What happened on your birthday?

more events on December 6

  • 2014

    US Senate confirms Janet Yellen as the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve Bank in the central bank’s 100-year history.

  • 2012

    New Zealand’s Mount Tongariro erupts for the first time since 1897.

  • 2007

    Explorer and author Jason Lewis becomes the first person to complete a human-powered circumnavigation of the globe.

  • 2006

    NASA reveals photographs from Mars Global Surveyor that suggest the presence of water on the red planet.

  • Prince Hisahito of Akishino, third in line to become Emperor of Japan.

  • 2005

    Former Ku Klux Klan organizer Edgar Ray Killen is arrested as a suspect in the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi.

  • 2001

    In one of the closest Presidential elections in U.S. history, George W. Bush was finally declared the winner of the bitterly contested 2000 Presidential elections more than five weeks after the election due to the disputed Florida ballots.

  • 2000

    Yugoslavia’s president Slobodan Milosevic and Argentina’s vice-president Carlos Alvarez both resign from their respective offices.

  • 1999

    Australia’s voters reject a referendum to make the country a republic with a president appointed by Parliament.

  • 1997

    Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales: over 1 million people line London’s streets to honor her and 2.5 billion watched the event on TV.

  • Microsoft announces it will invest $150 million in troubled rival Apple Computer, Inc.

  • 1995

    The Rova of Antananarivo, home of Madagascar’s sovereigns from the 16th to the 19th centuries, is destroyed by fire.

  • Astronomers discover 51 Pegasi is the second star known to have a planet orbiting it.

  • Baltimore Orioles’ Cal Ripken Jr. plays in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking a 56-year MLB record held by Lou Gehrig; in 2007 fans voted this achievement the most memorable moment in MLB history.

  • 1994

    The Channel Tunnel linking England to France is officially opened.

  • 1993

    Pope John Paul II publishes “Veritatis splendor encyclical,” regarding fundamentals of the Catholic Church’s role in moral teachings.

  • 1992

    The Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India, is destroyed during a riot that started as a political protest.

  • 1991

    Leningrad, second-largest city in the USSR, is changed to Saint Petersburg, which had been the city’s name prior to 1924.

  • USSR officially recognizes independence for the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

  • Tim Berners-Lee publishes the first-ever website, Info.cern.ch.

  • 1988

    Emma Stone, actress (Zombieland, Spiderman).

  • Lee Roy Young becomes the first African-American Texas Ranger in the force’s 165-year history.

  • A melee that became known as the Tompkins Square Park Police Riot in New York City leads to NYPD reforms.

  • 1987

    Fiji becomes a republic independent of the British Commonwealth.

  • The British ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes in the Channel off the coast of Belgium. At least 26 are dead.

  • Astronomers report sighting a new galaxy 12 billion light years away.

  • 1986

    The Iran arms-for-hostages deal is revealed, damaging the Reagan administration.

  • A British International Helicopters Boeing 234LRR Chinook crashes 2.5 miles east of Sumburgh Airport; 45 people are killed, the deadliest civilian helicopter crash to date (2013).

  • 1985

    Guerrillas of the leftist 19th of April Movement seize Colombia’s Palace of Justice in Bogata; during the two-day siege and the military assault to retake the building over 100 people are killed, including 11 of the 25 Supreme Court justices.

  • The body of Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele is located and exhumed near Sao Paolo, Brazil.

  • 1982

    President Ronald Reagan agrees to contribute U.S. troops to the peacekeeping unit in Beirut.

  • Israel invades southern Lebanon.

  • Civil rights workers begin a march from Carrolton to Montgomery, Alabama.

  • 1981

    Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat is assassinated in Cairo by Islamic fundamentalists. He is succeeded by Vice President Hosni Mubarak.

  • Argentina’s ex-president Isabel Peron is freed from house arrest.

  • President Reagan announces plans to cut 37,000 federal jobs.

  • 1980

    Islamic militants in Tehran say that they will turn over the American hostages to the Revolutionary Council.

  • 1979

    Twelve-year-old Marcus Hooper becomes the youngest person to swim the English Channel.

  • 1977

    Queen Elizabeth marks her Silver Jubilee.

  • 1976

    Democrat Tip O’Neill is elected speaker of the House of Representatives. He will serve the longest consecutive term as speaker.

  • Pat Tillman, professional football player who ended his career to enlist in the US Army in the aftermath of the 9 / 11 attacks; he was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, Apr. 22, 2004.

  • Lieutenant Viktor Belenko, a Soviet air force pilot defects, flying a MiG-25 jet fighter to Japan and requesting political asylum in US.

  • A Soviet pilot lands his MIG-25 in Tokyo and asks for political asylum in the United States.

  • 1975

    A Provisional IRA unit takes a couple hostage in Balcombe Street, London, and a 6-day siege begins.

  • Iran and Iraq announce that they have settled the border dispute.

  • President Gerald Ford asks Congress for $497 million in aid to Cambodia.

  • 1973

    US House of Representatives confirms Gerald Ford as Vice-President of the United States, 387–35.

  • Coleman Young becomes the first African-American mayor of Detroit, Michigan.

  • Israel is taken by surprise when Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan attack on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, beginning the Yom Kippur War.

  • Singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder is in an automobile accident and goes into a four-day coma.

  • President Richard Nixon imposes price controls on oil and gas.

  • 1972

    The world learns an earlier announcement that all Israeli athletes taken hostage at the Munich Olympics had been rescued was erroneous; all had been killed by their captors from the Black September terrorist group; all but 3 terrorists also died in shootout around midnight.

  • Atlanta Braves’ right fielder Hank Aaron hits his 660th and 661st home runs, setting the Major League record for most home runs by a player for a single franchise.

  • 1971

    Pakistan severs diplomatic relations with India after New Delhi recognizes the state of Bangladesh.

  • 1970

    M. Night Shyamalan, Indian-American screenwriter, director and producer (The Sixth Sense, The Village).

  • 1969

    Hells Angels, hired to provide security at a Rolling Stones concert at the Altamont Speedway in California, beat to death concert-goer Meredith Hunter.

  • Special Forces Captain John McCarthy is released from Fort Leavenworth Penitentiary, pending consideration of his appeal to murder charges.

  • 1968

    Charles de Gaulle opens the 19th Winter Olympics in France.

  • 1967

    Judd Apatow, film producer, director, screenwriter (Bridesmaids).

  • Adrian Kantrowitz performs first human heart transplant in the US.

  • President Lyndon B. Johnson announces his plan to establish a draft lottery.

  • Over 16,000 U.S. and 14,000 Vietnamese troops start their biggest attack on the Iron Triangle, northwest of Saigon.

  • 1966

    Hanoi insists the United States must end its bombings before peace talks can begin.

  • African American James Meredith is shot and wounded while on a solo march in Mississippi to promote voter registration among blacks.

  • 1965

    Patricia Harris takes post as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, becoming the first African American U.S. ambassador.

  • Christopher Nolan, Irish poet and author; received Whitbread Book Award (1988), Honorary Doctorate of Letters (UK), Medal of Excellence (United Nations Society of Writers) and was named Person of the Year in Ireland (1988).

  • Indian troops invade Lahore; Pakistan paratroopers raid Punjab.

  • President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act, outlawing the literacy test for voting eligibility in the South.

  • President Lyndon B. Johnson authorizes the use of ground troops in combat operations.

  • The United States announces that it will send 3,500 troops to Vietnam.

  • Seven U.S. GIs are killed in a Viet Cong raid on a base in Pleiku.

  • 1964

    Rosa Maria “Rosie” Perez, actress (Fearless), director, choreographer, Puerto Rican rights activist.

  • Paris and London agree to build a rail tunnel under the English Channel.

  • Cuba blocks the water supply to Guantanamo Naval Base in rebuke of the United State’s seizure of four Cuban fishing boats.

  • 1963

    The United States reports that all Soviet offensive arms are out of Cuba.

  • 1962

    Chris Christie, 55th governor of New Jersey.

  • Jamaica becomes independent, after 300 years of British rule.

  • The first nuclear warhead is fired from a Polaris submarine.

  • 1961

    Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, one of the founders of modern psychiatry, dies.

  • 1960

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960.

  • The Swiss grant women the right to vote in municipal elections.

  • 1958

    Jeff Foxworthy, comedian, actor; best known for his comedy routine, “You might be a redneck if . . . “.

  • Moscow announces a reduction in its armed forces by 300,000.

  • 1957

     Vanguard TV3 explodes on the launchpad, thwarting the first US attempt to launch a satellite into Earth’s orbit.

  • Nancy Lopez, pro golfer; won LPGA Championship (1978, 1985) and Mazda LPGA Championship (1989).

  • 1955

    Maria Shriver, journalist, author; First Lady of California while married to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

  • 1954

    British runner Roger Bannister breaks the four minute mile.

  • 1953

    The last American and Korean prisoners are exchanged in Operation Big Switch, the last official act of the Korean War.

  • Upon Josef Stalin’s death, Georgi Malenkov is named Soviet premier.

  • 1952

    Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.

  • Charles Bronson (Michael Gordon Peterson), criminal often called “the most violent prisoner in Britain” by the British Press.

  • 1950

    Winston E. Scott, US Navy commander and astronaut.

  • 1948

    JoBeth Williams, actress, director (Poltergeist, The Big Chill); current (2013) president of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation.

  • The “Pumpkin Spy Papers” are found on the Maryland farm of Whittaker Chambers. They become evidence that State Department employee Alger Hiss is spying for the Soviet Union.

  • Glenn Frey, singer, songwriter, musician; a founding member of the band Eagles.

  • Gerry Adams, Irish politician who was an important figure in Northern Ireland’s peace process; president of Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland’s second-largest political party, since 1983.

  • During talks in Berlin, the Western powers agree to internationalize the Ruhr region.

  • 1947

    Florida’s Everglades National Park is established.

  • Winston Churchill opposes the withdrawal of troops from India.

  • 1946

    Sally Field, actress; won Academy Award for Best Actress in 1979 (Norma Rae) and 1984 (Places in the Heart); won 3 Emmys for work in television.

  • Syd Barrett, musician, singer, songwriter; founding member of the band Pink Floyd.

  • Ho Chi Minh wins in the Vietnamese elections.

  • 1945

    The United States extends a $3 billion loan to Great Britain to help compensate for the termination of the Lend-Lease agreement.

  • The first landing of a jet on a carrier takes place on USS Wake Island when an FR-1 Fireball touches down.

  • Paul Tibbets, the commander of Enola Gay, drops the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. It was the second atomic bomb, dropped on Nagasaki, that induced the Japanese to surrender.

  • Operation Overcast begins in Europe–moving Austrian and German scientists and their equipment to the United States.

  • B-29 Superfortress bombers attack Honshu, Japan, using new fire-bombing techniques.

  • Axis Sally makes her final propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.

  • Cologne, Germany, falls to General Courtney Hodges‘ First Army.

  • Bob Marley, reggae musician.

  • MacArthur reports the fall of Manila, and the liberation of 5,000 prisoners.

  • Boeing B-29 bombers in the Pacific strike new blows on Tokyo and Nanking.

  • 1944

    Swoosie Kurtz, Tony and Emmy award–winning actress (Fifth of July, And the Band Played On).

  • Lieutenant Jackie Robinson of the U.S. Army, while riding a civilian bus from Camp Hoo, Texas, refuses to give up his seat to a white man.

  • D-Day: Operation Overlord lands 400,000 Allied American, British, and Canadian troops on the beaches of Normandy in German-occupied France.

  • The Red Army besieges and captures Sevastopol in the Crimea.

  • Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, operatic soprano.

  • Kwajalein Island in the Central Pacific falls to U.S. Army troops.

  • Bonnie Franklin, actress (One Day at a Time TV series).

  • 1943

    Sir Richard J. Roberts, English scientist; shared Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1993) for discovery of split genes.

  • The United States asks the Chinese Nationals to join with the Communists to present a common front to the Japanese.

  • British RAF fliers bomb Essen and the Krupp arms works in the Ruhr, Germany.

  • 1942

    Peter Handke, playwright and poet.

  • The Soviet city of Voronezh falls to the German army.

  • Ariel Dorfman, Chilean writer (Death and the Maiden).

  • General Jonathan Wainwright surrenders Corregidor to the Japanese.

  • 1941

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues a personal appeal to Emperor Hirohito to use his influence to avoid war.

  • Guy Clark, Texas country-folk singer, songwriter (“Desperados Waiting for a Train,” “Texas 1947”).

  • German troops renew their offensive against Moscow.

  • Germany announces that all Jews living in the country will have to begin wearing a Star of David.

  • The U.S. government authorizes the seizure of foreign ships in U.S. ports.

  • Bob Hope gives his first USO show at California’s March Field.

  • German forces invade Greece and Yugoslavia.

  • The RAF clears the way as British take Benghazi, trapping thousands of Italians.

  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt asks Congress to support the Lend-lease Bill to help supply the Allies.

  • 1940

    Tom Brokaw, NBC News anchorman.

  • 1939

    Britain agrees to send arms to Finland, which is fighting off a Soviet invasion.

  • Susumu Tonegawa, Japanese scientist; won Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1987) for discovery of genetic mechanism that produces antibody diversity.

  • Marian Wright Edelman, first African-American woman to be admitted to the Mississippi Bar, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.

  • In Spain, Jose Miaja takes over Madrid government after a military coup and vows to seek “peace with honor.”

  • 1938

    France and Germany sign a treaty of friendship.

  • The United States recognizes Nazi Germany’s conquest of Austria.

  • 1937

    Sergio Aragones, illustrator and writer; best known for his contributions to Mad Magazine and for creating the Groo the Wanderer comic book series.

  • The Soviet Union accuses Italy of torpedoing two Russian ships in the Mediterranean.

  • The dirigible Hindenburg explodes in flames at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

  • Merle Haggard, American country musician.

  • Valentina Nikolayeva-Tereshkova, Russian astronaut, the first woman to orbit the Earth.

  • Lou Holtz, college football coach; television sports commentator.

  • The United States bans the shipment of arms to war-torn Spain.

  • 1936

    Aviator Beryl Markham flies the first east-to-west solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Adolf Hitler opens the Fourth Winter Olympics.

  • 1935

    The 14th Dalai Lama [Tenzin Gyatso], Tibetan religious leader, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Queen Margarita of Bulgaria (Dona Margarita Gomez-Acebo y Cejuela).

  • 1934

    American Ambassador Davis says Japan is a grave security threat in the Pacific.

  • Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob, science fiction and fantasy author (Xanth series).

  • Bill Moyers, American broadcast journalist, press secretary to President Lyndon Johnson.

  • President Franklin Roosevelt signs the Securities Exchange Act, establishing the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • 1933

    Walter E. Fountroy, politician and civil rights leader.

  • Adolf Hitler‘s Third Reich begins press censorship.

  • 1932

    Francois Truffaut, French film director (The 400 Blows, Shoot the Piano Player).

  • 1931

    Mike Nichols, film and stage director (The Graduate).

  • Riccardo Giacconi, Italian astrophysicist ; won Nobel Prize in Astrophysics for his pioneering contributions that led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources.

  • Willie Mays, baseball player.

  • 1930

    Charles Foley, game designer; co-creator of Twister game.

  • Frozen foods are sold commercially for the first time.

  • 1929

    Andre Previn, pianist and conductor.

  • Germany accepts Kellogg-Briand pact.

  • 1928

    Robert Pirzig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

  • James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.

  • Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Columbian-born novelist (One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera).

  • A Communist attack on Beijing results in 3,000 dead and 50,000 fleeing to Swatow.

  • 1927

    The first "talkie," The Jazz Singer, opens with popular entertainer Al Jolson singing and dancing in black-face. By 1930, silent movies were a thing of the past.

  • Andy Warhol, American pop artist.

  • A Massachusetts high court hears the final plea from Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italians convicted of murder.

  • Bill Haley, rock ‘n’ roll musician.

  • Gerry Mulligan, jazz saxophonist.

  • 1926

    Mussolini warns Germany to stop agitation in Tyrol.

  • 1925

    Maxine Kumin, poet novelist and children’s author.

  • 1924

    The German Reichstag accepts the Dawes Plan, an American plan to help Germany pay off its war debts.

  • Four planes leave Seattle on the first successful flight around the world.

  • Earl Scruggs, musician; popularized the finger-picking style of banjo playing; blended rock and bluegrass.

  • 1923

    As European inflation soars, one loaf of bread in Berlin is reported to be worth about 140 billion German marks.

  • 1922

    Benito Mussolini threatens Italian newspapers with censorship if they keep reporting “false” information.

  • The Washington Disarmament Conference comes to an end with signature of final treaty forbidding fortification of the Aleutian Islands for 14 years.

  • 1921

    Ireland’s 26 southern counties become independent from Britain forming the Irish Free State.

  • James Jones, American novelist (From Here to Eternity).

  • Nancy Reagan, wife of President Ronald Reagan.

  • The U.S. Navy orders the sale of 125 flying boats to encourage commercial aviation.

  • 1920

    Dave Brubeck, jazz pianist and composer.

  • 1919

    Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, dies at the age of 60 in his home at Sagamore Hill, New York.

  • 1918

    The German Army begins a general retreat across the Aisne, with British troops in pursuit.

  • U.S. Marines enter combat at the Battle of Belleau Wood.

  • Germany acknowledges Finland’s independence.

  • 1917

    The Bolsheviks imprison Czar Nicholas II and his family in Tobolsk.

  • The Bolshevik “October Revolution” (October 25 on the old Russian calendar), led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, seizes power in Petrograd.

  • Fannie Lou Hamer, US civil rights advocate; became vice-chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

  • The United States declares war on Germany and enters World War I on Allied side.

  • 1916

    Richard Hofstadter, historian who won two Pulitzer Prizes for his work.

  • The Allies recapture Fort Douaumont in France during the Battle of Verdun.

  • Germany admits full liability for Lusitania incident and recognizes the United State’s right to claim indemnity.

  • 1915

    Orson Welles, actor, director, and writer (Citizen Kane).

  • 1914

    Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian anthropologist and explorer.

  • Ellen Louise Wilson, the first wife of the twenty-eighth president, Woodrow Wilson, dies of Bright’s disease.

  • German Prince Wilhelm de Wied is crowned as King of Albania.

  • 1913

    Mary Douglas Leakey, archaeologist and paleoanthropologist.

  • Loretta Young, actress; won Academy Award for The Farmer’s Daughter (1947).

  • 1912

    Danny Thomas, actor, producer, philanthropist; founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

  • New Mexico becomes the 47th U.S. state of the Union.

  • 1911

    Maine becomes a dry state.

  • Lucille Ball, American actress and comedian.

  • Ronald Reagan, film actor and 40th U.S. President (1981-1989).

  • 1910

    Dorothy Kirsten, opera singer.

  • Union leaders ask President William H. Taft to investigate U.S. Steel’s practices.

  • 1909

    Americans Robert Peary and Matthew Henson become the first men to reach the North Pole.

  • 1908

    Sammy Price, jazz pianist.

  • Carol Lombard, American comediennne and actress.

  • Lou Costello, American comedian, partner of Bud Abbott.

  • 1907

    The luxury liner Lusitania leaves London for New York on her maiden voyage.

  • Bill Dickey, professional baseball player.

  • 1906

    Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge flies a powered, man-carrying kite that carries him 168 feet in the air for seven minutes at Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

  • Janet Gaynor, film actress.

  • 1905

    W. Warrick Cardozo, physician, researcher of Sickle Cell Anemia.

  • 1904

    The Japanese army in Korea surrounds a Russian army retreating to Manchuria.

  • Japan’s foreign minister severs all ties with Russia, citing delaying tactics in negotiations over Manchuria.

  • Japanese railway authorities in Korea refuse to transport Russian troops.

  • 1903

    French Army Nationalists are revealed to have forged documents to guarantee a conviction for Alfred Dreyfus.

  • 1902

    Jimmie Lunceford, bandleader.

  • Max Ophuls, film director (La Ronde, Lola Montes).

  • 1901

    Eliot Porter, nature photographer.

  • President William McKinley is shot while attending a reception at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, by 28-year-old anarchist Leon Czolgosz. McKinley dies eight days later, the third American president assassinated.

  • A would-be assassin tries to kill Wilhelm II of Germany in Bremen.

  • 1900

    President McKinley appoints W.H. Taft commissioner to report on the Philippines.

  • Maria of Romania, Queen of Yugoslavia; wife of King Alexander.

  • 1899

    Billy Rose, songwriter famous for “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” and “Me and My Shadow”.

  • Richard Leo Simon, publisher, partner of Max Schuster.

  • Aspirin is patented following Felix Hoffman’s discoveries about the properties of acetylsalicylic acid.

  • Heinz Nordhoff, German engineer, named managing director of the Volkswagen plant at Wolfsburg after World War II; under his leadership the Volkswagen Beetle became a worldwide phenomenon.

  • 1898

    Gunnar Myrdal, Swedish economist and sociologist.

  • Alfred Eisenstaedt, photojournalist.

  • 1896

    Ira Gershwin, American lyricist and musical collaborator with his brother George.

  • The Modern Olympics begin in Athens with eight nations participating.

  • 1895

    Caroline Gordon, writer (The Strange Children).

  • Rudolph Valentino, actor, film icon.

  • George Herman “Babe” Ruth, baseball player with the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees and the Boston Braves. The first player to hit 60 home runs in one season.

  • 1892

    Harold Ross, New Yorker editor.

  • 1891

    Comanche, the only 7th Cavalry horse to survive George Armstrong Custer’s “Last Stand” at the Little Bighorn, dies at Fort Riley, Kansas.

  • The Dalton Gang commits its first crime, a train robbery in Alila, Calif.

  • 1890

    William Kemmler becomes the first man to be executed by the electric chair.

  • 1889

    Major General George Kenney, commander of the U.S. Fifth Air Force in New Guinea and the Solomons during World War II.

  • 1888

    Martha Turner is murdered by an unknown assailant, believed to be Jack the Ripper, in London, England.

  • Russell Stover, candy manufacturer.

  • Louisa May Alcott dies just hours after the burial of her father.

  • 1887

    Walter Johnson, baseball pitcher, “The Big Train.”

  • Le Corbusier, Swiss-born French architect and city planner.

  • 1886

    Joyce Kilmer, American poet, best known for “Trees.”

  • 1885

    Louis Pasteur gives the first successful anti-rabies inoculation.

  • Ring Lardner, writer (You Know Me, Al).

  • 1884

    Over 100 suffragists, led by Susan B. Anthony, present President Chester A. Arthur with a demand that he voice support for female suffrage.

  • 1882

    Sam Rayburn, U.S. Congressman from Texas & Speaker of the House (1940-46, 1949-53).

  • 1881

    Alexander Flemming, Scottish bacteriologist who discovered penicillin in 1928.

  • 1878

    Carl Sandburg, U.S. journalist, poet and biographer.

  • 1877

    Thomas A. Edison makes the first sound recording when he recites “Mary had a Little Lamb” into his phonograph machine.

  • Chief Crazy Horse surrenders to U.S. troops in Nebraska. Crazy Horse brought General George Custer to his end.

  • 1876

    Jack McCall is convicted for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok and sentenced to hang.

  • 1875

    Thomas Mann, German novelist and essayist, forced into exile by the Nazis.

  • 1872

    Alexandra, the last Russian Czarina.

  • 1870

    The last British troops to serve in Austria are withdrawn.

  • 1868

    Robert F. Scott, British explorer.

  • Gaston Leroux, French novelist (The Phantom of the Opera).

  • 1866

    The Reno brothers–Frank, John, Simeon and William–commit the country’s first train robbery near Seymore, Indiana netting $10,000.

  • Lincoln Joseph Steffens, journalist.

  • 1865

    The 13th Amendment is ratified, abolishing slavery.

  • Confederate raider William Quantrill dies from a wound received while escaping a Union patrol near Taylorsville, Kentucky.

  • At the Battle of Sailer’s Creek, a third of Lee‘s army is cut off by Union troops pursuing him to Appomattox.

  • 1864

  • 1863

    The monitor Weehawken sinks in Charleston Harbor.

  • A Union force surrounds and scatters defending Confederates at the Battle of Droop Mountain, in West Virginia.

  • The CSS Alabama captures the USS Sea Bride near the Cape of Good Hope.

  • 1862

    President Abraham Lincoln orders the hanging of 39 of the 303 convicted Indians who participated in the Sioux Uprising in Minnesota. They are to be hanged on December 26.

  • The city of Memphis surrenders to the Union navy after an intense naval engagement on the Mississippi River.

  • Henry David Thoreau dies of tuberculosis at age 44.

  • Confederate forces attack General Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh, Tennessee.

  • The USS Monitor left New York with a crew of 63, seven officers and 56 seamen.

  • The Battle of Fort Henry, Tenn., begins the Mississippi Valley campaign.

  • 1861

    Union General George G. Meade leads a foraging expedition to Gunnell’s farm near Dranesville, Virginia.

  • James Naismith, Canadian physical education instructor who, in 1891, invented the game of basketball.

  • Jefferson Davis is elected to a six-year term as president of the Confederacy.

  • Union General Ulysses S. Grant‘s forces capture Paducah, Kentucky from Confederate forces.

  • Arkansas becomes the ninth state to secede from the Union.

  • The Governor of Maryland, Thomas Hicks, announces his opposition to the state’s possible secession from the Union.

  • 1860

    Abraham Lincoln is elected 16th president of the United States.

  • Jane Adams, known for her work as a social reformer, pacifist, and founder of Hull House in Chicago in 1889, first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (1931).

  • While campaigning for the presidency, Abraham Lincoln makes a speech defending the right to strike.

  • 1857

    The Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision holds that blacks cannot be citizens.

  • 1856

    Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist, founder of psychoanalysis.

  • Robert Edward Peary, arctic explorer and the first man to reach the North Pole.

  • U.S. Army troops from Fort Tejon and Fort Miller prepare to ride out to protect Keyesville, California, from Yokut Indian attack.

  • 1854

    John Philip Sousa, “The March Master,” American bandmaster and composer. Among his 140 marches are “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Semper Fidelis.”

  • The Republican Party is officially organized in Jackson, Michigan.

  • 1853

    Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La Traviata premieres in Venice.

  • 1851

    Charles Henry Dow, American financial journalist who (with Edward D. Jones) inaugurated the Dow-Jones averages.

  • 1847

    Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre is published in London.

  • Henry David Thoreau leaves Walden Pond and moves back into town, to Concord, Massachusetts.

  • 1846

    George Westinghouse, prolific inventor, held over 100 patents on creations including air brakes for trains.

  • 1840

    Frederick William Stowe, son of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

  • 1836

    French General Thomas Bugeaud defeats Abd al-Kader’s forces beside the Sikkak River in Algeria.

  • After fighting for 13 days, the Alamo falls.

  • 1835

    John Marshall, the third chief justice of the Supreme Court, dies at the age of 79. Two days later, while tolling in his honor in Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell cracks.

  • 1831

    Philip Henry Sheridan, Union Army general.

  • 1830

    Joseph Smith and five others organize the Church of Latter-Day Saints in Seneca, New York.

  • 1820

    Jenny Lind, soprano known as the "Swedish Nightingale."

  • The Missouri Compromise is enacted by Congress and signed by President James Monroe, providing for the admission of Missouri into the Union as a slave state, but prohibits slavery in the rest of the northern Louisiana Purchase territory.

  • 1814

    Adolphe Sax, instrument maker and inventor of the saxophone.

  • Granted sovereignty in the island of Elba and a pension from the French government, Napoleon Bonaparte abdicates at Fontainebleau. He is allowed to keep the title of emperor.

  • 1813

    The United States invasion of Canada is halted at Stony Creek, Ontario.

  • 1812

    The majority of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Armeé staggers into Vilna, Lithuania, ending the failed Russian campaign.

  • The first winter snow falls on the French Army as Napoleon Bonaparte retreats form Moscow.

  • 1811

    Charles Sumner, anti-slavery senator from Massachusetts.

  • 1809

    Alfred Lord Tennyson, English poet laureate (1850), wrote “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”

  • 1806

    Elizabeth Barret Browning, poet (Sonnets from the Portuguese).

  • 1801

    Napoleon Bonaparte imposes a new constitution on Holland.

  • 1800

    Catherine Esther Beecher, educator who promoted higher education for women.

  • 1799

    Alexander Pushkin, Russian writer (Boris Godunov, The Queen of Spades).

  • 1793

    French General Jean Houchard and his 40,000 men begin a three-day battle against an Anglo-Hanoveraian army at Hondschoote, southwest Belgium, in the wars of the French Revolution.

  • 1789

    The First U.S. Congress begins regular sessions at Federal Hall in New York City.

  • 1788

    The Polish Diet decides to hold a four year session.

  • 10,000 troops are called out in Paris as unrest mounts in the poorer districts over poverty and lack of food.

  • Massachusetts becomes the sixth state to ratify the Constitution.

  • 1786

    Sacagawea (also Sacajawea), American explorer.

  • 1778

    France recognizes the United States and signs a treaty of aid in Paris.

  • 1776

    Phi Beta Kappa, the first scholastic fraternity, is founded at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.

  • 1770

    The entire Ottoman fleet is destroyed by the Russians at the Battle of Chesma.

  • 1766

    John Dalton, English scientist who developed the atomic theory of matter.

  • 1758

    Maximilien Robespierre, French revolutionary.

  • 1757

    Marie Joseph du Motier, Marquis de LaFayette, French soldier and statesman who aided George Washington during the American Revolution.

  • 1756

    John Trumbull, American painter.

  • Aaron Burr, 3rd U.S. Vice President.

  • 1755

    Nathan Hale, American revolutionary.

  • 1747

    John Paul Jones, naval hero of the American Revolution.

  • 1740

    John Penn, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

  • 1696

    Savoy Germany withdraws from the Grand Alliance.

  • 1688

    Imperial troops defeat the Turks and take Belgrade, Serbia.

  • 1685

    James II defeats James, the Duke of Monmouth, at the Battle of Sedgemoor, the last major battle to be fought on English soil.

  • 1682

    King Louis XIV moves his court to Versailles, France.

  • 1674

    Sivaji crowns himself King of India.

  • 1641

    Spain loses Portugal.

  • 1626

    Huguenot rebels and the French sign the Peace of La Rochelle.

  • 1606

    Pierre Corneille, French author.

  • 1540

    Henry VIII of England marries his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. The marriage will last six months.

  • 1536

    William Tyndale, the English translator of the New Testament, is strangled and burned at the stake for heresy at Vilvorde, France.

  • Jacques Cartier returns to France after discovering the St. Lawrence River in Canada.

  • 1535

    Sir Thomas More is beheaded in England for refusing to swear allegiance to King Henry VIII as head of the Church.

  • 1529

    Babur defeats the Afghan Chiefs in the Battle of Ghaghra, India.

  • 1527

    German troops begin sacking Rome. Libraries are destroyed, the Pope is captured and thousands are killed.

  • 1523

    Gustav Vasa becomes king of Sweden.

  • 1522

    One of the five ships that set out in Ferdinand Magellan’s trip around the world makes it back to Spain. Only 15 of the original 265 men that set out survived. Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.

  • 1521

    Ferdinand Magellan discovers Guam.

  • 1519

    Charles of Spain is elected Holy Roman emperor in Barcelona.

  • 1497

    John Cabot returns to England after his first successful journey to the Labrador coast.

  • 1492

    Christopher Columbus lands on the island of Santo Domingo in search of gold.

  • 1483

    Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio), Italian painter (Sistine Madonna).

  • 1475

    Michelangelo Buonarroti, painter, sculptor and architect.

  • 1429

    Henry VI is crowned King of England.

  • 1422

    Sultan Murat II ends a vain siege of Constantinople.

  • 1421

    Henry VI, the youngest king of England to accede to the throne (only 269 days old).

  • 1415

    Jan Hus, a Czech who spoke out against Church corruption, is burned at the stake as a heretic.

  • 1412

    Joan of Arc, French Saint and national heroine.

  • 1367

    Richard II, son of Edward the Black Prince.

  • 1199

    English King Richard I is killed by an arrow at the Siege of the Castle of Chalus in France.

  • 1066

    Harold Godwineson is crowned King Harold II – King of England.

  • 1014

    The Byzantine Emperor Basil earns the title "Slayer of Bulgers" after he orders the blinding of 15,000 Bulgerian troops.

  • 973

    Henry II, Holy Roman emperor.

  • 394

    Theodosius becomes sole ruler of Italy after defeating Eugenius at the Battle of the River Frigidus.