What happened on your birthday?

more events on December 3

  • 2009

    Suicide bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia, kills 25 people, including three ministries of the Transitional Federal Government.

  • 2008

    The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase distressed assets of financial corporations and supply cash directly to banks to keep them afloat.

  • 2005

    Prince Sverre Magnus, third in line of succession to the Norwegian throne.

  • First manned rocket aircraft delivery of US Mail takes place in Mojave, Cal.

  • 2004

    Statue of Liberty’s pedestal reopens to visitors after being closed following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

  • 2001

    Protestant loyalists in Belfast, Ireland, begin an 11-week picket of the Holy Cross Catholic school for girls, sparking rioting.

  • 2000

    The last original weekday Peanuts comic strip is published after a 50-year run, following the death of the strip’s creator, Charles Schultz.

  • 1999

    Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky appears on national television to explain her affair with President Bill Clinton.

  • Mars Polar Lander launched.

  • 1997

    Representatives of 121 nations sign the Ottawa Treaty prohibiting the manufacture or deployment of antipersonnel landmines; the People’s Republic of China, the US and the USSR do not sign.

  • U.S. imposes economic sanctions against Sudan in response to human rights abuses and support of Islamic extremist groups.

  • 1996

    The first mobile flip phone, the Motorola StarTAC, goes on sale.

  • 1995

    Former pro football star and actor O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, ending what many called “the Trial of the Century.”.

  • 1994

    Russia and China sign a demarcation agreement to end dispute over a stretch of their border and agree they will no longer target each other with nuclear weapons.

  • More than 7 million people receive South African citizenship that had previously been denied under Apartheid policies.

  • 1993

    Battle of Mogadishu, in which 18 US soldiers and some 1,000 Somalis are killed during an attempt to capture officials of the warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s organization.

  • George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin sign the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

  • 1992

    A test engineer for Sema Group sends the world’s first text message, using a personal computer and the Vodafone network.

  • Arkansas Governor Bill (William Jefferson) Clinton is elected 42nd president of the United States.

  • 1990

    After 40 years of division, East and West Germany are reunited as one nation.

  • The US commits naval forces to the Persian Gulf region in the wake of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

  • Manuel Noriega, former leader of Panama, surrenders to US forces.

  • 1989

    Presidents George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev announce the official end to the Cold War at a meeting in Malta.

  • Art Shell becomes the first African American to coach a professional football team, the Los Angeles Raiders.

  • US begins shipping military aircraft and weapons to Columbia for use against that country’s drug lords.

  • 1986

    The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa reports the U.S. has secretly been selling weapons to Iran in order to secure the release of seven American hostages being held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon, in what later became known as the Iran-Contra Affair.

  • 1985

    The Space Shuttle Atlantis makes its maiden flight.

  • President Ronald Reagan condemns a rash of arson attacks on abortion clinics.

  • 1984

    Toxic gas leaks from a Union Carbide plant and results in the deaths of thousands in Bhopal, India.

  • Coach John Thompson of Georgetown University becomes the first African-American coach to win an NCAA basketball tournament.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency orders a ban on the pesticide EDB for grain products.

  • 1982

    A British submarine sinks Argentina’s only cruiser during the Falkland Islands War.

  • 1981

    Fearne Cotton, English radio and television presenter.

  • Egypt arrests some 1,500 opponents of the government.

  • 1979

    Eleven are dead and eight injured in a mad rush to see a rock band (The Who) at a concert in Cincinnati, Ohio.

  • Ku Klux Klansmen and neo-Nazis kill five and wound seven members of the Communist Workers Party during a “Death to the Klan” rally in Greensboro, NC; the incident becomes known as the Greensboro Massacre.

  • Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman prime minister of Great Britain.

  • 1978

    North Vietnamese troops reportedly occupy 400 square miles in Cambodia. North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops were using Laos and Cambodia as staging areas for attacks against allied forces.

  • 1977

    The State Department proposes the admission of 10,000 more Vietnamese refugees to the United States.

  • Radio Shack unveils TRS-80 personal computer, which with Apple and Commodore would form the “1977 Trinity.” Its price and Radio Shack’s established retail outlets made it a bestseller for several years.

  • Apple Computers incorporates.

  • 1976

    Ashley Jones, actress (True Blood and The Young and the Restless TV series).

  • The unmanned US spacecraft Viking 2 lands on Mars, takes first close-up, color photos of the planet’s surface.

  • 1975

    The Louisiana Superdome is dedicated.

  • 1974

    Charles Colson, an aide to President Richard Nixon, pleads guilty to obstruction of justice.

  • 1973

    Holly Marie Combs, actress, TV producer (Charmed; Pretty Little Liars TV series).

  • NASA launches Mariner 10, the first probe to reach Mercury.

  • Japan discloses its first defense plan since World War II.

  • 1972

    Former Beatle Paul McCartney announces formation of his new group, Wings.

  • Charlie Chaplin returns to the United States after a twenty-year absence.

  • 1971

    James Earl Ray, Martin Luther King Jr.‘s assassin, is caught in a jail break attempt.

  • OPEC decides to set oil prices without consulting buyers.

  • 1969

    U.S. President Richard Nixon, speaking on TV and radio, asks the “silent majority” of the American people to support his policies and the continuing war effort in Vietnam.

  • Ho Chi Minh, the leader of North Vietnam, dies.

  • 74 American sailors die when the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans was cut in two by an Australian aircraft carrier in the South China Sea.

  • Sirhan Sirhan testifies in a court in Los Angeles that he killed Robert Kennedy.

  • 1968

    After three days of battle, the U.S. Marines retake Dai Do complex in Vietnam, only to find the North Vietnamese have evacuated the area.

  • 1967

    The Battle of Dak To begins in Vietnam’s Central Highlands; actually a series of engagements, the battle would continue through Nov. 22.

  • Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Thieu is elected president of South Vietnam.

  • President Lyndon B. Johnson announces plans to send 45,000 more troops to Vietnam.

  • North Vietnamese soldiers attack South Vietnam’s only producing coal mine at Nong Son.

  • 1966

    Three-thousand South Vietnamese Army troops lead a protest against the Ky regime in Saigon.

  • Soviet Luna 9 achieves soft landing on the moon.

  • Cambodia warns the United Nations of retaliation unless the United States and South Vietnam end intrusions.

  • 1965

    The National Council of Churches asks the United States to halt the massive bombings in North Vietnam.

  • Charlie Sheen (Carlos Irwin Estevez), actor (Platoon, Two and a Half Men TV series).

  • Astronaut Edward White becomes the first American to walk in space when he exits the Gemini 4 space capsule.

  • 1964

    Robert F. Kennedy, brother of the slain president John F. Kennedy, is elected as a senator from New York.

  • Lyndon B. Johnson is elected the 36th president of the United States.

  • For the first time, residents of Washington, D.C., are allowed to vote in the U.S. presidential election.

  • Adam Curry, co-founder of Mevio, Inc., Internet entertainment company.

  • 1963

    Terri Schiavo, who became the focus of a 15-year legal struggle over the question of artificially prolonging the life of a patient, Schiavo, whom doctors had diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state.

  • A violent coup in Honduras ends a period of political reform and ushers in two decades of military rule.

  • 1962

    Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

  • President John F. Kennedy bans all trade with Cuba.

  • 1961

    The United States breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba.

  • 1960

    Daryl Hannah, actress (Blade Runner, Steel Magnolias).

  • 1959

    Fidel Castro takes command of the Cuban army.

  • Alaska is admitted into the Union as the 49th and largest state.

  • 1958

    The first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus, passes under the North Pole.

  • The British create the West Indies Federation with Lord Hailes as governor general.

  • 1957

    The Soviet Union launches Sputnik II with the dog Laika, the first animal in space, aboard.

  • 1956

    Gary Ross, film director, screenwriter (The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit).

  • Mel Gibson, actor, director, producer, screenwriter (Mad Max, Passion of the Christ).

  • 1955

    Two children’s television programs and a family sitcom all destined to become classics debut: Captain Kangaroo, Mickey Mouse Club, and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

  • 1954

    Al Sharpton, African-American minister, civil rights activist, TV and radio talk show host; unsuccessful candidate for Democratic nomination for the US presidency in 2004.

  • Food rationing ends in Great Britain almost nine years after the end of World War II.

  • Millions greet Queen Elizabeth in Sydney on her first royal trip to Australia.

  • 1952

    Roseanne Barr, comedian, actress, producer; best known for her starring role in the TV series Roseanne, for which she won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

  • David Ho, virologist, HIV/AIDS researcher whose significant contributions helped pave the way for better understanding and technological treatment of the infection.

  • The UK successfully conducts a nuclear weapon, becoming the world’s third nuclear power

  • A rebellion by North Korean prisoners in the Koje prison camp in South Korea is put down by American troops.

  • The first airplane lands at the geographic North Pole.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court upholds New York’s Feinberg Law banning Communist teachers in the United States.

  • 1951

    Rick Mears, race car driver; three-time Indycar national champion (1979, 1981, 1982).

  • A “shot is heard around the world” when New York Giants outfielder Bobby Thomson hits a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, beating the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the National League pennant.

  • 1950

    The Chinese close in on Pyongyang, Korea, and UN forces withdraw southward.

  • U.S. carrier-based planes attack airfields in the Pyongyang-Chinnampo area of North Korea in the first air-strike of the Korean War.

  • 1949

    Larry Holmes, professional boxer known as “The Easton Assassin”; his 20 successful defenses of his heavyweight title is second only to Joe Louis’ record of 25.

  • Petros VII (Petros Papapetrou), Greek Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa (1997–2004).

  • 1948

    Ozzy Osbourne, singer, songwriter, actor; member of the influential rock band Black Sabbath; an MTV reality show, The Osbournes, followed the lives of the singer and his family (2002-05).

  • The Supreme Court rules that movie studios must sell off its theaters, breaking apart a huge monopoly forming within the film industry.

  • President Harry Truman signs Marshall Plan. It will revive war-torn Europe.

  • 1946

    President Harry S. Truman calls on Americans to spur Congress to act on the on-going labor crisis.

  • 1945

    General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the Japanese commander of the Philippines, surrenders to Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright at Baguio.

  • Chinese troops under American General Joseph Stilwell take the town of Myitkyina from the Japanese.

  • U.S. troops land at Balikpapan and take Sepinggan airfield on Borneo in the Pacific.

  • Finland declares war on the Axis.

  • The month-long Battle of Manila begins.

  • The Allies drop 3,000 tons of bombs on Berlin.

  • 1944

    German troops evacuate Athens, Greece.

  • The U.S. Seventh Army captures Lyons, France.

  • The U.S. First Army opens a general offensive to break out of the hedgerow area of Normandy, France.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court rules that black citizens are eligible to vote in all elections, including primaries.

  • The United States shells the Japanese homeland for the first time at Kurile Islands.

  • 1943

    British troops invade Italy, landing at Calabria.

  • Finland begins talks with the Soviet Union.

  • 1942

    Martin Cruz Smith, novelist (Gorky Park).

  • Germany conducts the first successful test flight of a V-2 missile, which flies perfectly over a 118-mile course.

  • Alan Charles “Al” Jardine, musician, composer, vocalist, member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; founding member of the band The Beach Boys.

  • Japanese carrier-based planes strafe Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands as a diversion of the attack on Midway Island.

  • The Japanese begin their all-out assault on the U.S. and Filipino troops at Bataan.

  • The RAF raids the industrial suburbs of Paris.

  • 1941

    Chubby Checker (Ernest Evans), singer, songwriter who popularized the dance The Twist; Billboard magazine ranked “The Twist” as the most popular single in its Hot 100 since the list’s debut in 1958.

  • The Maltese Falson, starring Humphrey Bogart as detective Sam Spade, opens.

  • Martha Stewart, business magnate and television personality.

  • Moscow denounces the Axis rule in Bulgaria.

  • 1940

    U.S. Army adopts airborne, or parachute, soldiers. Airborne troops were later used in World War II for landing troops in combat and infiltrating agents into enemy territory.

  • The German Luftwaffe hits Paris with 1,100 bombs.

  • A Nazi air raid kills 108 on a British liner in the English Channel.

  • 1939

    The British passenger ship Athenia is sunk by a German submarine in the Atlantic, with 30 Americans among those killed. American Secretary of State Cordell Hull warns Americans to avoid travel to Europe unless absolutely necessary.

  • After Germany ignores Great Britain’s ultimatum to stop the invasion of Poland, Great Britain declares war on Germany, marking the beginning of World War II in Europe.

  • In Bombay, Gandhi begins a fast to protest the state’s autocratic rule.

  • 1938

    Eddie Cochran, influential rock ‘n’ roll pioneer (“Summertime Blues”).

  • The German Third Reich votes to confiscate so-called “degenerate art.”

  • 1937

    Morgan Llywelyn, American-born Irish author noted for historical fantasy and historical fiction novels, as well as historical nonfiction (1921, the War for Independence); received Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year award (1999).

  • Tom Stoppard, British playwright (Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are Dead).

  • 1936

    Larry McMurtry, novelist (The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment).

  • Bruno Hauptmann, killer of the Lindbergh baby, is executed.

  • 1935

    Left-wing groups in France form the Socialist and Republican Union.

  • Charles “Charlie” Duke, the youngest astronaut to walk on the moon (1972); retired from US Air Force as a brigadier general.

  • 1934

    Abimael Guzman (Presidente Gonzalo), leader of the Shining Path Maoist guerrilla insurgency in Peru.

  • Jane Goodall, British anthropologist, known for her work with African chimpanzees.

  • 1933

    Paul Crutzen, Dutch chemist.

  • Michael Dukakis, politician; the longest-serving governor in the history of the state of Massachusetts (1975-79, 1983-91); unsuccessful Democratic candidate for US presidency (1988).

  • Jeremy Brett, actor; best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the Granada TV productions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about the detective.

  • Amartya Sen, Indian economist, winner of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1998) for his work on economic theories of famines and social justice and indexes for measuring the well-being of citizens in developing countries.

  • James Brown, American singer and songwriter.

  • The Japanese take Shuangyashan, China, killing 500 Chinese.

  • 1932

    Eileen Brennan, actress; won Golden Globe and Emmy for her role in the TV adaptation of Private Benjamin.

  • 1931

    The comic strip Dick Tracy first appears in the New York News.

  • Albert Henry DeSalvo, a serial killer and rapist known as the “Boston Strangler”; though he confessed to 13 murders, debate continues over which crimes he actually committed.

  • President Herbert Hoover signs a bill that makes Francis Scott Key’s “Star Spangled Banner,” the national anthem.

  • Hundreds of farmers storm a small town in depression-plagued Arkansas demanding food.

  • 1930

    Helmut Kohl, chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

  • The second conference on Germany’s war reparations begins at the Hague, in the Netherlands.

  • 1929

    The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes officially changes its name to Yugoslavia.

  • Sergio Leone, Italian director, instrumental in creating the “Spaghetti Western” genre (A Fistful of Dollars, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly).

  • 1928

    Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin dies as a result of a bomb blast set off by the Japanese.

  • 1927

    Hugh Sidey, news correspondent and author of John F. Kennedy, President.

  • Nicolas Freeling, crime writer.

  • President Calvin Coolidge signs a bill creating the Federal Radio Commission to regulate the airwaves.

  • 1926

    British reports claim that German soldiers are being trained in the Soviet Union.

  • Tony Bennett, singer (“I Left My Heart in San Francisco”).

  • Allen Ginsberg, American poet (Howl).

  • U.S. Marines land in Nicaragua.

  • James Merrill, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (Divine Comedies).

  • 1925

    Jean-Luc Godard, French film director (Breathless).

  • The League of Nations orders Greece to pay an indemnity for the October invasion of Bulgaria.

  • Gore Vidal, writer (“Myra Breckinridge,” “Burr,” “Lincoln”); one of the screenwriters on the movie Ben Hur (1959).

  • 1924

    Leon Uris, writer whose works include Battle Cry and Exodus.

  • Doris Von Kappelhoff [Doris Day], American singer and actress.

  • Marlon Brando, actor (On the Waterfront, The Godfather).

  • King Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus is uncovered near Luxor, Egypt.

  • 1923

    In Italy, dictator Benito Mussolini grants women the right to vote.

  • The first issue of Time magazine is published. It’s editor, Henry R. Luce, is just out of Yale.

  • Bud Adams, owner of Houston Oilers (later Tennessee Titans) football team; instrumental in founding the former American Football League.

  • 1922

    Sven Nykvist, Swedish cinematographer.

  • Alain Resnais, French film director.

  • 1921

    Milk drivers on strike dump thousands of gallons of milk onto New York City’s streets to protest the drink’s varying prices on the market.

  • Francois-Arnold Reichenbach, documentary filmmaker.

  • Italy halts the issuing of passports to those emigrating to the United States.

  • 1920

    Oodgeroo Noonuccal [Kath Walker], Australian Aboriginal poet.

  • P.D. James (Phyllis Dorothy James), British mystery writer.

  • Walker Smith, Jr. (Sugar Ray Robinson), champion middleweight boxer.

  • John Lewis, jazz pianist.

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre are married at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

  • Robert Searle, cartoonist.

  • The Allies demand that 890 German military leaders stand trial for war crimes.

  • The last of the U.S. troops depart France.

  • 1919

    Pete Seeger, folksinger and songwriter.

  • Betty Comden, lyricist.

  • Boeing flies the first U.S. international airmail from Vancouver, British Columbia to Seattle, Washington.

  • 1918

    The Allied Conference ends in London where they decide that Germany must pay for the war.

  • The German fleet at Kiel mutinies. This is the first act leading to Germany’s capitulation in World War I.

  • Russell Long, U.S. senator from Louisiana from 1951 to 1968 and son of Huey P. Long.

  • The United States recognizes the nation of Czechoslovakia.

  • The Finnish Parliament ratifies a treaty with Germany.

  • Arthur Kornberg, Nobel Prize-winning biochemist.

  • The Soviets and Germany sign a peace treaty at Brest-Litovsk depriving the Soviets of White Russia.

  • 1917

    A German submarine sinks the U.S. liner Housatonic off coast of Sicily. The United States severs diplomatic relations with Germany.

  • Vernon A. Walters, US Army lieutenant general, diplomat, deputy director of Central Intelligence; member of Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.

  • 1916

    French commander Joseph Joffre is dismissed after his failure at the Somme. General Robert Nivelle is the new French commander in chief.

  • James Herriot, Yorkshire veterinarian and author of All Creatures Great and Small.

  • The German Somme front is broken by an Allied offensive.

  • Sir Roger Casement is hanged for treason in England.

  • Robert Whitehead, Broadway producer (Bus Stop, A Man for All Seasons).

  • Three armored Japanese cruisers are ordered to guard the Suez Canal.

  • 1915

    The United States expels German attaches on spy charges.

  • 1914

    Dixie Lee Ray, Chair of the Atomic Energy Commission who received the U.N. Peace Prize in 1977.

  • The French capital is moved from Paris to Bordeaux as the Battle of the Marne begins.

  • 1913

    William Inge, American playwright (Picnic, Bus Stop).

  • 1912

    The first all-metal plane flies near Issy, France, piloted by Ponche and Prinard.

  • Elizabeth Taylor, novelist and short story writer.

  • May Sarton, poet and writer.

  • New U.S. football rules are set: field shortened to 100 yds.; touchdown counts six points instead of five; four downs are allowed instead of three; and the kickoff is moved from midfield to the 40 yd. line.

  • Plans are announced for a new $150,000 Brooklyn stadium for the Trolley Dodgers baseball team.

  • 1911

    Airplanes are used for the first time in a military capacity when Italian planes reconnoiter Turkish lines near Tripoli.

  • Jean Harlow, (Hell’s Angels, Dinner at Eight).

  • John Sturges, director (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape).

  • 1910

    Alaska’s Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America is climbed.

  • The Social Democratic Congress in Germany demands universal suffrage.

  • 1909

    James “Scotty” Reston, New York Times reporter, editor and columnist.

  • Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Western novelist who wrote The Ox-Bow Incident.

  • Simone Weil, philosopher, member of the French resistance in WWII.

  • Victor Borge, pianist, comedian, conductor.

  • 1908

    Allan Allensworth files the site plan for the first African-American town, Allensworth, California.

  • M.F.K. Fisher, food writer.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court rules that union-sponsored boycotts are illegal, and applies the Sherman Antitrust Act to labor as well as capital.

  • 1907

    Carl Anderson, physicist and 1936 Nobel prize winner for his discovery of the positron.

  • James A. Michener, novelist (Tales of the South Pacific).

  • Ray Milland, Welsh actor and director; won Academy Award for his role in The Lost Weekend.

  • 1906

    The U.S. Supreme Court orders Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) leaders extradited to Idaho for trial in the Steunenberg murder case.

  • The first conference on wireless telegraphy in Berlin adopts SOS as warning signal.

  • Josephine Baker, dancer and singer.

  • 1905

    Maggie Kuhn, social activist and founder of “The Gray Panthers.”

  • The Russian Czar agrees to create an elected assembly.

  • 1904

    Charles R. Drew, American physician, researcher of blood plasma.

  • Colombian troops clash with U.S. Marines in Panama.

  • 1903

    Walker Evans, photographer best known for his Great Depression photos for the Farmers Security Administration (FSA).

  • The first cable across the Pacific Ocean is spliced between Honolulu, Midway, Guam and Manila.

  • Bing [Harry Lillis] Crosby, singer and actor. Various dates given for his birth date.

  • The Bulgarian government renounces the Treaty of Commerce tying it to the Austro-Hungarian empire.

  • 1901

    Andre Malraux, French novelist and author of  La Condition Humaine (Man’s Fate).

  • The Wild Bunch, led by Butch Cassidy, commits its last American robbery near Wagner, Montana, taking $65,000 from a Great Northern train.

  • Ngo Dinh Diem, South Vietnamese president assassinated by his own generals.

  • 1900

    Thomas Wolfe, American novelist (Look Homeward Angel) not to be confused with American novelist Tom Wolfe (The Right Stuff).

  • Ernie Pyle, World War II correspondent who wrote about the common soldier.

  • 1898

    Golda Meir, Fourth Prime Minister of Israel (1969-1974).

  • Henry R. Luce, magazine publisher, founder of Time, Fortune and Life.

  • Alvar Aalto, Finnish architect.

  • 1896

    William McKinley is elected 25th president of the United States.

  • 1895

    The first professional American football game is played in Latrobe, Pennsylvania between the Latrobe Young Men’s Christian Association and the Jeannette Athletic Club. Latrobe wins 12-0.

  • Matthew Ridgway, U.S. Army leader in World War II and Korea.

  • 1894

    Richard Niebuhr, theologian.

  • Norman Rockwell, artist and illustrator who painted scenes of small-town America. Most of his work appeared in the The Saturday Evening Post.

  • 1892

    First automatic telephone exchange goes into operation in La Porte, Indiana.

  • 1888

    The classic baseball poem “Casey at the Bat,” written by Ernest L. Thayer, is published in the San Francisco Examiner.

  • Gertrude Bridget “Ma” Rainey, American singer, “the mother of the blues.”

  • 1887

    Rupert Brooke, English poet who mainly wrote about World War I.

  • 1883

    The U.S. Supreme Court declares American Indians to be “dependent aliens.”

  • A poorly trained Egyptian army, led by British General William Hicks, marches toward El Obeid in the Sudan—straight into a Mahdist ambush and massacre.

  • Franz Kafka, Prague-born German novelist (The Metamorphosis, The Trail).

  • 1882

    Congress passes the Immigration Act, banning Chinese immigration for ten years.

  • The American outlaw Jesse James is shot in the back and killed by his cousin, Bob Ford.

  • 1878

    George M. Cohan, American entertainer and songwriter.

  • John Wise flies the first dirigible in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

  • Russia and the Ottomans sign the Treaty of San Stefano, granting independence to Serbia.

  • 1877

    Rutherford B. Hayes, the republican governor of Ohio is elected president, his election confirmed by an electoral commission after disputed election the previous November.

  • 1876

    John L. Routt, the Colorado Territory governor, is elected the first state governor of Colorado in the Centennial year of the U.S.

  • 1875

    Ferdinand Porsche, automotive engineer, designer of the Volkswagen in 1934 and the Porsche sports car in 1950.

  • 1874

    Gertrude Stein, poet and novelist (Three Lives, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas).

  • 1873

    Captain Jack and three other Modoc Indians are hanged in Oregon for the murder of General Edward Canby.

  • William Green, President of the American Federation of Labor.

  • 1871

    William Henry Davies, Welsh poet.

  • 1868

    Ulysses S. Grant elected the 18th president of the United States.

  • 1867

    Stanley Baldwin, British Prime Minister during the general strike of 1926.

  • 1865

    President Abraham Lincoln‘s funeral train arrives in Springfield, Illinois.

  • Union forces occupy the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

  • 1864

    Major General William Tecumseh Sherman meets with slight resistance from Confederate troops at Thomas Station on his march to the sea.

  • Federal gunboats attack but do not capture Fort Gains, at the mouth of Mobile Bay, Alabama.

  • Some 7,000 Union troops are killed within 30 minutes during the Battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia.

  • 1863

    Confederate General James Longstreet moves his army east and north toward Greeneville. This withdrawal marks the end of the Fall Campaign in Tennessee.

  • Confederate forces attack the center of the Union line at Gettysburg, but fail to break it.

  • The Battle of Chancellorsville rages for a second day.

  • President Abraham Lincoln signs the conscription act compelling U.S. citizens to report for duty in the Civil War or pay $300.00.

  • 1862

    Confederate raiders attack a Federal forage train on the Hardin Pike near Nashville, Tenn.

  • At the Battle of Corinth, in Mississippi, a Union army defeats the Confederates.

  • Slavery is abolished in Washington, D.C.

  • 1861

    Union troops defeat Confederate forces at Philippi, in western Virginia

  • The serfs of Russia are emancipated by Alexander II as part of a program of westernization.

  • Delaware rejects a proposal that it join the South in seceding from the Union.

  • 1860

    The Pony Express connects St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California.

  • 1859

    France declares war on Austria.

  • 1857

    Joseph Conrad, Polish-born novelist (Heart of Darkness, Nostromo).

  • Under pretexts, Britain and France declare war on China.

  • 1856

    Louis H. Sullivan, architect who gained fame for his design of the Chicago Auditorium Theater.

  • 1855

    General William Harney defeats Little Thunder’s Brule Sioux at the Battle of Blue Water in Nebraska.

  • Macon B. Allen becomes the first African American to be admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts.

  • 1849

    Sarah Orne Jewett, author (Tales of New England, The Country of the Pointed Firs).

  • Jacob Riis, American reformer (How the Other Half Lives).

  • 1847

    Frederick Douglass and Martin R. Delaney establish the North Star, and anti-slavery paper.

  • Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the first telephone as well as other devices.

  • 1845

    Florida becomes the 27th U.S. state.

  • 1844

    Dankmar Adler, architect and engineer.

  • American ambassador Caleb Cushing successfully negotiates a commercial treaty with China.

  • 1842

    Hermann Karl Vogel, German astronomer.

  • 1838

    Frederick Douglass escapes slavery disguised as a sailor. He would later write The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, his memoirs about slave life.

  • 1837

    John Burroughs, nature writer.

  • 1833

    Carlos Juan Finlay, Cuban epidemiologist.

  • 1831

    Ignatius Donnelly, American social reformer best known for his book Atlantis: The Antediluvian World.

  • George M. Pullman, inventor of the railway sleeping car.

  • 1826

    George B. McClellan, Union general who defeated Robert E. Lee at Antietam and ran against Abraham Lincoln for president.

  • 1823

    William Macy “Boss” Tweed, New York City political boss.

  • 1822

    Edward Everett Hale, American clergyman and author (Man without a Country).

  • 1821

    Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman to get an MD from a U.S. medical school.

  • 1818

    Illinois admitted into the Union as the 21st state.

  • 1817

    The first commercial steamboat route from Louisville to New Orleans is opened.

  • 1813

    American troops destroy the Indian village of Tallushatchee in the Mississippi Valley.

  • 1811

    Horace Greely, founder of the New York Tribune and abolitionist.

  • 1809

    Felix Mendelssohn, German composer and pianist (Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream).

  • 1808

    Jefferson Davis, President of Confederate States of America.

  • 1807

    The trial of Aaron Burr begins. He is accused of plotting the secession of New England.

  • 1805

    Muhammad Ali becomes the new ruler of Egypt.

  • 1804

    Richard Cobden, English economist and politician.

  • 1803

    The first impeachment trial of a U.S. Judge, John Pickering, begins.

  • 1801

    Karl Baedeker, German publisher, well known for travel guides.

  • 1800

    The French defeat an Austrian army at the Battle of Hohenlinden, near Munich.

  • George Bancroft, historian, known as the “Father of American History” for his 10-volume A History of the United States.

  • 1794

    William Cullen Bryant, American poet and journalist.

  • Thomas Paine is released from a Parisian jail with help from the American ambassador James Monroe. He was arrested for having offended the Robespierre faction.

  • 1793

    Lucretia Coffin Mott, women’s rights advocate and founder of the first Women’s Rights Convention.

  • 1791

    Congress passes a resolution authorizing the U.S. Mint; legislation creating the mint will be passed on Apr. 2, 1792.

  • 1790

    In Paris, the Marquis de Condorcet proposes granting civil rights to women.

  • 1783

    The Treaty of Paris is signed by Great Britain and the new United States, formally bringing the American Revolution to an end.

  • Washington Irving, American writer (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle).

  • Spain recognizes United States’ independence.

  • 1777

    The American flag (stars & stripes), approved by Congress on June 14th, is carried into battle for the first time by a force under General William Maxwell.

  • General George Washington defeats the British led by British General Lord Charles Cornwallis, at Princeton, New Jersey.

  • 1776

    Congress borrows five million dollars to halt the rapid depreciation of paper money in the colonies.

  • 1775

    George Washington takes command of the Continental Army.

  • 1762

    France cedes to Spain all lands west of the Mississippi–the territory known as Upper Louisiana.

  • 1755

    Gilbert Stewart, portrait painter.

  • 1739

    Russia signs a treaty with the Turks, ending a three-year conflict between the two countries.

  • 1726

    James Hutton, Scottish scientist, pioneer in the field of geology.

  • 1718

    John Montague, fourth Earl of Sandwich and inventor of the sandwich.

  • 1692

    French forces under Marshal Luxembourg defeat the English at the Battle of Steenkerque in the Netherlands.

  • 1690

    The first paper money in America is issued in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

  • 1683

    Edward Young, English poet, dramatist and literary critic (Night Thoughts).

  • 1650

    The English under Cromwell defeat a superior Scottish army under David Leslie at the Battle of Dunbar.

  • 1621

    William Tucker, believed to be first African-American born in the New World.

  • 1610

    Henry Hudson of England discovers a great bay on the east coast of Canada and names it for himself.

  • 1568

    French forces in Florida slaughter hundreds of Spanish.

  • 1559

    Philip II of Spain and Henry II of France sign the peace of Cateau-Cambresis, ending a long series of wars between the Hapsburg and Valois dynasties.

  • 1553

    Mary Tudor, the new Queen of England, enters London.

  • 1546

    French printer Etienne Dolet, accused of heresy, blasphemy and sedition, is hanged and burned at the stake for printing reformist literature.

  • 1539

    Hernando De Soto claims Florida for Spain.

  • 1529

    The first Parliament for five years opens in England and the Commons put forward bills against abuses amongst the clergy and in the church courts.

  • 1521

    Martin Luther is excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

  • 1507

    Leonardo da Vinci is commissioned to paint Lisa Gherardini (“Mona Lisa”).

  • 1493

    Christopher Columbus arrives at the Caribbee Isles (Dominica) during his second expedition.

  • 1492

    Christopher Columbus leaves Spain on his voyage to the new world.

  • 1469

    Niccolo Machiavelli, political advisor and writer (The Prince).

  • 1468

    Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano succeed their father, Piero de Medici, as rulers of Florence, Italy.

  • 1367

    John of Gaunt and Edward the Black Prince win the Battle of Najera, in Spain.

  • 1347

    Six burghers of the surrounded French city of Calais surrender to Edward III of England in hopes of relieving the siege.

  • 1346

    Edward III of England begins the siege of Calais, along the coast of France.

  • 1260

    Mamelukes under Sultan Qutuz defeat Mongols and Crusaders at Ain Jalut.

  • 1238

    The Mongols take over Vladimir, Russia.

  • 1189

    After the death of Henry II, Richard Lionheart is crowned king of England.

  • 1160

    Emperor Frederick Barbarossa hurtles prisoners, including children, at the Italian city of Crema, forcing its surrender.

  • 1098

    Christian Crusaders of the First Crusade seize Antioch, Turkey.

  • 628

    In Persia, Kavadh sues for peace with the Byzantines.

  • 495

    Pope Gelasius asserts that his authority is superior to Emperor Anastasius.

  • 106

    Marcus Cicero, Roman statesman and author.