripoli. Often venturing into harm’s way, America’s most famous sailing ship, the Constitution, twice came close to oblivion.

  • Brigham Young, American religious leader.

  • 1798

    Benjamin Lee Guinness, Irish brewer.

  • Admiral Horatio Nelson routs the French fleet in the Battle of the Nile at Aboukir Bay, Egypt.

  • 1795

    James Gordon Bennet, editor of the New York Sun, the first tabloid-sized daily newspaper.

  • 1793

    France declares war on Britain and the Netherlands.

  • 1791

    In Paris, the National Legislative Assembly holds its first meeting.

  • Robert Carter III, a Virginia plantation owner, frees all 500 of his slaves in the largest private emancipation in U.S. history. An 1839 mutiny aboard a Spanish ship in Cuban waters raised basic questions about freedom and slavery in the United States.

  • 1789

    Lady Marguerite Blessington, English socialite and author who wrote a biography of Lord Byron.

  • The first U.S. congressional act on administering oaths becomes law.

  • 1788

    The Times, London’s oldest running newspaper, publishes its first edition.

  • 1780

    Pennsylvania becomes the first U.S. state to abolish slavery.

  • 1779

    Francis Scott Key, author of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

  • 1778

    Oliver Pollock, creates the dollar sign.

  • 1777

    British troops depart from their base at the Bouquet River to head toward Ticonderoga, New York.

  • 1776

    French minister Charles Gravier advises his Spanish counterpart to support the American rebels against the English.

  • 1774

    The British government orders the port of Boston closed.

  • 1773

    Phillis Wheatley, a slave from Boston, publishes a collection of poetry, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, in London.

  • 1770

    William Clark, American explorer, led the Corps of Discovery with Meriwether Lewis.

  • 1769

    Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington.

  • 1766

    The Old Pretender, son of James III, dies.

  • 1765

    The Stamp Act goes into effect in the British colonies.

  • 1764

    Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect of the U.S. Capitol.

  • 1762

    Spencer Perceval, the only British prime minister to be assassinated.

  • 1761

    Madame Tussaud, Swiss-born modeller in wax who founded the world-famous exhibition on London’s Baker Street.

  • 1759

    British and Hanoverian armies defeat the French at the Battle of Minden, Germany.

  • 1755

    A great earthquake at Lisbon, Portugal, kills over 50,000 people.

  • 1752

    Betsy Ross, flag maker.

  • 1740

    Thomas Arne’s song “Rule Britannia” is performed for the first time.

  • 1735

    Paul Revere, U.S. patriot.

  • 1698

    The Abenaki Indians and Massachusetts colonists sign a treaty halting hostilities between the two.

  • 1692

    Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and Tituba are arrested for the supposed practice of witchcraft in Salem, Mass.

  • 1690

    Led by Marshall Luxembourg, the French defeat the forces of the Grand Alliance at Fleurus in the Netherlands.

  • 1689

    James II’s siege of Londonderry, Ireland, ends in failure. James’ force had suffered some 8,000 casualties to the defenders’ 3,600.

  • 1676

    Nathaniel Bacon leads an uprising against English Governor William Berkeley at Jamestown, Virginia, resulting in the settlement being burned to the ground. Bacon’s Rebellion came in response to the governor’s repeated refusal to defend the colonists against the Indians.

  • 1664

    The Turkish army is defeated by French and German troops at St. Gotthard, Hungary.

  • 1649

    Gottfried Von Leibniz, German philosopher and mathematician.

  • 1642

    York, Maine becomes the first incorporated American city.

  • 1636

    Nicholas Boileaus, French poet and historian.

  • 1633

    The tobacco laws of Virginia are codified, limiting tobacco production to reduce dependence on a single-crop economy.

  • 1596

    An English fleet under the Earl of Essex, Lord Howard of Effingham and Francis Vere capture and sack Cadiz, Spain.

  • 1588

    The feeble Sultan Mohammed Shah of Persia, hands over power to his 17-year old son Abbas.

  • 1587

    Elizabeth I, Queen of England, signs the Warrant of Execution for Mary Queen of Scots.

  • 1586

    Sir Francis Drake launches a surprise attack on the heavily fortified city of Santo Domingo in Hispanola.

  • 1582

    Maurice of Nassau, the son of William of Orange, becomes the governor of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht.

  • 1581

    Edmund Champion and other Jesuit martyrs are hanged at Tyburn, England, for sedition, after being tortured.

  • 1578

    William Harvey, English physician and biologist.

  • 1572

    The Sea Beggars under Guillaume de la Marck land in Holland and capture the small town of Briel.

  • 1563

    Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury.

  • 1552

    Sir Edward Coke, English jurist who helped the development of English law with his arguments for the supremacy of common law over royal prerogative.

  • 1543

    England and Scotland sign the Peace of Greenwich.

  • 1533

    Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII‘s new queen, is crowned.

  • 1512

    Michelangelo’s painting on the Sistine Chapel ceiling is exhibited for the first time.

  • 1500

    Benvunuto Cellini, Italian goldsmith and sculptor.

  • The Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral reaches the coast of Brazil and claims the region for Portugal.

  • 1493

    Philippus Paracelsus, Swiss physician, alchemist, astrologer and “father of toxicology.”

  • 1486

    Christopher Columbus convinces Queen Isabella to fund expedition to the West Indies.

  • 1464

    Piero de Medici succeeds his father, Cosimo, as ruler of Florence.

  • 1327

    Edward III is coronated King of England.

  • 1308

    King Albert is murdered by his nephew John, because he refused his share of the Habsburg lands.

  • 1273

    Rudolf of Hapsburg is elected emperor in Germany.

  • 1135

    Henry I of England dies and the crown is passed to his nephew Stephen of Bloise.

  • 1096

    The crusaders under Peter the Hermit reach Constantinople.

  • 902

    The Aghlabid rulers of Ifriqiyah (modern day Tunisia) capture Taormina, Sicily.

  • 408

    Theodosius II succeeds to the throne of Constantinople.

  • 331

    Alexander the Great decisively shatters King Darius III’s Persian army at Gaugamela (Arbela), in a tactical masterstroke that leaves him master of the Persian Empire.

  • 193

    The Roman emperor, Marcus Didius, is murdered in his palace.

  • 79

    The city of Pompeii is buried by eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

  • 69

    Vespasian, a Roman army leader, is hailed as a Roman emperor by the Egyptian legions.

  • 45

    The first Leap Day is recognized by proclamation of Julius Caesar. Under the old Roman calendar, the last day of February was the last day of the year.

  • 10

    Claudius, Roman Emperor