Dadchotomies, papadoxes, and octomorons

One week ago, I had the great honor of delivering this eulogy to my family:

Lately, I’ve been listening over and over to a Foo Fighters song. I would have suggested it as one of the tracks for today’s background music loop, but…it’s a Foo Fighters song. Not Dad’s style of music, but still relevant.

It’s called “My Hero” and the gist is that not all heroes wear capes; real heroes are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. To figure out whether that describes Dad, I started a list of the things he did over the years.

In doing so, I noticed a pattern – one that might show him as a conflicted hero or, in softer terms, an enigmatic one. Dad was a man of dichotomies, or paradoxes, or oxymorons. He might have said he had eight oxymorons, so I’m more inclined to go with “dichotomies.” A lot of Dad’s personality traits could be paired as polar opposites.

For example, he was stoic, but loving. Aloof, yet affectionate. Detached, but dedicated. Dad guarded his feelings like a Scotsman guards his whiskey – but we all knew they were there. His love for his family was evident, even when he had a hard time putting it into words.

When Dad dropped me off at college the first time, he finished helping me move into my dorm room and the inevitable time came for him to leave. I could feel the emotions charging the air as the big moment loomed. He looked me in the eye, shook my hand, and said, “Well, Daniel, we’re going to miss you. But it’s not like you’re going away to jail or something.” Thanks for sparing me that emotional tidal wave, Dad.

Remember how Mom would ask, “Do you love me, Dear?” and he’d roll his eyes and answer in an intentionally unconvincing voice as dry as a martini, “Madly, Dear. Madly.” But we knew. Dad would have walked to the moon for Mom.

He also loved all of us. And I mean a fierce, abiding love. He wanted what was best for us. He protected us, he helped us, and he gave us everything he could. Because of the next dichotomy.

Dad was thrifty, but generous. We never wanted for anything. We had a house, food, transportation, pets – in short, we had a home. And we had the thing every kid wants – stuff. Some stuff was handed down…and none of it was brand-name. But all of it turned out to be invaluable.

Dad had a way of finding little gifts that resonated with each of us, like souvenirs from Edmund Scientific or beachside bookstores.

And he was generous with his time. All of those hours behind the wheel, hauling us on vacations – the toughest being the two-day drives to Colorado. He must have been exhausted, but he always took us to the motel pool after we’d finally stopped for the night.

He went to our games, campouts, plays, and other events. He taught eight kids to drive. I remember him driving me across the river to Brunswick Library every Saturday, letting me take my time to browse and find a good supply of books and records for the week.

At home, he might have been napping, reading his paper, or tinkering with his equipment in the basement, but he always stopped immediately if one of us needed even the smallest thing – and he welcomed the interruptions cheerfully.

Even for Dennis. That cat hated every human but Dad, who would put aside his newspaper when Dennis settled down on top of him on the living room couch every evening – at least, until he started burrowing into Dad’s chest.

That’s when another dichotomy would present itself – Dad was quiet, but expressive. And while his off-color phrases during moments of stress were certainly creative, he was expressive in other ways. He wrote poetry. He painted. He sang to us.

Dad was averse to change, but he was an explorer. One could argue that as a physicist, he explored at the molecular level. But he also embarked on a lot of real-world journeys, often returning from exotic places with new traditions. Good-bye, Scotch; hello, Mai Tais!

So yes, he could embrace new things. He once hiked into the middle of a thunderstorm on Long’s Peak, climbing the Boulder Field at around 13,000 feet as the storm raging all around him. That’s the heart of an adventurer!

Because Dad was nervous, but self-assured. He worried about his health, and was constantly taking vitamins and other remedies. I remember him quipping that Nana Bain was the reason that, no matter how old he got, he still chewed his fingernails to the nubs. But he wasn’t meek; he knew what he was capable of, and confident in that.

Yet despite his confidence, he was utterly devoid of vanity. Dad didn’t care one iota what people thought of his looks or his style; he was steadfast in clinging to his clip-on bowties, plaid polyester slacks, and self-cut hair. He knew who he was, and had little worse for those who mocked him; he did not suffer fools lightly.

Because Dad could be impatient…but he loved to teach. Not for a career, but as a father. He taught us a lot, which required patience in droves. Science, astronomy, history, math – just about everything except the birds and the bees. I was a freshman in high school the Saturday he came into my room with a library book about that topic. He handed it to me and told me to read through it and let him know if I had any questions. To this day, I wish I had retorted, “Dad, I’m fourteen; let me know if you have any questions.”

Dad’s patience was more likely to be taxed by things like waiting too long at a restaurant, or getting stuck in traffic. Because if there was one thing Dad couldn’t stand, it was wasting time…yet he could sit for hours on end, staring at a chess board without moving. If ever a game required patience, it’s chess. And he excelled at it.

He won tournaments, he had a rating just below Master, he led clubs, he taught local youth how to play, and he once started a verbal game with a colleague in the car next to him during rush hour. They shouted their moves to one another and tracked the game in their heads through several red lights on Route 7.

Chess was Dad’s passion. I think he taught it to all of his kids, as well as a few grandkids. My sons liked asking him to play whenever we visited. I did not.

I played from about age 5-17, but never beat him. There was one occasion when I managed to play him to a draw. He probably could have beaten me, but he agreed to a stalemate. That was one of the greatest moments of my life.

Because Dad was a brilliant, brilliant man. But he was also very silly. Here was a scientist, grounded in logic, who embraced the absurd. One minute he might be expounding on the qualities of light as a particle vs. as a wave; the next, he might break into a recitation of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” or quote a favorite Clouseau-ism from the “Pink Panther” movies.

And while dancing is about as far from logic as you can get, he was known for his steps as well as his science. On the dancefloor or in the living room, Dad was the Twisting genius.

He was serious, but he had a sense of humor. He’s the one who introduced me to a lifelong love of Monty Python. He loved Jack Lemmon, laughing uproariously at characters who were often a lot like Dad himself. He wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself, or his situations.

When Nanny’s health was on the decline and everyone in the house was on pins and needles, Dad and Mom discovered The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s infamous “Chuckles the Clown” episode, laughing at the concept of death. For years afterward, he was likely to quote his favorite line from it: “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.”

He had his fair share of corny Dad jokes, sure – Jesus Rodriguez and Moose Turd Pie come to mind – but his wit could also be razor-sharp and downright wicked. He swore me to secrecy when I discovered the incriminating document, but now I think the story can be told – at his office once, someone was trying to advance a really stupid idea, so Dad wrote an anonymous and hilariously scathing memo to ridicule the suggestion. He secretly left it on his boss’ desk, and the suggestion never got off the ground. This was the 1980s equivalent of what we would call trolling; he was ahead of his time!

Dad was introverted, but gregarious. He was the popular loner, the straight-laced partier. While he enjoyed his solitude, he was oddly good at socializing. And when he did, he was the life of the party. People loved him – from his teammates at work, to his neighbors, to Mom’s closest friends and their husbands.

He hit it off with everyone. At company picnics or neighborhood pig pickin’s, when people saw him coming, they’d shout “Walt!” like he was Norm from “Cheers.” He had this nerdy charisma that drew people to him. That’s what I’ll remember and cherish.

But perhaps Dad’s greatest dichotomy was: His time on earth was fleeting, but he left a long-lasting legacy. I’m referring, of course, to all of us. Eight kids. Twelve grandkids. Thirteen great-grandkids.

Last week, I added up the ages of his descendants, from his firstborn to his most recent great-grand. As of this moment, Dad (along with Mom) is responsible for more than 950 years of age in this family. Think about that – his current legacy is almost a full millennium of life, and that total is increasing daily. Granted, he had plenty of help from Mom, but what a legacy!

So, was Dad a hero? Was he a great man? The answer lies in one of Jack Lemmon’s later movies, called “Dad.” I’ve always loved the tagline from its poster: “Sometimes, the greatest man you ever meet…is the first one.”

Because yes, Dad was a great man. And yes, he was a hero – an ordinary man who did extraordinary things. And he has earned the right to rest with Mom in an extraordinary place.

Enjoy it, Dad. We’re going to miss you…but it’s not like you’ve gone away to jail or something.

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Cancel vultures

I’ve been seeing the phrase “cancel culture” thrown around a lot lately on politicians’ social media posts; one of them even wants to hold Senate Judiciary hearings on the subject. Can we all just calm down, please?

“Cancel culture” is an odd phrase, firstly because it lacks any standard definition. It means different things to different people. Secondly, none of those different things is an accurate description of what really happened.

It’s weird to say a work of art or a company got “canceled.” Even more so to say it of a person; that sounds like a euphemism for death. So I looked it up, and lo and behold, Webster’s has added a definition of “cancel” as “to withdraw one’s support for (someone, such as a celebrity, or something, such as a company) publicly and especially on social media.”

Okay. That’s accurate. So they’re talking about withdrawing support. People do it all the time, often following the lead of others who have brought their attention to an issue. I understand not liking that; I don’t care for the pitchfork-and-torch approach of social media mobs, either. But the irony is, counter-mobs push back in equal measure. Things get personal. Things get political. Things get ugly.

Maybe we should all back up, collect our breaths, and calm down – especially our public servants. I’m sure the root problem goes further back, but for the last 12 years, social media has revealed a stunning lack of professionalism on the part of our elected officials. It seems like U.S. Presidents, Senators, and Representatives go out of their way to insult and belittle each other. It’s not only tiring, it’s petulant. Behave, y’all. It’s okay to disagree, but keep it civil. Stop the pissing match, and do your jobs.

But I digress. We were talking about cancel culture.

As I said, I don’t care for the angry mob approach; people lose focus. I generally don’t approve of boycotts; people lose jobs. I am opposed to censorship and bans by any governing body; society loses art. I am vehemently opposed to authoritarianism and fascism; people and societies die. But here’s the thing – in recent “cancel culture” controversies, none of those things happened.

Use your head

Take “Mr. Potato Head” – last week, Hasbro announced its plan to drop the “Mr.” from the brand name. The characters Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head still exist. The plastic potatoes are still available, add-on body parts and accessories that run a gamut from traditionally masculine to traditionally feminine. They are not telling anyone what or whom to create, nor what to call it.

They’re even adding a Potato Head family set, with two adult potatoes and a little spud, plus plenty of add-on accessories. A kid can use them to create a young Potato Head boy or girl, plus two adults. The adults can be Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head; Mr. Potato Head and his brother, the other Mr. Potato Head who’s just lost his job and needs a place to stay until he gets back on his potato feet; a divorced Mrs. Potato Head who’s temporarily living with her sister, Ms. Potato Head, and having the time of her life, thank you very much; Mx. Potato Head and her live-in friend that everyone in the family calls her “roommate” but really know there’s something more there, the other Mx. Potato Head; or whatever scenario the kid chooses.

But you know what didn’t happen to Mr. Potato Head? He didn’t get canceled. Potato Head is a brand, with its own characters still in place – Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head – and with infinite characters created by the kids who play with them. And the kids are deciding themselves; no company or mob is telling them what to do with their potatoes, nor what to call them.

Mr. Potato Head also hasn’t been banned or censored; the government had nothing to do with this. It was a corporate decision – Hasbro did this of their own volition, and they’re probably going to sell a lot more toys as a result. Mr. Potato Head ain’t goin’ nowhere, folks.

Green eggs and sham

Know who else hasn’t been canceled? Dr. Seuss. Nor has he been banned. Nor censored. His own estate decided not to reprint six titles – out of more than sixty. And they decided it without pressure from the government or any other political entity. They felt the illustrations of – and some of the copy pertaining to – certain races portrayed in those six titles, fomented some negative stereotypes.

The illustrations and copy were generally considered acceptable when the books were first published – from 45-84 years ago. They are not generally acceptable today. So his estate made a business decision not to renew their publication again. (All of them had been re-issued in the past; we’re not actually on the first print of Dr. Seuss books.)

Decisions like that are made every day in the publishing industry. Sometimes the decision is due to lack of demand for the book, other times it’s due to altruism. But I promise you, there are literally thousands of children’s books that were once available new, but are no longer being printed. That’s what happened with the six Seuss titles – they’re still available in libraries, classrooms, and elsewhere, but the company is no longer printing new ones. They still exist; they haven’t been canceled.

Kermitting atrocities?

Next, consider “The Muppet Show.” Certain news commentators and politicians are up in arms, insisting Disney has “canceled” the Muppets. Disney Plus recently started streaming the show, but they’ve added a disclaimer at the start of 18 episodes: “This programme includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now.”

After the disclaimer, each episode in question plays in its entirety. Nothing is edited, nothing is censored, and nothing is canceled. It’s just that the episode includes content that most viewers found acceptable 45 years ago, but probably wouldn’t today.

Some are calling the disclaimer a trigger warning. Read it again; it doesn’t warn anyone of anything. It simply makes a statement on how they feel about the content. I recently saw a disclaimer that said, “This movie contains product placement.” Is that a trigger warning, too? Is it an attempt to cancel commerce?

Send whatever signal you want

If anything, the Muppets disclaimer probably qualifies more as virtue-signaling – another phrase that’s been misused and maligned. Some people deride virtue-signaling as an attempt to prove “wokeness.” Maybe so, but how is that problematic? To me, it’s nothing more than letting people know how you feel about a topic. Sometimes, it’s a statement; sometimes, it’s a show of support. Neither makes it insincere, nor bad.

If you kneel during the National Anthem, you’re virtue-signaling. But here’s the thing – if you stand for the National Anthem, you’re also virtue-signaling.

If you adorn a pin or ribbon on behalf of marginalized people, you’re virtue-signaling. And if you adorn a pin or ribbon on behalf of people suffering from an illness, you’re also virtue-signaling.

If you put a “Black Lives Matter” bumper sticker on your car, you’re virtue-signaling. If you put a “Blue Lives Matter” bumper sticker on your car, you’re also virtue-signaling.

On Independence Day, I enjoy wearing red, white, and blue – but guess what? It’s virtue-signaling. Is that a bad thing?

Flying a flag – whether it represents your alma mater, your favorite sports team, some organization, or your country – is virtue-signaling. Wearing a tee-shirt of your favorite band is virtue-signaling. Putting a campaign sign in your yard is virtue-signaling. The examples are endless.

There’s no one out there who hasn’t virtue-signaled, so maybe we should stop using the term as an insult? It’s just announcing, This is how I feel about something. This is where I stand.

The same is true of that Disney disclaimer. They added it to say, This is where we stand; meanwhile, here’s the show in its entirety. If you don’t agree with our feelings on the content, you can still watch the show.

Here’s the irony of the whole situation – “The Muppet Show” wasn’t widely available before, but now it is. That’s pretty much the opposite of canceling.

To the people who are outraged about Potato Head, Seuss, and Muppets, I offer the reminder that the most recent of those products or works was first released in the mid-70s. The oldest was first published in 1937. Culture has changed quite a bit since those times.

We’ve learned a lot over the past 45-84 years, and I’d rather not go back. You might feel differently, but if that’s the case, I invite you to ask yourself exactly what you miss from life in 1976 that you can’t have today. Just remember – there’s plenty we have today that you couldn’t have had then. Advancement and progress go hand in hand, and neither is a bad thing.

Don’t get Cara’d away

Now let’s talk about Gina Carano. Remember her? I know, that was so four weeks ago.

She’s an actress who played one of my favorite Star Wars roles – Cara Dune, from “The Mandalorian” on Disney Plus. She was in the series for two seasons, but Disney has opted not to bring her back for future seasons, due to some of her controversial tweets.

Carano’s tweets over time had mocked mask mandates, pushed election fraud conspiracy theories, denigrated Black Lives Matter, and belittled trans people’s pronoun choices. In early February, she tweeted a picture comparing backlash against contemporary Republicans to the treatment of Holocaust victims in Nazi Germany – at best tone-deaf, at worst anti-Semitic.

First, there was an uproar. In this case, yes, the angry mob formed and the hashtag #FireGinaCarano trended. Sure enough, Disney announced they were not bringing her back.

But I’m positive the hashtag wasn’t the thing that inspired them to take action. They had reportedly warned her to stop, but she didn’t. If your employer told you to stop doing something and you refused, how long do you think you’d stay employed by them?

This is more of an issue pertaining to corporate human resources. Her tweets denigrated marginalized groups; I guarantee that would get anyone a spot in front of an HR rep in any big company today (and rightfully so).

She had taken aim at Black people, Jewish people, trans people, and gay people; this is going to draw the disapproval of any employer worth its salt, let alone one like Disney. People aside, Disney also has mask policies in place; I’m sure they were equally unhappy with her tweet mocking masks.

Carano’s tweets had to have violated HR policy. She disobeyed the rules, and employers don’t look kindly upon that. The same thing would have happened to you or me if we posted similar things. If we were currently working, our employer could and should fire us over that. And if, like Carano, we were between contracts, the employer shouldn’t bring us back.

If you don’t believe she did anything wrong, consider this – she deleted the tweet. Generally, when someone hasn’t said something wrong, they don’t attempt to hide what they said. Words matter, and actions have consequences.

Yes, a cyber-mob formed. But no, they didn’t persecute her. Disney opted not to hire her back, as is their right.

She hasn’t been canceled; Ben Shapiro has hired her to make movies for “The Daily Wire” – if you want to watch her work, you still can. And if you’re mad that she wasn’t able to mock certain groups of people without consequence, I wish you would ask yourself why you think it should be acceptable to mock those groups.

Cancel the lies

These works, products, and people haven’t been canceled. The outrage claiming they have is a distraction – another kind of virtue-signaling, if you will. The commentators and elected officials screeching about cancel culture are trying to garner your support by appealing to the thought that they are protecting you from some vague threat. But that threat doesn’t exist.

When they try to convince you this is a threat worthy of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that’s a lie. Congress can’t legislate anything against cancel culture. And if there’s real censorship out there, we are the ones who need to push back – not Congress – until it gets to the level of the Supreme Court.

When they try to convince you this is a political agenda, that’s a lie. No politicians asked Disney, Hasbro, or the Seuss Estate to do these things; they did them on their own. While there is arguably some progressive thinking behind them – changing with the times, etc. – they are not the actions of a Progressive political party.

The only ones making a big deal out of this are people who stand against it, and we should all ask about their motives. It’s regressive more than conservative; why do they want to regress? Whatever their motives, they’re not being candid with you. Don’t fall for their act – they are populists, lying to you for your support.

They are vultures, pretending to be eagles.

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Dannotated history

In 2020, I did my best to capture — and sometimes mock — historical highlights of each day. I am by no means a historian, but here’s a recap, for anyone interested:

On January 1,

404: A Christian monk named Telemachus attempts to stop a gladiators’ fight in a Roman amphitheater and is stoned to death by the crowd. Impressed by the monk’s sacrifice, Emperor Honorius bans future gladiatorial fights.

1808: The Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves goes into effect, stating that no new slaves may be imported into the United States.

1822: The Greek Constitution is adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus.

1863: The Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect, freeing slaves in the southern United States.

1892: Ellis Island opens, for the processing of immigrants into the United States.

1902: The first college bowl game takes place — the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, California. It is held in coordination with an annual festival there called the “Tournament of Roses,” which had begun in 1890. The game is such a blowout — Michigan beats Stanford, 49-0 — that the game will not be played again for 14 years, replaced by things such as ostrich races. (I’m not sure that was such a bad idea, actually.)

1912: The Republic of China is established.

1934: San Francisco Bay’s Alcatraz Island becomes a U.S. federal prison.

1971: Cigarette commercials are banned on TV in the U.S.

1979: The U.S. and the People’s Republic of China establish normal diplomatic relations.

2020: Dan Bain resolves to create a new series of 366 daily posts. His primary sources will be publicly generated content, and many details will be unconfirmed. This will be okay.

On January 2,

533: Mercurious is the first pope to choose a new name upon his elevation to the papacy, opting for the name John II. (Way to be original, Mercurious.)

1777: George Washington’s forces repel a British attack at the Battle of the Assunpink Creek. (Btw, “Assunpink” should not be confused with “Pinkonass,” manufacturer of pants with words on them.)

1788: Georgia is the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

1791: A group of Lenape and Wyandot warriors raid Big Bottom, a settlement of European squatters on untitled land near present-day Stockport, Ohio. They kill nine men, a woman, and two children; the attack will come to be known as the Big Bottom Massacre, an early attack in the Northwest Indian War.

1920: During the Red Scare in the U.S., the second Palmer Raid results in the arrest and subsequent holding without trial of 6000 suspected communists and anarchists.

1974: Richard Nixon signs a bill lowering the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 mph to conserve gas during an OPEC embargo.

1993: Dan Bain and Kim Jenkins are wed in Raleigh, North Carolina. They go on to build an amazing life together.

On January 3,

1521: Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther. (Leo put the “X” in “excommunicate.”)

1777: Washington defeats Cornwallis at the Battle of Princeton.

1870: Construction begins on the Brooklyn Bridge.

1938: FDR establishes the March of Dimes to combat infant polio. (Practically eradicated, the disease will make a comeback in the next century, thanks to the efforts of uninformed anti-vaxxers who inexplicably seem to prefer children to be paralyzed or dead rather than at a perceived risk of being on the autism spectrum.)

1947: U.S. Congressional proceedings are televised for the first time. (Viewers will later turn to the soaps in order to find more wholesome programming.)

1956: A fire damages the top part of the Eiffel Tower.

1957: The Hamilton Watch Company introduces the first electric watch.

1959: Alaska is admitted to the U.S. as the 49th state.

1962: Pope John XXIII excommunicates Fidel Castro.

1977: Apple Computer is incorporated.

1990: Manuel Noriega surrenders to American forces in Panama.

1999: NASA launches the Mars Polar Lander.

2000: “Peanuts” runs its final daily comic strip.

On January 4,

1762: Great Britain enters the Seven Years’ War against Spain and Naples.

1847: Samuel Colt sells his first revolver to the U.S. government. (I wonder what they called it.)

1853: Solomon Northup regains his freedom after having been kidnapped and sold into slavery, to later tell his memoir and have it published as “Twelve Years a Slave.”

1944: WWII Allied Forces begin Operation Carpetbagger, dropping arms and supplies to resistance fighters in Europe.

1951: Chinese and North Korean forces capture Seoul.

1974: Richard Nixon refuses to give up hundreds of tapes and documents subpoenaed by the Watergate Committee.

1999: Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura is sworn in as governor of Minnesota.

2007: Congress elects the first female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

2010: The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, opens in Dubai.

On January 5,

1066: Edward the Confessor dies without an heir, beginning a succession crisis that will lead to the Norman conquest of England.

1757: Robert-François Damiens stabs Louis XV of France in an assassination attempt, but the king survives. Damiens will be the last person in France to be executed by drawing and quartering.

1781: Led by Benedict Arnold, British naval forces burn Richmond, Virginia.

1882: Charles J. Guiteau is found guilty of having assassinated James Garfield and sentenced to death by hanging. (They couldn’t have the trial on a Monday, because Garfield hated Mondays.)

1914: The Ford Motor Company announces an eight-hour workday and minimum wage of $5 per day plus bonuses, subject to restrictions and character standards.

1925: Nellie Tayloe Ross becomes governor of Wyoming; she is the first female governor in the U.S.

1972: Richard Nixon orders the development of the Space Shuttle program.

2005: Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz use images from Oct. 21, 2003, to discover Eris — the most massive, second-largest-by-volume dwarf planet in the Solar System.

On January 6,

1449: Constantine XI is crowned Byzantine Emperor.

1838: Alfred Vail demonstrates a telegraph system using dots and dashes, the forerunner of Morse code. (Demonstrates? You might even say he unVails it.)

1907: Maria Montessori opens her first school/daycare center for working-class children in Rome. (I wonder what she called it.)

1912: German geophysicist Alfred Wegener presents his theory of continental drift.

1929: Mother Teresa arrives in Calcutta.

1941: FDR delivers his Four Freedoms speech during the State of the Union address.

1947: Pan American Airlines becomes the first commercial airline offering a ticket around the world.

1974: Daylight saving time starts almost four months early in the U.S., a response to the 1973 oil crisis.

2001: Congress certifies George W. Bush the winner of the contested 2000 presidential election.

2005: Edgar Ray Killen is indicted for the 1964 murders of civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

On January 7,

1608: Jamestown, Virginia is destroyed by fire.

1610: Galileo observes the four Galilean moons — Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, and Io — for the first time.

1782: The Bank of North America, the first American commercial bank, opens. (I probably owe them money.)

1894: William Kennedy Dickson receives a patent for motion picture film.

1927: The first transatlantic telephone service, from New York City to London, is established.

1948: Captain Thomas Mantell, a Kentucky Air National Guard pilot, crashes his P-51 Mustang fighter and dies after having been sent in pursuit of a UFO. A later investigation will suggest that the UFO might have been a top-secret Skyhook balloon.

1985: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launches Sakigake, the first deep space probe launched by a country other than the U.S. or the Soviet Union.

1999: The Senate trial begins in Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

2015: Two Islamic terrorists execute 12 people and wound 11 others in a shooting at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

On January 8,

387: Siyaj K’ak’ conquers Waka. (Fozzie Bear disapproves.)

1790: President George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address.

1815: American forces defeat the British in the Battle of New Orleans. (We have a ridiculously catchy song as a result.)

1828: The Democratic Party forms in the U.S., with a conservative platform.

1835: For the only time since its formation in 1789, the U.S. public debt is zero. This lasts for about a year.

1867: Black men receive the right to vote in Washington, D.C.

1877: Crazy Horse and his warriors fight against the U.S. Cavalry for the last time, at Wolf Mountain, Montana Territory.

1940: Britain begins rationing food as part of their war efforts.

1963: Mona Lisa is exhibited in the U.S. for the first time.

1964: Lyndon B. Johnson declares a “War on Poverty” in the U.S. (We have yet to win said war.)

1979: The game show “”Password Plus”” debuts on NBC.

1981: A French farmer reports a UFO sighting, claimed to be “perhaps the most completely and carefully documented sighting of all time.” (“UFO” stands for “unidentified flying object” — it can literally be anything. Chances are, we’ve all seen UFOs at some point; any time you see something flying and you don’t know what it is, it’s a UFO. That doesn’t make it a ship from another planet. So basically, if this was the most completely and carefully documented sighting of a UFO, it means the farmer went to great lengths to describe having seen something he couldn’t identify.)

2002: President George W. Bush signs the No Child Left Behind Act into law. (Narrator: “Children were left behind.”)

On January 9,

1349: Following the spread of the Black Death nearby, the people of Basel — in present-day Switzerland — accuse Jewish citizens of having poisoned the wells before rounding them up and burning 600 of them at the stake.

1431: Judges’ investigations begin in the trial of Joan of Arc.

1788: Connecticut is the fifth state to ratify the Constitution.

1839: The French Academy of Sciences announces the process for Daguerreotype photography.

1858: Anson Jones, the fourth and last President of the Republic of Texas, commits suicide after having received no votes for a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate.

1861: Mississippi becomes the second state to secede from the United States. The first effective shots of the Civil War are fired as the steamship Star of the West arrives at Charleston Harbor to resupply the Fort Sumter garrison, and Citadel Academy cadets fire upon and hit it three times. Captain John McGowan considers the mission too dangerous to continue, so he leaves the harbor and returns the ship to New York Harbor.

1909: Leading the Nimrod Expedition, Ernest Shackleton plants the British flag 112 miles from the South Pole, the closest anyone had come at that time. (Would you ever travel on a ship called The Nimrod?)

1914: Phi Beta Sigma is founded at Howard University, where it is the first black intercollegiate Greek fraternity to be officially recognized.

1918: The Battle of Bear Valley — a small skirmish and the final battle of the American Indian Wars — takes place between 30 Yaquis and a detachment of U.S. Army soldiers in Bear Valley, Arizona.

1992: Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail announce the first discoveries of extrasolar planets — two of them, orbiting pulsar PSR 1257+12. (I don’t know what most of that means, but it sounds pretty cool.)

2007: Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone at a Macworld keynote in San Francisco. (I prefer the Quarter Pounder to the Macworld.)

2015: Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, the Charlie Hebdo shooters, are killed after a hostage stand-off at the office of Création Tendance Découverte in Dammartin-en-Goële, France.

On January 10,

49 BC: Having ended his term of governorship over a region to the north of Italy, Julius Caesar defies orders from the Roman Senate to disband his army before returning. By leading a legion across the Rubicon river — then Italy’s northern border — he commits himself and his troops to civil war. Future generations will use the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” to indicate reaching a point from which there is no turning back.

1645: Archbishop William Laud is beheaded at the Tower of London, for treason.

1776: Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense. (Very few people possess it nowadays.)

1861: Florida becomes the third state to secede from the U.S. (Leading to perhaps the earliest known use of the infamous “Florida man” headline.)

1920: The Treaty of Versailles goes into effect, bringing an official end to World War I.

1946: The UN’s first General Assembly opens in London, representing 51 nations. The U.S. Army Signal Corps conducts Project Diana, successfully bouncing radio waves off the Moon and receiving the reflected signals.

1962: NASA announces plans to build the C-5 launch vehicle, which could become known as the Saturn V Moon rocket and would be used to launch every Apollo Moon mission.

1990: Time Inc. and Warner Communications merge to form Time Warner. (People calling to complain about the merger are probably still on hold today.)

On January 11,

630: Muhammad and his followers conquer the city of Mecca.

1569: The first recorded national lottery takes place in England, raising funds to build ships and develop ports. (Tickets were difficult to sell, however, until the first 7-11 opened 358 years later.)

1759: Aided by Benjamin Franklin, the Presbyterian Ministers’ Fund is incorporated in Philadelphia; it is the first life insurance company in the U.S.

1787: William Herschel discovers Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus. (Sometimes the quips are too easy to bother.)

1861: Alabama secedes.

1908: Theodore Roosevelt creates the Grand Canyon National Monument.

1922: Doctors use insulin to treat diabetes for the first time. The patient, a 14-year-old named Leonard Thompson, suffers a severe allergic reaction, but James Collip works tirelessly to improve the formula over the next 12 days, enabling a successful injection on January 23.

1935: Amelia Earhart is the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

1949: The first networked TV broadcasts take place, when Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV goes on the air, connecting east coast and midwest programming.

1964: U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Luther Terry publishes a report saying that smoking may be hazardous to health.

1973: MLB owners approve the American League’s adoption of the designated hitter position.

On January 12,

1528: Having reigned for nearly five years since his election, Gustav I is crowned King of Sweden. (Maybe it was a temp-to-perm position.)

1848: The Palermo rising takes place against the Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. (I’d like to live in a bourbon kingdom.)

1895: Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter, and Hardwicke Rawnsley found the National Trust in the UK, for the purpose of protecting open spaces and threatened buildings.

1908: A long-distance radio message is sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time. (It says, “Help! I’m stuck at the top of the Eiffel Tower!”)

1915: The U.S. House of Representatives rejects a proposal to require states to give women the right to vote.

1921: U.S. Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis is elected as Major League Baseball’s first commissioner in an attempt to restore confidence in the sport after the Black Sox Scandal.

1932: Hattie Caraway is the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

1962: The first American combat mission in Vietnam — Operation Chopper — takes place.

1967: Upon his death, Dr. James Bedford is the first person to be cryonically preserved with the intent of future resuscitation. His family will maintain his body in liquid nitrogen until 1982, when it will be moved permanently to Alcor Life Extension Foundation.

1969: The New York Jets defeat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, meeting Joe Namath’s famous “guarantee” and cementing the game’s place as one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

1986: Congressman Bill Nelson takes off aboard Space Shuttle Columbia as a payload specialist.

1991: Congress authorizes the use of American military force to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.

2004: RMS Queen Mary 2 — the world’s largest ocean liner — makes its maiden voyage.

2005: NASA space probe Deep Impact launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with the mission of releasing an impactor into comet Tempel 1 to study the comet’s nucleus.

2010: An earthquake decimates Port-au-Prince, Haiti, killing more than 100,000 people.

On January 13,

1830: The Great Fire of New Orleans begins. It is the third such conflagration there in 42 years. (Ironic, for a city below sea level.)

1888: The National Geographic Society is founded.

1893: U.S. Marines land in Honolulu to prevent Queen Liliʻuokalani from drafting a new constitution to restore power to the monarchy and the voting rights of the economically disenfranchised. The previous constitution had stripped King Kalākaua of his power, transferring it to a mix of Amerian, European, and Hawaiian elites in 1887. That document was known as the Bayonet Constitution due to the use of armed intimidation in forcing the king to sign it. Four days after her failed attempt to change that constitution, the queen will be deposed and the Kingdom of Hawaii will effectively be overthrown.

1910: The first public radio broadcast takes place, sharing live performances of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.

1942: Henry Ford patents a plastic automobile.

1968: Johnny Cash performs live at Folsom State Prison.

1990: Douglas Wilder takes office as Governor of Virginia, becoming the first elected African American governor in the U.S.

2018: The Emergency Alert System and Commercial Mobile Alert System issue a false alarm alerting Hawaii residents of a ballistic missile threat. Panic ensues, and State officials blame a miscommunication during a drill. The text alert had, ironically, ended in the phrase, “THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” (Narrator: “It was a drill.”)

On January 14,

1539: Spain annexes Cuba. (Makes sense, what with them being right next to each other….)

1639: Connecticut adopts the “Fundamental Orders,” the first written constitution to create a government.

1784: Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain, officially ending the American Revolution.

1911: Roald Amundsen’s expedition makes landfall on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

1943: Flying from Miami to Morocco to attend the Casablanca Conference with Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first President to travel by airplane while in office.

1952: “Today” debuts on NBC, with host Dave Garroway.

1954: The Hudson Motor Car Company and Nash-Kelvinator Corporation merge to form the American Motors Corporation.

1967: The Human Be-In happens in Golden Gate Park; it is a prelude to San Francisco’s infamous Summer of Love.

Elsewhere, the New York Times reports that the Army is secretly experimenting with germ warfare. (Could the two have been related?)

1973: Elvis Presley’s “Aloha from Hawaii” concert is broadcast live via satellite, becoming the most watched broadcast by a single entertainer in TV history.

On January 15,

69: Otho seizes power and proclaims himself Emperor of Rome, but rules for only three months before taking his own life. (He will come back as Delia’s decorator in Beetlejuice.)

1559: Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey. (I’m not 100% sure she’s not still ruling; those royals live forever.)

1759: The British Museum opens.

1782: Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris recommends Congress establish a national mint and decimal coinage.

1844: University of Notre Dame is chartered in Indiana.

1865: Union forces take North Carolina’s Fort Fisher, cutting off the Confederacy’s last major seaport.

1870: Harper’s Weekly publishes Thomas Nast’s cartoon “A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion,” symbolizing the Democratic Party as a donkey for the first time.

1889: The Coca-Cola Company is incorporated in Atlanta as the Pemberton Medicine Company.

1892: James Naismith publishes the rules of basketball.

1908: Alpha Kappa Alpha is the first Greek-letter organization founded and established by black college women.

1919: A molasses storage tank explodes in Boston, sending 2,300,000 gallons through the streets of North End. The Great Molasses Flood, aka the Boston Molassacre, kills 21 and injures 150. (Not to be dismissive of such a tragedy, but how slow does one have to be to not be able to outrun molasses?)

1943: The Pentagon is dedicated in Arlington, Virginia.

1947: Elizabeth Short’s dismembered corpse is discovered in L.A.; the crime will come to be known as the Black Dahlia murder.

1967: The Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in the first Super Bowl, played in L.A.

1970: Muammar Gaddafi is proclaimed premier of Libya.

1976: Sara Jane Moore is sentenced to life in prison for her attempt to assassinate Gerald Ford. She will be released after serving almost 32 years.

1991: The UN deadline expires for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, setting the stage for Operation Desert Storm.

2001: Wikipedia goes online.

2005: The SMART-1 lunar orbiter discovers calcium, aluminum, silicon, iron, and other elements on the Moon.

2009: US Airways Flight 1549 loses engine power when it collides with a flock of Canada geese just after take-off, requiring pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles to execute a controlled ditching. They successfully land on the surface of the Hudson River, allowing all 155 passengers to be rescued.

On January 16,

27 BC: Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian formally returns full power to the Roman Senate, who bestow upon him the titles of Princeps and Augustus, making him the first Roman emperor. The Roman Empire begins.

1412: The Medici family is appointed official banker of the Papacy.

1547: Grand Duke Ivan IV becomes the first Tsar of Russia.

1572: Thomas Howard is tried for treason for his role in the Ridolfi plot to restore Catholicism in England. (I live in the American South, where Catholicism is given the same sense of welcome.)

1786: Virginia enacts Jefferson’s Statute for Religious Freedom, disestablishing the Church of England as state church and guaranteeing freedom of religion to people of all faiths. The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause will draw from this statute.

1909: Ernest Shackleton’s expedition discovers the approximate location of the South Magnetic Pole.

1919: The U.S. ratifies the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages as of one year later.

1920: The League of Nations holds its first council meeting in Paris.

1945: Hitler moves into his underground bunker. (It turned out to be more of a Roach Motel.)

1964: “Hello, Dolly!” opens on Broadway.

1969: Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 dock in orbit and transfer crew, the first time both of those tasks are accomplished and the only time a transfer will be accomplished via space walk.

1979: The last Shah of Iran flees the country with his family, relocating in Egypt.

1991: The Gulf War begins, pitting Coalition Forces against Iraq.

2001: U.S. President Bill Clinton awards a posthumous Medal of Honor to Theodore Roosevelt for having served in the Spanish-American War.

2002: The UN Security Council unanimously agrees on an arms embargo and freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.

2003: Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for its final mission, STS-107. The shuttle will disintegrate on re-entry, 16 days later.

On January 17,

1377: Pope Gregory XI reaches Rome on his quest to move the Papacy back there from Avignon.

1524: Giovanni da Verrazzano sets sail from Madeira, westward across the Atantic, in search of a sea route to the Pacific. He will become the first European to explore North America’s eastern coast between Florida and New Brunswick.

1773: Captain James Cook and his naval expedition become the first group to cross the Antarctic Circle.

1852: The United Kingdom formally recognizes the independence of the South African Republic, via the Sand River Convention. (I wonder if conventions back then involved trust falls and drinking, like they do today.)

1893: Newspaper publisher Lorrin Thurston and American lawyer Henry E. Cooper, who chairs the Citizens’ Committe of Public Safety, lead a coup d’état against the Kingdom of Hawaii. The Honolulu Rifles, the committee’s paramilitary wing comprised of 1500 armed non-native men, assist. John Good shoots Leialoha, a native policeman who tries to stop a wagon carrying weapons to the Rifles. Fearing a government respsonse against the conspirators, Cooper and Thurston act quickly to garrison the Rifles across the street from ‘Iolani Palace and to address the crowd with a proclamation formally deposing Queen Liliʻuokalani, abolishing the Hawaiian monarchy, and establishing a provisional government under local lawyer and missionary descendant Sanford B. Dole. U.S. ambassador John L. Stevens backs the coup with the USMC. This happens under President Benjamin Harrison; after Grover Cleveland is re-elected, he will try to reinstate the monarchy upon reading the conclusions of the Blount Report, an investigation into the conspiracy. But Albert Willis will claim that Liliʻuokalani wants the revolutionists put to death as traitors, and that she will not agree with Cleveland’s proposal that she offer amnesty in exchange for being restored to the throne. Cleveland will then lose goodwill toward her, recognizing the Republic of Hawaii on July 4, 1894. The temporarily derailed annexation plans — the ultimate goal of the coup — will then proceed, and the U.S. will annex the Republic of Hawaii as a territory on August 12, 1898. The U.S. will admit the State of Hawaii to the union as its 50th state on August 21, 1959.

1904: Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” premieres at the Moscow Art Theatre.

1929: Popeye the Sailor Man debuts in the Thimble Theatre comic strip.

1946: The UN Security Council holds its first session.

1950: Eleven men steal $2.775 million in cash and securities from the Brink’s Building in Boston. (Yes, Brink’s as in, the armored car company that is supposed to protect against theft. Maybe they should have used the same armor on their building.)

1961: Three days before leaving office, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers a televised farewell address, warning against both the accumulation of power by the military-industrial complex and the risks of deficit spending. (There must have been a good “I Love Lucy” rerun on, because obviously no one was watching that particular speech.)

1966: A B-52 bomber collides with a KC-135 Stratotanker off the coast of Spain, killing seven airmen and dropping four 70-kiloton nuclear bombs — three near the small fishing village of Palomares and one into the sea. The impact causes the non-nuclear explosives in two of the bombs to detonate, contaminating some of the land with plutonium.

1977: A firing squad executes murderer Gary Gilmore in Utah, ending a ten-year hiatus from capital punishment in the U.S.

1981: Phillipines President Ferdinand Marcos lifts martial law more than eight years after having declared it.

1991: Operation Desert Storm begins. Coalition aircraft, including the F-117 in its first major combat sortie, strike across Iraq. LCDR Scott Speicher is the first American casualty of the war when a Mig-25 shoots down his F/A-18C Hornet. Iraq fires eight Scud missiles into Israel in an effort to provoke retaliation, which would cause other Arab nations to leave the coalition and/or join Iraq. President Bush pressures Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir not to retaliate.

1998: Drudge Report breaks the story of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair.

On January 18,

1701: Frederick I crowns himself King of Prussia. (Is it me, or does that sound a tad arrogant?)

1778: James Cook lands at Waimea Harbor, Kauai, “discovering” the Hawaiian Islands and naming them the Sandwich Islands.

1896: H.L. Smith holds the first exhibition of an X-ray generating machine.

1911: Eugene B. Ely lands his Curtiss pusher airplane on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania cruiser in San Francisco Bay, making history with the first successful landing of an aircraft on a ship.

1943: Hundreds of Jews stage the first uprising in Warsaw Ghetto, halting a purge with handguns and Molotov cocktails.

1945: The Red Army liberates Krakow, Poland.

1958: Willie O’Ree debuts with the Boston Bruins, becoming the first Black Canadian NHL player.

1967: Alber DeSalvo, aka the Boston Strangler, is convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

1977: Scientists identify a bacterium as the cause of Legionnaires’ disease.

1983: The IOC restores Jim Thorpe’s Olympic medals to his family.

1990: Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry’s former girlfriend, Rasheeda Moore, invites him to her hotel room. She insists that he smoke freebase cocaine before sex. Unbeknownst to Barry (obviously), Moore is an FBI informant, and agents are watching the proceedings on camera. They arrest him, to which he infamously responds, “Bitch set me up.”

1993: All 50 states officially observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for the first time.

On January 19,

1764: In his journal, Danish historian Bolle Willum Luxdorph describes an attempt on the life of a Colonel Poulsen, who received a box containing gunpowder and a firelock that set fire to the gunpowder when the box was opened, severely injuring Poulsen. The colonel will later receive a letter threatening to increase the amount of gunpowder. The perpetrator will never be caught. The journal entry is the world’s first recorded instance of a mail bomb.

1861: Georgia secedes from the U.S.

1883: Built by Thomas Edison, the first electric lighting system using overhead wires goes into service at Roselle, New Jersey. (Everyone under it thought they were all having great ideas.)

1915: Georges Claude patents the neon discharge tube, for use in signage.

1920: The ACLU is founded.

1937: Howard Hughes flies from L.A. to NYC in 7 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds — a new air record.

1940: The Three Stooges star in the first Hollywood film to satirize Adolf Hitler — “You Nazty Spy!”

1969: Having set himself on fire three days earlier to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, student Jan Palach dies.

1977: U.S. President Gerald Ford pardons Iva Toguri, aka Tokyo Rose. The daughter of Japanese immigrants, Toguri had traveled to Japan to tend to a sick aunt prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. After war broke out, she was unable to leave Japan, where she took a job as a typist at Radio Tokyo. She was recruited as a broadcaster for The Zero Hour, a propagandist program consisting of skits, news, and music popular in the U.S., which an overwhelming majority of the later-interviewed troops claim to have found entertaining, not demoralizing. After the war ended, she was detained by the U.S. military for a year, then released for lack of evidence. The DoJ agreed her broadcasts were harmless, but when she attempted to finally return to the U.S., an American broadcaster named Walter Winchell worked with the American Legion to lobby for a trial. The FBI renewed its investigation of her wartime activities, and a 1949 trial — the longest and costliest in American history at the time — resulted in her conviction on one of eight counts of treason. She was fined $10,000 and sentenced to 10 years, of which she served six before being paroled in 1956. In 1974, investigative journalists found that key witnesses had been forced to lie, having been coached and threatened by the FBI and U.S. occupation police. This information prompts Ford’s pardoning of Toguri, which restores her previously abrogated citizenship. In January 2006, the World War II Veterans Committee awarded Toguri its Edward J. Herlihy Citizenship Award, citing “her indomitable spirit, love of country, and the example of courage she has given her fellow Americans.” Toguri, who is cited as having found that day to be the most memorable of her life, will die later that year at the age of 90. (Whoa. So back then, it was possible for powerful, wealthy, corrupt, populist individuals to subvert patriotism into unjustified hatred, resulting in the persecution of citizens who look different? Good thing we learned from that, and it would never happen today….)

1978: The last German-manufactured VW Beetle leaves its plant. (Overwrought fans blame Yoko.)

1983: Klaus Barbie, Nazi war criminal, is arrested in Bolivia.

Elsewhere, Apple Inc. announces the Apple Lisa, the first Apple PC with a graphical user interface and a mouse.

1986: The first IBM PC virus — called (c)Brain — is released.

2012: The FBI shuts down Megaupload, a file-sharing website.

On January 20,

250: Pope Fabian is martyred as part of the Roman Empire’s Decian persecution.

1788: The main part of First Fleet, carrying 736 convicts from Great Britain to Australia,  arrives at Botany Bay. (They find no sign of Khan.)

1841: The British occupy Hong Kong Island.

1887: The U.S. Senate allows the Navy to lease Pearl Harbor as a base.

1929: “In Old Arizona” is released; it is the first full-length “talking motion picture” to be filmed outdoors.

1937: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s and John Nance Garner’s second inauguration is the first time a Presidential Inauguration takes place on January 20, the 20th Amendment having changed the date from March in 1933.

1953: Dwight D. Eisenhower is inaugurated. He is the first President to begin his presidency on January 20; Roosevelt began his on March 4, 1933, and Truman began his when Roosevelt died — April 12, 1945.

1954: The National Negro Network is established in the U.S., with 40 radio stations.

1961: JFK is the first Catholic and the second youngest man to become U.S. President.

1986: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated as a U.S. federal holiday for the first time.

2009: Barack Obama is the first African-American to become U.S. President.

2017: Donald Trump is the oldest man to become U.S. President.

On January 21,

1535: French Protestants are burned at the stake in front of Notre Dame, following the Affair of the Placards. (I prefer my stake rare, not burnt.)

1789: The first American novel — William Hill Brown’s “The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth” — is published in Boston. (Pretty sure its title was longer than its content.)

1793: Louis XVI is executed by guillotine after the French National Convention finds him guilty of treason.

1861: Jefferson Davis resigns from the U.S. Senate.

1911: The first Monte Carlo Rally occurs.

1915: Kiwanis International is founded, in Detroit.

1954: U.S. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower launches the first nuclear-powered submarine — the USS Nautilus — in Groton, Connecticut.

1960: Mercury spacecraft Little Joe 1B launches from Wallops Island, Virginia, carrying a rhesus monkey named Miss Sam. It is a short test of a launch escape system, which Miss Sam survives in good condition. (But I bet her spacesuit was full of rhesus pieces, ifyaknowwhatimean.)

1968: The Battle of Khe Sanh begins in Vietnam.

1976: Concorde begins commercial service with London-Bahrain and Paris-Rio routes.

1981: The famed DeLorean sports car begins production in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland.

1997: Newt Gingrich is the first Speaker of the House to be reprimanded for ethics violations, as the House of Representatives votes 395–28 to do so.

2004: Communications cease from NASA’s MER-A (the Mars Rover Spirit) due to a problem with its flash memory. Technicians will fix it remotely from Earth on February 6.

2009: Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip, ending its three-week war with Hamas. Intermittent fire by both sides will continue over the coming weeks.

2017: More than 400 cities across America and 160+ countries participate in a women’s march on Donald Trump’s first full day as President of the United States.

2018: Rocket Lab’s Electron is the first rocket to reach orbit using an electric pump-fed engine; it deploys three CubeSats.

On January 22,

613: Heraclius crowns his eight-month-old son Constantine co-emperor with Caesar at Constantinople.

1506: The first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrives at the Vatican.

1889: Columbia Phonograph, which would later become Columbia Records, is formed in Washington, D.C. (I wonder if the company offered 12 board positions for a penny.)

1905: Soldiers of the Imperial Guard fire on unarmed demonstrators in St. Petersburg, Russia, as they march toward the Winter Palace to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II. The incident comes to be known as Bloody Sunday.

1946: The Central Intelligence Group, a forerunner of the CIA, is formed.

1947: KTLA, the first commercial TV station west of the Mississippi, begins operating in Hollywood.

1957: Authorities arrest George P. Metesky — the New York City “Mad Bomber” — in Waterbury, Connecticut, charging him with having planted more than 30 bombs.

1968: Apollo 5 launches, carrying the first Lunar module into space.

1970: The world’s first jumbo jet — the Boeing 747 — enters commercial service for Pan American Airways; its maiden voyage is from JFK to Heathrow.

1973: The Supreme Court delivers its landmark decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalizing elective abortion in all 50 states.

1984: Apple introduces the Macintosh — the first PC to popularize the mouse and the graphical user interface — during a Super Bowl XVIII commercial.

2002: Kmart is the largest retailer in U.S. history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

On January 23,

971: Song dynasty troops soundly defeat a Southern Han war elephant corps at Shao, using crossbows. They defeated elephants. With arrows.

1368: The famed Ming Dynasty begins with the coronation of Zhu Yuanzhang as the Hongwu Emperor. The dynasty will last for three centuries. (That’s longer than democracy lasted in the U.S.)

1556: The deadliest earthquake in history strikes China’s Shaanxi province, possibly killing as many as 830,000 people.

1789: Georgetown College, the first Catholic university in the U.S., is founded in Georgetown, Maryland — now in Washington, D.C.

1846: Slavery is abolished in Tunisia.

1849: Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first female doctor in the U.S. as she receives her M.D. from the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, New York.

1870: U.S. troops kill 173 Piegan Blackfeet Indians — mostly women and children — in Montana. The band’s chief, Heavy Runner, had been promised protection by the U.S. Government, but the Army wanted to punish the Piegans for the previous August’s killing of Malcolm Clarke, a white trader. The event will become known as the Marias Massacre.

1909: White Star passenger ship RMS Republic is the first ship to use the CQD distress signal after colliding with the SS Florida off the Massachusetts coastline. Six people die. The Republic will sink the next day. (So, I’m guessing the distress signal didn’t help?)

1957: Walter Frederick Morrison sells the rights to his flying disc to the Wham-O toy company. Wham-O will rename it the “Frisbee.”

1960: The bathyscaphe USS Trieste descends to 35,797 feet in the Pacific Ocean, breaking a depth record. For perspective, that’s almost 7 miles. And it’s right around a fairly standard cruising altitude for airliners.

1964: The U.S. ratifies the 24th Amendment, prohibiting the use of poll taxes in national elections.

1973: U.S. President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam.

1986: The first group of artists is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley.

1997: Madeleine Albright is the first woman to become U.S. Secretary of State, under President Bill Clinton. (Probably someone asked if he’d prefer a female secretary under him, and the rest is history.)

2002: Terrorists abduct U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi, Pakistan; they will behead him on video on February 1.

On January 24,

41: The Praetorian Guard assassinates Caligula and proclaims his uncle, Claudius, Roman Emperor.

1848: James W. Marshall finds gold at Sutter’s Mill, near Sacramento, starting the California Gold Rush.

1916: The Supreme Court declares federal income tax constitutional with its ruling on Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.

1961: A bomber carrying two H-bombs breaks up in mid-air over North Carolina, losing its payload near Goldsboro. One of the bombs will be found intact with its arm/safe switch in the “safe” position, although it will have completed the rest of its arming sequence. The other, partially armed when it leaves the aircraft, disintegrates without detonating its conventional explosives. Its tail will be discovered 20 feet below ground. Its switch is discovered set to “arm.” Military personnel will be able to excavate the bomb’s core, but most of its uranium and plutonium will be left in place when flooding halts excavation. The Army Corps of Engineers will purchase a 400-foot easement over the buried component, and UNC-Chapel Hill will determine its buried depth to be 170-190 feet. (I once lost my payload near Goldsboro. Didn’t have nearly the same consequences. I blamed bad barbecue.)

1972: Japanese Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi is found hiding in the jungle in Guam, where he had been since the end of World War II. (Boy, did he have a lot to catch up on.)

1978: Soviet satellite Kosmos 954 burns up in Earth’s atmosphere. The nuclear reactor onboard scatters radioactive debris over Canada’s Northwest Territories. Only one percent will be recovered.

1984: Apple Computer goes to market in the U.S. with the Macintosh personal computer.

1989: Ted Bundy is executed by electric chair at the Florida State Prison.

2003: The Department of Homeland Security officially begins operating in the U.S.

On January 25,

1533: Henry VIII secretly marries Anne Boleyn, his second wife.

1858: Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” is played at the marriage of Queen Victoria’s daughter – also named Victoria — to Friedrich of Prussia, launching it into popularity as a wedding processional.

1881: Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell form the Oriental Telephone Company to sell phones in Greece, Turkey, South Africa, India, Japan, China, and elsewhere in Asia.

1890: Nellie Bly completes her round-the-world journey, marking its duration at 72 days.

1915: Alexander Graham Bell speaks from New York to Thomas Watson in San Francisco, inaugurating transcontinental telephone service.

1924: The inaugural Winter Olympic Games opens in Chamonix, France.

1937: “The Guiding Light” debuts on NBC radio in Chicago. It will move to CBS television in 1952, broadcasting until 2009.

1945: The Battle of the Bulge ends.

1947: Thomas Goldsmith Jr. files a patent for a “Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device” — the first known interactive electronic game. The game simulates an artillery shell — a spot traversing an oscilloscope screen — being fired at external plastic targets affixed to the other side of the screen. The player activates the spot with a switch and controls its trajectory with a knob. The game has no program nor memory, and relies on the honor system. (Bet that would go over well with today’s gamers.)

1949: The first Emmy Awards ceremony takes place, at the Hollywood Athletic Club.

1961: JFK delivers the first live-televised presidential news conference.

1964: Track and field athletes from the University of Oregon found Blue Ribbon Sports, which will later become Nike.

1971: Charles Manson and three of his followers are found guilty of the Tate-LaBianca murders.

Elsewhere, Idi Amin leads a coup against Milton Obote to become Uganda’s president.

1980: Mother Teresa receives the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.

1993: Pakistani national Mir Qazi stops his car behind several others waiting at a red light outside CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. He exits his car with a semi-automatic rifle and walks among the stopped vehicles, firing ten rounds into them. He kills two CIA employees and wounds three others, gets back into his car, and drives to a nearby park to await the consequences. When he realizes after 90 minutes that no one is pursuing him, he drives back to his apartment in Reston, hides the rifle under a sofa, goes to a McDonald’s to eat, and books himself into a Days Inn for the night. The next day, he will take a flight to Quetta, Pakistan, where he will be found four years later after an international manhunt. He will be handed over to the U.S. to stand trial, where he will be found guily of capital and first-degree murder. He will be executed by lethal injection in 2002.

1995: A team of Norwegian and American scientists launch a Black Brant XII four-stage sounding rocket off the northwestern coast of Norway to study the aurora borealis over Svalbard. Radar operators at the Olenegorsk early-warning station in Murmansk Oblast, Russia mistake it for a Trident missile. Fearing an attack by the U.S., Russian forces pass a full alert through the chain of command all the way to President Boris Yeltsin, activating Cheget, their “nuclear briefcase.” Yeltsin activates his nuclear keys for the first time. Russian commanders enter combat readiness and actively prepare for nuclear retaliation before observers determine the rocket is leaving Russian airspace and is not a threat. (The radar operators obviously didn’t play enough with a Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device as kids.)

1996: Convicted murderer Billy Bailey is executed in Delaware by the method of his choosing — hanging. He is the last person to be hanged in the U.S.

On January 26,

1564: The Council of Trent establishes an official distinction between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. (Like it wasn’t obvious.)

1838: Tennessee enacts the first prohibition law in the U.S.

1861: Louisiana secedes from the Union.

1863: John Albion Andrew, governor of Massachusetts, receives permission to raise a militia group for men of African descent.

1870: Virginia rejoins the Union. (Like it wasn’t obvious.)

1915: Congress establishes the Rocky Mountain National Park.

1920: Former Ford Motor Company exec Henry Leland starts the Lincoln Motor Company.

1926: John Logie Baird demonstrates the first working television. (Like it wasn’t obvious.)

1942: The first U.S. forces arrive in Europe for WWII, landing in Northern Ireland.

1961: U.S. President John F. Kennedy appoints Dr. Janet Travell the first female Physician to the President.

1962: NASA launches Ranger 3 to study the Moon. It will miss the Moon by 22,000 miles. (Like it wasn’t obvious.)

1980: Israel and Egypt establish diplomatic relations.

1992: Boris Yeltsin announces Russia will stop targeting U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.

1998: On television, Bill Clinton denies having had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. (Like it wasn’t obvious.)

On January 27,

1302: Dante Alighieri is exiled from Florence.

1606: Guy Fawkes’ trial begins, ending with his execution three days later.

1785: The University of Georgia is founded; it is the first public university in the U.S.

1825: Congress approves Indian Territory, setting the stage for forced relocation of the Eastern Indians on the Trail of Tears.

1880: Thomas Edison receives a patent for his incandescent lamp. (I wonder what appeared over his head when he first had that idea.)

1916: The British government passes legislation for conscription in the UK.

1943: In the first American bombing attack on Germany, the Eighth Air Force sends 91 B-17s and B-24s to attack U-boat construction yards at Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

1945: The Soviet 322nd Rifle Division liberates the 6,000 remaining inmates of Auschwitz, the majority of its prisoners having already been forced into a Nazi death march.

1967: The Soviet Union, U.S., and UK sign the Outer Space Treaty, banning the use of nuclear weapons in space and limiting use of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes. (Such as exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations, and boldly going where no man has gone before. For, oh let’s say, about five years maybe?)

1973: The Paris Peace Accords officially ends the Vietnam War.

1996: Germany observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day for the first time.

On January 28,

814: Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, dies after having contracted pleurisy.

1393: France’s King Charles VI almost dies at a masquerade ball when several dancers’ costumes catch fire.

1547: Henry VIII dies, making his nine-year-old son, Edward VI, king.

1671: Privateer Henry Morgan sacks and burns the original city of Panama, which was founded in 1519. The city is destroyed.

1724: Peter the Great founds the Russian Academy of Sciences as the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences.

1754: Sir Horace Walpole coins the word “serendipity” in a letter to a friend. (One might almost say that was a happy development from mere chance — a situation in dire need of a word to describe it.)

1813: Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is published in the UK.

1878: Yale Daily News is the first daily college newspaper in the U.S.

1896: Walter Arnold of East Peckham, Kent, is the first person convicted of speeding — after having quadrupled the speed limit. (Granted, he was going only 8 mph, but the speed limit was 2, so….)

1909: U.S. troops leave Cuba, staying only at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

1915: The U.S. establishes the Coast Guard as a branch of its Armed Forces.

1938: Rudolf Caracciola breaks the World Land Speed Record on a public road, pushing a Mercedes-Benz W195 to go 268.9 mph. (I bet Walter Arnold was pissed.)

1956: Elvis Presley makes his first appearance on national television.

1958: LEGO patents the design of its bricks.

1960: The NFL announces expansion teams to start in Dallas for the 1960 season, and in Minneapolis-St. Paul for the 1961 season.

1981: Ronald Reagan lifts all remaining domestic petroleum price and allocation controls in the U.S., helping to end the 1979 energy crisis and begin the 1980s oil glut.

1982: Italian anti-terrorism forces rescue US Army general James L. Dozier from captivity by the Red Brigades.

1985: USA for Africa records “We Are the World” to raise funds for Ethiopian famine relief.

1986: Space Shuttle Challenger explodes 73 seconds into its tenth mission, mostly disintegrating but sending the intact crew cabin plummeting into the Atlantic. All seven of its crew members die.

On January 29,

1790: The first boat specialized as a lifeboat is tested on the River Tyne, in England. It was built by Henry Greathead, though Lionel Lurkin and William Wouldhave also claimed to have invented the first lifeboat. (All three names sound like they belong in a James Bond movie.)

1819: Stamford Raffles lands on an island in Southeast Asia, founding the colony of Singapore.

1834: President Andrew Jackson orders the first use of federal troops to suppress a labor dispute.

1845: New York newspaper The Evening Mirror is the first publication to publish “The Raven” under the name of its author, Edgar Allan Poe; it had previously been published under a pseudonym.

1886: Karl Benz patents the first successful gas-driven automobile.

1891: Lili’uokalani is proclaimed queen regnant of the Kingdom of Hawaii; she will be its last monarch and only queen regnant.

1907: Charles Curtis, of Kansas, becomes the first Native American U.S. Senator.

1916: German zeppelins bomb Paris for the first time.

1936: The National Baseball Hall of Fame elects its first inductees: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner.

1963: The Pro Football Hall of Fame announces its first inductees: Sammy Baugh, Bert Bell, Joseph Carr, Dutch Clark, Red Grange, George Halas, Mel Hein, Pete Henry, Cal Hubbard, Don Hutson, Curly Lambeau, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, Blood McNally, Bronko Nagurski, Ernie Nevers, and Jim Thorpe.

1967: The Mantra-Rock Dance takes place in San Francisco, featuring Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, and Allen Ginsberg. (Boy, could that guy rock. He could howl, even.)

1980: The Rubik’s Cube debuts.

2009: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is removed from office after being convicted of several corruption charges, including the solicitation of personal benefit in exchange for an appointment to Illinois’ open Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama.

On January 30,

1018: Poland and the Holy Roman Empire conclude the Peace of Bautzen. (I tried a piece of bautzen once at a cook-out; it gave me heartburn.)

1649: King Charles I of England loses his head. Literally.

1661: Oliver Cromwell is ritually executed on the 12th anniversary of the execution of the king he’d deposed (see above). It is a “ritual” execution because Cromwell had actually died more than two years previous. (You must really hate someone to hold such a ritual. Seriously.)

1820: Edward Bransfield sees the Trinity Peninsula, and claims to have discovered Antarctica. It is possible, however, that Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen spotted part of East Antarctica two days previous.

1835: In the first attempt to assassinate a U.S. President, Richard Lawrence approaches and pulls a gun on Andrew Jackson as the president exits the Capitol building after a congressional funeral. The gun misfires, and an angry 67-year-old Jackson uses his cane to club Lawrence several times. Lawrence manages to pull out a second pistol, which also misfires. Jackson’s aides then subdue Lawrence and pull him away from the president. He will spend the rest of his life in a mental institute (Lawrence, not Jackson).

1847: Yerba Buena, California is renamed San Francisco.

1862: The USS Monitor, the first ironclad warship, is launched.

1908: Jan C. Smuts releases Mahatma Gandhi from prison after Gandhi had been tried and sentenced to two months in jail earlier in the month.

1911: The destroyer USS Terry makes the first airplane rescue at sea, saving Douglas McCurdy.

1933: Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

1948: Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse assassinates Mahatma Gandhi, firing three bullets into his chest at point-blank range while Gandhi is walking through a garden en route to a prayer meeting.

1956: In retaliation for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, segregationists bomb the home of Martin Luther King, Jr.

1968: Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces launch the Tet Offensive against South Vietnam, the United States, and their allies.

1969: The Beatles gather on the rooftop of the Apple Records building in London for an impromptu concert, which is soon broken up by the police. It is the last public performance by all four of them together.

On January 31,

1606: Guy Fawkes is executed for his plot against England’s Parliament and King James. (He could have pled insanity, but people would have said he’s crazy like a Fawkes.)

1862: Alvan Graham Clark discovers Sirius B, the companion star to Sirius. (Sirius? Fawkes? J.K. Rowling apparently was a big fan of names associated with January 31.)

1865: Congress passes the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, and submits it to the states for ratification.

1929: The Soviet Union exiles Leon Trotsky.

1930: 3M begins marketing Scotch Tape.

1945: The U.S. executes Army Private Eddie Slovik for desertion, the first such execution of an American soldier since the Civil War.

1949: NBC begins broadcasting These Are My Children, the first daytime soap opera on television.

1950: Harry Truman announces a program to develop the hydrogen bomb.

1958: The first American satellite detects the Van Allen radiation belt.

1961: Ham the Chimp is launched aboard the Mercury-Redstone 2 into a suborbital flight. He is the first hominid launched into space. The test of his reaction time is successful, paving the way for confidence that human astronauts will be able to successfully complete tasks in space. After a flight lasting 16 minutes and 39 seconds, he returns to earth — healthy but for a bruised nose — in a capsule that is successfully retrieved from the Atlantic the same day.

1966: The Soviet Union launches the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft.

1971: Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell lift off aboard a Saturn V for Apollo 14, a mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon.

2001: A Scottish court in the Netherlands convicts Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and acquits another Libyan citizen for their part in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

On February 1,

1835: Slavery is abolished in Mauritius.

1861: Texas secedes from the United States. (Remarkably, some people wanted it back.)

1865: Abraham Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery and indentured servitude in the U.S.

1884: The first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary is published, covering words from “A” through “Ant.” (This means ironically, the dictionary didn’t yet include the word “dictionary.” But I guess if someone was using it, they already knew what it was….)

1893: Thomas Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio — the Black Maria, located in West Orange, New Jersey.

1946: Norway’s Trygve Lie is chosen as the first Secretary-General of the UN.

1960: Four black students hold the first of the Greensboro sit-ins, at the Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter.

1964: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” gives The Beatles their first number one hit in the U.S.

1968: South Vietnamese National Police Chief Nguyễn Ngọc Loan publicly executes Viet Cong officer Nguyễn Văn Lém by gunshot to the head; Eddie Adams captures the moment in an iconic photograph.

1998: Lillian E. Fishburne is the first African-American woman to be promoted to Rear Admiral.

On February 2,

1461: Yorkists soundly defeat Lancastrians in the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross, during the Wars of the Roses. (Roses were red in abundance on that day, I assume.)

1653: Dutch settlers incorporate New Amsterdam, which will later become New York City.

1709: Privateers rescue Alexander Selkirk, ending his four-year-and-four-month ordeal as a castaway on an uninhabited island. His story will later inspire Daniel Defoe to write “Robinson Crusoe.”

1876: The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs is established, with eight charter teams: Chicago White Stockings; Philadelphia Athletics; Boston Red Stockings; Hartford Dark Blues; Mutual of New York; St. Louis Brown Stockings; Cincinnati Red Stockings; and Louisville Grays. (It was a full color spectrum of baseball.)

1887: Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania observes the first Groundhog Day.

1913: Grand Central Terminal opens in New York City (ne New Amsterdam).

1925: Nome, Alaska receives badly needed aid from an epidemic when a dog sled reaches it with a 20-pound package of diphtheria serum from Anchorage — concluding a heroic five-and-a-half day, 674-mile, 150-sled relay to save Nome’s children. The relay participants will receive letters of commendation from U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. The lead dog from the final leg, Balto, will become famous and eventually attain legendary status. The Serum Run, or Great Race of Mercy, will inspire the Iditarod.

1935: Leonarde Keeler administers polygraph tests to two murder suspects; it is the first time U.S. courts admit polygraph evidence.

1943: Soviet troops accept the surrender of the last German troops in Stalingrad.

1959: Nine experienced ski hikers die under mysterious circumstances in the Soviet Union’s northern Ural Mountains.

1980: Reports surface concerning the FBI’s targeting of suspected corrupt Congressmen in Operation Abscam. (Today, the term “suspected corrupt Congressmen” is redundant.)

2004: Roger Federer becomes the No. 1 ranked men’s singles tennis player; he will hold that position for a record 237 weeks.

2005: The Government of Canada introduces the Civil Marriage Act, which will become law on July 20 and legalize same-sex marriage.

On February 3,

1690: The colony of Massachusetts issues the first paper currency in the Americas.

1834: The Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute opens on a plantation in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Four years later, its name will change to Wake Forest College. In 1956, it will move to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but will keep the name of its former location. In 1967, its name will become Wake Forest University. (“Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute” sounds more like a prison than a school.)

1870: The U.S. ratifies the 15th Amendment, prohibiting the denial of the right to vote based on race.

1913: The U.S. ratifies the 16th Amendment, authorizing the Federal government to impose an income tax.

1917: The U.S. breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany, two days after Germany’s announcement of unrestricted submarine warfare.

1918: San Francisco’s Twin Peaks Tunnel begins service as the longest streetcar tunnel in the world, at 11,920 feet. (Nadine Hurley lobbies for a way to keep the streetcars silent as they pass through it.)

1959: “The music dies” when a plane crashes while carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, killing them all.

1961: The Air Force begins Operation Looking Glass; over the next 30 years, a “Doomsday Plane” will always be in the air, able to take control of U.S. bombers and missiles in the event of the destruction of the SAC’s command post.

1966: The Soviet Union’s Luna 9 is the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon, and to take pictures from the Moon’s surface.

1984: John Buster and the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center research team announce the first successful transfer of an embryo from one woman to another, resulting in a live birth.

1994: Sergei Krikalev is the first Russian cosmonaut to fly aboard the Space Shuttle.

1995: Eileen Collins is the first woman to pilot the Space Shuttle.

On February 4,

1555: John Rogers becomes the first English Protestant martyr under Mary I when he is burned at the stake. (I prefer my steaks medium-rare, to avoid burning.)

1703: Having avenged their master’s death, 46 of the 47 Ronin commit ritual suicide as atonement.

1789: The U.S. Electoral College unanimously elects George Washington the first President of the United States.

1794: The French legislature abolishes slavery throughout all territories of the French First Republic. It will be reestablished in the French West Indies in 1802.

1846: The first Mormon pioneers leave Nauvoo, Illinois for Salt Lake Valley.

1861: Delegates from six seceded states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina — meet in Montgomery, Alabama and illegally form the Confederate States of America. (It won’t end well for them.)

1938: Hitler appoints himself head of the Armed Force High Command. (It won’t end well for him.)

1941: The USO is formed to entertain American troops.

1967: Lunar Orbiter 3 launches on its mission to identify possible lunar landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo spacecraft.

1974: The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patty Hearst.

1992: Hugo Chávez leads a coup d’état against Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez.

2004: Mark Zuckerberg founds Facebook. (It won’t end well for him.)

On February 5,

62: An earthquake rocks Pompeii, Italy.

1783: A series of strong earthquakes begins in Calabria.

1807: HMS Blenheim and HMS Java disappear off the coast of Rodrigues. (I bet it was due to an earthquake.)

1852: The New Hermitage Museum — one of the largest and oldest museums in the world — opens to the public in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

1918: Stephen W. Thompson shoots down a German airplane, the first aerial victory by the U.S. military.

1919: Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith launch United Artists.

1924: The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal.

1945: MacArthur returns.

1958: During USAF training exercises, an F-86 fighter plane collides with a B-47 bomber carrying a 7600-pound Mark 15 hydrogen near Tybee Island, off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. The bomb is lost in the Atlantic.

1971: Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell make the third Moon landing.

1988: Manuel Noriega is indicted on charges of drug smuggling and money laundering.

1994: Byron De La Beckwith is convicted of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers.

1997: Union Bank of Switzerland, Credit Suisse, and the Swiss Bank Corporation announce their intent to create a $71 million fund to aid Holocaust survivors and their families.

On February 6,

60: A Pompeiian graffito identifies the date as “viii idus Februarius dies solis” or “eighth day before the ides of February, day of the Sun.” Even though our current convention would have considered the day a Wednesday, a second convention confirms that it was a Sunday, and this is the first time a date is cited with a day of the week. (It was found right next to another graffito, which said, “Voca Jenny ut habeat tempus bonum. viii vi vii – v iii nulla ix”)

1778: France recognizes the United States as a new republic via the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce.

1815: New Jersey grants the first American railroad charter to John Stevens.

1862: The Union has its first victory of the American Civil War, in the Battle of Fort Henry, Tennessee.

1918: Parliament passes the Representation of the People Act 1918, giving voting rights to British women over the age of 30 who meet minimum property qualifications.

1919: The American Legion is founded.

1951: The Canadian Army begins combat in the Korean War. (Other nations are overheard saying, “Holy crap, Canada has an army?!?”)

1959: Texas Instruments’ Jack Kilby files the first patent for an integrated circuit.

1978: The Blizzard of 1978 hits New England, with sustained winds of 65 mph and snowfall of four inches an hour.

1988: Michael Jordan makes a slam dunk from the free throw line, inspiring Air Jordan and the Jumpman logo.

1989: The Round Table Talks start in Poland, beginning the overthrow of communism in Eastern Europe.

2018: SpaceX launches the Falcon Heavy.

On February 7,

1497: In Florence, Italy, supporters of Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola collect and burn objects he has condemned as occasions of sin, such as cosmetics, art, and books. The event comes to be known as the Bonfire of the Vanities.

1863: The Orpheus sinks off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand, taking 189 sailors to their deaths.

1894: Organized by the Western Federation of Miners and leading to the only time in U.S. history that a state militia is called out to support striking workers, a five-month miners’ strike begins in Cripple Creek, Colorado. (Robbie Robertson takes note.)

1904: A fire begins in Baltimore, Maryland, destroying more than 1500 buildings in 30 hours.

1940: Pinocchio premieres, Walt Disney’s second full-length animated film.

1951: South Korean forces massacre more than 700 suspected communist sympathizers.

1962: The U.S. bans all Cuban imports and exports.

1979: For the first time since the discovery of either one, Pluto moves inside Neptune’s orbit. (I call Shenanigans. Neptune was discovered in September 1846. Pluto, in February 1930. That means Pluto could have been inside Neptune’s orbit at any point during 83 and a half years, but they wouldn’t have known its whereabouts BECAUSE THEY HADN’T DISCOVERED IT.)

1984: Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart make the first untethered space walk using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU).

1990: The Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party agrees to give up its monopoly on power in the Soviet Union. This will lead to elections in all 15 constituent republics of the Soviet Union later that year, and the dissolution of the union in December 1991.

1995: Ramzi Yousef, who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is arrested in Islamabad, Pakistan.

2013: Mississippi officially certifies the 13th Amendment; it is the last state to approve the abolition of slavery. (But don’t start in on them for taking too long; after all, they had actually ratified the amendment way back in 1995….)

2014: Scientists validate the oldest known hominid footprints outside Africa, announcing that the Happisburgh footprints in Norfolk, England, date back more than 800,000 years.

2016: North Korea launches Kwangmyongsong-4 into outer space, which violates multiple UN treaties.

On February 8,

1693: King William III and Queen Mary II grant a charter to the College of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia. (I wonder where they came up with its name?)

1837: Richard Johnson is the first Vice President of the U.S. to be chosen by the U.S. Senate.

1865: Delaware refuses to ratify the 13th Amendment, which would have outlawed slavery. The required number of states will finally ratify it nearly ten months later. Delaware will take another 36 years before doing so.

1879: During a Royal Canadian Institute meeting, Sandford Fleming proposes adoption of a single 24-hour clock for the world, with 24 time zones linked to Greenwich. He will continue to promote this system over the years, meeting occasional resistance. (Buncha clock-blockers.)

1910: William D. Boyce establishes the Boy Scouts of America.

1915: The controversial film “The Birth of a Nation” premieres in Los Angeles.

1922: President Warren G. Harding introduces the first radio set in the White House.

1924: Nevada becomes the first state to execute a criminal via gas chamber.

1950: East Germany establishes its secret police force, the Stasi.

1963: The Kennedy Administration bans travel to and financial and commercial transactions with Cuba by U.S. citizens.

1968: Black students of South Carolina State University protest racial segregation at the only bowling alley in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Highway Patrol officers open fire on them, killing three and injuring 27.

1971: The NASDAQ stock market index opens.

1978: Senate proceedings are broadcast on radio for the first time. (I think I’d rather listen to Muzak.)

1993: GM sues NBC after Dateline had allegedly rigged two crashes to demonstrate how some GM pickups could easily catch fire if hit in certain places. NBC will settle the lawsuit the next day.

1996: Congress passes the Communications Decency Act in an attempt to regulate Internet porn. (Probably because they didn’t want to share it.)

On February 9,

1555: John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester, is burned at the stake.

1775: The British Parliament declares Massachusetts to be in rebellion. (Massachusetts replies, “Duh.”)

1825: With no candidate having received a majority of electoral votes in the 1824 presidential election, the U.S. House of Representatives elects John Quincy Adams as the next President. (Way to back into that one, John.)

1861: Jefferson Davis is elected the Provisional President of the Confederate States of America. (At least he had more support than John Quincy Adams.)

1870: President Ulysses Grant signs a Congressional resolution creating the U.S. Weather Bureau.

1889: Grover Cleveland signs a bill elevating the Department of Agriculture to a Cabinet-level agency.

1895: William G. Morgan creates a game called Mintonette. It will soon be known as volleyball.

1900: The Davis Cup competition is established.

1913: An unexpected group of meteors is visible across much of the eastern seaboard of North and South America; astronomers will conclude the source had been a small, short-lived natural satellite.

1942: To conserve energy resources, the U.S. re-instates year-round Daylight Saving Time.

1950: Senator Joseph McCarthy accuses the State Department of being filled with Communists

1964: The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, performing for 73 million viewers nationwide.

1971: Satchel Paige is the first Negro League player to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1986: Halley’s Comet appears in the inner Solar System for the last time until 2061.

On February 10,

1258: The Islamic Golden Age ends as the Mongols take Baghdad. (No word on where they took it.)

1502: Vasco da Gama departs Lisbon, Portugal, on his second sea voyage to India.

1763: The Treaty of Paris ends the French and Indian War; France cedes Quebec to Great Britain.

1861: Jefferson Davis receives a telegraph notification that he has been elected provisional President of the Confederate States of America.

1870: The YWCA is founded in New York City.

1940: Tom and Jerry appear in their first animated short, “Puss Gets the Boot.” Their characters are named Jasper and Jinx, respectively, and they actually speak — something that won’t often happen in their later cartoons.

1954: President Dwight D. Eisenhower warns against U.S. intervention in Vietnam.

1962: The Soviet Union exchanges captured American U2 spy-plane pilot Gary Powers for captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel.

1967: The 25th Amendment is ratified. Among other things, it clarifies that the Vice President becomes President if the president dies, resigns, or is removed from office. (Seriously? It took us two centuries and four assassinations to think maybe we should have an official process in place for this?)

1989: Ron Brown becomes the first African American to lead a major American political party when he is elected chairman of the DNC.

1996: IBM supercomputer Deep Blue beats Garry Kasparov at chess for the first time.

2007: Illinois Senator Barack Obama announces his candidacy for U.S. President in the 2008 election.

On February 11,

660 BC: Emperor Jimmu ascends to the throne of Japan, establishing the date as that of the country’s mythological foundation.

1534: Henry VIII is recognized as supreme head of the Church of England. (Lesser heads will soon begin to roll.)

1790: Quakers petition Congress to abolish slavery. (Spoiler alert: Congress won’t listen.)

1794: The first session of the U.S. Senate opens to the public.

1812: Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signs legislation creating partisan districting that will enhance Republican control over state and national offices. In March, a local Federalist newspaper cartoon will note that the shape of one such district resembles a salamander, and refer to it as a “Gerry-mander.” The name will stick.

1861: As the recently elected Abraham Lincoln departs his Illinois home for Washington one day before his birthday, the House of Representatives attempts to appease the nation’s slaveholders before he can take office, by unanimously passing a resolution guaranteeing non-interference with slavery in any state. (I’ll say that again — Congress promised not to outlaw slavery because they knew the new President was about to shake things up. Happy birthday to him.)

1937: GM recognizes the UAW trade union, ending the sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan.

1938: BBC Television produces the world’s first science fiction program, adapting a section of a Karel Capek play called “R.U.R.” The play had coined the term “robot.”

1943: General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes commander of the allied armies in Europe.

1990: Anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela is released from South African prison after 27 years. He had been arrested and sentenced to life for conspiring to overthrow the state. On his release, he marches through the streets as his supporters fly the African National Congress (ANC) flag, an act that had been illegal until 10 days prior. The celebrations turn violent until Mandela addresses thousands from the steps of Cape Town City Hall “in the name of peace, democracy, and freedom of all.”

1997: Space Shuttle Discovery launches on its mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

1999: After nearly 20 years, Pluto crosses Neptune’s orbit to be further from the Sun.

2006: Vice President Dick Cheney shoots 78-year-old attorney Harry Whittington during a quail hunt. (Hearing about the incident, Dan Quayle goes into hiding.)

2015: A university student is murdered while resisting an attempted rape in Turkey, sparking nationwide protests and public outcry against violence against women.

2017: North Korea test-fires a ballistic missile across the Sea of Japan.

On February 12,

1733: James Oglethorpe founds Georgia, the last of the Thirteen Colonies.

1825: The Creek cede the last of their lands in the state of Georgia to the U.S. Government in the second Treaty of Indian Springs. A delegation will later travel to Washington, D.C. to convince President John Quincy Adams the treaty was invalid, negotiating the 1826 Treaty of Washington. Under the new treaty, the tribe will agree to cede their lands for $200,000 and will not be required to move west. Georgia Governor George Troup will ignore this treaty, ordering their evacuation without compensation and mobilizing state militia when Adams threatens to intervene.

1909: The NAACP is founded.

1912: Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China, abdicates his throne under duress.

1915: Construction begins on the Lincoln Memorial.

1921: Bolsheviks revolt in Georgia. (I know, there are a lot of Georgia references today. Guess it’s on my mind.)

1924: Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” premieres at a concert in New York.

1946: Just after having been honorably discharged from the Army, decorated WWII vet Isaac Woodard is traveling from Camp Gordon in Augusta, Georgia, to his home in North Carolina. At a rest stop, Woodard, who is black, asks the driver if there is time for him to use a restroom. An argument ensues, but the driver grudgingly allows it. At the next stop — Batesburg, South Carolina — local police forcibly remove Woodard from the bus, having been contacted by the driver. Police Chief Lynwood Shull and other officers take him to an alleyway and beat him with nightsticks before arresting him for disorderly conduct and accusing him of drinking beer on the bus. They put Woodard in the local jail, where Shull beats him and jabs his eyes with a billy club during the night. The next morning, the local judge will find Woodard guilty and fine him $50. Woodard will request medical assistance, but it will be two days before a doctor is sent to him. By that time, he will have amnesia and not know where he is. He will be sent to a hospital in Aiken, South Carolina, where he will receive substandard care. He will be discovered there three weeks after his relatives report him missing, and rushed to an Army hospital in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His memory will have started coming back to him by then, but both of his eyes will have been damaged beyond repair and he will remain blind. Shull and other officers will be indicted after nationwide outrage, but the all-white jury will acquit Shull after 30 minutes of deliberation, despite his having admitted to blinding Woodard. Woodard’s story will spark the civil rights movement. He will move to New York City, die in the Bronx VA Hospital in 1992, and be buried with military honors.

1994: At 6:30 a.m. on opening day of the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, two thieves break into Oslo’s National Gallery of Norway, where Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” had recently been relocated to the ground floor in an effort to showcase Norwegian culture during the games. They break through a window, cut a wire affixing the painting to a wall, and exit within 50 seconds, leaving behind a note that says “Thousand thanks for the bad security!” (I’m not condoning theft, but that note is some boss-level trolling.)

1999: The U.S. Senate acquits Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial.

2001: NEAR Shoemaker touches down in the “saddle” region of 433 Eros; it is the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.

2002: Slobodan Miloševic’s trial begins at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. He will die four years later, before the trial’s conclusion.

2004: The City of San Francisco begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

On February 13,

1542: Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, is beheaded for adultery. (I’m sure he was absolutely faithful to her and his other five wives, though.)

1689: William and Mary are proclaimed England’s co-rulers.

1880: Thomas Edison observes Thermionic emission. (Look it up; I can’t tackle this one.)

1920: The Negro National League is formed amidst segregated organized baseball in the U.S.

1935: Bruno Hauptmann is found guilty of the 1932 kidnapping and murder of Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., more commonly remembered without his name (for whatever bizarre reason) as “the Lindbergh baby.”

1954: Frank Selvy scores 100 points for Furman University during a basketball game against Newberry College, setting the record in NCAA Division I. The final score is 149-95; if his score had been halved, he still would have been Furman’s top scorer and they still would have won.

1955: Israel obtains four of the seven Dead Sea Scrolls. (That means they swept the series, right?)

1960: Black college students hold the first of the Nashville sit-ins at three lunch counters.

1961: Three mineral prospectors discover a geode estimated to be 500,000 years old near Olancha, California. The next day, they will be shocked at the out-of-place artifact, or OOPArt, they find encased inside it — a cylinder made of metal and ceramic, with a screw-like item at one end and a flare at the other. It will come to be known as the Coso Artifact, and pseudoscientific theories will crop up in an effort to explain the alleged existence of modern materials half a million years ago — including time travel, ancient astronauts, and an ancient advanced civilization. Those theories will be debunked by researchers Pierre Stromberg and Paul Heinrich, along with members of the Spark Plug Collectors of America, who will determine the “artifact” to be a 1920s-era Champion spark plug. The “geode” will turn out to be a concretion of iron from the spark plug’s rust — one that would have developed and grown during the 30-40 years (as opposed to 500,000) that had passed since the spark plug was deposited on the ground.

1984: Konstantin Chernenko succeeds the late Yuri Andropov as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1990: An agreement is reached for German reunification.

2004: The Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announces the discovery of the universe’s largest known diamond — white dwarf star BPM 37093.

2020: Coso Artifact researcher Pierre Stromberg comes across a poorly researched summary of the Artifact’s story, included in a silly list of “On this date” entries. He contacts the list’s creator, Dan Bain, to correct the facts in Dan’s write-up. At first Dan is excited to have his work noticed by a celebrity. Then he feels chagrined.

On February 14,

1349: The Strasbourg massacre begins as part of the Black Death persecutions. Over the course of several days, several hundred Jews are publicly burnt to death, while the rest are expelled from the city.

1778: French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte renders a nine-gun salute to the USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones. This is the first time the U.S. flag is formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel. (It’s also the first time so many names are distributed across only two people.)

1849: James K. Polk has his photograph taken, the first time a sitting President does so.

1876: Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray both apply for a patent for the telephone. (Ironically, when filling out the application, each failed to provide his home number.)

1899: Congress approves the use of voting machines in federal elections. (Russia begins plotting.)

1912: Arizona is admitted as the 48th U.S. state; it is also the last contiguous one.

1920: The League of Women Voters is founded.

1929: The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre occurs in Lincoln Park, Chicago. Four unknown assailants, presumed to be acting on Al Capone’s orders, line up seven North Side Gang associates against a garage wall and gun them down.

1945: The Royal Air Force and U.S. Army Air Forces begin the bombing of Dresden, Germany.

1989: Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issues a fatwa for Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie over his writing “The Satanic Verses.”

2005: A group of college students launch a website called YouTube. (Russia begins plotting.)

2018: Nikolas Cruz opens fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and injuring 15. (Alex Jones begins plotting.)

On February 15,

706: Byzantine emperor Justinian II has his predecessors Leontios and Tiberios III publicly executed in Constantinople’s Hippodrome. (There will be more outrage over the Super Bowl LIV halftime show.)

1637: Ferdinand III becomes Holy Roman Emperor.

1764: St. Louis is established in Spanish Louisiana. (The city, not the person.)

1862: Brigadier General John B. Floyd’s forces attack and surround General Ulysses S. Grant’s forces at Fort Donelson, Tennessee, only to surrender the next day. (“We have you right where we want you! We give up!”)

1870: Stevens Institute of Technology is founded in New Jersey, offering the first Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering.

1879: President Rutherford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court.

1923: Greece adapts the Gregorian calendar, the last European country to do so.

1933: Giuseppe Zangara attempts to assassinate President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, instead shooting Chicago mayor Anton J. Cermak, who dies on March 6. (This brings up a morbidly interesting question, which I’m not sure how to answer — if a President-elect happens to die before Inauguration Day, WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN AND NEVER WILL BE MY WISH, will their Vice President-elect be inaugurated, instead? Googling this topic during an election year — especially out of the context of this factoid — would be a bad idea.)

1946: ENIAC is formally dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania; it is the first electronic general-purpose computer.

1992: Jeffrey Dahmer is sentenced to life in prison.

2001: Nature Magazine publishes the first draft of the complete human genome.

2003: The largest peace demonstration in history occurs with protests against the Iraq War in more than 600 cities worldwide, involving estimates of 8-30 million demonstrators.

On February 16,

1646: The last major battle of the first English Civil War, the Battle of Torrington takes place at Devon. Royalist resistance effectively ends.

1923: Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of King Tut. (It was in a condo made of stone-a.)

1933: The Blaine Act passes, ending Prohibition in the U.S.

1959: Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba.

1960: The USS Triton submarine leaves New London, Connecticut on Operation Sandblast. It will eventually accomplish the first circumnavigation of the globe in a submerged vessel.

1968: The first 9-1-1 emergency phone system goes into service, in Haleyville, Alabama. (White women begin reporting black families on picnics citywide.)

1978: The first computer bulletin board system is created, in Chicago.

1985: Hezbollah is founded.

2006: The U.S. Army decommissions the last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. (I wonder if everyone said, “Goodbye, farewell, and Amen.”)

On February 17,

1621: Myles Standish is appointed first military commander of the Plymouth Colony. (I wonder if he was Michael Stipe proud.)

1801: The U.S. House of Representatives settles an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, electing Jefferson president and Burr vice president.

1864: The H.L. Hunley sinks the USS Housatonic, becoming the first submarine to engage and sink a warship.

1933: Newsweek is published for the first time.

1972: Volkswagen Beetle cumulative sales exceed those of the Ford Model T.

1996: Garry Kasparov beets the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match.

On February 18,

1229: Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II regains Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem by signing a ten-year truce with al-Kamil.

1766: Malagasy begins a mutiny on the slave ship Meermin, leading to its destruction.

1797: Sir Ralph Abercromby invades Trinidad with a fleet of 18 British warships. (His stores invade malls 200 years later.)

1865: During the burning of Columbia, Sherman’s forces set the South Carolina State House ablaze.

1885: Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is published.

1911: Pilot Henri Pequet flies 6500 letters from Allahabad, British India to Naini, accomplishing the first official flight with airmail. Total distance? A little more than six miles.

1930: Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto while studying photos taken the previous month.

1954: The first Church of Scientology is established in L.A.

1970: The Chicago Seven are found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 DNC.

1972: The California Supreme Court rules on People v Anderson, invalidating the state’s death penalty and commuting the sentences of its death row inmates to life in prison.

1977: The Space Shuttle Enterprise is carried on its maiden flight atop a Boeing 747.

On February 19,

1600: Huaynaputina, a stratovolcano in Peru, explodes in the most violent eruption in South America’s recorded history.

1726: The Supreme Privy Council is established in Russia. (I’ve never seen a privy that I would consider supreme.)

1807: Aaron Burr is arrested for treason on suspicion of wanting to create an independent country in the center of North America.

1847: Rescuers reach the Donner Party. (More like dinner party, amirite?)

1878: Thomas Edison patents the phonograph.

1884: More than 60 tornadoes strike the Southern United States — one of the largest outbreaks in U.S. history.

1913: Pedro Lascuráin becomes the 34th President of Mexico for 45 minutes — the shortest known term of any president of any country. Previously foreign secretary under President Madero, Lascuráin assumed the position to lend legitimacy to General Victoriano Huerta’s overthrow of Madero before appointing Huerta to interior secretary and resigning, thereby allowing Huerta to ascend to the presidency.

1942: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs executive order 9066, allowing the U.S. military to relocate Japanese Americans to internment camps.

1985: William J. Schroeder is the first artificial heart recipient to leave the hospital.

On February 20,

1685: René-Robert Cavelier establishes Fort St. Louis at Matagorda Bay, beginning French colonization of Texas and forming a basis for their claim to the state. (I wonder if they still want it….)

1792: George Washington signs the Postal Service Act, creating the U.S. Post Office Department. (Congress immediately starts sending campaign-related junk mail.)

1816: Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” premieres in Rome. (You just pictured Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, didn’t you?)

1872: The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in NYC.

1877: Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” premieres in Moscow.

1901: The Hawaii Territory legislature convenes for the first time.

1931: Congress approves construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

1933: Hitler secretly meets with German industrialists to arrange financing for the Nazi Party’s election campaign.

1935: Caroline Mikkelsen becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica.

1962: John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the earth, completing three orbits in four hours and 55 minutes aboard Frienship 7.

1965: Ranger 8 crashes into the Moon after photographing possible landing sites for Apollo astronauts.

1986: The Soviet Union launches the Mir, which will remain in orbit for 15 years, with occupants for ten of those years.

On February 21,

1245: The first known Bishop of Finland, Thomas, is granted resignation after confessing to torture and forgery. (“You did horrible things; sure, we’ll let you quit.”)

1437: Conspirators assassinate the ruthless James I of Scotland.

1613: A national assembly unanimously elects Mikhail I as Tsar, beginning the Romanov dynasty of Imperial Russia.

1804: The first self-propelling steam locomotive debuts in Wales.

1828: The “Cherokee Phoenix” inaugural issue is released; it is the first periodical to use the Cherokee syllabary.

1842: John Greenough receives the first U.S. patent for the sewing machine.

1848: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish “The Communist Manifesto.”

1878: The first telephone directory is published, in New Haven, Connecticut. (It is devoid of the names Hugh Jass, I.P. Freely, and Seymour Butz, yet people keep calling and asking for them.)

1885: Having been completed in December, the Washington Monument is dedicated.

1918: The last Carolina parakeet dies in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo.

1925: The “New Yorker” inaugural issue is published.

1947: Edwin Land demonstrates the first instant camera, the Polarioid Land Camera.

1948: NASCAR is incorporated. (Things turn quickly from there.)

1952: The Briish government abolishes identity cards in the UK.

1958: Gerald Holtom completes the design for the CND symbol, or the peace symbol, commissioned by the Direct Action Committee as a protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment. (I wonder if he flashed a “V” for that victory.)

1972: Richard Nixon visits the People’s Republic of China, eventually leading to diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.

1973: Israeli fighters shoot down Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114, killing 108 people.

1975: John N. Mitchell, H.R. Haldeman, and John Ehrlichman are sentenced to prison for their parts in the Watergate scandal.

1995: Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly a balloon solo across the Pacific Ocean when he lands in Saskatchewan, Canada.

On February 22,

705: Empress Wu Zetian abdicates the Chinese throne, restoring the Tang dynasty. (Future astronauts rejoice.)

1632: Galileo publishes “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems,” discussing the theory that Earth and the other planets orbit the sun. He is later accused of heresy and the book is placed on the Index of Forbidden Books, not to be removed until 1835. Also, via unannounced action, Catholic countries ban everything else written or to be written by Galileo. (Why on flat Earth can’t people accept science?)

1848: The French Revolution of 1848 begins, eventually leading to the establishment of the French Second Republic.

1855: Penn State is founded as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania.

1856: The Republican Party opens its first national convention, in Pittsburgh.

1878: The first Woolworth store opens, in Utica, New York. (People immediately begin mispronouncing with an “s” at the end.)

1924: Calvin Coolidge is the first U.S. President to deliver a radio address from the White House. (He spins some sick beats afterward, too.)

1959: Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500.

1980: The U.S. hockey team beats the Soviet Union hockey team 4-3 in a medal-round game of the Winter Olympics; it comes to be known as the “Miracle on Ice.”

1983: “Moose Murders” opens and closes on the same night, making it an official Broadway flop.

On February 23,

303: Roman emperor Diocletian orders the Christian church in Nicomedia to be destroyed, beginning eight years of Christian persecution.

1778: Baron von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to help train the Continental Army.

1836: The Siege of the Alamo begins. (I remember it.)

1861: Following a thwarted assassination attempt, President-elect Abraham Lincoln secretly arrives in Washington, D.C.

1883: Alabama is the first state to enact an anti-trust law.

1886: Siblings Charles Martin Hall and Julia Brainerd Hall produce the first samples of man-made aluminum. (I hope one of them said, “That’s a wrap.”)

1903: Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the U.S. in perpetuity.

1905: Paul Harris and three other businessmen meet for lunch, forming the Rotary Club — the world’s first service club.

1917: The first demonstrations of the February Revolution take place in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

1927: U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs legislation creating the Federal Radio Commission, later known as the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC.

1927: Theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg describes his uncertainty principle for the first time, via letter to physicist Wolfgang Paul. (They then break bad.)

1942: Japanese subs fire artillery shells at the coastline near Santa Barbara, California.

1945: During the Battle of Iwo Jima, six U.S. Marines raise the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi. AP photographer Joe Rosenthal takes a soon-to-be-iconic picture of them doing so; it will become the only photograph to win the Pulitzer in the same year in which it was published.

1954: The first mass inoculation of children against polio begins with the Salk vaccine in Pittsburgh. The disease will be eradicated in the U.S. within 25 years.

On February 24,

1582: Pope Gregory XIII announces a new calendar via the papal bull “Inter Gravissimas.” This calendar reforms the Julian calendar and is still used in most countries today. It will come to be known as the Gregorian calendar, and is used in most countries today. (I bet they didn’t accept it at first, though. Probably thought it was just more papal bull.)

1803: The Supreme Court establishes the principle of judicial review in Marbury v Madison.

1831: The first removal treaty under the Indian Removal Act, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, is proclaimed between the Choctaw tribe and the U.S. Government. The Choctaws cede land east of the Mississippi River for payment, plus land in the West.

1854: The first perforated postage stamp, a British Penny Red, is issued.

1868: Andrew Johnson becomes the first U.S. President to be impeached by the House of Representatives; he will be acquitted by the Senate. (Same as it ever was.)

1920: The Nazi Party is founded.

Elsewhere, following her recent election as a Member of Parliament, Nancy Astor becomes the first woman to speak in the UK’s House of Commons.

1980: The U.S. hockey team wins the gold medal in the Winter Olympics when it defeats Finland, 4-2.

1983: A special commission of Congress officially condemns the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

1991: Troops enter Iraq from Saudi Arabia, beginning the ground phase of the Gulf War.

2008: Fidel Castro retires as President of Cuba after more than 31 years.

On February 25,

1836: Samuel Colt receives a patent for his revolver. (He celebrates with a malt liquor.)

1843: Lord George Paulet occupies the Kingdom of Hawaii in the name of Great Britain.

1866: Miners in Calaveras County, California, discover human remains indicating that man, mastodons, and elephants co-existed; it comes to be known as the Calaveras Skull, and is later revealed to have been a hoax.

1870: Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Mississippi Republican, is sworn into the U.S. Senate, becoming the first African American to serve in Congress.

1901: J.P. Morgan incorporates the U.S. Steel Corporation.

1919: Oregon becomes the first state to levy a gasoline tax. It starts at one cent per gallon.

1928: Charles Jenkins Laboratories receives the first television broadcast license from the Federal Radio Commission. (Musta been some exciting programming there, Igor.)

1932: Hitler obtains German citizenship by naturalization, allowing him to run in the 1932 election for Reichspräsident.

1933: The USS Ranger, the first U.S. Navy ship designed as an aircraft carrier, is launched.

1956: Nikita Khrushchev denounces the cult of personality of Joseph Stalin.

####: Kim Jenkins is born. Years later, her husband will reveal her age on television. He will not make that mistake again, even in a list of historic events.

1987: Southern Methodist is the first college football program banned from competition by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

1991: The Warsaw Pact is abolished.

On February 26,

1616: The Roman Catholic Church formally bans Galileo from teaching or defending the view that the earth orbits the sun. (More than 400 years later, there are still people around who think that view is wrong; for all I care, they can walk off the edge of the flat earth.)

1815: Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from his exile on Elba.

1909: London’s Palace Theatre publicly debuts Kinemacolor, the first successful color motion picture process.

1914: HMHS Britannic, sister ship to the RMS Titanic, is launched in Belfast.

1919: U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs legislation establishing the Grand Canyon National Park.

1929: U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs an executive order establishing Grand Teton National Park. (February 26 is a grand day for national parks.)

1935: Hitler violates the Treaty of Versailles by ordering the reformation of the Luftwaffe.

Elsewhere, Robert Watson-Watt demonstrates bouncing radio waves off an aircraft, which will lead to the development of radar.

1971: U.N. Secretary-General U Thant signs proclamation of the vernal equinox as Earth Day.

1987: The Tower Commission rebukes Ronald Reagan for not controlling his national security staff as part of the Iran-Contra affair.

1993: A truck bomb explodes below the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing six and injuring more than 1000.

2012: George Zimmerman shoots and kills 17-year-old Trayvon Martin during a scuffle in Sanford, Florida, later claiming self-defense and justification under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” statute.

On February 27,

1700: William Dampier discovers the island of New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago of Papua New Guinea.

1782: Great Britain’s House of Commons votes against further war in America. (Their resolve will hold out for 30 years.)

1801: Washington, D.C. is placed under the jurisdiction of Congress. (It took less than 25 years to move past that whole “No taxation without representation” thing; way to stick to your roots there, Congress.)

1844: The Dominican Republic gains independence from Haiti.

1860: Abraham Lincoln gives a speech at Cooper Union in NYC, affirming that he does not wish to see slavery expand into new territories and states. The Cooper Union address is thought to be largely responsible for his election to President.

1900: The British Labour Party is founded.

1922: In Leser v Garnett, the Supreme Court rebuffs a challenge to the 19th Amendment, which had bestowed women with the right to vote two years prior.

1933: The Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building in Berlin, is set afire. Marinus van der Lubbe, a communist, claims responsibility, leading the Nazis to solidify power and eliminate the communists as political rivals.

1943: Gestapo agents arrest 1800 Jewish men with German wives in Berlin, leading to the Rosenstrasse protest, the only mass public demonstration by Germans against the deportation of Jews during the Third Reich.

1951: States ratify the 22nd Amendment, limiting Presidents to two terms.

1991: George H.W. Bush announces that Kuwait is liberated.

On February 28,

202 BC: Liu Bang becomes Emperor of China, beginning four centuries under the Han dynasty. (That dynasty shot first, btw.)

1525: Under orders from Hernán Cortés, Aztec king Cuauhtémoc is executed for allegedly plotting against Cortés.

1784: John Wesley charters the Methodist Church.

1827: The B&O Railroad is incorporated, becoming the first American railroad to offer commercial transportation of both passengers and freight.

1849: The SS California arrives in San Francisco Bay four months and 22 days after having departed New York Harbor, establishing regular steamship service from the east coast to the west.

1935: DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invents nylon.

1940: A basketball game is televised for the first time when Fordham plays the University of Pittsburgh in Madison Square Garden.

1983: The final episode of M*A*S*H airs, with nearly 106 million viewers. It still holds the record for highest viewership of a finale.

1993: BATF agents raid the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, resulting in ten deaths and initiating a 51-day standoff.

1997: Earth is struck for 80 seconds by GRB 970228, a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, providing evidence that gamma-ray bursts occur well beyond the Milky Way. (Given what gamma rays did to Bruce Banner, this might explain some of the rage issues we’ve seen over the last 20 years.)

On February 29,

1504: Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse to trick Native Americans into giving him supplies.

1768: Polish nobles form the Bar Confederation. (And celebrate it with a bar crawl.)

1796: The Jay Treaty comes into effect, facilitating ten years of peaceful trade between the United States and Great Britain.

1940: Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award, for her performance as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind.”

1980: Gordie Howe of the Hartford Whalers scores his 800th goal, making NHL history.

2012: Construction is completed on Tokyo Skytree. At 634 meters, it is the tallest tower in the world and the second tallest artificial structure, behind the 829-meter Burj Khalifa. (If you find this as confusing as I did, it apparently has something to do with the definition of the word “tower” — I’m guessing it means “any tall building that isn’t Burj Khalifa.”)

2020: Dan Bain realizes there aren’t nearly as many notable events on February 29 as there are on other dates. He calculates them to be roughly a fourth of the others. It’s a leap of intuition.

On March 1,

1562: French troops massacre 63 Huguenots in Wassy, France, starting the French Wars of Religion.

1642: Gorgeana, Massachusetts — now York, Maine — is the first incorporated city in America.

1692: The Salem Witch Trials begin when Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba are brought before local magistrates in Salem Village, Massachusetts, for allegedly having afflicted several local girls with fits and contortions.

1781: The Continental Congress adopts the Articles of Confederation.

1790: The first U.S. Census is authorized. (How did they know where to deliver the questionnaires?)

1872: Yellowstone becomes the world’s first national park.

1936: The Hoover Dam is completed.

1961: U.S. President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.

1998: Titanic becomes the first film to gross over $1 billion worldwide. (Because so many people want to go confirm that Jack could have fit on that door with Rose.)

On March 2,

537: The Ostrogothic army begins a year-long siege of Rome.

1127: A group of Erembald knights enter the church where Charles the Good, Count of Flanders is praying, and hack him to death with broadswords. Outraged supporters of Charles eventually besiege the castle of Bruges where the conspirators flee, then capture and torture them to death.

1717: “The Loves of Mars and Venus” is the first ballet performed in England.

1807: Congress passes the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves. While this bans bringing new slaves into the country, it does nothing for existing slaves.

1815: British invaders of the Kingdom of Kandy sign the Kandyan Convention with the kingdom’s leaders. (I have no idea what this was about; I just really like the name “Kingdom of Kandy.”)

1867: Congress passes the first of four Reconstruction Acts, laying out the requirements for Southern States to be readmitted to the Union.

1877: Two days prior to inauguration, Congress declares Rutherford B. Hayes the winner of the 1876 presidential election over Samuel J. Tilden, who had won the popular vote. The election remains one of the most controversial in U.S. history.

1903: The Martha Washington Hotel, the first hotel exclusively for women, opens in NYC.

1917: The Jones-Shafroth Act grants U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans.

1933: “King Kong” premieres at Radio City Music Hall.

1946: Ho Chi Minh is elected President of North Vietnam.

1961: In a nationally televised broadcast, U.S. President John F. Kennedy announces the creation of the Peace Corps.

1962: Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points, setting the NBA record for a single-game score.

1983: Compact discs and players are released for the first time in the U.S. and other markets outside of Japan, where they had been exclusively available prior to this date.

1995: Yahoo! is incorporated. (And so begins a long-lasting hate affair with their stupid exclamation point.)

On March 3,

1776: The Marine Corps stages its first amphibious landing, beginning the Battle of Nassau.

1845: Florida becomes the 27th state admitted to the Union. (Florida man does something bizarre to celebrate.)

1875: Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” premieres, in Paris.

1875: The first organized indoor game of ice hockey is played, in Montreal.

1885: AT&T is incorporated, in New York.

1923: TIME magazine publishes its first issue.

1931: The U.S. adopts “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem.

1938: Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia. (All hell will break loose.)

1986: Australia becomes fully independent from the UK via the Australia Act 1986.

1991: L.A. police officers beat Rodney King; the incident is captured on video and will soon spark riots.

2005: Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly an airplane non-stop around the world without refueling.

2017: Nintendo releases the Nintendo Switch; it will become the fastest-selling console in the U.S.

On March 4,

51: At the age of 13, three years prior to becoming the emperor of Rome, Nero receives the title princeps iuventutis — head of the youth.

1628: The Massachusetts Bay Colony receives a Royal charter.

1681: Charles II grants a land charter to William Penn for a region in North America, called Pennsylvania. (Erie, huh?)

1789: The U.S. Constitution goes into effect as the first U.S. Congress meets, in New York City. Work begins on the Bill of Rights.

1797: John Adams is inaugurated as the second President of the United States.

1837: Chicago is incorporated as a city.

1882: Britain’s first electric trams begin their runs, in London.

1917: Montana’s Jeannette Rankin is the first woman to become a U.S. Representative.

1933: Frances Perkins becomes Secretary of labor and the first female member of the U.S. Cabinet.

1966: The London Evening Standard quotes John Lennon as having said the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus now.” (All hell breaks loose.)

1974: People Weekly, later People, is published for the first time in the U.S.

1980: Robert Mugabe is elected as Zimbabwe’s prime minister, the first black person to attain that title.

1998: In Oncale v Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., the Supreme Court rules that federal laws against sexual harassment still apply when both parties are the same sex.

On March 5,

1616: The Sacred Congregation of the Index adds Nicolaus Copernicus’ book “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres” to their Index of Forbidden Books, 73 years after the book’s publication. (Why? He had the word “Heavenly” in it; wasn’t that religious enough?)

1770: British troops commit the Boston Massacre, fatally shooting five Americans during a confrontation on King Street (an unfortunate name, considering the general attitude toward kings at that time).

1872: George Westinghouse patents the air brake. (However, he rejected the motto, “It’s better to brake air than break wind.”)

1933: In the midst of the Great Depression, FDR declares a bank holiday to close all U.S. banks and freeze all financial transactions.

1933: Hitler and the Nazi Party receive 43.9 percent of the vote at the Reichstag elections, allowing them to later pass the Enabling Act and create a dictatorship.

1946: Winston Churchill coins the term “Iron Curtain” during a speech at Westminster College in Missouri.

1981: British electronics company Sinclair Research launches the ZX81 home computer; it will sell more than 1.5 million units globally.

On March 6,

12 BC: Rome’s Emperor Augustus is named Pontifex Maximus.

632: Muhammad delivers his Farewell Sermon at Mount Arafat.

1665: Henry Oldenburg publishes the first issue of Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society, the world’s longest-running scientific journal.

1836: Mexican President General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s troops capture the Alamo after a 13-day siege, killing the Texas volunteers within — including Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. Santa Anna’s cruelty inspires many to join the Texian Army and defeat the Mexican Army, quelling the Texas Revolution, on April 21. (Why would anyone name a car rental company after a massacre?)

1869: Dmitri Mendeleev presents the first periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society.

1899: Bayer registers “Aspirin” as a trademark. (I bet the paperwork was a pain.)

1951: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg’s espionage trial begins.

1975: Robert J. Groden and Dick Gregory play the infamous Zapruder film for a national TV audience for the first time.

On March 7,

321: Constantine the Great decrees that the dies Solis Invicti, or sun-day, is a day of rest in the Roman Empire. (But I bet they still had wine on Sundays; are you listening, North Carolina?)

1850: In an effort to prevent civil war, Senator Daniel Webster gives his “Seventh of March” speech, endorsing the Compromise of 1850.

1876: Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for the telephone. (They must have notified him by mail.)

1965: Selma, Alabama local and state police brutally attack a group of 600 unarmed civil rights marchers; the date is remembered as “Bloody Sunday.”

1986: Divers from the USS Preserver locate the crew cabin of the Space Shuttle Challenger on the ocean floor.

On March 8,

1618: Johannes Kepler discovers his third law of planetary motion: The square of the orbital period of a planet is directly proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of its orbit. (I would have thought that obvious, but whatever.)

1655: The court of Northampton County rules that John Casor, a former indentured servant who had been freed, could now be held as a lifelong slave by his former employer, Anthony Johnson. Casor is the first legally recognized slave in the colonies, in a case where a crime had not been committed.

1702: Upon the death of William III, his sister-in-law Anne becomes Queen regnant of England, Scotland, and Ireland. (Anne later had two daughters, meaning she was at times a pregnant regnant.)

1775: An anonymous writer publishes “African Slavery in America,” the first pro-emancipation, pro-abolition article published in the colonies. Some believe the author to be Thomas Paine.

1817: The New York Stock Exchange is founded. (It sees an immediate plummet due to concerns over the common cold.)

1910: Raymonde de Laroche is the first woman to receive a pilot’s license.

1965: The U.S. dispatches 3500 Marines to South Vietnam, beginning the American ground war.

1971: The Fight of the Century, a boxing match between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, takes place. Frazier wins by unanimous decision.

1974: Charles de Gaulle Airport opens in Paris.

1979: Philips publicly demonstrates the compact disc for the first time.

1983: U.S. President Ronald Reagan refers to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.”

On March 9,

1500: Pedro Álvares Cabral’s fleet departs Lisbon for the Indies, to eventually discover Brazil.

1765: Parisian judges, following a campaign by Voltaire, exonerate Jean Calas of having murdered his son, who it turned out had probably committed suicide. (The court had sentenced Calas to public torture and execution three years prior, so his exoneration did little to help him.)

1776: Adam Smith publishes “The Wealth of Nations.”

1841: In United States v The Amistad, the Supreme Court rules that captive Africans who had taken control of their transport ship, had been taken into slavery illegally. Supporters organized temporary housing and travel funds for the Africans, who were enabled to return to Africa the following year.

1862: The first battle between ironclads takes place as the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia fight to a stalemate in the Battle of Hampton Roads.

1959: The Barbie doll debuts in New York, at the American International Toy Fair.

1961: Sputnik 9 launches successfully, carrying a human dummy and demonstrating the Soviet Union’s readiness for human spaceflight. (The passenger eventually held four Senate terms.)

2011: After 39 flights, Space Shuttle Discovery has its final landing.

On March 10,

1804: The Ceremony of Three Flags concludes as the American flag is hoisted over St. Louis, formally completing the transfer of ownership from the previous year’s Louisiana Purchase. On March 9, the Spanish flag over St. Louis had been replaced with the French flag; on March 10, the French flag was replaced with the American, making it a ceremony of three flags. (For the record, ceremonies of Six Flags are a lot better.)

1848: The Mexican-American War ends with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

1865: Slave Amy Spain is executed for having stolen from her “owner.” This is believed to have been the last legal execution of a female slave in America.

1876: Alexander Graham Bell completes the first successful test of a telephone, reaching his assistant in another room and saying, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” (I hope Watson replied, “New invention, who dis?”)

1922: British officials arrest Gandhi for sedition, sentencing him to six years in prison. He served two before being released to treat his appendicitis.

1945: The U.S. Army Air Force firebombs Tokyo, killing more than 100,00 people — mostly civilians.

1959: Thousands of Tibetans surround the Dalai Lama’s palace to protect him, fearing an abduction attempt.

1969: James Earl Ray pleads guilty to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He will later attempt to recant.

1977: Astronomers discover rings around Uranus. (Sometimes the jokes write themselves.)

On March 11,

222: The Praetorian Guard revolt and assassinate Emperor Elagabalus and his mother, Julia Soaemias, dragging their mutilated bodies through the streets of Rome before throwing them into the Tiber River.

1649: The Frondeurs and the French sign the Peace of Rueil. (I once ate a piece of rueil; it tasted moldy.)

1702: England’s first national daily newspaper, The Daily Courant, is published. (I used to eat daily currants; they tasted moldy.)

1824: Secretary of War John C. Calhoun creates the Bureau of Indian Affairs within his department and without authorization from Congress.

1861: The Confederate States of America adopts its constitution. (I have to wonder how many freedoms it guaranteed.)

1888: The Great Blizzard of 1888, aka the Great White Hurricane, strikes the central to northern East Coast, generating drifts in excess of 50 feet, shutting down railroads and commerce, leaving people housebound for up to a week, and killing more than 400 people.

1927: Samuel Roxy Rothafel opens the Roxy Theatre in NYC.

1941: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Act, allowing the U.S. to ship war supplies to the Allies on loan.

1945: The Japanese Navy begins Operation Tan No. 2, sending 24 bombers on kamikazi missions against Allied ships anchored at Ulithi atoll. Six will suffer mechanical difficulties and turn back (what do commanding officers say to a suicidal pilot who returns home?), while most of the others will have to land at Yap island or ditch at sea. Of the two that reach Ulithi, one will mistake an access road and signal tower for a ship, crashing into the road and killing no one but the bomber’s crew, but injuring several nearby U.S. servicemen. The second will be successful, hitting the USS Randolph and killng 27 and wounding 105 of its crew.

On March 12,

1864: The Red River Campaign begins as a U.S. fleet of 13 Ironclads and 7 Gunboats enter the Red River. The Union will ultimately fail in its objectives for this campaign, but it will have no lasting effect on the outcome of the war.

1881: Andrew Watson debuts in Scotland as the world’s first black international soccer player. (This, too, will have no impact on the U.S.)

1894: Joseph A. Biedenharn sells bottled Coca-Cola for the first time, in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

1912: The Girl Guides are founded in the U.S.; they will later be called the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.

1930: Gandhi begins the Salt March, a 200-march to the sea, protesting the British monopoly on salt in India.

1933: FDR holds the first of his “fireside chats.”

1947: Harry Truman announces his Truman Doctrine to Congress, hoping to stem the spread of Communism.

1993: North Korea announces plans to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and refuses to allow inspectors into its nuclear sites.

1994: The Church of England ordains women as priests for the first time.

1999: The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland — former Warsaw Pact members — join NATO.

2003: The World Health Organization officially releases a warning on the global SARS pandemic. (Ah, the good old days….)

2009: Bernie Madoff pleads guilty to having scammed $18 billion.

On March 13,

1138: Cardinal Gregorio Conti is elected Antipope, taking the name Victor IV. (If a pope comes into contact with an antipope, does it cause an explosion?)

1325: Tenochtitlan is founded as the Aztec capital; it will become Mexico City nearly 200 years later.

1639: Having been founded three years earlier in Newtowne, Massachusetts — a town which will be renamed Cambridge — Newe College is renamed for deceased minister John Harvard.

1781: William Herschel discovers Uranus. (Bet you never even knew he was there.)

1862: The U.S. forbids Union army officers from returning fugitive slaves, annulling the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and clearing a path for the Emancipation Proclamation.

1930: Pluto’s discovery is communicated via telegraph to the Harvard College Observatory.

1969: Apollo 9 returns safely to Earth after its test of the Lunar Module.

1997: Hundreds of people report seeing strange lights in the skies over northern Arizona and Phoenix in two separate incidents; they will come to be known as the Phoenix Lights.

2003: “Nature” magazine reports on the discovery of footprints in Campania, Italy dating back 350,000 years. (I have socks dating close to that far back, I think.)

2008: Gold first hits $1000 per ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

On March 14,

44 BC: The night before Caesar’s assassination, Casca and Cassius decide to let Mark Antony live.

1794: Eli Whitney receives a patent for the cotton gin. (He celebrates with a juniper gin.)

1900: The ratification of the Gold Standard Act places U.S. currency on the gold standard.

1942: Orvan Hess and John Bumstead successfully treat a patient with penicillin for the first time. The patient, Anne Miller, is suffering from septicemia and a weeks-long fever of at least 103 degrees. That fever will break within a day, and Miller will live to the age of 90, dying in 1999.

1961: A B-52 crashes near Yuba City, California while carrying two nuclear weapons. The weapons’ safety devices prevent them from detonating.

1964: A Dallas jury finds Jack Ruby guilty of having killed Lee Harvey Oswald.

1967: JFK’s body is moved to a permanent burial spot in Arlington National Cemetery.

1994: Linux kernel version 1.0.0 is released.

1995: Norman Thagard is the first American astronaut to ride to space aboard a Russian launch vehicle.

2018: Toys “R” Us files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

On March 15,

44 BC: Conspiring Roman senators assassinate Julius Caesar near the Theatre of Pompey.

1672: Charles II of England issues the Royal Declaration of Indulgence, suspending Penal Laws in an effort to extend religious liberty to Protestant nonconformists and Roman Catholics in his realms.

1781: During the Battle of Guilford Court House, British forces under Charles Cornwallis defeat Nathanael Greene’s American troops, but have such heavy casualties as to result in a strategic victory for the Americans. The pyrrhic victory will eventually lead to the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. (That had to suck; how many strategists in history have lost because they won?)

1875: Archbishop John McCloskey becomes the first cardinal in the U.S.

1906: Rolls-Royce Limited is incorporated. (“Limited” because only the filthy-rich can buy their cars, amirite?)

1917: The 304-year Romanov dynasty ends as Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates his throne. He and his family are imprisoned, to be executed by Bolsheviks the following year.

1965: In response to civil rights protests and responding violence elevated to crisis levels, Lyndon B. Johnson tells Congress “We shall overcome” while advocating the Voting Rights Act. That act will become a law in less than five months, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

1990: Mikhail Gorbachev is elected the first President of the Soviet Union.

2019: Terrorist shooting attacks take place consecutively at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, resulting in 51 deaths and 49 injuries. Police arrest alt-right white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, initially charging him with one murder. He will later be charged with all of them.

Elsewhere, about 1.4 million youth in 123 countries go on strike and skip school in protest of governmental inaction on climate change.

On March 16,

597 BC: Babylonians capture Jerusalem and replace King Jeconiah with Zedekiah.

37: Caligula succeeds Tiberius as Roman Emperor.

1621: Samoset, of the Mohegan tribe, becomes the first American Indian to make contact with settlers at Plymouth Colony. Having learned some English from fishermen in the Gulf of Maine, he greets them in their own language: “Welcome, Englishmen! My name is Samoset.” (I hope he spoke it slowly and loudly, as he was speaking to foreigners.)

1926: Robert Goddard launches the first liquid-fueled rocket, at Auburn, Massachusetts.

1935: Violating the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler orders Germany to rearm herself and reintroduces conscription.

1958: Ford produces its 50 millionth car since the company’s founding, a Thunderbird.

1968: American troops kill between 347 and 500 unarmed civilians in the South Vietnamese village of My Lai; the occurrence will come to be known as the My Lai Massacre.

1968: GM produces its 100 millionth car, an Oldsmobile Toronado.

1984: Islamic fundamentalists kidnap William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut. He will die in captivity.

1985: Shiite Hezbollah militants take AP journalist Terry Anderson hostage in Beirut; he will not be released for more than six years.

1988: For their roles in the Iran-Contra affair, Lt-Col Oliver North and Vice Admiral John Poindexter are indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

1995: Mississippi becomes the last state to approve the abolition of slavery by formally ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment — 130 years after its official ratification by the nation as a whole. (Way to be on top of things, Mississippi.)

On March 17,

1776: After George Washington and Henry Knox place artillery in spots overlooking Boston, British forces evacuate the city and end the Siege of Boston.

1780: George Washington grants a holiday to his Continental Army “as an act of solidarity with the Irish in their fight for independence.”

1852: Searching the skies from the Astronomcal Observatory of Capodimonte in Naples, Annibale De Gasparis discovers the asteroid Psyche. (But everyone thought he was kidding, because every time he told someone he’d discovered an asteroid, they asked what he was going to name it, and he yelled, “Psyche!”)

1941: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt officially opens the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

1950: Researchers at Berkeley announce the creation of element 98, which they’d named “californium.” (Some really creative thinking there, guys. You should have gone with, “”Ipulledthisnameoutofmybuttium.””)

1960: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the National Security Council directive on anti-Cuban covert action. This will ultimately lead to the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

1966: The DSV Alvin sub finds the American hydrogen bomb missing from the Palomares B-52 crash two and a half months earlier.

1969: Golda Meir becomes the first female Prime Minister of Israel.

1973: Sal Veder takes a photograph of the reunion of former POW Lt Col Robert Stirm with his family. The photo, named Burst of Joy, will come to symbolize the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

1992: South Africa passes a referendum to end apartheid.

On March 18,

1314: Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, is burned at the stake, along with three other members of the order. The execution takes place slowly, on a scaffold on an island in the Seine River, in front of Notre Dame. Molay had been in prison since 1307, when King Philip IV of France had the Templars arrested en masse and tortured into false confessions — all because the crown was so far in debt to the them. (I’m guessing I can’t erase my credit card debt that way.)

1644: The Third Anglo-Powhatan War begins in Virginia.

1741: Arson results in the burning of New York governor George Clarke’s complex at Fort George, beginning the New York Conspiracy of 1741. New Yorkers blame a purported slave insurrection, which history has not verified, and use it as a reason to try and execute more than 100 suspects.

1766: The British Parliament repeals the Stamp Act.

1850: Henry Wells and William Fargo found American Express. (I wonder how many apothecaries had credit card machines back then.)

1892: Former Governor General Lord Stanley promises to donate a large silver challenge cup as an award to the best hockey team in Canada. (I wonder what they called Stanley’s cup….)

1925: The Tri-State Tornado kills 695 people in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.

1940: Hitler and Mussolini meet in the Alps and agree to form an alliance against France and the UK.

1942: The U.S. establishes the War Relocation Authority to take Japanese Americans into custody.

1959: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Hawaii Admission Act into law; Hawaii will become the 50th U.S. state in August.

1965: Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov is the first person to walk in space, leaving Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes.

1968: Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back U.S. currency.

1969: The U.S. begins secretly bombing the Sihanouk Trail, in Cambodia.

1990: Citizens of the German Democratic Republic vote in its first democratic elections.

1990: Two thieves dressed as police officers steal 13 paintings, worth around $500 million in total, from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; it is the largest art theft in U.S. history, and remains unsolved. The theft remains unsolved today, and there’s still a $10 million reward for information leading to the paintings’ recovery in good condition.

On March 19,

1649: England’s House of Commons passes an act abolishing the House of Lords, calling said House “useless and dangerous to the people of England.” (The House of Lords responds with an act saying, “We know you are, but what are we?”)

1687: During René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle’s final search for the Mississippi River, some of his men mutiny and murder him, then turn against each other in fear of retribution, killing all but two of themselves.

1863: On her maiden voyage, the SS Georgiana — said to be the most powerful cruiser in the Confederate Navy — makes an ill-fated attempt to run past the Federal Blockading Squadron near Charleston, South Carolina. When shots damage her propeller and rudder, her captain surrenders and beaches her in 14 feet of water about three-quarters of a mile from shore, first scuttling her before escaping on the land side. The U.S. Lt. Comdr. John Davis orders the Georgiana to be set afire to deprive guerrillas of her cargo. She will burn for several days, ultimately sending more than $1,000,000 worth of munitions, medical supplies, and more to waste.

1918: Congress establishes time zones and approves daylight saving time. (Damn them for that last part.)

1931: Gambling is made legal in Nevada.

1945: Hitler issues the “Nero Decree,” ordering all industries, military installations, and other key facilities in Germany to be destroyed. Albert Speer deliberately disobeys.

1954: Willie Mosconi runs 526 consecutive balls without a miss during a straight pool exhibtiion in Springfield, Ohio, setting a world record which remains unbroken today.

1962: Bob Dylan releases his first album, “Bob Dylan.” (He was a creative artist, wasn’t he?)

1965: E. Lee Spence, teenaged diver and underwater archaeologist, discovers the wreck of the SS Georgiana. (Hey, I’ve heard of that ship somewhwere before….)

1966: Texas Western — now the University of Texas at El Paso — is the first college basketball team to win the NCAA Basketball Championship with an all-black starting lineup.

1979: The U.S. House of Representatives begins broadcasting its daily goings-on via C-SPAN.

1982: Argentinian forces land on South Georgia Island, a precursor to the Falklands War with the UK.

1987: Televangelist Jim Bakker resigns as head of the PTL Club in light of a sex scandal, leaving Jerry Falwell in charge.

2018: The last male northern white rhinoceros dies.

On March 20,

235: Maximus Thrax is proclaimed Roman emperor. (And his name is held up through the years as a great example of a name for either a Mad Max character or a metal band.)

1616: After 13 years of imprisonment, Sir Walter Raleigh is freed from the Tower of London.

1760: The Great Boston Fire of 1760 destroys 349 buildings, leaving more than a 1000 people homeless.

1815: Having escaped Elba, Napoleon enters Paris with about 340,000 troops at his disposal, beginnning his Hundred Days of rule.

1852: Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

1854: The Republican Party is founded, in Ripon, Wisconsin. Its members at the time subscribe to liberal views, but the party will begin shifting rightward after the 1912 election, and embracing conservatism after 1964.

1915: Einstein publishes his general theory of relativity.

1923: The Arts Club of Chicago becomes an early proponent of modern art, hosting the opening of Picasso’s first U.S. showing.

1942: MacArthur gives his famous speech including the quote, “I came out of Bataan and I shall return.”

1974: As England’s Princess Anne and her husband are returning to Buckingham Palace after an evening at a charity film screening, their limousine is cut off by a white Ford Escort. The driver of the Escort, Ian Ball, gets out and charges the stopped limousine. He is holding two handguns. Inspector James Wallace Beaton, the Scotland Yard bodyguard assigned to Princess Anne that evening, steps out of the limo to meet Ball, who shoots him in the shoulder. Beaton attempts to return fire, squeezing off one badly aimed shot before his own gun jams.

When Ball turns his attention to the rear door of the limo, Princess Anne’s lady-in-waiting exits the other side, giving Beaton an opportunity to re-enter the limo and place himself between Ball and the royal couple. Ball shoots into the car, but Beaton’s hand deflects the bullet. Ball shoots a third time, further wounding Beaton and forcing him back out of the limo.

When the chauffeur steps out to confront the gunman, Ball shoots him in the chest, then pulls the rear door open and demands Princess Anne to come with him. She refuses. Ball grabs her forearm as Anne’s husband grabs her waist. Her dress splits down the back during the struggle, but she remains in the limo, telling Ball it’s “not bloody likely” that she’ll go with him.

Patrolling nearby, Constable Michael Hills hears the struggle and assumes it’s over a car accident. When he approaches and touches Ball on the shoulder, Ball turns and shoots him in the stomach. Hills is able to radio his station before collapsing. Ex-boxer Ronald Russell notices the struggle while driving by. He pulls over and approaches on foot after seeing Ball shoot Hills.

Meanwhile, another motorist parks in front of Ball’s Escort to prevent him from escaping by car, and a journalist attempts to talk Ball into putting his guns down. Ball shoots him and turns back to the limo, failing to see Russell approaching from behind. Russell punches Ball in the back of the head, distracting him enough for Princess Anne to open the door on the opposite side and push herself backward out of the limo. It is a calculated move to bait Ball, who runs toward that side of the limo. As he does so, she jumps back into the limo, giving Russell the opportunity to punch Ball again — this time in the face.

As more police officers approach, Anne notices Ball becoming nervous, and encourages him to run away. He does so, only to be caught by Peter Edmonds, another constable who is responding to Hills’ radio call. When Edmonds sees the gunman running through St. James Park, he throws his coat over Ball’s head, tackles him, and arrests him.

Ball is found to be a mentally ill, unemployed laborer who had rented the Escort under a different name. Inside it are two pairs of handcuffs, Valium tranquilizers, and a ransom letter addressed to the Queen, demanding she personally deliver £2 million — in 20 suitcases filled with £5 sterling notes — to a plane bound for Switzerland. Ball will appear in court on April 4, stating he did what he did in order to draw attention to the lack of mental health facilities under the National Health Service. He will plead guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping, and be sentenced to life in a mental health facility. All of the shooting victims will live and the Queen will bestow awards on all who attempted to intervene in the kidnapping attempt.

1985: Libby Riddles wins the Iditarod, the first woman to do so. (This is notable, as it’s usually dogs who win.)

1995: Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo carries out a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, killing 13 people and wounding more than 6200.

1999: Legoland California opens in Carlsbad.

2015: A solar eclipse, equinox, and Supermoon occur on the same day.

On March 21,

630: Emperor Heraclius returns the True Cross to Jerusalem.

1282: Dafyyd ap Gruffydd attacks Hawarden Castle to begin the Second Welsh War. (King Edward I was so outraged at this act of rebellion, he tweeted the Welsh phrase, “Dafuqq izzuyp widdat?”)

1788: A fire destroys 856 of the 1100 structures in New Orleans.

1925: Tennessee’s Butler Act prohibits public schools from denying creationism with the teaching of evolution, setting the stage for the famous Scopes Trial later that year. The Act will be repealed in 1967.

1928: Charles Lindbergh receives the Medal of Honor for having made the first solo flight across the Atlantic.

1952: The first rock and roll concert, called the Moondog Coronation Ball, takes place in Cleveland, Ohio. Counterfeiting and a printing error result in 20,000 people attempting to enter the Cleveland Arena — almost twice its capacity. Fire authorities shut down the concert after the first song.

1960: Police in Sharpeville, South Africa open fire on black anti-apartheid demonstrators, killing 69 and wounding 180.

1965: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leads 3200 participants in the third civil rights march, from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

1970: San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto issues the first Earth Day proclamation.

1980: Jimmy Carter announces a U.S. boycott of the Summer Olympics, to be held in Moscow, to protest the Soviet-Afghan War.

1986: Debi Thomas is the first African American to win the World Figure Skating Championships.

1990: Namibia becomes independent from South Africa after 75 years.

1999: Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones are the first people to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon.

2006: Twitter is founded. (#history #horriblegrammarbegins #bringbackcapitalizationandpunctuation)

2009: Having committed a series of violent rapes, convicted felon and parole violator Lovelle Mixon shoots and kills two police officers during a routine traffic stop in Oakland, California. He escapes on foot to his sister’s apartment, then shoots and kills two SWAT team officers during the ensuing stand-off. The other officers return fire, killing Mixon.

On March 22,

1508: Ferdinand II of Aragon appoints Amerigo Vespucci as the Spanish Empire’s chief navigator. (Waze is more reliable.)

1621: The Plymouth Colony Pilgrims sign a peace treaty with Massasoit and the Wampanoags.

1622: Unarmed warriors of the Powhatan, aka Algonquian, tribe enter English settlers’ homes in and around Jamestown, Virginia, under the guise of trading provisions. They grab whatever tools or weapons they can find and kill any settlers in sight, resulting in the deaths of 347 — about a third of the colony’s population. Known as the Jamestown Massacre, the attack precipitates the Second Anglo-Powhatan War.

1630: The Massachusetts Bay Colony outlaws the possession of gambling paraphernalia such as cards and dice. (The leaders had a bet over whether it would help.)

1765: The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act, imposing direct taxes on the American colonies to fund British troops stationed there for the French and Indian War. This will greatly raise the colonists’ dissent over taxation without representation, pushing them toward eventually declaring independence.

1871: North Carolina Governor William Woods Holden is convicted and leaves office, having been impeached in December. He is the first U.S. governor to be removed by impeachment. His offenses involved having overstepped his bounds in order to combat Ku Klux Klan activity in the state.

1872: Illinois is the first state to require gender equality in employment.

1873: Spain abolishes slavery in Puerto Rico.

1916: Yuan Shikai, the last Emperor of China, abdicates the throne. (I would never abdicate my throne; in fact, I’m posting from it now.)

1960: Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow receive the first patent for a laser. (Too bad they didn’t put the frickin’ thing on a shark’s head.)

1972: In Eisenstadt v Baird, The Supreme Court rules that unmarried persons have the same right as married couples to possess contraceptives, striking down a Massachusetts law prohibiting the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people. After lectures on birth control and population control at Boston University, William Baird had handed a condom and a package of contraceptive foam to a 19-year-old woman, resulting in him being charged with a felony.

1978: Karl Wallenda dies after falling off a tight rope suspended between two San Juan hotels.

1993: Intel ships the first Pentium chips, featuring a clock speed of 60 MHz.

1995: Having spent a record 438 days in space, Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov returns to earth.

1997: At 14 years and 9 months, Tara Lipinski becomes the youngest winner of the women’s World Figure Skating Championship.

2019: Special Investigator Robert Mueller delivers his report on the Russian government’s influence on the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

On March 23,

1775: Patrick Henry delivers his famous line — “Give me liberty, or give me death!” — during a speech at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia. (He eventually received both, albeit via separate deliveries.)

1801: Tsar Paul I of Russia is struck with a sword, then strangled, and finally trampled to death by drunken conspirators in his bedroom at St. Michael’s Castle. Court Physician James Wylie declares apoplexy to be his cause of death.

1806: Having reached the Pacific Ocean, Lewis and Clark begin their trip home. (Forrest Gump will do the same thing, decades later.)

1857: Elisha Otis’ first elevator is installed, at 488 Broadway in NYC. (His career was up and down after that.)

1909: Theodore Roosevelt sets out after his presidency for an African safari, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society.

1933: The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act of 1933, effectively making Hitler dictator.

1950: “Beat the Clock” premieres on CBS, one of many Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions game shows over the years — their first having been “Winner Take All” in 1948 and possibly their most well-known being “The Price is Right.” (Calm down, I said “possibly.”)

1965: NASA launches Gemini 3, the first two-man space flight for the U.S.

1977: British journalist David Frost records the first of 12 Nixon Interviews over four weeks, speaking to former U.S. President Richard Nixon about the Watergate scandal.

1983: U.S. President Ronald Reagan makes his first proposal to develop missile-interception technology, aka the Strategic Defense Initiative. Senator Ted Kennedy will give the program the nickname “Star Wars.” (Ironically, Kennedy was known as a Pants-down Menace.)

1994: Mario Aburto Martinez assassinates Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio at an election rally in Tijuana.

1996: Taiwan holds its first direct elections, making Lee Teng-hui president.

1999: Gunmen assassinate Paraguay’s vice president, Luis María Argaña.

2001: Russian space station Mir breaks up in the atmosphere and falls into the Pacific Ocean, near Fiji. (Calm down, it was intentional.)

2003: The first major conflict of the invasion of Iraq, the Battle of Nasiriyah, takes place.

2019: The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces declares military victory over ISIL after four years of fighting. Seven months later, U.S. President Donald Trump will squander the victory by abruptly pulling U.S. troops from northern Syria, abandoning our Kurdish allies to invading Turkish troops and allowing many ISIS prisoners to escape from the prisons there.

On March 24,

1199: England’s King Richard I is wounded by a crossbow bolt to his shoulder during a battle in France. The wound will turn gangrenous, leading to his death nearly two weeks later. (Whereupon his successor will shout, “A hearse! A hearse! My kingdom for a hearse!”)

1721: Bach dedicates six concertos to Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt; they will come to be known as the Brandenburg Concertos.

1832: Incensed over Mormon leader Joseph Smith’s political power and his United Order communalism, an Ohio mob beats Smith and fellow Mormon leader Sidney Rigdon unconscious, tar and feather them, and leave them for dead. (Spoiler alert — they weren’t.)

1854: Slavery is abolished in Venezuela.

1900: New York City Mayor Robert Van Wick breaks ground for a new underground “Rapid Transit Railroad” linking Manhattan to Brooklyn.

1921: The 1921 Women’s Olympiad opens in Monte Carlo; it is the first international women’s sporting event.

1944: 76 Allied POWs begin breaking out of Stalag Luft III in Germany. (I heard that escape was great.)

1958: Elvis Presley is drafted into the U.S. Army.

1989: The Exxon Valdez runs aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, spilling 240,000 barrels of crude oil.

1998: Two students, aged 11 and 13, open fire at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, killing five and wounding ten students and teachers. They will be released after spending nine and seven years in prison, respectively.

1999: NATO begins attacks on Yugoslavia without approval of the UN Security Council, marking the first time NATO attacks a sovereign country.

On March 25,

1306: Robert the Bruce becomes King of Scots. (I wonder when Scot the Robert became King of Bruces.)

1584: Sir Walter Raleigh receives a patent to colonize Virginia. (Why a patent? Did he invent the colony?)

1655: Christiaan Huygens discovers Titan, the largest of Saturn’s moons.

1807: Parliament makes the Slave Trade Act law, abolishing slave trade in the British Empire.

1811: Oxford expels Percy Bysshe Shelley for publishing the pamphlet, “The Necessity of Atheism.”

1911: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire kills 146 workers. It is the deadliest industrial disaster in New York City, and one of the deadliest in the U.S.

1931: A white woman falsely accuses “The Scottsboro Boys” — nine African-American teenagers — of rape, and they are arrested and soon convicted, despite there being medical evidence to suggest they had not committed the crime. The accusations came after a group of white teenagers tried to force the men off a train, but the men defended themselves, so the white teenagers told a sheriff they had been attacked. After multiple retrials, three of the accused will still be sentenced to prison, and one will be disabled after being shot while in transport to prison.

1957: U.S. Customs seizes 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” when it is imported from a London printer, on charges of obscenity.

1965: Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists complete their four-day, 50-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono, honeymooning at the Amsterdam Hilton, begin their first Bed-In for Peace.

1975: King Faisal of Saudi Arabia is assassinated by his mentally ill nephew.

1979: Space Shuttle Columbia, the first fully functional orbiter in the program, is delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center in preparation for its first launch.

On March 26,

1484: William Caxton, the first English retailer of printed books and the man thought to have introduced the printing press to England, prints his translation of “Aesop’s Fables.”

1812: Reacting to the February 11 corrupt electoral redistricting under Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry, a political cartoon in the Boston Gazette uses the term “Gerry-mander” in reference to a salamander-shaped district. The term will stick in the general lexicon.

1830: The Book of Mormon is published in Palmyra, New York. (Great play!)

1915: The Stanley Cup Finals become the first championship played between the Pacific Coast Hockey Association and the National Hockey Association. The winners are the Vancouver Millionaires. (Were they even trying to hide the true motivation of national sports teams?)

1945: American forces officially secure the island of Iwo Jima, ending the battle that had been ongoing since February 19.

1958: The U.S. Army launches Explorer 3.

1967: Ten thousand people gather at NYC’s Central Park for a “be-in.”

1975: The Biological Weapons Convention comes into force.

1979: Jimmy Carter, Anwar al-Sadat, and Menacham Begin sign the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.

1982: Ground is broken for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

1997: Police discover 39 bodies in a house in Rancho Santa Fe, California. The bodies are those of the Heaven’s Gate cult members who had committed mass suicide.

2017: Anti-corruption protests take place in 99 Russian cities. (Spoiler alert: Corruption doesn’t stop.)

On March 27,

1513: On his first journey to Florida, Ponce de León reaches the northern end of The Bahamas. (He lets a street vendor braid his hair with beads to mark the occasion.)

1794: Congress authorizes the building of the first six frigates of the U.S. Navy, for a cost of $688,889.

1836: The Mexican Army, under the orders of General Antonio López de Santa Anna, massacres 342 Texas POWs.

1866: U.S. President Andrew Johnson vetoes the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which would affirm equal protection for all citizens. Congress will override his veto.

1915: Public health authorities forcibly isolate Mary Mallon, aka Typhoid Mary, for the second time. She is confined to a clinic on North Brother Island in New York City, where she will remain isolated under quarantine until her death in 1938. Mallon never accepted that she was carrying typhoid fever, she refused for years to stop working as a cook, she did not understand the purpose of washing her hands, and she refused to have her gallbladder removed as her likely source of live typhoid bacteria. She was originally quarantined from 1907-1910 before agreeing to give up her job as a cook and take steps to stop spreading the disease upon her release. She eventually changed her name and went back to cooking, causing further outbreaks at every kitchen where she worked. She is estimated by some to have caused 50 deaths. A post-mortem examination will find evidence of live typhoid bacteria in her gallbladder. (If she were around today, I bet she’d be going to spring break in Florida.)

1964: The Good Friday earthquake, the most powerful earthquake recorded in North American history at 9.2 magnitude, kills 125 people and inflicts massive damage on Anchorage, Alaska.

1980: After the Hunt Brothers try to corner the market, silver prices fall steeply, leading to panic on commodity and futures exchanges. The day comes to be known as Silver Thursday.

1981: At least 12 million Polish workers walk off their jobs for four hours as a warning strike in Poland’s Solidarity movement.

1998: The FDA approves Viagra as a treatment for male impotence; it is the first pill approved for such in the U.S. (Men of a certain age rejoice. Their partners do not.)

On March 28,

193: Praetorian Guards assassinate Roman Emperor Pertinax, then auction his throne to Didius Julianus. (Not the physical seat, mind you, but the position. They sell the Roman Emperor job at an auction. These guys were the first Rod Blagojevichs.)

1802: Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus Olbers discovers 2 Pallas, the second asteroid ever discovered.

1842: The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra holds its first concert, conducted by Otto Nicolai.

1910: Taking off from a water runway near Martigues, France in the Fabre Hydravion, Henri Fabre becomes the first person to fly a seaplane.

1939: Generalissimo Francisco Franco conquers Madrid after a three-year siege.

1959: The State Council of the People’s Republic of China dissolves the government of Tibet.

1979: A coolant leak leads to the core overheating at Three Mile Island’s Unit 2 nuclear reactor, in turn causing a partial meltdown.

1984: Around 10:00 p.m., 15 Indiana-based moving trucks begin arriving at the Baltimore Colts’ facility. That night, under threat of being seized by the State of Maryland the next day under an expected eminent domain bill, the Colts pack up and leave the city in secrecy. Each truck takes a different route for fear of being seized by Maryland state troopers. They head to Indiana, where that state’s troopers escort them to the team’s new home, Indianapolis. The next day, the Maryland House of Delegates will indeed pass the eminent domain bill, but the team will already be gone.

1990: U.S. President George H.W. Bush posthumously awards the Congressional Gold Medal to Jesse Owens.

On March 29,

845: Viking raiders, most likely under Ragnar Lodbrok, sack Paris. Lodbrok will collect a huge ransom for leaving. (My parents felt the same way about me.)

1806: Construction is authorized for the Great National Pike, aka the Cumberland Road, a 620-mile road connecting the Potomac and Ohio Rivers. It is the first federal highway in the U.S., and will become the second U.S. road surfaced via the macadam process.

1865: Federal forces under Major General Philip Sheridan flank Confederates under Robert E. Lee at the start of the Appomattox Campaign.

1871: Queen Victoria opens the Royal Albert Hall. (Now they know how many holes it takes to fill it.)

1886: Pharmacist John Pemberton brews the first batch of Coca-Cola, in an Atlanta backyard.

1927: At Daytona Beach, Florida, Henry Segrave drives the Sunbeam 1000hp to a new land speed record of 203.79 mph.

1936: Hitler receives 99% of the votes in a referendum to ratify Germany’s remilitarization and reoccupation of the Rhineland, which will violate the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Treaties.

1951: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage.

1961: The U.S. ratifies the 23rd Amendment, allowing residents of Washington, D.C., to vote in presidential elections.

1971: Lieutenant William Calley is convicted of premeditated murder for having killed 22 villagers during the My Lai Massacre. He is sentenced to life in prison, but will serve only three and a half years under house arrest.

1973: The last U.S. soldiers leave South Vietnam.

1974: Mariner 10 is the first space probe to fly by Mercury.

1999: At the height of the dot-com bubble, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above the 10,000 mark for the first time.

2014: The first same-sex marriages are performed in England and Wales.

2017: The UK begins the formal Brexit process by invoking Article 50.

On March 30,

1282: The people of Sicily rebel against the French-born king, Charles I. This is the start of the War of the Sicilian Vespers.

1699: Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founds the Khalsa, a special group of Sikh warriors, in Anandpur Sahib, Punjab.

1822: The Florida Territory is created in the U.S. (Florida Man celebrates hard.)

1842: Dr. Crawford Long uses ether as surgery anesthesia for the first time.

1855: Missouri “Border Ruffians” invade Kansas and force election of a pro-slavery legislature.

1861: Sir William Crookes announces his discovery of thallium. (At first I laughed at the thought of having that mediocre claim to fame. Then I asked myself what my claim to fame is.)

1867: U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward purchases Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million — about two cents an acre.

1870: The U.S. re-admits the State of Texas following Reconstruction. (Turns out, Mexico wouldn’t take it back.)

1965: A car bomb explodes in front of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, killing 22 and wounding 183.

1981: John Hinckley, Jr. attempts to assassinate U.S. President Ronald Reagan, shooting him in the chest via ricochet and wounding three others — police officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy, and Press Secretary James Brady. The .22-caliber bullet hits Reagan’s left lung on ricochet, just missing his heart. Unaware of his injury, Reagan is shoved into his limo and rushed to a hospital. At age 70, he walks into the hospital under his own power, collapsed lung notwithstanding. He is in good spirits while prepping for surgery, telling wife Nancy, “Honey, I forgot to duck” and saying to his surgeons, “Please tell me you’re Republicans.” He is listed in stable, good condition after the two-hour surgery. Delahanty and McCarthy will recover; however Brady’s critical injuries leave him permanently disabled. When he dies 33 years later, his death will be ruled a homicide. Hinckley, who planned the assassination as a love offering to actress Jodie Foster, will be ruled not guilty by reason of insanity; he will be remanded to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. This will lead to widespread discontent and state revisions of insanity defense laws, not to mention the Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984. Hinckley will not be charged with Brady’s homicide due to the previous verdict. In 1999, he will begin a series of supervised visits with his parents off the hospital grounds. His privileges will expand, eventually allowing him multiple lengthy visits to his parents’ home in Williamsburg, Virginia. In March 2011, a forensic psychologist will testify that he has recovered to the point where he no longer poses a risk. He will be released conditionally in July 2016, staying with his then-90-year-old mother under strict provisions. In November 2018, a judge will rule he can move out and live on his own in an approved location. In September 2019, his attorney will announce the intent to ask for full, undconditional release from the court orders determining where he can live.

2017: SpaceX conducts the world’s first reflight of an orbital class rocket.

On March 31,

1146: Bernard of Clairvaux gives what is considered the most powerful speech of his life in a sermon recruiting for the Second Crusade. King Louis VII of France hears the sermon and joins the crusade. (Weird bit of trivia about Bernard, who later became a saint — there are legends about him having received lactation from the Virgin Mary. It’s said the milk either gave him wisdom, proved Mary was his mother, or cured an eye infection. This is known as the Lactation of St Bernard, and it has been depicted in numerous works of art. Oftentimes, the artwork shows him kneeling before Mary, who has been nursing the Baby Jesus. She has interrupted her son’s dinner to squeeze her breast and shoot a stream of milk several feet toward Bernard’s face. In some versions, it goes into his mouth. In others, it hits him in the eye, curing the aforementioned infection. This is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever learned. I couldn’t not share it.)

1492: Queen Isabella issues the Alhambra Decree, ordering her 150,000 Jewish and Muslim subjects to convert to Christianity or be expelled.

1774: The Parliament of Great Britain enacts the Boston Port Act, ordering the port of Boston closed among other punishments for the Boston Tea Party.

1889: Engineer Gustave Eiffel celebrates the completion of the main structural work on the Eiffel Tower by leading a group of government officials and journalists to the top of the tower. This is the official opening of the tower, though it won’t be open to the public until May 6. The lifts will not be completed for another 20 days after that. This means the initial March 31 group has to make the ascent by foot, climbing 1710 steps to the top of the 1063-foot-tall tower. The climb takes more than an hour, and most of the party stops at lower levels. (I’m not impressed by the people who walked up on this date; the group that impresses me is the first group to trust the newly installed lifts to safely take them to the top on May 26. I’ve seen Superman II.)

1906: The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States is established to govern college sports in the U.S. It will later change its name to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. (Hmm, why does that name seem so familiar at this time of year? For some reason, I can’t quite place it….)

1917: The U.S. purchases the Danish West Indies from Denmark for $25 million, renaming the territory the United States Virgin Islands.

1918: Daylight saving time goes into effect for the first time in the U.S. (A pox on those who made it so.)

1930: The Motion Picture Production Code, aka the Hays Code, goes into effect as a means of controlling the treatment of sex, crime, religion, and violence in movies. It will stay in effect until 1968. (Is that when they started to allow more religion in movies?)

1931: Notre Dame head football coach Knute Rockne is killed, along with seven others, when their airliner crashes near Bazaar, Kansas.

1933: The Civilian Conservation Corps is established in the U.S. to relieve rampant unemployment.

1945: A defecting German pilot delivers a Messerschmitt Me 262A-1, the world’s first jet-powered fighter, to American forces.

1951: Remington Rand delivers the first UNIVAC I computer to the U.S. Census Bureau.

1959: The 14th Dalai Lama receives political asylum as he crosses the border into India.

1966: The Soviet Union launches Luna 10, which will be the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.

1970: After 12 years in orbit, Explorer 1 re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.

1985: The first WrestleMania takes place, in Madison Square Garden.

1992: The USS Missouri, the last active U.S. Navy battleship, is decommissioned.

On April 1,

528: The unnamed daughter of Emperor Xiaoming becomes emperor — not empress — for a day. The 18-year-old Xiaoming had angered his powerful mother, Empress Dowager Hu, by conspiring against: her; her lover, Zheng Yan; and Zheng’s associate, Xu Ge. Xiaoming had rethought his conspiracy, but not before word of it got back to Empress Dowager Hu. Zheng and Xu had advised her to have Xiaoming poisoned, which she did. Meanwhile, she had ordered a general pardon for Xiaoming’s bastard “son” — secretly his daughter by his favorite concubine. Empress Dowager Hu names the daughter as male emperor before recanting the next day and admitting her deception. She will then name Yuan Zhao to succeed Xiaoming, which will inspire General Erzhu Rong to overthrow them and name Yuan Ziyou emperor before ordering Yuan Zhao Empress Dowager Hu to be thrown into the Yellow River to drown. (Somewhere amidst all of this intrigue, an infant was the first female monarch in China’s history. For less than 24 hours. Before being deposed. I’m pretty sure this was the plot of 4-5 seasons of “Days of our Lives” back in the 80s….)

1293: Robert Winchelsey departs England for Rome, en route to being consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury.

1789: The U.S. House of Representatives has its first quorum, electing Pennsylvania’s Frederick Muhlenberg as the first Speaker of the House.

1826: Samuel Morey receives a patent for his compressionless “Gas or Vapor Engine.”

1873: In one of the worst maritime disasters of the 19th century, the RMS Atlantic sinks off Nova Scotia, claiming 547 lives.

1891: The Wrigley Company is founded in Chicago.

1893: The U.S. Navy establishes the Chief Petty Officer rank.

1918: The Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service merge to form the Royal Air Force.

1924: Hitler is sentenced to five years in prison for his participation in the Beer Hall Putsch; he will serve only nine months of his sentence.

1924: The Royal Canadian Air Force is formed.

1933: Recently elected Nazis under Julius Streicher organize a one-day boycott of Jewish-owned businesses in Germany, ushering in an era of anti-Semitic acts there.

1937: The Royal New Zealand Air Force is formed.

1949: After seven years, Canada repeals Japanese-Canadian internment.

1954: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorizes the creation of the U.S. Air Force Academy. (April 1 apparently is a big day for air forces.)

1960: The TIROS-1 satellite transmits the first television picture from space.

1969: The Hawker Siddeley Harrier enters service with the Royal Air Force; it is the first fighter aircraft with vertical/short takeoff and landing abilities.

1970: U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, banning cigarette commercials on TV and radio and requiring warnings from the Surgeon General on tobacco products, effective January 1, 1971.

Elsewhere, the AMC Gremlin is released in North America in an effort to compete with imported cars. (Narrator: “It didn’t.”)

1976: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne form Apple Inc. in Cupertino, California.

1979: Iran officially overthrows the Shah when it becomes an Islamic republic by a 99% vote.

1997: Having been discovered less than two years before, Comet Hale-Bopp passes perihelion — its closest point to our sun — and is at its brightest visibility.

2001: Former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milošević surrenders to police special forces, to be tried for war crimes.

2004: Google announces Gmail to the public.

On April 2,

1513: Ponce de León first spots land in what will become Florida.

1792: The Coinage Act establishes the United States Mint. (It was a Life Saver.)

1800: Beethoven’s First Symphony premieres in Vienna.

1863: The largest of multiple Southern bread riots occurs, in Richmond, Virginia.

1865: The Army of Northern Virginia and the Confederate government abandon Richmond after their defeat in the Third Battle of Petersburg. Robert E. Lee will surrender a week later.

1902: The United States’ first full-time movie theater, called Electric Theatre, opens in Los Angeles.

1912: The Titanic begins her sea trials. (Too bad they found her not guilty.)

1917: Woodrow Wilson asks Congress to declare war on Germany.

1956: “As the World Turns” and “The Edge of Night” premiere on CBS; they are the first daytime dramas in 30-minute format.

1972: Having been labeled a communist in the late 1940s and having had his re-entry permit revoked the day after boarding the RMS Queen Elizabeth in September 1952, Charlie Chaplin returns to the U.S. after two decades to receive an Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. At the ceremony, he will receive a 12-minute standing ovation, the longest in Academy history.

1973: LexisNexis launches its computerized legal research service.

1979: A Soviet lab researching bio-warfare in Sverdlovsk accidentally releases airborne anthrax spores, killing 66 people and an uncounted amount of livestock.

1982: Argentina invades the Falklands.

1986: Alabama Governor and former segregationist George Wallace announces that he will not seek a fifth term, intending to retire from public service in January 1987.

1992: Mafia boss John Gotti is convicted of murder and racketeering, later to be sentenced to life in prison.

2006: More than 60 tornadoes break out in the U.S., hitting Tennessee the hardest and killing 29 people there.

2012: A mass shooting leaves seven people dead and three injured at Oikos University in California.

2014: A spree shooting leaves four people dead and 16 injured at the Fort Hood army base in Texas.

2015: Gunmen claiming to represent Al-Shabaab storm Garissa University College, in Kenya, first taking 700 students hostage before freeing Muslims and killing Christians. They kill 148 people and injure 79.

2015: Burglars steal up to £200 million in items from an underground safe deposit facility in the Hatton Garden area of London; it is the largest burglary in English history.

On April 3,

801: After a siege of several months, King Louis the Pious captures Barcelona from the Moors. (Or was it the Moops?)

1043: Edward the Confessor becomes King of England.

1860: The first successful Pony Express run begins, with the rider leaving St. Joseph, Missouri with letters bound for Sacramento, California.

1865: Union forces capture the Confederate capital — Richmond, Virginia.

1882: Robert Ford shoots and kills Jesse James, his gang leader, to collect the reward.

1885: Gottlieb Daimler receives a German patent for his engine design.

1888: In the Whitechapel district of East London, unknown assailants assault and rob prostitute Emma Smith, who will die the next day of peritonitis due to the nature of the attack — a blunt object inserted into her vagina, rupturing her peritoneum. This will be the first of 11 brutal murders committed in that district between April 3, 1988 and February 13, 1891. They will come to be known as the Whitechapel murders, and attributed to Jack the Ripper.

1895: The trial begins in Oscar Wilde’s libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of Wilde’s friend and lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. Queensberry had publicly accused Wilde of sodomy. The trial will soon unearth evidence resulting in Wilde’s arrest three days later. The following month, Wilde will be convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years’ hard labour, the maximum penalty. Upon his release in 1897, he will immediately depart for France, not returning to the UK before his death in 1900. He will die in poverty. More than a century after his death, Wilde and approximately 50,000 men will be pardoned for homosexual acts no longer considered offensive under the Alan Turing law contained in the Policing and Crime Act 2017.

1922: Stalin becomes the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. (This won’t end well.)

1933: The Marquis of Clydesdale leads the Houston-Mount Everest Flight Expedition in the first flight over Mount Everest.

1936: Bruno Richard Hauptmann is executed for the kidnapping and death of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., aka the Lindbergh Baby.

1942: Japanese forces begin their assault on U.S. and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula.

1946: Lt. General Masaharu Homma is executed in the Philippines for having led the Bataan Death March.

1948: Harry Truman signs the Marshall Plan, authorizing $5 billion in aid to 16 countries.

1955: The ACLU announces its intent to defend Allen Ginsberg’s book/poem “Howl” against obscenity charges.

1973: Motorola’s Martin Cooper makes a call to Bell Labs’ Joel Engel; it is the first handheld mobile phone call. (Engel replies, “New invention, who dis”)

1974: The 1974 Super Outbreak, the second biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history, begins in the U.S. and Canada. Thirty confirmed F4/F5 tornadoes will occur that night and into the next day, out of 148 total confirmed tornadoes in 13 states and Ontario. The outbreak will cause about $843 million in damage and result in 315 deaths and 5500 injuries.

1975: Bobby Fischer refuses to play chess against Anatoly Karpov, making Karpov the default World Champion.

1981: Osborne Computer Corporation unveils the Osborne 1, the first commercially successful portable microcomputer. It has no on-board battery, but is classified as a portable device because it can be hand-carried. It weighs 24.5 lbs, costs $1795, and has 64KB of memory. (Some of today’s desktop towers weigh one-third of that; should we classify them as portable?)

1989: Ruling on Mississippi Choctaw Band v Holyfield, the SCOTUS upholds the jurisdictional rights of tribal courts under the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

1996: FBI agents arrest suspected “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski at his remote cabin near Lincoln, Montana.

2000: Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson concludes that Microsoft violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act by keeping “an oppressive thumb” on its competitors.

2008: Texas law enforcement cordons off the Yearning for Zion Ranch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, near Eldorado, after someone identifying herself as “Sarah” had called a local domestic violence shelter and claimed to be a 16-year-old victim of physical and sexual abuse at the ranch. The state will eventually take 533 women and children into protective custody amid claims of underaged marriage, bigamy, and other charges.

2010: Apple Inc. releases the first iPad. (Humans never look up again.)

2018: Nasim Najafi Aghdam enters YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California and opens fire on a patio, wounding three people before killing herself.

On April 4,

1460: Basel University, one of the oldest universities in the world and the oldest in Switzerland, is founded.

1581: Francis Drake is knighted for having circumnavigated the globe.

1721: Sir Robert Walpole becomes the first British prime minister.

1768: Philip Astley stages the first modern circus. (And people who were duped into going were referred to as having been “Phil-rolled.”)

1818: Congress adopts a U.S. flag with 13 red and white stripes and 20 white stars on a blue field.

1841: William Henry Harrison dies of pneumonia, becoming the first U.S. President to die in office and setting a record for the briefest administration.

1850: Los Angeles, California is incorporated as a city.

1859: Bryant’s Minstrels debut “Dixie” at the end of a blackface minstrel show they are performing in NYC. (But there’s totally nothing racist about it. Move along. Nothing to see here.)

1865: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln visits Richmond, Virginia the day after Union forces capture it from the Confederacy.

1866: Dmitry Karakozov attempts to shoot Alexander II but a bystander jostles his elbow, thwarting the attempt. He is the first revolutionary to attempt to assassinate a Russian tsar. He will later be executed.

1887: Susanna Salter is elected mayor of Argonia, Kansas and is the first female mayor in the U.S.

1923: Jack, Harry, Albert, and Sam Warner open Warner Bros. Pictures.

1949: NATO is created when twelve nations sign the North Atlantic Treaty.

1964: The Fab Four rule the Fab Five as the Beatles hold all five top spots on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. The songs are, from 1-5: Can’t Buy Me Love; Twist and Shout; She Loves You; I Want to Hold Your Hand; and Please Please Me.

1968: James Earl Ray assassinates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

1968: NASA launches Apollo 6.

1969: Dr. Denton Cooley implants the first temporary artificial heart. The patient, Haskel Karp, will live for 65 hours.

1973: The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are officially dedicated in NYC.

1973: The “Hanoi Taxi” Lockheed C-141 Starlifter makes the last flight of Operation Homecoming, during which operation it has returned 591 American POWs from Vietnam following the Paris Peace Accords.

1975: Bill Gates and Paul Allen found Microsoft as a partnership in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

1983: Space Shuttle Challenger makes its first voyage into space.

1984: U.S. President Ronald Reagan calls for an international ban on chemical weapons.

1994: Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark found Netscape Communications Corporation under the name Mosaic Communications Corporation. (Zoomers, Netscape Navigator was your parents’ browser. If it still is, please stage an intervention.)

On April 5,

1242: Russian forces rebuff an invasion attempt by Teutonic Knights in a battle fought primarily on a frozen lake — Preibus — which earned it the name of “The Battle on the Ice.” (Sounds more like a Stanley Cup game to me.)

1566: Two hundred Dutch noblemen denounce the Spanish Inquisition in the Seventeen Provinces via the Petition of Compromise.

1614: Pocahontas marries John Rolfe in Virginia.

1621: The Mayflower departs Plymouth, Massachusetts for England.

1722: Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen discovers Easter Island.

1792: President George Washington vetoes a bill, the first time the power is used in the U.S.

1862: The Battle of Yorktown begins. (Note: This is in the Civil War, not the American Revolution.)

1900: Archaeologists in Crete discover a set of clay tablets with hieroglyphics written in a script they call Linear B.

1933: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs two executive orders, one establishing the Civilian Conservation Corps and the other forbidding the hoarding of gold. (I wonder if he ever had to sign one forbidding the hoarding of toilet paper.)

1936: An F5 tornado kills 233 people in Tupelo, Mississippi.

1949: A hospital fire in Effingham, Illinois, kills 77, leading to nationwide fire code improvements.

1951: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are sentenced to death for espionage against the U.S.

1969: Massive antiwar demonstrations occur across the U.S.

1977: In Rosebud Sioux v Kneip, the SCOTUS rules that legislation diminishing the size of the Sioux people’s reservation, destroyed the tribe’s jurisdictional authority over the area.

1991: A commuter airliner crashes in Brunswick, Georgia, killing U.S. Senator John Tower, astronaut Sonny Carter, and 21 others aboard.

1992: Two peace protesters become the first casualties of the Bosnian War when they are killed on the Vrbanja Bridge in Sarajevo.

1998: The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge opens in Japan with the longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world — 1.237 miles.

On April 6,

1199: Following the removal of an arrow from his shoulder, Richard I dies of an infection. (If only he’d had access to a course of antibiotics, he might have yelled, “A course! A course! My kingdom for a course!”)

1652: Dutch sailor Jan van Riebeeck establishes a resupply camp at the Cape of Good Hope; it eventually becomes Cape Town.

1712: The New York Slave Revolt of 1712 occurs as more than 20 black slaves set fire to a building on Maiden Lane, then attack the white colonists who come to put out the fire. Using guns, hatchets, and swords, the slaves kill nine colonists and injure six more before running off. The colonists will retaliate by arresting 70 black people. Of these, 27 will be put on trial and 21 will be convicted and sentenced to death, including a pregnant woman. Twenty of them will be burned alive and one will be executed via Catherine Wheel. (If you don’t know what that is, do yourself a favor and avoid looking it up. Spoiler alert: it’s also known as a breaking wheel. Not exactly an eye for an eye as punishment for shooting someone to death.)

1808: John Jacob Astor incorporates the American Fur Company, which will eventually make him the country’s first millionaire.

1830: Joseph Smith Jr. and others organize the Church of Christ, the original church of the Latter Day Saint movement.

1860: Joseph Smith III and others organize the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

1869: Celluloid is patented.

1888: Thomas Green Clemson dies, bequeathing his estate to the State of South Carolina to establish Clemson Agricultural College.

1893: Wilford Woodruff dedicates the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (Clearly, the Mormons own April 6.)

1896: The first modern Olympic Games opens in Athens, Greece.

1917: The U.S. declares war on Germany.

1926: Varney Airlines, the root of United Airlines, makes its first commercial flight.

1929: The Louisiana House of Representatives impeaches Governor Huey Long after he enrages the state’s oil interests by proposing a five-cent-per-barrel occupational license tax. Long will become ruthless toward his political enemies after the Senate fails to convict him, will become a U.S. Senator in 1932, and will set his sights on the presidency before Dr. Carl Weiss assassinates him by gunshot from four feet away in 1935.

1930: At the end of the Salt March, Gandhi raises a lump of mud and salt and declares, “With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.”

1947: The first Tony Awards are presented for theatrical excellence.

1965: Early Bird, the first commercial communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit, is launched.

1973: Pioneer 11 launches.

1973: Major League Baseball’s American League begins using the designated hitter. (And purists begin losing their minds.)

1974: ABBA wins the Eurovision Song Contest for “Waterloo,” launching their international career.

1992: The Bosnian War begins.

1998: Pakistan tests medium-range nuclear missiles capable of reaching India.

Elsewhere, Travelers Group announces a $76 billion merger between Travelers and Citicorp, which will form Citibank. (I’ve owned multiple Citibank cards in my life. Nowadays, it’s more like they own me.)

2020: Dan Bain proves his consistency by recycling a Richard I joke that was inaccurate to begin with, because it’s actually a reference to Richard III — and he does so within two weeks of the first one.

On April 7,

451: Attila the Hun captures and plunders the town of Metz and attacks other cities in Gaul. (The first week of April seems a little early for the Metz to be eliminated; it usually takes until May to know they won’t be in the pennant race that year.)

529: Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I issues the first draft of the Corpus Juris Civilis, a fundamental work in jurisprudence.

1141: Empress Matilda becomes the first female ruler of England.

1348: Charles University, the oldest university in Central Europe, is founded in Prague.

1724: Bach’s St John Passion, BWV 245, premieres at St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig, Germany.

1788: Pioneers establish Marietta, Ohio as the first permanent American settlement in the Northwest Territory.

1805: Beethoven premieres his Third Symphony, at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna.

1827: English chemist John Walker sells the first friction match, his own invention from the previous year.

1829: Joseph Smith begins translating the Book of Mormon.

1906: Mount Vesuvius erupts, decimating Naples.

1927: The first long-distance television broadcast takes place, sending the image of U.S. Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover from Washington, D.C. to New York City.

1933: Prohibition is repealed in the U.S. for beer of no more than 3.2% alcohol by weight, eight months before the 21st Amendment is ratified and ends Prohibition completely.

1940: Booker T. Washington is depicted on a U.S. postage stamp, the first African American to receive that honor.

1945: During Operation Ten-Go, U.S. aircraft attack and sink the Yamato, the Japanese flagship and one of the two largest battleships ever constructed, while she is en route with nine other warships to a suicide attack on Allied forces fighting the Battle of Okinawa.

1948: The UN establishes the World Health Organization.

1949: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” opens on Broadway, the first of 1925 performances. It will net ten Tony Awards.

1954: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower gives his “domino theory” speech during a press conference.

1955: Winston Churchill resigns as the UK’s Prime Minister.

1964: IBM announces its System/360, a family of mainframe computers.

1964: A bulldozer kills Rev. Bruce W. Klunder when he flings himself behind it and the operator doesn’t see him during a school segregation protest in Cleveland, Ohio. His death sparks a riot.

1965: Representatives of the National Congress of American Indians testify before the Senate on the termination of the Colville tribe.

1969: RFC 1 is published, marking the symbolic birth date of the Internet.

1971: Nixon announces his decision to quicken the pace of Vietnamization, an attempt to end U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War by training and equipping South Vietnamese forces.

1980: The U.S. severs relations with Iran during the ongoing Iran hostage crisis.

1983: During STS-6, Challenger astronauts Story Musgrave and Don Peterson perform the first spacewalk on a Space Shuttle mission.

1990: John Poindexter is found guilty of five charges for his role in the Iran-Contra affair; his conviction will later be reversed on appeal.

2001: Mars Odyssey launches.

2003: U.S. troops capture Baghdad, leading to the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime two days later.

On April 8,

1093: Bishop Walkelin dedicates the new Winchester Cathedral.

1730: The first synagogue in New York City, Shearith Israel, is dedicated.

1820: Yorgos Kentrotas makes a significant discovery in a buried niche within the ancient ruins of Milos — a statue that will come to be known as the Venus de Milo.

1886: British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone introduces the first Irish Home Rule Bill into the House of Commons. (That isn’t very significant, but I wanted to include it because I have a friend from my youth named William Bradley Gladstone, who once wrote a term paper about the aforementioned PM. His title page read, “William E. Gladstone, by William B. Gladstone” — I thought that was pretty clever.)

1904: Manhattan’s Longacre Square is renamed to honor The New York Times, taking the name Times Square.

1906: Auguste Deter dies; he was the first person to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

1913: The 17th Amendment becomes law, requiring direct election of U.S. Senators.

1918: Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin sell war bonds on the streets of NYC’s financial district.

1924: Atatürk’s Reforms abolish Sharia courts in Turkey.

1935: The Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 becomes law, creating the Works Progress Administration.

1943: To check inflation, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt freezes wages and prices, prohibits job changes apart from those that would help the war effort, and bars rate increases by public utilities and common carriers.

1945: Nazis massacre the survivors of the accidental destruction by air raid of a train carrying around 4000 concentration camp internees in Prussian Hanover.

1946: The world’s largest utility, Électricité de France, is formed by the nationalization of multiple electricity producers, transporters, and distributors.

1952: To prevent a steel strike, Harry Truman calls for the seizure of all domestic steel mills.

1959: Grace Hopper meets with a group of computer manufacturers and users to discuss creating a new programming language: COBOL. (That language name probably means nothing to anyone who started programming after the 1980s, but did I hear a collective “Ooooh! Ahhhh!” from the older generations out there?)

1964: NASA conducts the Gemini 1, the first unmanned test flight of the Gemini program.

1968: BOAC Flight 712 catches fire after an engine failure on takeoff. The 707 makes an emergency landing and all but five of the 127 people onboard are saved. One of those five is Barbara Jane Harrison, a stewardess who shepherds passengers to safety, but is finally overcome while trying to save an elderly crippled passenger. She will posthumously receive the George Cross for heroism, becoming one of four women to receive it and the only woman to receive it in peacetime.

1974: Hank Aaron hits his 715th career home run, surpassing Babe Ruth’s record.

1975: Frank Robinson has his first game as manager of the Cleveland Indians; he is the first African American manager in MLB.

1987: L.A. Dodgers executive Al Campanis is fired after having made racially charged remarks about African Americans in sports on Nightline two nights prior. (I hope Frank Robinson gave him hell.)

1992: Arthur Ashe announces he has AIDS, contracted from blood transfusions during one of two heart surgeries.

On April 9,

1585: Sir Walter Raleigh’s expedition leaves England for Roanoke Island, to establish the Roanoke Colony. (It was a lost cause in the end.)

1682: Sieur de La Salle discovers the mouth of the Mississippi River and claims it for France, naming it “Louisiana.”

1860: Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville records himself on his invention, the phonautograph machine. It will become the oldest known recording of an audible human voice. (He probably ran out of recording space after stating his multi-syllabic name.)

1865: Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, ending the Civil War.

1939: Having been denied the right to sing at Constitution Hall, Marian Anderson sings at the Lincoln Memorial.

1945: Nazis execute Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an anti-Nazi dissident and spy.

1947: The Journey of Reconciliation begins; it is the first interracial Freedom Ride. Eight black men and eight white men, all from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) set out to ride buses together throughout the upper South, defying and protesting the segregation of transportation systems.

1957: Egypt’s Suez Canal is cleared and opens to shipping.

1959: NASA announces the selection of the first seven U.S. astronauts, for Project Mercury.

1965: The Astrodome opens as the Yankees and Astros play the first indoor baseball game. (The Yankees lose, which is always a plus.)

1967: The first Boeing 737 makes its maiden flight.

1969: The first British-built Concorde 002 makes its maiden flight.

1991: Georgia declares independence from the Soviet Union.

1992: A Federal Court finds Manuel Noriega guilty of racketeering and drug charges, sentencing him to 30 years in prison.

On April 10,

837: Halley’s Comet makes its closest approach to Earth — 0.0342 astronomical units, or 3.2 million miles. (Whew! Sounds like we dodged a bullet that time, doesn’t it?)

1606: James I of England creates the Virginia Company of London, to establish colonial settlements in North America.

1710: The Parliament of Great Britain passes the Statute of Anne, aka the Copyright Act 1710 — the first law regulating copyright.

1815: Mount Tambora, in the Dutch East Indies, begins an eruption that will last until July 15. It will ultimately kill 71,000 people and cause a volcanic winter event in 1816, resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere.

1865: Robert E. Lee addresses his troops for the final time.

1866: Henry Bergh founds the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, aka ASPCA — the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere.

1872: Nebraska celebrates the first Arbor Day in the United States with the planting of approximately one million trees statewide. (I call shenanigans; I’ve seen Nebraska’s landscape.)

1912: RMS Titanic sets sail from Southampton, England for New York City; she won’t complete the voyage.

1916: The Professional Golfers’ Association of America, aka PGA, is created in NYC.

1925: Scribner publishes “The Great Gatsby.”

1970: Paul McCartney announces that he is leaving The Beatles.

On April 11,

1034: Byzantine Emperor Romanos III Argyros drowns in his bath, allegedly held under the water by some of his retinue on the orders of his wife, Empress Zoë, and her young lover, Michael IV. (Retinue members are notoriously untrustworthy in that way, which is why I never bathe in front of mine.)

1079: Polish King Boleslaw II executes Bishop Stanislaus of Kraków in response to criticism by the bishop, who will later be venerated in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Stanislaus the Martyr. (The criticism was simply, “Boleslaw? More like cole slaw, am I right?”)

1512: French forces under Gaston de Foix win the Battle of Ravenna. (I’m not surprised; after all, no one fights like Gaston….)

1689: William III and Mary II are crowned as joint sovereigns of Great Britain.

1909: The city of Tel Aviv is founded.

1945: Troops from the U.S. 9th Armored Infantry Battalion liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp.

1951: U.S. President Harry Truman relieves General MacArthur of command in Korea.

1951: The Stone of Scone, the traditional coronation stone for Scottish monarchs, is found in Arbroath Abbey in Scotland. It had been stolen from London’s Westminster Abbey three and a half months earlier by Scottish nationalists, and damaged in the process. It will be returned to Westminster soon, and eventually returned to Scotland permanently.

1961: Adolf Eichmann’s war crimes trial begins in Jerusalem.

1968: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting housing discrimination.

1970: Apollo 13 is launched.

1976: The Apple Computer Company releases the Apple Computer, aka the Apple I. (This is probably the only time I’ll ever use the word “Apple” three times in one sentence.)

1979: Ugandan dictator Idi Amin is deposed.

On April 12,

1606: The Union Jack is adopted as the English and Scottish naval flag.

1831: Manchester, England’s Broughton Suspension Bridge collapses as British troops march across it in step, reportedly causing destructive mechanical resonance. As a result, the British Army will issue an order for troops to break step when crossing bridges.

1861: The Confederate States Army bombards Fort Sumter, the Union-held island fortress in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor. Union forces return fire. The American Civil War begins.

1864: Confederate forces under Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest massacre African American Union soldiers who are attempting to surrender at Fort Pillow, Tennessee. The slaughter will become a new rallying cry in the North.

1945: While at his personal retreat in Warm Springs, Georgia, before speaking at the founding conference of the United Nations, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt says his last words, “I have a terrific headache.” He slumps forward in his chair and dies of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Vice President Harry S. Truman is sworn in as President that evening.

1955: Following a year of test results analysis, Dr. Thomas Francis announces that Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine is “safe, effective and potent.” (Note how Eisenhower did not push hydroxychloroquine during this time.)

1961: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space and performs the first manned orbital flight, Vostok 1.

1963: Soviet nucler submarine K-33 collides with Finnish vessel Finnclipper in the Danish straits.

1970: Four days after experiencing a fire onboard, carrying four nuclear torpedoes, Soviet submarine K-8 sinks in the Bay of Biscay.

1981: The first Space Shuttle mission, STS-1, sees the successful launch of the Columbia.

1992: Euro Disney Resort opens its park, Euro Disneyland. The resort and the park will later be renamed Disneyland Paris.

1999: Bill Clinton is cited for contempt of court for having given intentionally false statements in a civil lawsuit; he will later be fined and disbarred. (He is fine with this, as it means he can finally ask out all the hot court clerks he’d encountered.)

On April 13,

1204: Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade temporarily end the Byzantine Empire when they take Constantinople. (But if they’d had dates there, those dates would be waiting in Istanbul.)

1613: Samuel Argall captures Pocahontas and brings her to Henricus as a hostage, to ransom her for English prisoners held by Powhatan.

1742: Handel’s “Messiah” premieres, in Dublin.

1829: Roman Catholics in the UK gain the right to vote and to sit in Parliament. (I bet they sang a portion of “Messiah” then, too.)

1870: The Metropolitan Museum of Art is founded in New York City.

1873: On Easter Sunday, a group of white dissidents in Colfax, Louisiana, murder around 150 black men in response to the contested 1872 gubernatorial election. (I’m thinking they kinda missed the whole message of Christianity on that particular Easter.)

1919: Having spoken out against the draft during World War I, Eugene V. Debs is imprisoned at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary.

1943: On the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth, the Jefferson Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.

1948: Arabs in Sheikh Jarrah ambush and massacre 78 Jewish doctors, nurses, and medical students from Hadassah Hospital.

1953: CIA Director Allen Dulles launches Project MKUltra, a program of sometimes-illegal mind-control experiments on sometimes-unwitting human subjects, that was intended to help develop interrogation drugs and procedures. Methods would include hypnosis, sensory deprivation, secret administration of LSD and other chemicals, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, and additional torture. (Yeah, I got nothin’.)

1960: The U.S. launches the world’s first satellite navigation system, Transit 1-B.

1964: Sydney Poitier is the first African-American man to win Best Actor at the Academy Awards, winning for “Lilies of the Field.”

1970: An oxygen tank explodes aboard the Apollo 13 Service Module, endangering the crew while they are en route to the Moon.

1976: The Treasury Department reintroduces the two-dollar bill as part of the U.S. Bicentennial. It’s still in use today, but rarely seen.

1997: Tiger Woods wins the Masters, the youngest person ever to do so.

On April 14,

70: Future emperor Titus besieges Jerusalem, surrounding the city with four Roman legions.

1561: Nuremberg, Germany experiences a mass sighting of unidentified flying objects, which some modern UFO enthusiasts ascribe to an aerial battle of extraterrestrial origin. Witnesses describe having seen hundreds of objects, of various shapes and sizes, darting about the sky. (Try telling me *those* were just weather balloons, skeptics. It was 15-friggin’-61.)

1775: Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush organize the first abolition society in North America, The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. (You might want to work on that name a little, Benjamins.)

1816: A slave named Bussa leads a rebellion in Barbados and is killed, making him the the first national hero of Barbados.

1828: Noah Webster copyrights his dictionary’s first edition. (Then he looks up the word “copyright.”)

1865: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is shot as part of a larger conspiracy to revive the Confederate cause.

As the President, his wife, and two guests watch the play “Our American Cousin” from a box at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., actor John Wilkes Booth enters the box, waits for the line that he knows will elicit the most audience laughter, and shoots Lincoln in the back of the head with a Derringer as the laughter drowns out the noise of the gunshot. Lincoln’s guest, Major Henry Rathbone, struggles with Booth, who stabs Rathbone in the arm. As Rathbone makes another grab at him, Booth jumps 12 feet to the stage below. He lands awkwardly after his riding spur becomes entangled in the flag decorating the box, breaking his leg. Still, he manages to run across the stage, stab the orchestra leader, and exit through a side door to the alley, where a conspirator has his horse waiting.

Three doctors tend to Lincoln in his box, dislodging clots from his wound to maintain the breathing of the comatose president. Knowing a ride to the White House would be too dangerous, the doctors have Lincoln moved to a house across the street. The Surgeon General and more physicians arrive, but know there is nothing they can do to save the President.

Booth has a rendezvous with conspirator David Herold, who had guided conspirator Lewis Powell to the home of Secretary of State William H. Seward, where Powell’s failed assassination attempt left Seward disfigured. Powell sets out into the night, to eventually be arrested at the home of conspirators John and Mary Surratt. Booth and Herold go to the home of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, who splints Booth’s broken leg and provides him with a pair of crutches. The next day, Booth and Herold will set off again. Mudd will learn of the assassination attempt, but will not report Booth’s visit for another 24 hours, leading to his arrest on charges of conspiracy. There will be an eventual theory that his fate inspired the phrase, “His name is Mudd.”

Booth and Herold will go into hiding for several days while a manhunt ensues, relying on Confederate sympathizers to hide them. On April 24, they will arrive at Richard H. Garrett’s tobacco farm in King George County, Virginia, telling Garrett that Booth is a wounded Confederate soldier. They will hide in his barn for two more days before soldiers from the 16th New York Cavalry arrive, surround the barn, and threaten to set fire to it. Herold will surrender, while Booth refuses. The soldiers will set fire to the barn and Booth will attempt to exit through the back door. Sergeant Boston Corbett will sneak up behind him and shoot him in the back of the head, about an inch below the spot where he had shot Lincoln.

A military tribunal will begin the trial of Mudd and seven conspirators on May 10. The tribunal will find them guilty on June 29. Four of them — Herold, Powell, Mary Surratt, and George Atzerodt, who lost his nerve after Booth assigned him to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson — will be hanged on July 7. Mary Surratt will be the first woman executed by the U.S. government. Mudd and two others will be sentenced to life in prison. The eighth defendant will be sentenced to six years in prison. By-then President Johnson will pardon Mudd in 1869, but doubts will linger about whether he knowingly aided and abetted Booth. John Surratt, who had fled overseas, will be captured in November 1866 and released in 1867 after a jury can’t reach a verdict.

On the night in question, doctors will continue to remove clots from Lincoln’s wound while he hemorrhages. They will work into the next morning to keep him comfortable, but he will never regain consciousness.

At 7:22 a.m. on April 15, Abraham Lincoln — perhaps the greatest U.S. President ever to serve — will die peacefully as his breathing ceases, with no apparent suffering.

1894: The first commercial motion picture house opens in New York City, using ten Kinetoscopes for patrons’ viewing entertainment.

1900: The Paris Exposition begins.

1902: James Cash Penney opens a store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. It is the first JC Penney store.

1906: The Azusa Street Revival opens in L.A., eventually giving Pentecostalism a worldwide boost.

1912: The Titanic hits an iceberg 20 minutes before midnight, to sink the next morning.

1927: The first Volvo car premieres, in Gothenburg, Sweden.

1928: The first successful transatlantic flight from east to west is complete as the Bremen, a German aircraft, reaches Greenly Island, Canada.

1939: Viking Press publishes Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.”

1958: Sputnik 2 falls from orbit after 162 days. It was the first spacecraft to carry a living animal — a dog named Laika. She probably lived only a few hours.  😦

1981: The first operational Space Shuttle, Columbia, completes its first test flight.

1986: A storm unleashes the heaviest hailstones ever recorded, at 2.2 lbs, killing 92 people in the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh.

2003: The Human Genome Project is completed, with 99% of the human genome sequenced to 99.99% accuracy.

2005: The Oregon Supreme Court nullifies marriage licenses issued by Multnomah County to same-sex couples the previous year.

2010: A magnitude 6.9 earthquake occurs in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, killing almost 2700 people.

2014: Boko Haram abducts 276 shoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria. (They then re-record their hit single, “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”)

On April 15,

1450: The French come close to annihilating English forces at the Battle of Formigny, ending English domination in Northern France near the end of the Hundred Years’ War.

1755: Samuel Johnson’s “A Dictionary of the English Language” is published.

1817: Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc found the American School for the Deaf, in Hartford, Connecticut. It is the first American school for deaf students.

1861: Following the attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issues a declaration calling forth 75,000 militia members to serve for three months against the insurrection of the Southern states.

1865: Lincoln dies after having been shot the previous night. Vice President Andrew Johnson becomes President.

1892: General Electric is formed.

1912: The Titanic sinks at 2:20 a.m. Of the 2,227 passengers and crew, 710 survive. (Coulda been 711 if Rose had just shared that damned door with Jack.)

1922: Wyoming Sen. John Kendrick introduces a resolution calling for an investigation of a secret land deal, which will lead to the discovery of the Teapot Dome scandal. The scandal will damage the reputation of the Warren G. Harding administration, and come to be regarded as one of the most sensational scandals in American politics.

1923: Insulin becomes generally available for diabetes patients.

1924: Rand McNally publishes its first road atlas. (Kids, we used to have these things called maps, which we had to use to plan our drives.)

1942: King George VI awards the George Cross to the people and defenders of the island of Malta, for their bravery in the face of an Axis siege. Malta will incorporate a likeness of the George Cross into its flag.

1945: British and Canadian troops liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

1947: Jackie Robinson plays his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the color barrier in baseball.

1960: Ella Baker leads a conference at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina that leads to the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. This committee will become one of the principal organizations of the civil rights movement.

1989: A human crush results in the deaths of 96 people at Hillsborough Stadium in Owlerton, England, during the FA Cup Semifinals.

1989: China’s Tiananmen Square protests begin.

2013: Two IEDs explode at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 264. The FBI will track the homemade pressure cooker bombs to brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, two Islamic extremists.

On April 16,

1780: Franz Friedrich Wilhelm von Fürstenberg founds the University of Münster. (This isn’t the greatest entry for a “Today in History” list, but I liked the names.)

1818: The U.S. establishes a border with Canada as the Senate ratifies the Rush-Bagot Treaty.

1853: India’s first passenger rail opens.

1862: Slavery ends in Washington, D.C., via the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act.

1881: Bat Masterson fights his last gun battle and is arrested, fined, and released in Dodge City, Kansas.

1908: Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument is established.

1910: Boston Arena opens; it will eventually be renamed Matthews Arena, and will become the present day’s oldest indoor ice hockey arena.

1919: Mohandas Gandhi organizes a day of prayer and fasting in response to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, three days prior.

1943: Albert Hofmann discovers LSD’s hallucinogenic effects when he accidentally ingests a small amount; he will deliberately dose himself three days later.

1945: The U.S. Army liberates high-security Nazi POW camp Oflag IV-C, aka Colditz.

1947: After an explosion on a freighter in port in Texas City, Texas, the resulting fire kills nearly 600 people in the city.

1947: Bernard Baruch uses the term “Cold War” for the first time in reference to the U.S.-Soviet Union relationship.

1961: Fidel Castro broadcasts a speech declaring himself a Marxist-Leninist and stating that Cuba will be a Communist nation.

1963: Incarcerated for protesting segregation, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. writes his Letter from Birmingham Jail.

1972: Apollo 16 launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

1990: Dr. Jack Kevorkian provides his first public assisted suicide, to 54-year-old Alzheimer’s patient Janet Adkins. The State of Michigan will drop murder charges against him due to the absence of laws regarding assisted suicide, but it will revoke his medical license the following year. He will assist in the deaths of 130 allegedly terminally ill people from 1990-1998, each time providing a euthanasia device that the patient ultimately activates on their own. Kevorkian will be tried four times between May 1994 and June 1997 for assisting suicides, with three acquittals and one mistrial, before he is convicted in March 1999 of second-degree murder. He will spend eight years in prison before being paroled for good behavior in June 2007.

2007: Seung-Hui Cho engages in a shooting rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech, killing 32 and injuring 17 before taking his own life.

On April 17,

1397: Geoffrey Chaucer tells his Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II. (If he hid something from one tale’s canon inside a separate tale, would that be considered a Canterbury Easter Egg?)

1521: Martin Luther’s trial begins, forcing him to defend his written criticism of orthodox Catholic beliefs. Luther’s defense before the Holy Roman Empire and the Diet of Worms will provide the impetus for the Reformation, dividing Europe into a Protestant region and a Catholic region and setting the scene for more than a century of religious wars there. Historians will describe the trial as having led to the birth of the modern world. (Never mind the preeclampsia.)

1895: China and Japan sign the Treaty of Shimonoseki, ending the First Sino-Japanese War. The Qing Empire renounces its claims on Korea and concedes a portion of Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands to Japan.

1907: The immigration center at Ellis Island sets a record, processing 11,747 people in one day.

1912: Russian troops open fire and kill at least 150 striking goldfield workers in Siberia.

1961: Brigade 2506, a CIA-sponsored group of Cuban exiles, lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba, with the intent of overthrowing Fidel Castro’s government. They will abort the mission in three days.

1969: Sirhan Sirhan is convicted of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

1970: The Apollo 13 returns to Earth safely after its trouble-plagued, mostly aborted mission.

2014: NASA announces that its Kepler telescope has discovered an Earth-sized planet orbiting in the habitable zone of the red dwarf Kepler-186.

On April 18,

1506: The cornerstone is laid for the current St. Peter’s Basilica, in Vatican City.

1521: Martin Luther refuses to recant his teachings during his trial, despite the threat of excommunication.

1738: A decree by Philip V of Spain establishes the Real Academia de la Historia, or Royal Academy of History.

1775: British troops depart Boston by ship for Cambridge and the road to Lexington and Concord, leading Paul Revere and others to issue warnings to colonists throughout the Massachusetts countryside that “The Regulars are coming out.”

1831: The University of Alabama is founded in Tuscaloosa. (That was 189 years ago, so they’ve won roughly 185 Division I football championships since then.)

1899: Queen Victoria grants a royal charter to the St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association.

1902: A severe earthquake kills between 800 and 2000 people in Guatemala.

1906: An extreme earthquake hits San Francisco, starting fires that will last for days and ultimately destroying more than 80 percent of the city and killing close to 3000 people.

1909: The Catholic Church beatifies Joan of Arc. (The Pope celebrates with a stake dinner.)

1923: The original Yankee Stadium opens in the Bronx.

1925: The International Amateur Radio Union is formed in Paris.

1930: The BBC announces in their evening report that “there is no news today” and broadcasts piano music instead. (I’d give anything if every news outlet would do the same today.)

1942: The Doolittle Raid takes place, with U.S. forces bombing Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, and Nagoya.

1943: U.S. fighters conduct Operation Vengeance, a mission to kill Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. The mission culminates with the downing of his transport bomber on Bougainville Island. Yamamoto’s plane crashes in the jungle, where a Japanese search-and-rescue party will find his body the following day.

1946: The International Court of Justice holds its inaugural meeting, in The Hague, Netherlands.

1983: A suicide bomber destroys the U.S. embassy in Beirut, killing 63.

1996: Israel Defense Forces shell the UN compound in Qana, Lebanon, killing at least 106 civilians among the 800 who had taken refuge there.

On April 19,

1506: A group of Catholics and foreign sailors in Lisbon, Portugal conduct a pogrom, torturing and killing hundreds of people accused of being Jews, blaming them for the recent drought, famine, and plague. The incident will come to be known as the Lisbon massacre, or the 1506 Easter slaughter.

1713: With no male heirs to succeed him, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI issues the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, ensuring that his daughter can inherit the Habsburg lands and Austrian throne. The catch? He doesn’t have a daughter, either. His daughter Maria Theresa will be born in 1717, and she will, indeed, ascend to his throne one day. (I wrote this and have proofread it several times, and it still blows my mind.)

1770: Lt. James Cook, who will eventually become captain, sights the eastern coast of Australia from the HMS Endeavour.

1770: Marie Antoinette marries Louis XVI via proxy wedding. (At the reception, did she let them eat cake?)

1775: The “shot heard round the world” occurs, as the Battles of Lexington and Concord commence armed conflict between Great Britain and its American colonies.

1782: The Dutch Republic recognizes the United States as an independent government.

1861: A pro-Secession mob in Baltimore attacks U.S. Army troops marching through the city.

1927: Mae West is sentenced to ten days in prison for obscenity for her play, “Sex.” (Better than being sentenced for her sex play.)

1943: Having accidentally discovered its side effects three days earlier, Albert Hofmann deliberately ingests 250 micrograms of LSD; it is the first intentional acid trip. He will begin to feel its effects as he rides home on a bicycle, and the day will come to be known as “Bicycle Day.” (tl;dr: Dude took a bike trip.)

1956: Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco.

1971: The Soviet Union launches the first space station, Salyut 1, into low Earth orbit.

1971: Charles Manson is sentenced to death for conspiring in the Tate-LaBianca murders; the sentence will later be commuted to life in prison.

1985: Two hundred ATF and FBI agents begin a seige of a white supremacist survivalist compound in Arkansas. The inhabitants — a group calling itself The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord — will surrender two days later.

1987: Audiences meet the Simpson family as the first “Simpsons” short, Good Night, appears on the third episode of The Tracey Ullman Show.

1993: Three fires break out simultaneously at the FBI-besieged Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, killing 76 of the 85 Davidians inside — 18 of them under the age of ten — and ending the 51-day siege.

1995: Partially in retaliation for the Branch Davidian siege, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols commit an act of domestic terrorism, using a truck bomb to attack the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The bomb destroys a third of the building, killing 168 people — 19 of them under the age of six — and injuring more than 680.

2013: Police kill Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerian Tsarnaev during a shoot-out and capture his wounded brother, Dzhokhar, later in the day.

2015: Freddie Gray dies a week after sustaining injuries during his Baltimore PD arrest and transport, leading to citywide protests that will devolve into major riots.

On April 20,

1534: Jacques Cartier sets out on his first voyage to what we know today as the east coast of Canada, Newfoundland, and Labrador.

1535: Residents of Stockholm, Sweden awaken to the sight of bright circles, arcs, and spots in the sky. The residents interpret the appearances as bad omens, indicative of God’s displeasure with King Gustav’s anti-Catholic reformation from the previous decade. In reality, such an appearance is known as a parhelion, aka a sun dog or mock sun — an optical phenomenon caused by the refraction of sunlight by ice crystals in the atmosphere. The Stockholm parhelia are depicted in the painting Vädersolstavlan. (Given that it was 4/20, I would have assumed the sight was due to Stockholm having held a citywide wake-and-bake.)

1657: The Dutch West India Company overrules Peter Stuyvesant’s objections and grants religious freedom to two dozen Jewish refugees in New Amsterdam. The refugees had fled Recife, Holland when the Portuguese conquered it in 1654. Their population will grow, especially after Stuyvesant cedes the territory to the British, who will establish the City of New York there in 1665. More than 1.5 million Jews will eventually inhabit NYC, second only to Tel Aviv, Israel in Jewish population.

1775: Following the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts militia begin the 11-month Siege of Boston, preventing the British Army garrisoned there from advancing over land. The American Revolution begins in earnest.

1861: Robert E. Lee resigns his commission with the U.S. Army, opting instead to command the forces of the state of Virginia. (How’d that work out for ya, Robert?)

1862: Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard disprove the theory of spontaneous generation.

1865: While aboard Pope Pius IX’s yacht, the L’Immaculata Concezion, astronomer Angelo Secchi demonstrates the use of the Secchi disk to measure water clarity. (That’s great and all, but can we go back to that first part? The Pope had a YACHT?!? Doesn’t exactly fit the scheme of a vow of poverty.)

1898: McKinley signs a joint resolution to declare war against Spain, beginning the Spanish-American War.

1902: Marie and Pierre Curie refine radium chloride.

1912: Tiger Stadium and Fenway Park open their doors.

1914: Largely under the orchestration of mine owner John D. Rockefeller, Jr., members of the Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel & Iron Company guards attack a tent colony of 1200 striking coal miners and their families in Ludlow, Colorado. The Ludlow Massacre results in the death of an estimated 21 people, including miners’ wives and children. Over the next 10 days, miners will arm themselves and retaliate against dozens of anti-union establishments along a 40-mile front, resulting in 69-199 deaths throughout what is known as the Colorado Coalfield War. This will become a watershed moment in American labor relations, resulting in a Congressional investigation and the promotion of child labor laws and an eight-hour workday.

1916: The Chicago Cubs play their first home game at Weeghman Park, which will later be renamed Cubs Park and finally Wrigley Field.

1918: Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, claims his final two of 80 victims before dying the next day.

1945: U.S. troops capture Leipzig, Germany, later ceding the city to the Soviet Union.

Elsewhere, Hitler emerges from his bunker for the last time, awarding Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.

Elsewhere, in an effort to cover up medical experiments at Neuengamme concentration camp, SS members under the supervision of Obersturmführer Arnold Strippel murder 20 Jewish children, aged 5-12, in the basement of the Bullenhuser Damm school. Josef Mengele had chosen the children while they were imprisoned at Auschwitz, reportedly asking them, “Who wants to go and see their mother?” before sending them to Neuengamme, where they had been injected with live tuberculosis bacilli, then had their axillary lymph nodes surgically removed from their armpits after they became sick. With British troops encroaching, authorities in Berlin ordered the the murder of the children, their four imprisoned adult male caretakers, and six Soviet POWs. The SS had told the group they were being taken to Theresienstadt concentration camp before driving them to the school in Hamburg, Germany. At the school, guards lead the group to the basement, order them to undress, inject them with morphine, then hang them from hooks set into the wall. The first child to be hanged doesn’t weigh enough to tighten his noose, so guard Johann Frahm grabs him in a bearhug and pulls him downward to make the noose tighten around the boy’s neck. The adults are hanged from overhead pipes after being forced to stand on boxes and having the boxes pulled away. Some of the perpetrators will be captured and executed. Strippel, who was also implicated in the torture and murder of dozens of prisoners, will be convicted in 1949 and serve 20 years before a retrial determines that his sentence should have been only six years. He will receive 121,478 Deutschmarks in reimbursement for his loss of earnings during the additional 14 years and will use that money to purchase a condominium, where he will live as a free man until his death in 1994 at the age of 82. (May he be hanging on a hook in Hell.)

1968: British Parliament Member Enoch Powell delivers his controversial “Rivers of Blood” speech critcizing mass immigration and the proposed Race Relations Bill.

1972: The Apollo 16 lunar module lands on the moon.

1999: Two boys open fire at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, killing 13 and injuring 24 before killing themselves.

2008: Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300 to become the first woman to win an Indy car race.

2010: The Deepwater Horizon rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and starting a six-month oil spill.

On April 21,

753 BC: Romulus founds Rome.

1506: The three-day Lisbon massacre ends, with more than 1900 suspected Jews having been slaughtered by Portuguese Catholics.

1509: On the death of Henry VII, Henry VIII assumes the throne of England.

1792: Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, aka Tiradentes, is hanged, drawn, and quartered for having led a movement for Brazil’s independence from Portugal.

1836: Sam Houston’s troops from the Republic of Texas defeat General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s troops in the Battle of San Jacinto.

1918: Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, is shot and killed while piloting his triplane in a dogfight over Vaux-sur-Somme, France. He manages to make a rough landing before uttering his final words to several witnesses. The witnesses report varying versions of those words, but all include the word “kaputt.” (I thought they included the words, “Curse you, Snoopy!”)

1934: The Daily Mail publishes the most famous photo allegedly depicting the Loch Ness Monster, known as the “Surgeon’s Photograph.” It will be revealed in 1999 as a hoax.

1945: Soviet forces attack the German High Command headquarters.

1952: Secretaries’ Day is celebrated for the first time; it will later be changed to Administrative Professionals’ Day.

1962: The Seattle World’s Fair opens, the first World’s Fair in the U.S. since WWII.

1965: The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair opens for its second and final season.

1966: Ethiopian Haile Selassie visits Jamaica and is lauded by 100,000 Jamaican Rastafari; the event will be commemorated as a Rastafari holy day, called Grounation Day.

1975: Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, president of South Vietnam, flees Saigon as its last outpost falls.

1977: “Annie” opens on Broadway.

1982: The Brewers’ Rollie Fingers records his 300th career save; he is the first MLB pitcher to do so.

1985: The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord surrenders its Arkansas compound to federal authorities after a two-day siege.

2014: Flint, Michigan switches its water source to the Flint River, starting the Flint water crisis that will cause lead poisoning in 12,000 people and 15 deaths from Legionnaires disease.

On April 22,

1500: Portuguese sailor Pedro Álvares Cabral lands in Brazil.

1519: Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés founds the city of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz, which will eventually become Veracruz, Mexico. It will be the first Spanish settlement on the mainland of the Americas to receive a coat-of-arms. From that city, Cortés will lead his infamous expedition that destroys the Aztec Empire.

1529: King John III of Portugal and Emperor Charles V of Spain sign the Treaty of Zaragoza, dividing the eastern hemisphere between Spain and Portugal. (Oh, that’s nice. Isn’t it wonderful, how they were willing to share?)

1622: The East India Company captures Ormuz, ending Portuguese control of Hormuz Island.

1864: Congress passes the Coinage Act of 1864, mandating the inscription of “In God We Trust” on all U.S. coins. (Then most of them go on to defy His word in order to get as much of said coinage as possible.)

1876: The Philadelphia Athletics plays the Boston baseball club at Philadelphia’s Jefferson Street Grounds. It is the first game in the history of the National League, and will come to be considered the beginning of MLB.

1889: Around 50,000 people line up to claim their portions of two million unassigned acres in Oklahoma. At noon, they rush to make their claims; within hours, the cities of Oklahoma City and Guthrie are formed with populations of more than 10,000 people. (They knew they belonged to the land. And the land they belonged to was grand.)

1915: During the Battle of Gravenstafel Ridge, the German Army releases 168 long tons of chlorine gas over a 4-mile front, causing around 6000 casualties among French troops there. Many die within ten minutes, while others are blinded.

1945: Prisoners at the Jasenovac concentration camp revolt, resulting in the deaths of 520 and the escape of around 80.

Elsewhere, Hitler admits defeat in his underground bunker and states that suicide is his only recourse.

1954: Live television coverage begins of the Army-McCarthy hearings.

1969: British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston completes the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.

1970: The first Earth Day celebration takes place.

1972: Increased bombing by the U.S. in Vietnam prompts protests in Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco.

1977: Optical fiber carries live telephone traffic for the first time.

1998: Disney’s Animal Kingdom opens at Walt Disney World.

2000: Federal agents snatch six-year-old Elián González from his relatives’ home in Miami during a pre-dawn raid.

2016: Representatives sign the Paris Agreement.

On April 23,

711: Dagobert III succeeds his father, Childebert III, as King of the Franks. (I hope their royal pet was named Dogbert or Catbert.)

1635: Boston Latin School, the first public school in the U.S., is founded.

1661: Charles II is crowned king of England, Scotland, and Ireland at Westminster Abbey.

1879: The second main building and dome of the University of Notre Dame burns down, prompting the construction of the third main building — the current one with the golden dome.

1967: Soyuz 1 launches into orbit, carrying cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Komarov.

1968: Students protesting the Vietnam War take over administration buildings and shut down Columbia University.

1985: Coca-Cola releases New Coke. The negative public response will be so strong, the company will return to its original formula within three months.

2005: User “jawed” publishes “Me at the zoo” — the first YouTube video.

On April 24,

1704: The Boston News-Letter is published; it is the first regular newspaper in British Colonial America. (I’m sure the Tories were probably claiming “Fake news” by the end of the year.)

1800: U.S. President John Adams signs legislation to appropriate $5000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress,” establishing the Library of Congress.

1885: Nate Salsbury hires sharpshooter Annie Oakley to be part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.

1913: The Woolworth Building opens in New York City.

1914: James Franck and Gustav Hertz present the Franck-Hertz experiment to the German Physical Society; it is the first electrical measurement to clearly show the quantum nature of atoms.

1918: Three British Mark IVs engage three German A7Vs during the second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux; it is the first tank-to-tank combat. One Mark IV emerges as the victor before being disabled by artillery fire.

1933: Nazi Germany shuts down the Watch Tower Society office in Magdeburg, beginning the country’s persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

1967: Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov becomes the first human to die during a space mission when the Soyuz 1 parachute fails to open after re-entry and his module crashes to the ground.

1980: On the advice of his field commanders due to helicopter malfunctions, U.S. President Jimmy Carter aborts Operation Eagle Claw, a mission to rescue 52 American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. During the withdrawal from the Desert One staging area, a helicopter collides with a transport aircraft containing servicemen and fuel, causing a fire that destroys both aircraft and kills eight U.S. servicemen.

1990: The crew of Space Shuttle Discovery launch the Hubble Space Telescope from their shuttle.

Elsewhere, after 48 years of quarantine, Scotland’s Gruinard Island is officially declared free of anthrax. (Kinda puts current events into perspective, doesn’t it?)

2004: After 18 years, the U.S. lifts economic sanctions on Libya in return for its cooperation in eliminating weapons of mass destruction.

On April 25,

404 BC: The Peloponnesian War ends with the surrender of Athens after its blockade by Sparta’s Admiral Lysander and King Pausanias.

799: Pope Leo III flees Rome for Paderborn, for protection by the court of King Charlemagne, after partisans of the late Pope Adrian I assault and disfigure Leo in Rome. (If he was disfigured, why didn’t he stay? No one would have recognized him.)

1644: The last Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, the Chongzhen Emperor, commits suicide during a peasant rebellion under Li Zicheng.

1792: French highwayman Nicolas J. Pelletier is the first person executed by guillotine.

Elsewhere, Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle composes La Marseillaise. (Supposedly it was due to France’s declaration of war on Austria, but I like to believe he had just witnessed the aforementioned execution, and meant it to have these words: “Nicolas Pelletier’s head came off / When the shiny / Blade came down.” Yes, those words fit the meter.)

1846: The Thornton Skirmish takes place along the Rio Grande, pitting American forces against Mexican in a Texas border dispute. The Mexican forces win the battle, eventually prompting U.S. President James K. Polk to urge Congress to declare war. (The factions soon agreed; He’s just the man we need To bring about victory, Fulfill our manifest destiny And annex the land the Mexicans command!)

1859: British and French engineers break ground on the Suez Canal.

1901: New York is the first state to require license plates on automobiles.

1944: The United Negro College Fund is incorporated.

1945: Italy is liberated after an insurrection by the Italian resistance movement brings about the surrender of the Nazi occupation army. Mussolini flees with his mistress as his puppet regime collapses. He will be captured two days later and executed the next day, followed by the humiliating public display and revilement of the upside-down dead bodies of himself and his mistress, among other fascists. (I’ve had some people hate me in my time, but damn.)

1953: Francis Crick and James Watson publish “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid,” which describes the DNA double helix.

1954: Bell Telephone Laboratories publicly demonstrates the first practical solar cell.

1959: The Saint Lawrence Seaway opens to shipping, linking the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.

1960: The U.S. Navy sub USS Triton completes the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe.

1961: Robert Noyce receives a patent for the integrated circuit.

1982: Per the Camp David Accords, Israel completes its withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula.

1983: Pioneer 10 travels beyond Pluto’s orbit.

Elsewhere, Yuri Andropov invites 10-year-old American Samantha Smith to visit the Soviet Union after having read her letter expressing fears about nuclear war. She and her parents will fly to Moscow in July, spending two weeks in the Soviet Union. (Her story will one day inspire an unnamed Bain child to write a letter to the Brazilian president, urging him to take steps to protect the Amazon rainforest. That child will not be invited to Brazil.)

1988: Ukrainian American John Demjanjuk is sentenced to death for crimes against humanity as a result of war crimes committed during World War II. He had been identified as “Ivan the Terrible,” a guard at Poland’s Treblinka extermination camp, and deported to Israel to stand trial in 1986. The Israeli Supreme Court will overturn the verdict in 1993 due to doubts about the true identity of the guard. He will return to Ohio and his citizenship will be restored, but he will be charged again in 2001 with new evidence that he had served as a guard at three other camps. He will be deported to Germany in 2009 and charged with 27,900 counts of accessory to murder. He will be convicted in 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison, but will die before his appeal can be heard.

On April 26,

1564: William Shakespeare is baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. (To a little guy, that much water probably felt like a tempest, but measure for measure, he really made much ado about nothing. Okay, I’ll stop punning now — as you like it.)

1777: 16-year-old Sybil Ludington rides 40 miles to alert American colonial forces to the approach of British forces. (Take that, Paul Revere.)

1803: Thousands of meteor fragments fall on L’Aigle, France, convincing European scientists that meteors exist. (Nothing like being literally bombarded with evidence to change one’s mind. I heard one of the scientists walked outside, looked up, and couldn’t figure out why a black spot in the sky kept getting bigger and bigger. Then it hit him.)

1865: Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrenders his army to General William Tecumseh Sherman near Durham, North Carolina.

Elsewhere, cavalry troopers corner and shoot John Wilkes Booth, who summarily dies.

1933: Having detached the political and intelligence sections of the largest German police force and filled their ranks with Nazis, Hermann Göring merges the two units as the Geheime Staatspolizei, aka the Gestapo. They will become the official secret police of Nazi Germany and its occupied European territories, and will play a key role in the plan to exterminate European jews.

1954: The Geneva Conference begins.

1956: The world’s first successful container ship, SS Ideal X, departs Port Newark, New Jersey for Houston, Texas.

1958: The B&O Railroad’s Royal Blue — the first U.S. passenger train to use electric locomotives — makes its final run from Washington, D.C. to NYC after 68 years.

1962: Ranger 4 crashes into the moon.

1964: Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to form Tanzania.

1981: Dr. Michael Harrison performs the world’s first open fetal surgery on a human, correcting a threatening urinary tract obstruction.

1986: A catastrophic power increase occurs in Reactor 4 of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, resulting in core explosions and open-air fires. Large quantities of radioactive materials and airborne isotopes disperse, spreading a radioactive cloud as far as Norway. It will come to be known as the worst nuclear plant disaster in the world, having caused total deaths estimated anywhere from 4,000-27,000.

1989: The deadliest tornado in world history hits Bangladesh, killing approximately 1300, injuring 12,000, and leaving around 80,000 homeless.

1989: Dragon Ball Z premieres on Fuji TV in Japan.

1991: Seventy tornadoes hit in the central U.S., including an F5 in Andover, Kansas that claims 17 of the 21 total lives lost from the outbreak.

2018: Bill Cosby is found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He will be sentenced in September to 3-10 years in prison and fined $25,000 plus the $43,611 cost of prosecution. (Douchebags everywhere begin to formulate unfunny plans for that year’s Halloween costume.)

On April 27,

711: Moorish troops under Tariq ibn Ziyad land at Gibraltar to invade the Iberian Peninsula as part of the Islamic conquest of Hispania. (Oh, nooooo…I’m so sorry, it’s the Moops. The correct answer is, the Moops.)

1521: Warriors under Lapu-Lapu kill Ferdinand Magellan during the Battle of Mactan.

1667: John Milton sells the copyright of “Paradise Lost” for £10 in desperation from being blind and broke.

1861: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus.

1967: Expo 67 officially opens in Montreal, broadcasting its opening ceremony around the world.

1974: Ten thousand people march in Washington, D.C., demanding Nixon’s impeachment.

1987: The Justice Department bans Kurt Waldheim from the U.S., stating he aided in the deportations and executions of thousands of Jews during WWII.

1992: Betty Boothroyd is the first woman to be elected Speaker of the British House of Commons.

1993: The Zambia national football team are killed when their plane crashes en route to Senegal for a World Cub qualifying match.

1994: South Africa allows black citizens to vote in its general election for the first time.

2005: Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner, has its maiden test flight.

2006: Construction begins on NYC’s Freedom Tower, which will later be renamed One World Trade Center.

2007: Estonia removes the Bronze Soldier, a Soviet war memorial, from its spot in Tallinn.

2011: The 2011 Super Outbreak sees 205 tornadoes touch down in the Southeastern U.S., killing more than 300 people and injuring hundreds more.

2018: The Korean conflict officially ends when Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in sign the Panmunjom Declaration.

On April 28,

1192: Two Hashshashin kill Conrad of Montferrat, the recently elected king of Jerusalem, before he can be crowned.

1253: Japanese Buddhist monk Nichiren, puts forth Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō for the first time, declaring it to be the essence of Buddhism and essentially founding Nichiren Buddhism.

1503: The Spanish Army defeats the French at the Battle of Cerignola. Much of the French cavalry is forced into a trench, where Spanish arquebusiers pick them off with their guns. The battle is considered to be the first major battle won by small arms using gunpowder. (But that’s probably an easy feat when your foe is at the bottom of a ditch. It must have been like shooting French in a barrel.)

1789: Fletcher Christian and other mutineers seize control of the HMS Bounty, setting their captain William Bligh and 18 loyalists adrift in the ship’s open launch. Bligh will eventually travel 4000 miles in the launch and reach safety before beginning his search for the mutineers.

1881: Billy the Kid escapes from the Lincoln County jail in Mesilla, New Mexico.

1923: Empire Stadium opens in Wembley Park, London, later to be renamed Wembley Stadium.

1930: The Independence Producers, a minor league team in Kansas, host the first night game in the history of organized baseball. (The Producers. They were called the Producers. Their mascot must have struck fear into the hearts of their opponents.)

1944: Nine German E-boats discover and attack a U.S. and UK convoy practicing for the Normandy landings under Exercise Tiger, killing 946 allied servicemen.

1945: A firing squad executes Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci. The next day, their bodies will be hung upside down from the roof of an Esso station in a town square in Milan.

1952: Eisenhower resigns as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

1967: Muhammad Ali refuses his U.S. Army induction; he will be subsequently stripped of his championship and license.

1969: Charles de Gaulle resigns as President of France.

1970: Nixon authorizes American troops to fight communists in Cambodia.

1973: Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” hits number one on the U.S. Billboard chart; it will stay at that position for only one week, but will remain on the Billboard for 741 weeks — more than 14 years.

1986: A nuclear power plant in Sweden detects high levels of radiation resulting from the Chernobyl disaster, leading Soviet authorities to publicly announce the accident.

1994: Former CIA officer and analyst Aldrich Ames pleads guilty to having given U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union.

1996: U.S. President Bill Clinton testifies for four and a half hours on video regarding the Whitewater controversy. (That is a long time, depending on what the meaning of “is” is.)

2004: CBS News releases photographic evidence of the Abu Ghraib torture and abuse by American troops of Iraqi detainees.

2015: The NFL announces it is giving up its tax-exempt status.

On April 29,

1429: Joan of Arc’s convoy arrives at Orléans, relieving the English siege thereof.

1770: James Cook arrives in Australia, naming his landing site Botany Bay.

1861: Maryland votes not to secede from the Union.

1862: Union forces under David Farragut capture New Orleans.

1910: Parliament passes the People’s Budget, the first budget in British history with the expressed intent to redistribute wealth among the public. (Gah! Socialism!)

1945: The German army in Italy surrenders to Allied forces.

Elsewhere, U.S. troops liberate Dachau concentration camp.

Elsewhere, Brazilian forces liberate the Italian commune of Fornovo di Taro from German forces.

Elsewhere, Hitler marries longtime partner Eva Braun in his bunker and names Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor. (Foreshadowing, anyone?)

1946: The International Military Tribunal for the Far East convenes, indicting 29 former Japanese leaders — including Prime Minister Hideki Tojo — for war crimes.

1953: ABC affiliate KECA-TV in Los Angeles broadcasts an episode of “Space Patrol” in the first use of experimental 3D television technology in the U.S.

1968: “Hair” opens at the Biltmore Theatre on Broadway.

1970: U.S. and South Vietnamese forces invade Cambodia to hunt Viet Cong.

1975: The U.S. begins evacuation of its citizens from Saigon under Operation Frequent Wind, ending U.S. involvement in the war.

1992: The L.A. riots begin soon after a jury acquits three LAPD officers and cannot reach a verdict on a charge for the fourth in their trial for the use of excessive force in the arrest and beating of Rodney King. The riots will last for six days, resulting in 63 deaths, 2383 injuries, and an estimate of more than $1 billion in property damage, and will necessitate the deployment of the California Army National Guard, the 7th Infantry Division, and the 1st Marine Division. More than 12,000 people will be arrested.

2011: Prince William weds Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London. (And the western world goes crazy to watch an entire day’s worth of televised hats.)

2015: The Chicago White Sox play the Baltimore Orioles at an empty Camden Yards; the stadium had been closed to the public, along with most of the businesses in downtown Baltimore, due to riots resulting from protests over the death of Freddie Gray in the custody of the Baltimore PD.

On April 30,

1789: George Washington takes the oath of office as the first elected President of the United States. The oath is administered on the Federal Hall balcony on Wall Street. (Notably, he doesn’t brag about the size of the crowd there.)

1803: The U.S. purchases the Lousiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the nation’s size.

1812: The Territory of Orleans becomes the 18th U.S. state, Lousiana.

1871: A group of 146 vigilante Anglo Americans, Mexican Americans, and Tohono O’odham surround a U.S.-sponsored Apache refuge at Camp Grant, Arizona and massacre its peaceful inhabitants, having blamed the Apache for recent troubles. They kill and mutilate 144 Apache, all but eight of whom are women and children.

1897: During a lecture at the Royal Institution in London, J.J. Thomson announces his discovery of the electron, the first subatomic particle to be discovered. (It was negative news.)

1900: Hawaii becomes a U.S. territory, under Governor Sanford B. Dole.

1905: Einstein completes his doctoral thesis at the University of Zurich.

1927: The first women’s federal prison, The Federal Industrial Institute for Women, opens in Alderson, West Virginia.

Elsewhere, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford are the first celebrities to leave concrete footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

1938: Happy Rabbit, the early version of Bugs Bunny, debuts in “Porky’s Hare Hunt” in movie theaters.

1945: Soviet soldiers liberate Stalag Luft I, freeing almost 9000 American and British POWs.

Elsewhere, Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide in their bunker, having been married for less than 40 hours. (Helluva way to spend a honeymoon.)

1947: Boulder Dam is renamed Hoover Dam.

1961: K-19 is commissioned; it is the first Soviet nuclear sub equipped with nuclear missiles.

1966: Anton Szandor LaVey establishes the Church of Satan in San Francisco’s Black House.

1973: U.S. President Richard Nixon announces the firing of White House Counsel John Dean and the resignation of other top aides, including H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman.

1975: Saigon falls to Communist forces. South Vietnamese president Dương Văn Minh surrenders.

1982: In Bijon Setu in West Bengal, India, 16 monks and a nun of Ananda Marga are dragged out of taxis en route to a conference, beaten to death, and set on fire at three different locations. The attacks take place in daylight in front of thousands of witnesses, yet no arrests will ever be made.

1993: CERN announces that World Wide Web protocols will be free.

1994: Formula One driver Roland Ratzenberger is killed in a crash during the qualifying session of the San Marina Grand Prix.

1997: Ellen DeGeneres’ character comes out as gay on her sitcom, “Ellen.”

2008: Russian scientists confirm that two skeletal remains found near Yekaterinburg are those of Alexei and Anastasia, who had been executed by Bolsheviks in 1918 with Tsar Nicholas II and the rest of his family. A definitive end is brought to the 90-year rumors that the two had escaped the executions.

2009: Chrysler files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

On May 1,

1169: Mercenaries begin the Norman invasion of Ireland, landing at Bannow Bay in Leinster.

1328: The English Parliament ratifies the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, recognizing the Kingdom of Scotland as an independent state and ending the Wars of Scottish Independence.

1707: The Acts of Union take effect, joining the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Scottish Parliament and English Parliament unite to form the Parliament of Great Britain.

1759: Josiah Wedgwood founds the Wedgwood pottery company.

1776: Having found the Freemasons too expensive, Adam Weishaupt and four law students form the Perfectibilists, a secret society with the goal of spreading enlightenment by opposing superstition, obscurantisim, religious influence on public life, and abuses of power. The group will later become the Order of Illuminati. The group takes the Owl of Minerva — associated with Athena — as a symbol. (So, this group of intellectuals, opposed to superstition and undue religious belief, chose to symbolize themselves with a mythological creature that supposedly accompanied a Greek god. Because that makes sense.)

1786: Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” debuts, in Vienna.

1840: The UK issues the first official adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black. (Find one in good condition today, and you might be able to sell it for $3000-4000 to a desperate philatelist. If you care to associate with desperate philatelists, that is.)

1866: The Memphis Race Riots begin when gunfire follows escalating tensions between a group of white police officers and black soldiers, women, and children in Memphis, Tennessee. As a result, a white mob begins “patrolling” black neighborhoods, attacking, raping, and killing black men, women, and children. After three days, the mob will have killed 48 people — 46 black and two white — and raped at least five black women. Additionally, 75 people — most of them black — will have been injured, more than 100 people will have been robbed, 91 homes — 89 belonging to black people, one belonging to a white person, and one belonging to an interracial couple — will have been burned, and four black churches and 12 black schools will have been burned. No criminal proceedings will occur against the instigators or perpetrators, but reports of the atrocities will influence passage of the 14th Amendment.

1869: The Folies Bergère opens in Paris.

1884: Moses Fleetwood Walker is the first black person to play in a professional baseball game in the U.S.

1930: Pluto is officially named. (The planet, not the Disney dog. He’ll debut about four months later.)

1931: The Empire State Building is dedicated.

1945: A German newsreader announces that Hitler has “fallen at his command post in the Reich Chancellery, fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany.” Stalin orders the Soviet flag raised over the Reich Chancellery. In the Vorbunker, as arranged with husband Joseph, Magda Goebbels fatally poisons their son and five daughters with cyanide, then she and Joseph commit suicide in the Reich Garden outside the Führerbunker.

1956: Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine is made available to the public. (And Bill Gates begins receiving death threats.)

1960: Soviet Air Defence Forces shoot down a U-2 performing recon near Sverdlosk, sparking a diplomatic incident and soon causing embarrassment for the U.S. in an attempted cover-up. The pilot, Francis Gary Powers, parachutes to safety. He will be sentenced to three years in prison and seven years’ hard labor, but will be released during a prisoner exchange in February 1962.

1961: Castro proclaims Cuba a socialist nation and abolishes elections.

1967: Elvis Presley marries Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas.

1989: Disney-MGM Studios opens in Walt Disney World.

1999: A Mount Everest expedition discovers the body of George Mallory, 75 years after his disappearance there.

Elsewhere, Nickelodeon premieres “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

2003: Standing underneath a “Mission Accomplished” banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President George W. Bush announces that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended.” (Narrator: “They hadn’t.”)

2009: Sweden legalizes same-sex marriage.

On May 2,

1536: Queen Anne Boleyn is arrested for adultery, incest, and high treason, and imprisoned in the Tower of London — following a sham investigation ordered by King Henry VIII in order to end their marriage so that he could marry Jane Seymour in an attempt to have a son.

1611: Robert Barker publishes the first release of the King James Version of the Bible.

1863: Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson is wounded by friendly fire during the Battle of Chancellorsville. He will die of pneumonia eight days later.

1920: The Chicago American Giants visit the Indianapolis ABC’s to play the inaugural game of the Negro National League; it will come to be thought of as the start of the Golden Age for Black Baseball. (And now you know your ABC’s.)

1945: The Soviet Union announces the fall of Berlin.

Elsewhere, the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division liberates Wöbbelin concentration camp and finds 1000 dead prisoners, most of whom had starved. The U.S. 522nd Field Artillery Battalion saves several hundred Dachau prisoners when it halts a death march from that camp to Austria.

1952: The de Havilland Comet 1, the world’s first jetliner, makes its first flight — from London to Johannesburg. (How brave did someone have to be to agree to travel that way for the first time?)

1955: Tennessee Williams wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” (One theme of the play was southern nobility; does that make it a noble prize?)

1969: The QE2 makes its first voyage, from Southampton, UK to NYC.

1986: The city of Chernobyl is evacuated, six days after the nearby nuclear plant disaster.

1989: Hungary begins the dismantling of its border fence with Austria, allowing East Germans to defect.

1998: The European Central Bank is founded in Brussels, with the purpose of defining and executing the monetary policy of the EU.

2000: U.S. President Bill Clinton announces that accurate GPS access will no longer be restricted to the U.S. military.

2004: Christians kill 630 Muslims in retaliation for the February 4 killing of 78 Christians by Muslims in Yelwa, Nigeria.

2008: Cyclone Nargis hits Burma, killing more than 138,000 and leaving millions homeless.

2011: Navy SEALs shoot and kill Osama bin Laden during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

On May 3,

1715: Within four minutes’ accuracy of Edmond Halley’s prediction, a total solar eclipse is visible across northern Europe and northern Asia.

1802: Washington, D.C. is incorporated as a city.

1848: Thomas Bateman excavates a boar-crested, 7th-century, Anglo-Saxon helmet from a burial mound at the Benty Grange farm in Derbyshire, England. Sheffield’s Weston Park Museum will purchase the Benty Grange helmet from Bateman’s estate in 1893.

1855: William Walker departs San Francisco with around 60 men, to conquer Nicaragua.

1901: The Great Fire of 1901, the third-largest urban fire in U.S. history, begins in Jacksonville, Florida.

1921: West Virginia is the first state to legislate a broad sales tax, although it won’t be implemented for several years.

Elsewhere, the Government of Ireland Act 1920 officially divides Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.

1928: The Jinan incident begins when Chinese forces kill twelve Japanese civilians. The Japanese will retaliate in coming days, killing more than 2000 Chinese civilians.

1948: The Supreme Court rules in Shelley v. Kraemer that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to minorities are unenforceable.

1952: CBS televises the first national broadcast of the Kentucky Derby.

1957: Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley agrees to move his team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

1960: The Fantasticks opens in Greenwich Village, to eventually become the longest-running musical of all time.

Elsewhere, the Anne Frank House opens as a museum in Amsterdam.

1963: Upon realizing the Birmingham, Alabama jail is full during civil rights demonstrations there, Public Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor (who was full of his nickname) switches tactics and orders police to respond to protesters with violent force, setting German shepherds on them and blasting them with fire hoses set at levels that would peel bark off trees and separate bricks from mortar. The water pressure tears shirts off high-schoolers and pushes some over the tops of cars, dogs bite children, and some bystanders respond by throwing rocks and bottles at police officers. When disturbing images of the day are released, new attention is turned to the civil rights movement.

1978: A marketing representative of Digital Equipment Corporation sends the first unsolicited bulk email message to every west coast ARPANET address. (That person’s name? Spammy McSpammerspam.)

1999: An F5 tornado hits Oklahoma City, killing 45, injuring 665, and causing $1 billion in damage. It also produces the highest wind speed ever recorded, at 301 +/- 20 mph.

2000: Capitalizing on the previous day’s release of GPS usage to the public, Dave Ulmer partially buries a bucket of software, videos, books, money, a can of beans, and a slingshot at 45°17.460′N 122°24.800′W, then posts the coordinates to a Usenet newsgroup. People begin searching for it, and geocaching is born. The cache will eventually be destroyed by a lawn mower, although the can of beans will be salvaged and turned into a trackable item. Another cache and a plaque will be placed at the original site. (I just want to know how he got that much stuff into one bucket.)

On May 4,

1493: Pope Alexander VI decrees a line of demarcation, splitting the new world between Spain and Portugal. (Textbook hubris.)

1626: Dutch explorer Peter Minuit arrives in New Netherland. He will become the colony’s third director, and will orchestrate the purchase of the island of Manhattan from the Lenape natives. (Take THAT, Spain and Portugal!)

1776: Rhode Island is the first American colony to renounce King George III.

1814: Napoleon begins his exile on the island of Elba. He will escape in February 1815 to temporarily retake control of France, but the British will exile him to the island of Saint Helena after defeating him at Waterloo four months later. (There’s a palindrome about this.)

1814: King Ferdinand VII returns Spain to absolutism with the Decree of the 4th of May.

1871: In Fort Wayne, Indiana, the first professional baseball league — the National Association — opens its inaugural season.

1904: Construction begins on the Panama Canal. (There’s a palindrome about this.)

1932: Al Capone begins his 11-year prison sentence for tax evasion.

1945: The British Army liberates Neuengamme concentration camp, near Hamburg, Germany.

1953: Hemingway wins the Pulitzer for “The Old Man and the Sea.”

1959: The 1st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony takes place.

1961: The Freedom Riders depart Washington, D.C. for New Orleans, beginning their seven-month campaign of riding interstate buses throughout the South in order to challenge the buses’ now-unconstitutional policies of segregation.

1970: Members of the Ohio National Guard open fire on unarmed students at Kent State University, killing four and wounding nine.

1972: A fledgling environmental organization from Canada changes its name from the Don’t Make a Wave Committee to the Greenpeace Foundation.

1979: Margaret Thatcher is the first female Prime Minister of the UK. A later anecdote will hold that her party made the first reference to “Star Wars Day” by posting a message in The London Evening News saying, “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.”

1994: Rabin and Arafat sign a peace accord that grants self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

1998: Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, is sentenced to four life sentences plus 30 years as part of a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty. (Good thing the judge tacked on those extra 30 years, in case Ted lasted for four lives.)

2000: Ken Livingstone is the first mayor of London, as well as the first directly elected mayor in the UK.

2007: A 1.7-mile-wide, EF5 tornado — the first to be rated as such under the new Enhanced Fujita scale — levels Greensburg, Kansas.

2011: The first organized Star Wars Day takes place, in Toronto. Apart from the story about Maggie Thatcher, the history of people saying “May the fourth be with you” includes a UK Parliament debate in 1994, a published version in Jeanne Cavelos’ “The Science of Star Wars” book, and multiple Facebook groups celebrating “Luke Skywalker Day” in 2008. (My friend Vincent Daraio will eventually start a related bit every year, posting “May the ____ be with you” for every day in May. Soon after, I will start an annual tradition of griping about his bit.)

On May 5,

1215: Rebel barons renounce their allegiance to King John of England, which will help lead to the signing of the Magna Carta.

1260: Kublai Khan becomes ruler of the Mongol Empire. (It happened in…wait for it…A place where nobody dared to go. The love that we came to know, they call it Xanadu. And now, open your eyes and see, what we have made is real. We are in Xanadu. A million lights are dancing and you are a shooting star. An everlasting world and you’re here with me, eternally…Xanadu! Xanaduuuuu! Now we are here…in Xanadu!)

1494: Italian explorer Christopher Columbus lands on Jamaica and claims it for Spain. (All an indirect result of a previous search for the East Indies. And we regale this guy as a great navigator?)

1809: Mary Kies is the first woman to receive a U.S. patent, in this case for her technique of weaving straw with silk and thread.

1821: Napoleon dies in exile on Saint Helena.

1862: General Ignacio Zaragoza’s troops stop a French invasion in Mexico, during the Battle of Puebla. (The event will eventually be commemorated annually by lots of non-Mexican people drinking too much. Happy Cinco de Mayo!)

1864: The Battle of the Wilderness — the first battle of Grant’s Overland Campaign against Lee’s army — begins in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. More than 5000 men will die over the course of the three-day battle.

1866: Waterloo, New York celebrates the first Memorial Day. Following local druggist Henry C. Welles’ comment from the previous year that it is important to remember the dead of the Civil War, Seneca County Clerk and retired General John B. Murray had formed a committee to organize a townwide event. The town’s women prepared wreaths, crosses, and bouquets to lay on veterans’ graves on the day in question. That day, businesses close and the town is decorated with evergreen boughs and black streamers, with flags at half mast.

1877: Sitting Bull and his Lakota followers flee into Canada in search of safe haven from Colonel Nelson Miles’ U.S. Army troops.

1891: Chamber Music Hall, which will eventually be called Carnegie Hall, opens with a performance conducted by Tchaikovsky.

1904: The Boston Americans’ Cy Young pitches a perfect game — the first in baseball’s modern era — against the Philadelphia Athletics.

1925: Tennessee authorities arrest John T. Scopes, a substitute high school teacher, for having taught evolution — a violation of the Butler Act, a state law prohibiting public school teachers from denying creationism.

1927: Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse” is published.

1945: British forces liberate Denmark from German occupation.

Elsewhere, American and German troops fight side by side for the only known time during WWII, defending Castle Itter in Austria against an attack by the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division.

Elsewhere, picnickers near Bly, Oregon, pull a Japanese fire balloon from the woods and it explodes, causing the only six WWII fatalities in the contiguous U.S.

1946: The International Military Tribunal for the Far East begins in Tokyo.

1961: Alan Shepard is the first American to travel into space, on a sub-orbital flight.

1973: Secretariat wins the Kentucky Derby, setting a record time that has yet to be beaten.

1987: Televised Congressional hearings begin in the Iran-Contra affair.

1994: Having pled guilty to theft and vandalism in Singapore, expatriate American teenager Michael Fay receives four strokes of a cane as punishment.

2010: Government-imposed austerity measures cause mass protests in Greece.

On May 6,

1536: The army of Sapa Inca Manco Inca Yupanqui begins its 10-month Siege of Cuzco in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to take it back from Spanish conquistadors and restore the Inca Empire.

Elsewhere, British King Henry VIII orders English-language Bibles placed in every church. (Isn’t that a bit like ordering pots to be placed in every kitchen? Or weapons to be placed in every armory? Or thread to be placed in every tailor’s shop? Or ANYTHING THAT’S PRETTY MUCH GUARANTEED TO ALREADY BE IN A LOCATION to be placed in that location?)

1682: French King Louis XIV moves his court to Versailles.

1861: Arkansas secedes from the Union.

1863: The Battle of Chancellorsville ends with the Army of Northern Virginia defeating the Army of the Potomac. (Did no one bother to tell these people that their armies were more or less named for the same region?)

1877: Chief Crazy Horse surrenders to U.S. troops.

1882: Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first law preventing members of a specific ethnicity or nationality from immigrating.

1915: Babe Ruth hits his first of 714 home runs in the majors.

1935: U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt creates the Works Progress Administration via Executive Order 7034.

1937: The Hindenburg catches fire while attempting to dock at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in New Jersey. It becomes engulfed in flames and crashes to the ground in less than 45 seconds, killing 36 people.

1940: John Steinbeck receives the Pulitzer for “The Grapes of Wrath.”

1941: Bob Hope performs his first USO show, at March Field in Riverside County, California.

1949: The first electronic digital stored-program computer — EDSAC — runs its first operation.

1954: Roger Bannister is the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes. (Maybe a bear was chasing him.)

1960: Princess Margaret weds Anthony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey in the first televised royal wedding, with more than 20 million viewers.

1966: A jury finds Ian Brady and Myra Hindley guilty of Manchester, England’s Moors Murders; Mr Justice Fenton Atkinson describes them as “two sadistic killers of the utmost depravity” before sentencing them to life in prison.

1994: The Channel Tunnel opens; Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand officiate.

1998: In his fifth career start, Chicago Cubs rookie pitcher Kerry Wood earns the nickname “Kid K” as he ties the MLB record for strikeouts in a single game, striking out 20 batters from the Houston Astros during a one-hit shutout — a game that some call the greatest single-game pitching performance in MLB history.

2001: While visiting Syria, Pope John Paul II is the first pope to enter a mosque.

2010: The Dow Jones average drops nearly 1000 points in 36 minutes; the trillion-dollar crash will come to be known as the 2010 Flash Crash, and blamed in part on the spoofing algorithms of trader Navinder Singh Sarao. Nearly five years later, he will be brought up on 22 criminal charges, including fraud and market manipulation. Spoofing, layering, and front running will be banned.

2013: Amanda Berry and her six-year-old daughter escape captivity in the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro, who had kidnapped Berry and Georgina DeJesus as teens and Michelle Knight as a 21-year-old between 2002 and 2004. Castro had imprisoned them in locked rooms in his home for a decade, repeatedly raping them, abusing them physically and emotionally, starving them, neglecting them, and causing at least one of them to have multiple miscarriages by beating her. When Berry sees neighbors through a bolted storm door on May 6, she screams for help. Angel Cordero and Charles Ramsey kick a hole in the door and Berry crawls through with her daughter. She calls 9-1-1 from a neighbor’s house and police respond, freeing DeJesus and Knight and arresting Castro, who will be indicted on July 12, on 977 counts of kidnapping, rape, gross sexual imposition, felonious assault, child endangerment, aggravated murder, and possession of criminal tools. He will plead not guilty on July 17, then agree to a plea bargain. On July 26, he will plead guilty to 937 of the charges, agreeing to consecutive sentences of life in prison plus 1000 years, without parole nor right to appeal. Also in accordance with the plea bargain, he will not be allowed to profit from his crimes in any way and he will forfeit his assets, so his home can be demolished. He will be sentenced on August 1; during the hearing, he will insist he is “not a monster.” His house will be demolished on August 7, during which event Knight will hand out yellow balloons to represent missing children, and DeJesus’ aunt will take the first swing with the crane. On September 3, Castro will hang himself with a sheet in his cell. He will have gotten off too easy.

On May 7,

351: The Jewish people of Roman Palaestina begin a revolt against the rule of Constantius Gallus.

1718: Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, founds the city of New Orleans.

1763: Pontiac’s War begins as Pontiac, leader of the Odawa tribe, leads a group of 300 warriors to attempt to seize Fort Detroit from the British. The attempt fails, but he will return after two days to lay siege to the fort, killing any British soldiers and settlers outside the fort and ritually cannibalizing one of the soldiers. The siege will last until October 31, when Pontiac will withdraw in frustration that the French have not come to his aid. (They preferred Peugeot to Pontiac.)

1794: Robespierre introduces the Cult of the Supreme Being as the state religion of the French First Republic. Napoleon will later forbid that religion in favor of Catholicism.

1824: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony premieres, conducted by Michael Umlauf under Beethoven’s supervision, in Vienna, Austria.

1840: The Great Natchez Tornado, the second-deadliest tornado in U.S. history, kills 317 people in Natchez, Mississippi.

1846: “The Cambridge Chronicle” — the oldest weekly newspaper in the U.S. — is published for the first time, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1895: Alexander Stepanovich Popov demonstates his “lightning detector”” — a primitive radio receiver — to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society in Saint Petersburg.

1915: U-20, a German submarine, sinks the ocean liner RMS Lusitania, killing 1198 people. Among them are 128 Americans; this will turn pro-Germans in the U.S. against the German Empire.

1931: After a three-month crime spree including multiple murders, gangster Francis “Two Gun” Crowley and his partner Rudolph “Fats” Durringer engage in a two-hour shoot-out from a fifth-floor apartment with 300 members of the NYPD. The shoot-out attracts 15,000 bystanders and gets national attention. Crowley surrenders after receiving four gunshot wounds and suffering heavy bleeding. He and Durringer are arrested. They will be executed by electric chair the following January, before Crowley can turn 20. (I’d much rather have the nickname “Two Gun” than “Fats.”)

1942: During the Battle of the Coral Sea, U.S. Navy aircraft sink Japanese light aircraft carrier Shōhō; it is the first time two fleets fight without visual contact between ships.

1945: German General Alfred Jodl signs surrender terms at Reims, France, effectively ending Germany’s participation in WWII the next day.

1946: Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering is founded with about 20 employees. It will later become Sony.

1952: Geoffrey Dummer first publishes the concept of the integrated circuit.

1960: Nikita Khrushchev announces the Soviets are holding American U-2 pilot Gary Powers.

1976: Honda launches the Accord.

1986: With his ascent of Puncak Jaya, Canadian Patrick Morrow becomes the first person to climb each of the Seven Summits from the Messner List.

1992: Michigan ratifies a two-centuries-old proposed amendment, making the 27th Amendment law and barring Congress from giving itself a mid-term pay raise. It is later revealed that Kentucky’s 1792 ratification had been overlooked, making Missouri’s May 5, 1992 ratification the necessary 38th one required. Seven additional states will ratify it over the next 24 years, leaving only Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, and Pennsylvania in the Inactive column.

2000: Vladimir Putin is inaugurated as president of Russia. (Cue ominous music.)

2004: Islamic militants behead Nick Berg, an American freelance radio tower repairman who had been working in Iraq when he was abducted, in retaliation for the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse. The act is captured on video and released on the internet.

2007: Israeli archaeologists discover Herod’s tomb, south of Jerusalem.

On May 8,

1429: Joan of Arc lifts the Siege of Orléans, elevating the French and turning the tide of the Hundred Years’ War. (She wood.)

1541: Hernando de Soto reaches the Mississippi River, naming it Río de Espíritu Santo.

1794: Having been branded a traitor during France’s Reign of Terror, chemist and tax collector Antoine Lavoisier is tried, convicted, and executed by guillotine in Paris, all in one day.

1877: The first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opens, at Gilmore’s Gardens in NYC.

1886: Pharmacist John Pemberton first sells Coca-Cola as a patent medicine.

1902:  Mount Pelée erupts in Martinique, destroying the town of Saint-Pierre, killing more than 30,000 people, and leaving only a handful of survivors. (That’s weird; I figured it was the *victims* who could be measured by handfuls.)

1912: Paramount Pictures is founded.

1927: Charles Nungesser and François Coli disappear after taking off on The White Bird biplane in an attempt to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight.

1942: The Battle of the Coral Sea ends with Japanese aircraft sinking the USS Lexington.

1973: American Indian Movement members surrender to federal authorities after a 71-day standoff at the Pine Ridge Reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

1976: The New Revolution, the first steel roller coaster with a vertical loop, opens at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

1978: Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler make the first ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen.

1980: The World Health Organization confirms that smallpox has been eradicated. (Antivaxxers everywhere reply, “Hold my mercury-free beer.”)

On May 9,

1092: Lincoln Cathedral, later known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, is consecrated.

1662: The character who later became Mr. Punch of “Punch and Judy” debuts in England.

1865: Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest surrenders his forces at Gainesville, Alabama. U.S. President Andrew Johnson issues a proclamation declaring the belligerent rights of the rebels at an end, and warning foreign nations against harboring Confederate ships. This will come to be regarded by many as the official end of the American Civil War. (Too bad there are people in the South who still refuse to admit it’s over.)

1887: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show opens in London.

1904: City of Truro is the first steam locomotive engine in Europe to exceed 100 mph.

1941: The Royal Navy captures German submarine U-110, complete with the latest Enigma machine, which Allied cryptographers will use to break coded German messages.

1942: The SS murders 588 Jewish residents of Zinkiv, Ukraine. The Belarussian Zoludek Ghetto is destroyed, and its inhabitants either executed or deported.

1945: Officials sign the German Instrument of Surrender at Soviet headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst.

1949: Rainier III becomes Prince of Monaco. (The weather sucked; there’s never been a Rainier Day there.)

1950: Robert Schuman presents a proposal, the Schuman Declaration, to create an organized Europe. It will come to be considered by some as the beginning of the creation of the EU.

1955: West Germany joins NATO.

1958: Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” premieres in San Francisco.

1960: The FDA announces it will approve birth control as an additional indication, or reason for use, for Enovid. This makes Enovid the world’s first approved oral contraceptive.

1974: The House Committee on the Judiciary opens formal impeachment hearings against U.S. President Richard Nixon.

On May 10,

28 BC: Han dynasty astronomers observe a sunspot, one of the earliest dated such observations in China.

70: Emperor Vespasian’s son Titus begins a full-scale assault on Jerusalem, attacking the city’s Third Wall. (Jeez, how many walls did they have?)

1497: Amerigo Vespucci allegedly departs Cádiz for the New World.

1503: Columbus visits the Cayman Islands and names them Las Tortugas for the many turtles he sees there.

1534: Jacques Cartier visits Newfoundland.

1655: England annexes Jamaica from Spain.

1768: John Wilkes is imprisoned for having criticized King George III with an article in The North Briton, provoking riots in London.

1773: Parliament passes the Tea Act, giving the British East India Company a monopoly on the North American tea trade.

1774: Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette become King and Queen of France.

1775: Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold lead the Green Mountain Boys to capture Fort Ticonderoga — the beginning of Americans’ offensive actions against the British.

Elsewhere, the Second Continental Congress begins in Philadelphia.

1801: Tripoli’s Barbary pirates declare war against the U.S.

1824: The National Gallery opens in London.

1849: A dispute between actors Edwin Forrest and William Charles Macready leads to a riot at the Astor Opera House in Manhattan, killing at least 25 and injuring more than 120. (This is surprising. I’ve done some acting, and never known a dispute to lead to anything worse than the participants storming offstage in a huff. Maybe followed by strong gossip.)

1865: U.S. troops capture Jefferson Davis near Irwinville, Georgia.

1869: Leland Stanford drives the golden spike, the last spike to connect the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, at Promontory Summit, Utah, completing the First Transcontinental Railroad in the U.S.

1872: Victoria Woodhull is the first woman nominated for President of the United States. (Yet 148 years later, we still haven’t had a woman as POTUS. Keep trying, U.S.! Maybe one day we, too, can be as progressive as Lithuania.)

1876: U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant and Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II open the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

1904: Horch & Cir. Motorwagenwerke AG is founded; it will later become Audi.

1908: The first Mother’s Day is observed, in Grafton, West Virginia.

1916: Having been shipwrecked during the Imperial Trans-Antactic Expedition, Ernest Shackleton and crew members arrive at South Georgia after an 800-nautical-mile journey via lifeboat.

1924: U.S. President Calvin Coolidge appoints J. Edgar Hoover as Director of the FBI, where Hoover will remain until his 1972 death.

1933: The Nazis stage public book burnings across Germany.

1941: Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland to attempt negotiating a peace deal between the UK and Nazi Germany.

1954: Bill Haley & His Comets release “Rock Around the Clock,” which will become the first rock and roll record to hit number one on the Billboard charts.

1960: The USS Triton completes Operation Sandblast, the first underwater circumnavigation of the globe.

1962: Marvel Comics publishes the first issue of “The Incredible Hulk.”

1967: The Northrop M2-F2 crashes on landing, inspiring the novel “Cyborg” and the TV show “The Six Million Dollar Man.”

1969: The Battle of Dong Ap Bia begins with a U.S. and South Vietnamese assault on the North Vietnamese-fortified Hill 937, which will become known as Hamburger Hill.

1970: Bobby Orr scores “The Goal” to win the Stanley Cup Finals for the Boston Bruins.

1975: Sony introduces the Betamax videocassette recorder.

1981: François Mitterrand is elected; he is the first Socialist President of France.

1994: Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, is inaugurated.

2002: Having sold U.S. secrets to Russia for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds, FBI agent Robert Hanssen is sentenced to life in prison without parole.

2005: Vladimir Arutyunian attempts to assassinate U.S. President George W. Bush and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi, Georgia. He throws a hand grenade that lands about 65 feet from them, but it malfunctions with no detonation.

2012: Suicide bombers detonate two car bombs outside a military intelligence complex in Damascus, Syria, killing 55 and injuring 400.

2013: One World Trade Center becomes the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. (A certain real estate magnate grieves that his building is no longer the tallest in New York City.)

On May 11,

330: Byzantium is renamed Nova Roma, but will come to be referred to as Constantinople. (Waaaait a minute — you mean the song lied to us? It should say, “Istanbul was Constantinople, was Nova Roma, was Byzantium!”)

868: The Diamond Sutra is printed in China; it is the first known dated printed book.

1647: Peter Stuyvesant arrives in New Amsterdam to take the place of Willem Kieft as Director-General of New Netherland. (At least the song got that part right — “Even old New York, was once New Amsterdam.”)

1812: Unhappy with a lack of compensation from the United Kingdom for his Russian imprisonment while working there as a UK export representative, John Bellingham assassinates British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval. He waits in the lobby of the House of Commons with two .50 calibre pistols hidden inside his coat, and when Perceval arrives, steps foward, shoots him through the heart, and sits on a bench to await his fate. Bellingham will argue that he would rather have shot the British Ambassador to Russia, but was justified in killing a representative of his oppressors. He will be publicly hanged in May.

1910: Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.

1927: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is founded.

1942: Faulkner’s “Go Down, Moses” is published.

1949: Siam officially changes its name to Thailand for the second time. (Why they changed it, I can’t say. People just liked it better that way?)

1987: Klaus Barbie’s trial begins in London, for his war crimes committed during WWII.

1996: Eight people die on Mount Everest while attempting to descend from the summit during a blizzard.

1997: Chess-playing supercomputer Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in Game 6 of their rematch. It is the first time a computer beats a world champion in a classic chess match format.

On May 12,

1551: The National University of San Marcos is founded in Lima, Peru; it is the oldest university in the Americas.

1593: The Privy Council arrests and tortures playwright Thomas Kyd in a scourge of authors of “divers lewd and mutinous libels” posted around London. No libels will be found in his lodgings, although investigators will find an Arianist tract that is considered heretical. Kyd will tell authorities the writings in his possession belong to Christopher Marlowe, whom they will summon but who will be killed before a decision is made on his case. Kyd will be released, but will be unable to clear his name publicly.

1743: Having defeated Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII, Maria Theresa of Austria is crowned Queen of Bohemia. (She probably experienced a Rhapsody.)

1780: British forces take Charleston, South Carolina.

1846: The Donner Party leaves Independence, Missouri for California. (They won’t make a seconds trip.)

1864: Thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers die in “the Bloody Angle” due to some of the most intense hand-to-hand combat of the Civil War, during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

1932: The lifeless body of Charles Lindbergh Jr., aka the Lindbergh Baby, is found partially buried a few miles from the Lindberghs’ home, ten weeks after his abduction.

1941: Konrad Zuse presents the first working programmable, fully automatic computer — Z3 — in Berlin.

1942: German sub U-507 torpedoes U.S. tanker SS Virginia while it’s in the mouth of the Mississippi River.

1949: The Soviet Union lifts its blockade of Berlin.

1982: Security guards prevent Juan María Fernández y Krohn from attacking Pope John Paul II with a bayonet during a procession outside the Virgin Mary shrine in Fátima, Portugal.

2002: Jimmy Carter is the first American President — in or out of office — to visit Cuba since Castro’s 1959 revolution.

On May 13,

1568: In the Battle of Langside, Scottish Protestants under James Stewart, Earl of Moray, defeat the forces of his half-sister Mary, Queen of Scots. (I bet Thanksgiving dinner was awkward at their parents’ castle that year….)

1780: Tennessee settlers’ leaders sign the Cumberland Compact, a foundation of the later Tennessee State Constitution. The Compact calls for an elected governing council, outlines militia duty, limits punishment by the judicial system, and arranges for government salaries to be paid in goods — 1000 deer skins for governors, 450 otter skins for secretaries, 500 raccoon skins for county clerks, and one mink skin per warrant served for constables. (Can we go back to paying high-ranking government officials that way?)

1787: The First Fleet — 11 ships of convicts, under command of Captain Arthur Phillip — departs from Portsmouth, England to set up a penal colony in Australia.

1846: The U.S. declares war on Mexico.

1861: Queen Victoria issues a proclamation of neutrality, under which the UK recognizes the American Confederacy as having belligerent rights.

Elsewhere, John Tebbutt discovers the Great Comet of 1861.

1865: The last land battle of the Civil War — the Battle of Palmito Ranch, in south Texas — ends in a post-war Confederate victory. (Good thing Robert E. Lee didn’t take back his surrender as a result.)

1880: Thomas Edison first tests his electric railway, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

1888: Brazil passes the Lei Áurea, or Golden Law, abolishing slavery.

1912: The UK establishes the Royal Flying Corps, the predecessor to the Royal Air Force.

1917: Three shepherd children from Fátima, Portugal — Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto — report seeing the first of six visions of the Virgin Mary over the next five months, most of them at the Cova da Iria. They claim to have been visited three times by an angel the previous year, which they kept to themselves prior to this date, when Jacinta tells her family the children saw an apparition “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.” The tale will quickly spread throughout their village. The children claim Mary told them to pray the Rosary daily to bring an end to the war, and to return to the Cova da Iria on June 13. They will claim to see her again on this date, and that during that encounter, she revealed Francisco and Jacinta would soon be taken to Heaven — in fact, an international flu pandemic will claim their lives in 1919 and 1920, respectively — but Lúcia will live longer in order to spread devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The children will claim the apparition made another promise about ending the war, that she entrusted them with a secret, and that they are to learn to read and come back again on the 13th. The provincial administrator will intervene on August 13, jailing the children before they can reach the Cova da Iria. They will claim to see Mary again six days later, at Valinhos, when she will speak of a miracle coming in October and request that they pray and make sacrifices for the souls perishing in hell. On October 13, tens of thousands of people will gather at the Cova da Iria, where some of them will report seeing a miracle in which a rainstorm will stop and the sun will appear as an opaque, spinning disc that’s duller than usual, cast multicolored lights about, and appear to careen toward the earth before zig-zagging back to its previous position. They will claim their wet clothes and the wet ground dried suddenly. The three children will claim to see multiple visions, including Jesus, Our Lady of Sorrows, Saint Joseph, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Years later, Sister Lúcia will publish memoirs detailing three secrets the visions had supposedly bestowed, as well as the alleged desire of Mary for the consecration of Russia as a means of preventing Russia from “spreading her errors” throughout the world. The first secret was a vision of hell, experienced by all three children. The second predicted an end to the Great War, but predicted a worse one if people continued to offend God. The second war would follow a sign — a great light illuminating the night when war was near. On January 25, 1938, an aurora borealis will appear over the northern hemisphere, seen as far south as North Africa, Bermuda, and California. Sister Lúcia will believe it is the sign, and indicate so via letters to her superior and the bishop. A little more than a month later, Hitler will seize Austria. The third secret was a vision of the death of a pope, which many will interpret as the 1981 attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II — on the anniversary date of the children’s first vision. In October 1930, Bishop da Silva will declare the children’s visions were “worthy of belief.”

1939: The first commercial FM radio station in the U.S. — which will become WDRC-FM — is launched in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

1940: The German Army crosses the Meuse, beginning Germany’s conquest of France.

Elsewhere, Churchill makes his “blood, toil, tears, and sweat” speech to the House of Commons.

1958: Having traveled more than 11,000 miles by sea and 39,000 miles by land over the previous ten years, Ben Carlin becomes the first and only person to circumnavigate the globe in an amphibious vehicle — a modified Ford GPA which he and his wife had named the Half-Safe.

Elsewhere, Anti-American demonstrators attack Vice President Richard Nixon’s car in Caracas, Venezuela.

1971: The Pakistan Army massacres about 900 unarmed Hindus in Bangladesh.

1981: Mehmet Ali Ağca attempts to assassinate Pope John Paul II, shooting him four times in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. The Pope suffers severe blood loss and has to undergo emergency surgery. Ağca is apprehended immediately; he will be sentenced by an Italian court to life in prison. The Pope will forgive him and, at the Pope’s request, the Italian president will pardon Ağca and deport him to his homeland of Turkey in June 2000 — the same month in which the Pope will release the Third Secret of Fatima and claim that Ağca’s attempt fulfilled the secret.

1989: Thousands of students begin a hunger strike in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

1995: Alison Hargreaves is the first woman to climb Mount Everest with neither oxygen nor the help of sherpas.

2013: Dr. Kermit Gosnell is found guilty of three counts of murder of infants who were born alive during abortion attempts and one count of involuntary manslaughter of a patient during an abortion procedure.

On May 14,

1607: English colonists establish the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia.

1610: Louis XIII becomes king of France upon the assassination of Henry IV.

1643: Louis XIII dies, making his four-year-old son, Louis XIV, the king of France.

1787: With George Washington presiding, delegates convene a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to write the Constitution. (Hmm. Washington presided, huh? Foreshadowing!)

1796: Edward Jenner gives the first smallpox vaccination, to an eight-year-old boy named James Phipps. (It’s worth noting that Phipps did NOT develop autism as a result. It’s worth further noting that it wouldn’t matter if he had, because he’d have still been ALIVE.)

1800: The process begins for moving the U.S. Government from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. (And without the benefit of U-Hauls.)

1804: The Lewis and Clark Expedition begins its journey, leaving Camp Dubois. (And without the benefit of U-Hauls.)

1878: The trial of Daniel Spofford begins after his fellow Christian Scientist, Lucretia Brown, had accused him of attempting to harm her via “mesmerism.” It will come to be known as the last witchcraft trial in the U.S. and fittingly, it takes place in Salem, Massachusetts.

1939: Lina Medina gives birth via C-Section to a son. She is five years old. The biological father and child rapist will never be identified. (Some days I hate reporting the date’s events. This is one of those times.)

1948: Israel is declared to be an independent state, triggering attacks by neighboring Arab states and the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

1955: The Soviet Union and seven other Communist bloc countries sign the Warsaw Pact.

1961: A mob of Klansmen, some still in church attire from Mother’s Day service, attack one of the two Freedom Riders buses in Anniston, Alabama. They slash its tires before it can leave the station, then stop the crippled bus several miles outside of town and toss a firebomb into it. Members of the mob hold the doors shut in an attempt to burn the riders alive. Something causes the mob to back off — either an exploding fuel tank or an undercover state investigator with a revolver — and the riders escape, whereupon the mob members begin to beat them. They stop short of lynching the riders when highway patrolmen fire warning shots into the air. When the second bus arrives at the Anniston terminal — an hour after the attack on the first bus — eight Klansmen board it and beat the Freedom Riders, leaving them semi-conscious in the back of the bus. (See my note for 1939.)

1973: NASA launches Skylab, the first U.S. space station. (And without the benefit of U-Hauls.)

On May 15,

1718: London lawyer James Puckle patents the world’s first machine gun. (I’m not sure arming attorneys is a good idea.)

1776: The Fifth Virginia Convention tells its Continental Congress to propose a resolution of independence, which will pave the way for the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

1800: James Hadfield attempts to assassinate King George III; he will be acquitted by reason of insanity.

1836: Francis Baily observes “Baily’s beads” — an arc of bright spots — during an annular eclipse. (Oooh! Something bright emitting from the sun! Way to break new scientific ground there, Francis.)

1850: The U.S. Cavalry slaughters at least 60 Pomo Indians on an island in Clear Lake, California. The Pomos had been enslaved by two settlers, confined to a village there, starved, and otherwise abused. They had rebelled and murdered their captors. The slaughter is the Cavalry’s response. (Because that seemed fair?)

1862: Lincoln signs a bill creating the United States Bureau of Agriculture, which will become the Department of Agriculture.

1869: Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association. (Because the men had said, “See ya later, alligator, And don’t forget my…my mashed potatoes, ‘Cause I’m going downtown to cast my vote for president.” At least, that’s what I heard on a few Saturday mornings, decades ago.)

1905: One hundred acres of Nevada desert are auctioned off, and Las Vegas is founded.

1911: The SCOTUS finds Standard Oil to be an unreasonable monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act, and orders the company broken up.

1928: Mickey Mouse debuts in the animated short, “Plane Crazy.”

1932: Eleven Japanese naval officers assassinate their prime minister, Inukai Tsuyoshi, in a failed attempt at a coup d’état.

1933: All military aviation groups under Germany’s ministry of aviation are covertly merged to form the Luftwaffe.

1940: The first McDonald’s opens, in San Bernadino, California. (What a Kroc.)

1942: A U.S. bill creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, becomes law.

1958: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 3.

1960: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 4.

1963: The final Mercury mission — Mercury-Atlas 9 — launches. Manning the flight, astronaut Gordon Cooper is the last American to go into space alone and will become the first American to spend more than one day in space.

1969: Ronald Reagan, governor of California, directs People’s Park to be fenced off from anti-war protestors. A riot ensues.

1970: Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington are the first women to become U.S. Army generals.

1972: Arthur Bremer shoots and paralyzes Alabama Governor George Wallace during Wallace’s presidential campaign stop in Laurel, Maryland.

2008: The California Supreme Court rules a ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, making California the second state — after Massachusetts in 2004 — to legalize said union.

2010: Jessica Watson is the youngest person to sail non-stop around the world solo.

On May 16,

1532: Sir Thomas More resigns as Lord Chancellor of England.

1770: 14-year-old Marie Antoinette marries future king, 15-year-old Louis-Auguste. (At the reception, do you think their parents let them eat cake?)

1843: One thousand pioneers leave Elm Grove, Missouri on the Oregon Trail, the first major wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest.

1866: Congress establishes the nickel coin.

1868: The U.S. Senate acquits Andrew Johnson by one vote in his impeachment trial.

1888: Nikola Tesla lectures about the process and equipment necessary to transmit electricity over long distances.

1918: Congress passes the Sedition Act of 1918, making it illegal to criticize the government during wartime. The act is repealed in less than two years. (Let’s hope today’s federal government is not aware they can pass an act like this.)

1920: Pope Benedict XV canonizes Joan of Arc.

1929: The first Academy Awards ceremony takes place in Hollywood. (I’m pretty sure its closing speaker is supposed to wrap up soon.)

1983: Michael Jackson debuts his iconic moonwalk on television, during the “Motown 25” special. He had performed it live on March 25, during filming of the special.

On May 17,

1536: The marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn is annulled. (Quelle surprise.)

1792: Twenty-four stockbrokers sign an agreement to form the New York Stock & Exchange Board, which will later become the New York Stock Exchange. The agreement will come to be known as the Buttonwood Agreement because the signing allegedly had occurred under a buttonwood tree.

1875: Aristides wins the first Kentucky Derby.

1900: L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is published in the U.S.

1902: Valerios Stais identifies a gear in an artifact retrieved from the sea off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera the previous year. The artifact, known as the Antikythera mechanism, is actually an ancient mechanical analog computer. It was constructed by Greek scientists between 205 BC and 60 BC, and used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses decades in advance, as well as to track the four-year cycle of athletic games similar to an Olympiad. (So…a calendar? This “computer” was a glorified calendar? Here’s an idea, ancient Greeks — take the current year, then add four. Bingo! You have the date of your next games.)

1939: A collegiate baseball game between the Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers is the first televised sporting event in the U.S.

1954: The U.S. Supreme Court hands down its landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka — a unanimous decision against school segregation, based on the opinions that “in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place” and that segregated schools are “inherently unequal” and therefore in violation of the 14th Amendment. Side note: the chief attorney for the plaintiffs in the case had been none other than Thurgood Marshall, then head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; in 13 years, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson will appoint him the first black Supreme Court justice.

1973: The Senate’s televised hearings on Watergate begin.

1974: L.A. Police raid the Symbionese Liberation Army’s headquarters and kill six members — including Camilla Hall, one of Patty Hearst’s kidnappers.

1977: Nolan Bushnell opens the first Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant, in San Jose, California. (“Restaurant.”)

1983: In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Appalachian Observer, the Department of Energy declassifies documents showing the world’s largest mercury pollution event — 4.2 million pounds in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

1984: Prince Charles refers to a proposed addition to London’s National Gallery as a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.” (Prince Charles. Making quips about ugly faces. Fascinating.)

1987: An Iraqi Dassault Mirage F1 fighter jet fires two missiles into the USS Stark, killing 37 and injuring 21.

1990: The World Health Organization eliminates homosexuality from the list of psychiatric diseases.

1995: Shawn Nelson, a mentally ill, suicidal Army vet with a methamphetamine addiction and a history of disturbing behavior, drives to a California Army National Guard Armory in San Diego at dusk, finds the vehicle yard gate unlocked and the yard deserted, and proceeds to steal an M60A3 tank. He manages to open the hatches on three tanks before finding one that starts with its push button, at which point a Guardsman sees him and calls the police, too late to prevent him from leaving in a tank. It has no ammunition, but Nelson is able to do plenty of damage with the 57-ton rolling mass during a rampage through nearby neighborhoods, as well as on two state highways and an interstate. He leads police on a 23-minute televised chase at a top speed of 30 mph, knocking down utility poles, destroying other vehicles, and closing a freeway. He attempts to knock down a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 805 before giving up and heading onto State Route 163, where the tank becomes stuck on a concrete median barrier while he is attempting to cross into oncoming traffic. Four police officers climb onto the tank and order Nelson to surrender. He ignores them and begins lurching the tank. Officer Paul Paxton leans in and shoots Nelson in the shoulder, preventing him from sending the tank into traffic. Nelson dies later at the hospital, the only fatality of his rampage.

2004: Massachusetts performs the first legal same-sex marriages in the U.S.

2006: Decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Oriskany is sunk off of Florida’s Gulf Coast to create an artificial reef; it is the largest vessel ever sunk for that purpose.

2007: In a test run agreed to by both governments, trains from North and South Korea cross the 38th Parallel; it is the first time since 1953 that trains have crossed the Demilitarized Zone.

On May 18,

1593: Christopher Marlowe is arrested based on accusations of heresy by Thomas Kyd. (Turns out he was only Kydding.)

1652: Rhode Island passes the first law making slavery illegal in English-speaking North America.

1756: Great Britain declares war on France, beginning the Seven Years’ War.

1804: The French Senate proclaims Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor of the French.

1860: The Republican Party, progressive at the time, nominates Abraham Lincoln for presidential candidate.

1863: The Siege of Vicksburg begins.

1896: The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson that the “separate but equal” doctrine is constitutional. (See yesterday’s post for an idea of how well that one held up over the next 60 years.)

1917: U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs the Selective Service Act of 1917 into law, requiring all American men aged 21-30 to register to be potentially drafted into service for WWI.

1927: A school board treasurer angered by increased taxes and his previous year’s defeat in an election for township clerk, carries out a series of deadly attacks in and around Bath Township, Michigan. Having killed his wife at some point during the past two days, he detonates incendiary devices on his homestead, destroying his house and farm buildings. Simultaneously, a timed detonator sets off the hundreds of pounds of dynamite and pyrotol he had planted in Bath Consolidated School over the previous months. While rescue attempts are underway that morning, he drives up in truck filled with dynamite and shrapnel, which he detonates with a rifle. In all, the Bath School massacre kills 38 elementary schoolchildren and six adults, and injures at least 58 other people.

1933: U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signs an act creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.

1953: Pilot Jackie Cochran is the first woman to break the sound barrier. Having been denied permission to borrow an F-86 from the USAF but encouraged by lifelong friend Maj. Chuck Yeager, Cochran had approached the RCAF and procured the loan of their only Sabre 3 — plus a 16-man support team. At Rogers Dry Lake, California, she flies the Sabre 3 at an average speed of 652.337 mph and goes supersonic during the run.

1955:  Operation Passage to Freedom ends, the evacuation of 310,000 Vietnamese civilians and soldiers and non-Vietnamese members of the French Army, from North Vietnam to South Vietnam following the end of the First Indochina War. (Shouldn’t guidelines be established on naming military operations? They sound much better — and probably do a better job of protecting the mission’s goals — when they’re terse. How about “Operation Southbound” or something? Although I suppose “Operation Passage to Freedom” is at least a little better than “Operation Let’s Get This Group Of More Than A Quarter Million People Out Of This Communist Country.”)

1965: Israeli spy Eli Cohen is hanged in Damascus, Syria.

1969: Apollo 10 launches.

1974: India successfully detonates its first nuclear weapon, becoming the sixth nation to do so.

1980: Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, killing 57 people and causing $3 billion in damage.

2005: A second photo from the Hubble Space Telescope confirms that Pluto has two additional moons, Nix and Hydra.

2018: A school shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas kills 10 people.

On May 19,

1499: Catherine of Aragon, at age 13, is married by proxy to 12-year-old Arthur, Prince of Wales. (Was the reception held on a playground?)

1535: French explorer Jacques Cartier sets sail on his second voyage to North America. He brings Chief Donnacona’s two sons, whom he had kidnapped during his first voyage.

1536: Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, is beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest — all of which charges were trumped up by Henry, and questionable at best.

1568: England’s Queen Elizabeth I orders the arrest of Mary, Queen of Scots.

1743: Jean-Pierre Christin develops the centigrade temperature scale. (Because that’s what we really needed — one more measurement system to learn.)

1780: The skies over New England and parts of Canada go unusually dark during the day, necessitating the use of candles for vision from noon onward. It will become known as New England’s Dark Day, and the prevailing theory will be that it was due to a combination of smoke from forest fires, fog, and cloud cover. (I suspect Bill Belichick had the sun deflated for a game.)

1848: Mexico ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican-American War and ceding California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of four other states to the U.S. in exchange for $15 million.

1911: Parks Canada is established as the world’s first national park service.

1961: Probe Venera 1 passes Venus, becoming the first man-made object to fly by another planet.

1962: Marilyn Monroe sings her iconic “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” song during a birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden.

1963: The New York Post Sunday Magazine publishes Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

1971: The Soviet Union launches Mars 2.

1986: U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs the Firearm Owners Protection Act into law.

2018: Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, witnessed by an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion viewers. (Not me; I didn’t get an invitation.)

On May 20,

325: The First Council of Nicaea is formally opened; it is the first ecumenical council of the Christian Church.

1498: Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrives at Kozhikode, India, discovering the sea route to India.

1570: Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues the first modern atlas — Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.

1609: Thomas Thorpe publishes Shakespeare’s sonnets for the first time.

1775: Myth holds that after learning of the Battle of Lexington, a committee of citizens in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, declares independence from Great Britain by signing the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Skepticism of this claim will endure through modern times, especially considering the similarities in text to the Declaration of Independence 15 months later. (I’m not sure what makes me giddier — the thought of one county declaring independence from England, or the thought of Thomas Jefferson stealing the language of a bunch of North Carolinians.)

1802: Napoleon Bonaparte reinstates slavery in the French colonies. (What? A temperamental, egotistical little man in charge of a country, taking it backward? Nah, couldn’t happen.)

1861: North Carolina secedes from the Union. (I wonder if Mecklenburg County went first.)

Elsewhere, Kentucky proclaims its neutrality, which will last until Confederate forces enter the state on September 3.

1862: Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law, offering federal land grants to any U.S. citizen who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government and was at least 21 or the head of a household, who would settle on, farm, and improve the land.

1873: Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets. (So why aren’t we wearing “Jacob’s” today?)

1883: Krakatoa begins to erupt; in three months, it will explode and kill more than 36,000 people.

1891: The public sees Thomas Edison’s prototype kinetoscope for the first time, as Edison lab associate William Dickson presents a three-second clip of himself to a convention of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs. The kinetoscope will be considered by many as the forebear to modern motion pictures.

1902: Cuba gains independence from the U.S. Tomás Estrada Palma becomes the country’s first president.

1932: Amelia Earhart departs from Newfoundland in her quest to make the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot; she will land in Ireland the next day.

1940: The first prisoners arrive at a new concentration camp at Auschwitz.

1941: German paratroops invade Crete.

1948: Chiang Kai-shek becomes the first President of the Republic of China.

1949: The Armed Forces Security Agency — the predecessor to the National Security Agency — is established in the U.S.

1956: The U.S. drops its first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll.

1961: A white mob brutally attacks 19 Freedom Riders at the Greyhound Station in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. The riders had been arrested in Birmingham on May 17, and Birmingham police had sent them back to Tennessee. They had returned to Birmingham the next day, whereupon Alabama Governor John Patterson bowed to federal pressure and agreed to authorize police protection for their ride from Birmingham to Montgomery. State police abandon the bus at Montgomery city limits, and the riders arrive unescorted at a station equally devoid of protection, because Montgomery Public Safety Commissioner L.B. Sullivan had promised the Klan several minutes to attack the riders without police interference. A mob of several hundred people are waiting at the station with baseball bats, hammers, and pipes. Montgomery police watch as the mob attacks reporters, then the Riders.

1964: Astronomers Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias accidentally discover the cosmic microwave background (CMB), thermal radiation left over from an early stage in the development of the universe after the Big Bang. CMB is said to be a picture of the oldest light in the universe. The discovery will earn Wilson and Penzias the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physics.

1969: The Battle of Hamburger Hill ends.

1983: Virologist Luc Montgnier and his team publish their discovery of the HIV virus, in the journal “Science.”

1996: In Romer v. Evans, the Supreme Court rules against a state amendment in Colorado that prevented protected status for gay and bisexual people.

On May 21,

1703: Daniel Defoe is imprisoned on charges of seditious libel for having written in defense of Presbyterian dissenters who had separated from the Church of England.

1758: During the French and Indian War, a band of Lenape abduct ten-year-old colonist Mary Campbell in Pennsylvania. She will be returned six and a half years later, and will be thought to have been the first white child to travel to the Western Reserve.

1851: Slavery is abolished in Colombia, South America.

1856: Pro-slavery activists under Douglas County Sheriff Samuel J. Jones ransack the town of Lawrence, Kansas, which had been founded by anti-slavery settlers. This is one of the earliest incidents of open violence in “Bleeding Kansas” during the period leading up to the Civil War. (So, five years after Colombia abolished it, citizens of the U.S. were fighting each other because half of them still wanted to keep slavery. Good job, U.S. Way to set an example.)

1864: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House ends, with nearly 32,000 casualties having resulted from 13 days of fighting.

1881: Clara Barton establishes the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.

1917: The Great Atlanta Fire of 1917 starts just after noon in the Old Fourth Ward. It burns for almost 10 hours and causes $5 million in damages, destroying about 300 acres and 2,000 structures and displacing about 10,000 people, but leading to only one fatality — due to heart attack.

1924: University of Chicago students Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr., believing themselves to be two of Friedrich Nietzsche’s “supermen” — above the law, due to their allegedly superior intellects — kidnap and murder 14-year-old Bobby Franks. Leopold drops his glasses when they dump the boy’s body, and the uniqueness of their hinges will lead the police to him. Their alibis will unravel and Leopold and Loeb will confess. Loeb’s family will hire Clarence Darrow as a defense attorney; he will recommend they plead guilty and hope for life sentences rather than the death penalty. During the September sentencing, Darrow will give a 12-hour closing plea for mercy, which will do the trick — the judge will sentence them to life in prison for the murder, plus 99 years for the kidnapping. Loeb will be murdered in prison in January 1936. His killer will be acquitted. Leopold will be released in March 1958, move to Puerto Rico, earn a master’s degree, and die of a heart attack in August 1971. (Wait, what? Darrow’s closing argument lasted for 12 hours? How is that not a crime in and of itself?)

1927: Charles Lindbergh lands in Paris to complete the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic.

1932: Amelia Earhart lands in Derry, Northern Ireland, to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

1934: Oskaloosa, Iowa, is the first U.S. municipality to fingerprint all of its citizens. (What the? Why? Were they all arrested?)

1936: Having strangled her sleeping lover after a bout of erotic asphyxiation — then emasculated his corpse — Sada Abe is arrested after having wandered Tokyo for three days with his severed genitalia in her purse. (She probably couldn’t find anyone willing to make change.)

1961: A white mob terrorizes 1000 black residents and civil rights leaders inside First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. The church service, attended by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, is a show of support and solidarity for the Freedom Riders attacked in Montgomery the previous day. The mob surrounds the church and vandalizes cars during the service. Dr. King calls AG Robert F. Kennedy from the church basement to request help; Kennedy sends U.S. Marshals to dispel the riot. The mob pelts them with bricks and bottles; the marshals respond with tear gas. When police arrive to assist the marshals, the mob breaks into smaller groups, who set about overturning cars, assaulting black passers-by, and attacking black people’s homes with guns and firebombs. Governor Patterson declares martial law, ordering National Guard troops to restore order. After 17 arrests, the streets begin to calm down. The church attendees are able to safely leave by midnight.

1972: Laszlo Toth, a mentally disturbed Hungarian geologist, vandalizes Michelangelo’s Pietà, in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Shouting, “I am Jesus Christ, risen from the dead,” he administers 15 blows to the sculpture with a geologist’s hammer, removing Mary’s arm at the elbow, chipping one of her eyelids, and knocking off part of her nose. Bystanders manage to subdue him before he can damage the sculpture further. He will not be charged, but will be committed to a psychiatric hospital for two years and immediately deported on his release. (Still not as funny as that cleaning woman who tried to repaint the face of Jesus after she accidentally disfigured it.)

1979: Dan White is convicted of voluntary manslaughter — the lightest possible conviction — for the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Dissatisfied with the lenient sentence, the gay community of San Francisco embarks on a protest march through the Castro District to City Hall. The crowd increases to more than 5000 and turns violent upon reaching City Hall. Rioters injure police officers and cause hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of property damage to City Hall and the surrounding area. Police retaliate by raiding a gay bar in the Castro District in full riot gear, beating the patrons. The White Night riots will change the face of the gay community in San Francisco, increasing its political power after Mayor Dianne Feinstein is elected to a full term in November.

1998: In Miami, Florida, an unknown assailant pours butyric acid through the doors of five abortion clinics, injuring three people. (Because, you know, pro-life.)

2005: Kingda Ka, the tallest roller coaster in the world, opens at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey.

On May 22,

1762: Pope Clement XIII inaugurates Trevi Fountain in Rome.

1804: The Corps of Discovery departs St. Charles, Missouri, officially beginning the Lewis and Clark Expedition. (“The Lewis and Clark Expedition” sounds like a TV variety show featuring the Rat Pack.)

1807: A grand jury indicts former Vice President Aaron Burr on a charge of treason. (I hope someone asked, “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?”)

1819: SS Savannah departs Savannah, Georgia on a voyage to become the first steamship to cross the Atlantic.

1826: HMS Beagle departs on its first voyage.

1848: Slavery is abolished in Martinique.

1849: Abraham Lincoln receives a patent for an invention to lift boats, eventually making him the only U.S. President to ever hold a patent.

1856: Following Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner’s speech against slavery and the recent sacking of Lawrence, Kansas, South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks confronts Sumner in his Senate chamber and severely beats him with a cane. Brooks strikes him repeatedly over the head with the gold-tipped cane, eventually shattering it. Sumner’s injuries will keep him out of the Senate for several years. Brooks will be fined $300 for assault, and will resign. Upon returning to South Carolina, he will be revered as a hero and re-elected to his House seat. Southerners will send him replacement canes in support of his violence. (What? American citizens lauding a populist’s vile behavior? Nah, couldn’t happen.)

1872: U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signs the Amnesty Act into law, restoring full civil and political rights to all but about 500 Confederate sympathizers.

1900: The Associated Press is formed as a non-profit news cooperative.

1906: The Wright Brothers receive a patent for their “Flying-Machine.”

1915: California’s Lassen Peak erupts, devastating nearby areas and sending volcanic ash as far as 200 miles to the east. It will be the only volcano other than Mount St. Helens to erupt in the contiguous U.S. during the 20th Century.

1957: South Africa approves of racial segregation in universities.

1964: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson launches the Great Society.

1972: Over 400 women in Derry, Northern Ireland attack the offices of Sinn Féin after the IRA shoots a young British soldier on leave.

1998: A federal judge rules that Secret Service agents can be compelled to testify before a grand jury concerning the Lewinsky scandal.

2002: A Birmingham, Alabama jury convicts former Klan member Bobby Frank Cherry of the 1963 murder of four girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.

2015: The Republic of Ireland is the first nation in the world to legalize gay marriage via public referendum.

2017: Following an Ariana Grande concert, a radical Islamist suicide bomber detonates himself at the UK’s Manchester Arena, killing 22 additional people and injuring 139.

On May 23,

1430: The Burgundians capture Joan of Arc while she is leading an army to raise the Siege of Compiègne.

1533: The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void. (“Next!”)

1701: Captain William Kidd is hanged in London after his piracy and murder convictions.

1829: Armenian Cyrill Demian receives a patent for the accordion. (Demian? More like Damien, amirite?)

1846: Mexican President Mariano Paredes declares war on the United States.

1911: The New York Public Library is dedicated. (I didn’t have the energy to research enough to change the passive tense, so I left this sounding more like a declaration of the library’s personality.)

1934: Police ambush and kill bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

1945: Heinrich Himmler, head of the Schutzstaffel, commits suicide in Allied custody.

1992: The Corleonesi clan use a bomb to kill Italy’s most prominent anti-mafia judge, Giovanni Falcone, and his wife and three bodyguards.

1995: The first version of the Java programming language is released.

2014: Elliot Rodger goes on a killing spree near the Santa Barbara campus of the University of California, stabbing, shooting, and hitting victims with his car. He kills six people and injures 14 before crashing into a parked vehicle and shooting himself in the head.

On May 24,

1607: One hundred English settlers disembark in Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in America.

1626: Peter Minuit buys Manhattan. (And he does it in a New York Minuit.)

1738: John Wesley is converted, launching the Methodist movement. The day will be celebrated annually by Methodists as Aldersgate Day.

1798: The Irish Rebellion of 1798 begins against British rule.

1830: Sarah Josepha Hale’s “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is published.

1844: Samuel Morse inaugurates a commercial telegraph line from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland, sending the message “What hath God wrought” from a committee room in the Capitol to his assistant, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore. (Am I reading that wrong, or did Morse sound like a Luddite condemning his own technology?)

1856: John Brown and his men kill five slavery supporters at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas.

1861: Union troops occupy Alexandria, Virginia. (Given that Alexandria is practically a suburb of Washington, DC — the Union capital — shouldn’t they have been there all along?)

1883: The Brooklyn Bridge opens to traffic, after 14 years of construction.

1930: Amy Johnson is the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

1935: The Cincinnati Reds host the Philadelphia Phillies at Crosley Field in the first night game in Major League Baseball history. The Reds win, 2-1.

1940: Igor Sikorsky flies a single-rotor helicopter, the first successful flight of its kind.

1958: The United Press merges with the International News Service to form United Press International.

1961: Freedom Riders disembark from their bus in Jackson, Mississippi, and are arrested for “disturbing the peace.”

1962: American Scott Carpenter orbits the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 space capsule.

1976: The Judgment of Paris establishes California as a worldwide force in the production of quality wine.

1988: The UK enacts Section 28 of its Local Government Act 1988; the amendment states that a local authority cannot intentionally promote homosexuality. (How, exactly, would an authority “promote” homosexuality? It happens organically, with or without authority’s blessing. This would be like saying you can’t promote having brown hair, allergies, a pessimistic outlook, or a sweet tooth.)

1994: Four men convicted of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center are sentenced to 240 years each.

2000: Israeli troops withdraw from southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation.

2002: Russia and the United States sign the Moscow Treaty, agreeing to a strategic arms reduction.

On May 25,

240 BC: For the first recorded time, astronomers observe the perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.

1787: The Constitutional Convention formally convenes in Philadelphia.

1878: Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” opens at the Opera Comique in London.

1895: Oscar Wilde is convicted of “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons” and sentenced to two years’ hard labor in prison.

1925: John Scopes is indicted for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in Tennessee.

1935: Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens breaks three world records and ties a fourth at the Big Ten Conference Track and Field Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1953: KUHT, the first public television station in the U.S., begins broadcasting from the campus of the University of Houston.

1961: U.S. President John Kennedy announces before a special joint session of Congress, his goal to put a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.

1966: Explorer 32 launches.

1968: The Gateway Arch is dedicated in Saint Louis. (I have to agree — it seems to like its job.)

1977: “Star Wars” is released in theaters. (And everyone thinks of it as Episode 1, which is as it should be.)

1986: Hands Across America takes place. Approximately six and a half million people hold hands for 15 minutes in an effort to form a continuous human chain across the contiguous United States.

1999: The House of Representatives releases the Cox Report, detailing nuclear espionage against the U.S. by the People’s Republic of China over the prior two decades.

2001: Erik Weihenmayer is the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

2008: NASA’s Phoenix lander lands on Mars, in search of environments suitable for water and microbial life.

2011: Oprah Winfrey ends a 25-year run of her show.

2012: The SpaceX Dragon is the first commercial spacecraft to successfully rendezvous with the International Space Station.

On May 26,

1783: North Stratford, Connecticut holds “A Great Jubilee Day” to celebrate the end of fighting in the American Revolution.

1805: Napoléon Bonaparte assumes the title of King of Italy. (Didn’t he ever hear the saying about what happens when you assume something?)

1830: Congress passes the Indian Removal Act, which Andrew Jackson will sign into law two days later. It will allow him to trade unsettled lands west of the Mississippi for Native American’s lands within existing state borders. Many tribes will resist, but will be forced to relocate. Thousands of Native Americans will die on the forced marches west, known as the Trail of Tears. (So they couched it as a “trade” but hey — at least the name of the act was honest about their intent.)

1857: Dred Scott is freed two months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled he couldn’t sue because he was property and not a person, as the sons of his first owner purchase his emancipation.

1868: Andrew Johnson is acquitted by one vote in his impeachment hearings.

1896: Charles Dow publishes the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (Investors immediately panic when they find out the market isn’t up.)

1897: Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” is published.

1967: The Beatles release “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in the UK; they will release it one week later in the U.S.

1969: Apollo 10 returns to Earth after having successfully tested all of the components needed for a manned Moon landing.

2004: Terry Nichols is found guilty of 161 state murder charges for having helped carry out the Oklahoma City bombing.

On May 27,

1096: Count Emicho enters Mainz, where his followers massacre at least 600 Jewish citizens.

1703: Peter the Great founds the city of Saint Petersburg. (How to make people think you’re great, step 1: Name a city after yourself.)

1927: The Ford Motor Company ceases manufacture of the Ford Model T and begins retooling plants to make the Ford Model A. (T&A? I see what you did there, Henry, you dog.)

1930: The Chrysler Building opens in New York City; at 1,046 feet, it is the tallest man-made structure at the time.

1933: The Walt Disney Company releases the cartoon “Three Little Pigs,” with its hit song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” (Hit songs were a little different back then.)

1937: The Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic, linking San Francisco and Marin County, California.

1941: British naval forces sink the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic near France, killing almost 2,100 men.

1967: Jacqueline and Carolina Kennedy launch the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy.

1996: Russian President Boris Yeltsin meets with Chechnyan rebels for the first time, negotiating a cease-fire.

1998: Michael Fortier is sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $200,000 for failing to warn authorities about the Oklahoma City Bombing.

On May 28,

585 BC: A solar eclipse occurs, as predicted by the Greek philosopher and scientist Thales, leading to a truce in the Battle of Halys. The date will become one of the cardinal dates from which other dates can be calculated.

1533: Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, declares the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn valid.

1588: The Spanish Armada, consisting of 30,000 men on 130 ships, sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal, for the English Channel. It will take two days for all ships to leave port. (Why? Was there no wind for two days?)

1754: In the Battle of Jumonville Glen — the first engagement of the French and Indian War — Virginia militia under the command of 22-year-old Lieutenant Colonel George Washington defeat a French reconnaissance party in Pennsylvania.

1802: Four hundred rebellious slaves in Guadeloupe, led by Louis Delgrès, blow themselves up rather than submit to Napoleon’s troops.

1830: Andrew Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act. (He basically endorsed genocide with that, but yeah, let’s keep his murdering face on the $20 bill.)

1892: John Muir founds the Sierra Club, in San Francisco.

1934: Quintuplets are born to Oliva and Elzire Dionne, near Callander, Ontario; they will be the first quintuplets to survive infancy.

1936: Alan Turing submits “On Computable Numbers” for publication.

1937: Volkswagen is founded.

1942: In retaliation for an assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich, Nazis kill more than 1800 people in Czechoslovakia. (I’m sure there were very fine people on both sides.)

1948: Daniel François Malan is elected Prime Minister of South Africa; he will eventually implement Apartheid.

1961: Peter Benenson’s article “The Forgotten Prisoners” is published in several international newspapers; it will later be considered the founding of Amnesty International.

1987: A West German pilot, 18-year-old Mathias Rust, evades Soviet air defenses and lands a private plane in Red Square. He is immediately detained; he will be released in August, 1988.

1996: U.S. President Bill Clinton’s former business partners in the Whitewater land deal — Jim and Susan McDougal and Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker — are convicted of fraud.

1999: Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” is put back on display in Milan, Italy, after 22 years of restoration work.

2002: The last steel girder is removed from the original World Trade Center site and cleanup duties officially end with closing ceremonies at Ground Zero.

On May 29,

1108: Almoravid troops under the command of Tamim ibn Yusuf defeat a Castile and León alliance under the command of Prince Sancho Alfónsez in the Battle of Uclés. (I’ll be honest with you — I don’t know anything about this event or these people. I shared it only because at first I thought it said “Battle of Uncles” and that mental image delighted me.)

1453: Constantinople falls to Ottoman armies. The Byzantine Empire comes to an end.

1780: At the Battle of Waxhaws, the British continue attacking after the Continentals lay down their arms, killing 113 and critically wounding all but 53.

1886: John Pemberton places his first ad for Coca-Cola, in The Atlanta Journal.

1913: Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” premieres in Paris, provoking a riot. (Ballet lovers can be such thugs. Didn’t they know they were only hurting themselves? President Fallières should have told them, When the ballet starts, the gunplay starts….)

1919: Arthur Eddington and Andrew Claude de la Cherois Crommelin test Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

1931: An Italian firing squad executes American citizen Michele Schirru for intent to kill Benito Mussolini.

1953: Edmund Hillary and sherpa Tenzing Norgay are the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest; it is also Norgay’s adopted 39th birthday. (There’s no way his 40th celebration could top that.)

1954: Diane Leather is the first woman to run a mile in under five minutes, at the Alexander Sports Ground in Birmingham, UK.

1964: The Arab League meets in East Jerusalem to discuss the Palestinian question; this will lead to the formation of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

1973: Tom Bradley is elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.

1999: Space Shuttle Discovery completes the first docking with the International Space Station.

2004: The National World War II Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.

2015: One World Observatory opens at One World Trade Center.

On May 30,

1381: The Peasants’ Revolt begins in England.

1431: An English-dominated tribunal burns Joan of Arc at the stake in Rouen, France.

1536: Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour, who had been a lady-in-waiting to his first two wives. (But she didn’t really get famous until she starred in “Live and Let Die.”)

1539: Hernando de Soto lands at Tampa Bay with 600 soldiers, hoping to find gold. (You were a bit off the mark with that one, Hern.)

1814: The Treaty of Paris returns French borders to their 1792 extent. Napoleon is exiled to Elba.

1868: Decoration Day — the predecessor of the modern Memorial Day — is observed for the first time in the U.S.

1922: The Lincoln Memorial is dedicated. (I mean, look how hard it works. It never even leaves its station.)

1925: Shanghai Municipal Police Force shoot and kill 13 protesting workers.

1937: Chicago police shoot and kill ten labor demonstrators.

1943: Josef Mengele becomes chief medical officer of the Zigeunerfamilienlager at Auschwitz. This is his first involvement with the concentration camps that will eventually bring him infamy for the atrocities he will commit at them.

1958: The remains of two unidentified American servicemen, killed during World War II and the Korean War, are buried at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

1971: Mariner 9 launches on its mission to map the surface of Mars and to study temporal changes in that planet’s atmosphere and surface.

1972: Three members of the Japanese Red Army, recruited by Palestinians, use assault rifles to kill 24 people and injure 78 others at Lod Airport, near Tel Aviv.

2013: Nigeria passes a law banning same-sex marriage.

On May 31,

1669: Samuel Pepys makes his last diary entry, citing poor eyesight.

1790: The U.S. enacts its first copyright statute.

1879: In New York City, William Henry Vanderbilt renames Gilmore’s Garden to Madison Square Garden and opens it to the public. (And the first piece of chewed-up gum appears under one of the seats.)

1909: The National Negro Committee convenes. It will be the forerunner to the NAACP.

1911: The Titanic is launched in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

1921: Allegedly spurred on by an editorial in the “Tulsa Tribune,” a white mob forms outside Tulsa County Courthouse in Oklahoma with the intent of lynching a black suspect held inside, who’d been falsely accused of harming a white woman in an elevator. That night, a group of 25 armed black men arrive with the intent of helping the sheriff hold the mob at bay. The white crowd grows to nearly 2000 and members begin to arm themselves, attempting to break into a nearby armory for more weapons. A second group of about 75 black men arrive to offer support to the sheriff, who declines. One of the white men allegedly tells one of the black men to surrender his pistol; he allegedly refuses. A shot is fired. The white mob fires on the black group; the black group returns fire. A rolling gunfight ensues and a riot erupts. The National Guard assembles, members of the American Legion begin to patrol the streets, and the largely unremembered Tulsa Race Massacre takes place overnight as the white mob enters the black district of Greenwood, setting fire to buildings and killing indiscriminately. White assailants in airplanes drop firebombs on the district and fire rifles at the inhabitants. Over the course of 18 hours through the morning of June 1, thousands of white terrorists will have looted and burned homes and businesses across 35 acres in the Greenwood District. Firefighters are threatened when they respond. More than 1250 houses are burned, plus 600 black-owned businesses. Casualties will be contested, but it will be estimated that between 300 and 3000 black citizens were killed, wounded, and/or missing. Charges will be dropped against Rowland when police conclude he had accidentally stumbled into the elevator operator. He will leave Tulsa immediately on his release, never to return.

1927: The last Ford Model T rolls off the assembly line.

1971: Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May, instead of May 30, for the first time.

1975: With 17-year-old First Daughter Susan Ford leading the way, Holton-Arms students attend the first and only high school dance ever held at the White House.

1989: Six members of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement murder eight transsexuals in Tarapoto, Peru.

2005: Vanity Fair reveals that Mark Felt was “Deep Throat.”

2008: Usain Bolt breaks the world record in the 100m sprint, with a wind-legal 9.72 seconds.

2013: A record-breaking 2.6-mile-wide tornado hits El Reno, Oklahoma, killing eight and injuring more than 150.

On June 1,

1495: A monk named John Cor records the first known batch of Scotch whisky.

1533: Anne Boleyn is crowned Queen of England.

1648: The Roundheads defeat the Cavaliers at the Battle of Maidstone, in the Second English Civil War. (At first this sounded like a college basketball game recap.)

1779: Benedict Arnold is court-martialed for malfeasance.

1812: U.S. President James Madison asks Congress to declare war on the United Kingdom. (Remember how Presidents used to observe our system of checks and balances like that? Good times.)

1831: James Clark Ross is the first European to reach the North Magnetic Pole.

1868: The Treaty of Bosque Redondo is signed, allowing the Navajo to return to their lands in Arizona and New Mexico.

1890: The U.S. Census Bureau begins using Herman Hollerith’s tabulating machine to count census returns.

1916: Louis Brandeis is the first Jewish person appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

1962: Adolf Eichmann is hanged in Israel.

1974: The Heimlich Maneuver is published in the journal “Emergency Medicine.”

1980: CNN begins broadcasting.

1990: U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev sign a treaty to end chemical weapon production.

2004: Prosecutors sentence Terry Nichols to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of a parole — breaking a Guinness World Record — for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.

2009: General Motors files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the fourth largest U.S. bankruptcy in history.

2011: Space Shuttle Endeavour makes its final landing after 25 flights.

On June 2,

1692: Bridget Bishop is the first person tried for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts; her trial begins and ends on the same day. She will be hanged on June 10.

1763: Minweweh and Madjeckewiss, two Chippewa/Ojibwe cohorts of Pontiac, stage an attack on the British garrison at Fort Michilimackinac in Michigan’s Mackinac Straits. They divert the British with a game of baggatiway — similar to lacrosse — against the Sauk outside the fort’s gate. While the troops watch, Ojibwe women approach the gate, with tomahawks and knives bundled under blankets. A staged errant shot sends the game’s “ball” toward the open gate, where the players rush under the pretense of attempting to retrieve it as part of the game. The women quickly open their blankets and the players grab their weapons and rush into the fort, slaughtering every Englishman they can find, but sparing the French.

1774: The Quartering Act is enacted, allowing the British to house soldiers in colonial American homes and other buildings. It is considered one of the “Intolerable Acts” that will lead to the American Revolution. (I sure hope someone is paying attention to this today.)

1835: P.T. Barnum and his circus start their first U.S. tour. (Modern American politics is invented.)

1919: Anarchists simultaneously set off bombs in eight U.S. cities, including Philadelphia, Washington, and New York. Two near-casualties of the Washington bomb are Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor, who live across the street from the targeted house and had just walked by it. A body part lands on their doorstep.

1924: U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act into law, granting citizenship to all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the U.S.

1953: Queen Elizabeth II is crowned. It is the first major international event to be televised.

1964: The PLO is formed.

1966: Surveyor 1 lands in Oceanus Procellarum on the Moon; it is the first U.S. spacecraft to soft-land on another celestial body.

1997: Timothy McVeigh is convicted in Denver on 15 counts of murder and conspiracy for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing. He will be executed four years later.

On June 3,

1539: Hernando de Soto claims Florida for Spain. (I bet he tried to give it back once he experienced the traffic on I-4.)

1889: The first long-distance power transmission line in the U.S. is completed; it runs 14 miles from a generator at Willamette Falls to downtown Portland, Oregon.

1940: The Luftwaffe bombs Paris. The Battle of Dunkirk ends with a German victory and Allied forces in full retreat.

1943: White Sailors and Marines clash with Latino youths in L.A., in what will come to be known as the Zoot Suit Riots.

1965: Gemini 4 launches, the first multi-day space mission by a NASA crew. Ed White is the first American to conduct a spacewalk.

1980: An explosive device is detonated at the Statue of Liberty. The FBI suspects Croatian nationalists.

1989: The government of China sends troops to force protesters out of Tiananmen Square after seven weeks of occupation.

2013: Chelsea Manning’s trial begins, for leaking classified material to WikiLeaks.

2017: Three Islamic terrorists drive a van into a group of pedestrians on London Bridge before crashing the van and running to a nearby market area, where they stab multiple people. They kill eight people and injure 48 before the police shoot them dead. The next day, London Mayor Sadiq Khan will state that citizens will notice increased police presence, by which they should not be alarmed. U.S. President Donald Trump will twist those words in a tweet: ‘At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!”‘ Uproar will ensue. (Doesn’t it always?)

On June 4,

1561: Lightning strikes the steeple of Old St. Paul’s Cathedral, in London. The resulting fire destroys the steeple, which will never be rebuilt.

1760: New England planters claim land taken from the Acadians in Nova Scotia during the Great Upheaval.

1783: The Montgolfier brothers demonstrate their montgolfière, aka hot air balloon.

1784: Élisabeth Thible is the first woman to fly in an untethered hot air balloon, reaching an estimated altitude of 1500 meters and traveling 4km in 45 minutes.

1862: Confederate troops abandon Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, allowing Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee. (I wonder if Fort Pillow has ever been the location for a Head of the River.)

1876: The Transcontinental Express arrives in San Francisco from New York City via the First Transcontinental Railroad, having traveled for 83 hours and 39 minutes. (“Express.”)

1896: Henry Ford completes his first gas-powered automobile, the Ford Quadricycle, and successfully gives it a test run.

1912: Massachusetts is the first state to set a minimum wage. (It probably hasn’t increased much since.)

1913: British suffragette Emily Davison ducks under a guard rail during the Derby Stakes and runs onto the track, reaching for the reins of King George V’s horse, Anmer. The horse collides with her, knocking her unconscious. She will never regain consciousness, dying four days later from a fracture at the base of her skull.

1917: Five people receive the first Pulitzer Prizes: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall for biography, for their “Julia Ward Howe” book; Jean Jules Jusserand for history, for his “With Americans of Past and Present Days” book; and Herbert B. Swope for journalism, for his work for the “New York World.”

1919: Congress approves the 19th Amendment, giving voting rights to women, and sends it to the states for ratification.

1939: Carrying 963 Jewish refugees, the MS St. Louis is denied permission to land in Florida after having been turned away from Cuba. It will return to Europe, where more than 200 of its passengers will die in Nazi concentration camps.

1940: British forces complete the evacuation of 338,000 troops from Dunkirk, France. Churchill delivers his “We shall fight on the beaches” speech to the House of Commons.

1944: Rome is the first Axis capital to fall to the Allies. A U.S. Navy hunter-killer group captures German sub U-505; it is the first time in the 20th century that a U.S. Navy vessel has captured an enemy vessel at sea.

1975: Governor Jerry Brown signs the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the first U.S. law to give collective bargaining rights to farmworkers.

1986: Having sold U.S. military secrets to Israel, Jonathan Pollard pleads guilty to espionage.

1998: Terry Nichols is sentenced to life in prison for his participation in the Oklahoma City bombing.

2010: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral on its maiden flight.

On June 5,

1817: The Frontenac — the first Great Lakes steamer — launches.

1851: The first installment of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery serial, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly,” is published in the “National Era” abolitionist newspaper.

1893: Lizzie Borden’s trial begins in New Bedford, Massachusetts, for the axe murders of her father and stepmother.

1915: Denmark amends its constitution to grant universal suffrage to women.

1917: Conscription begins in the U.S.

1933: Congress enacts a joint resolution nullifying the right of creditors to demand payment in gold.

1947: Secretary of State George Marshall calls for economic aid to war-torn Europe, which will come to be known as the Marshall Plan.

1956: Elvis Presley introduces his new single — “Hound Dog” — on The Milton Berle Show and shocks the audience with his suggestive hip movements. (While dancing, that is. It probably would have been more shocking if he’d started suggestively moving his hips while chatting with Berle.)

1967: Israel launches surprise strikes against Egyptian air fields in response to the mobilization of Egyptian forces on the Israeli border, starting the Six-Day War.

1968: Sirhan Sirhan shoots U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy just after midnight at the Ambassador Hotel in L.A., mortally wounding him. Kennedy will be pronounced dead at 1:44 a.m. the next day.

1975: The Suez Canal opens for the first time since the Six-Day War. (Is it just me, or was the ratio of the amount of time it was closed to the actual duration of the war inordinately high?)

1976: The Teton Dam collapses in Idaho.

1981: The CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” reports on five people in Los Angeles who have a rare form of pneumonia, seen only in patients with weakened immune systems. Their cases will turn out to be the first recognized cases of AIDS.

1989: “The Tank Man” halts the progress of a column of advancing tanks for more than 30 minutes in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

1995: Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman create the first Bose–Einstein condensate, at the University of Colorado at Boulder. (You’ll have to look that one up, as I have no idea what it means.)

2004: Noël Mamère, Mayor of Bègles, conducts the first same-sex marriage in France. Same-sex marriage will not be legal there for another nine years.

On June 6,

913: Constantine VII, the 8-year-old illegitimate son of Leo VI the Wise, becomes nominal ruler of the Byzantine Empire. (How wise could Leo have been? He apparently didn’t even know about birth control.)

1586: Francis Drake’s forces raid St. Augustine in Spanish Florida.

1808: Napoleon’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte, is crowned King of Spain. (Does anyone else see a disparity in their names? It’s like naming one kid Grandiosity and the other one Bob.)

1822: At a fur trading post on Mackinac Island in Michigan, Alexis St. Martin is accidentally shot in the stomach at close range with a musket. William Beaumont, a surgeon at a nearby Army post, treats the wound, but does not expect St. Martin to live. He will survive, but his wound will leave an opening into his stomach. Beaumont will trick the illiterate St. Martin into signing a contract to work as Beaumont’s servant, forcing him to stay so Beaumont can take advantage of the unhealed wound to observe his digestive process. He will conduct about 200 digestion-related, sometimes-painful experiments on St. Martin over the course of a decade, affording doctors a better understanding of the human digestive system. (If you’re disturbed by any of the elements of this story, then congratulations, you have a soul. Also, you’re lucky I didn’t describe the graphic nature of the experiments.)

1844: The Glaciarium, the world’s first mechanically frozen ice rink, opens in London.

Elsewhere in London, The YMCA is founded. (I hope they took the kids skating.)

1862: Union forces capture Memphis, Tennessee, from the Confederates.

1889: The Great Seattle Fire destroys all of downtown Seattle.

1892: The “L” — an elevated rail system — begins operation in Chicago.

1894: Colorado Governor Davis H. Waite orders the state militia to protect and support the miners in the Cripple Creek strike.

1932: The Revenue Act of 1932 creates the first gas tax in the U.S., at one cent per gallon.

1933: The first drive-in theater opens, in Camden, New Jersey.

1934: U.S President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 into law, establishing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

1939: Joseph Force Crater is declared legally dead. Formerly a New York State Supreme Court Justice, Carter had disappeared amid political scandal almost nine years prior, and was known as the “Missingest Man in New York.”

1942: U.S. Navy dive bombers sink the Japanese cruiser Mikuma and four Japanese carriers in the Battle of Midway.

1944: The Allied invasion of Normandy, France — codenamed Operation Overlord — begins with Operation Neptune. Commonly referred to as D-Day, Operation Neptune involves the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy. It is the largest amphibious military operation in history.

1946: The Basketball Association of America is founded in NYC; it is the precursor to the NBA.

1971: Soyuz 11 launches.

1985: Authorities open the grave of “Wolfgang Gerhard” in Embu, Brazil; the exhumed remains therein will be proven to be those of Josef Mengele, who was thought to have drowned in February 1979. (He got off far too easy.)

2002: A near-Earth asteroid — estimated at ten meters in diameter — explodes over the Mediterranean Sea between Greece and Libya. The explosion is estimated to have a force of 26 kilotons, slightly more powerful than the Nagasaki atomic bomb.

2005: In Gonzales v. Raich, the Supreme Court upholds a federal law banning cannabis, including medical marijuana.

On June 7,

1099: The Siege of Jerusalem begins.

1628: Charles I grants Royal Assent to — and therefore makes law — the Petition of Right, a major English constitutional document setting forth liberties that the king cannot infringe upon. (We could use one of those today.)

1654: Louis XIV is crowned King of France.

1776: Richard Henry Lee presents the “Lee Resolution” to the Continental Congress. John Adams seconds it. This resolution will lead to the Declaration of Independence.

1862: The U.S. and the UK agree in the Lyons–Seward Treaty to suppress the African slave trade. (Three years later, the 13th Amendment will confirm the U.S. is still okay with one form of it.)

1892: Homer Plessy is arrested for refusing to leave his seat in the “whites only” car of a train; he will lose the resulting court case, Plessy v. Ferguson.

1899: Temperance crusader Carrie Nation begins her campaign of vandalizing alcohol-serving establishments by destroying the inventory in a saloon in Kiowa, Kansas. (Sit down, Carrie.)

1917: Allied soldiers detonate a series of mines underneath German trenches at Messines Ridge, killing 10,000 German troops.

1946: BBC returns to broadcasting its television service, which had been off the air for seven years due to the World War II.

1965: The Supreme Court rules in Griswold v. Connecticut that states cannot criminalize the use of contraception by married couples. (Sit down, Connecticut.)

1969: Private First Class Dan Bullock of the USMC is mortally wounded by a burst of enemy fire in Vietnam. He is 15 years old. Bullock was big for his age and thus able to deceive enlistment recruiters. He had altered his birth certificate at age 14, changing the year of his birth from 1953 to 1949 so he could enlist.

1971: The Supreme Court overturns Paul Cohen’s conviction of disturbing the peace for having worn a jacket that said, “Fuck the Draft.” This sets the precedent that vulgar writing is protected under the First Amendment.

1982: Priscilla Presley opens Graceland to the public, with the exception of the bathroom where Elvis died. (Sit down, fans.)

On June 8,

452: Attila the Hun invades Italy. (Is anyone else surprised at how far westward that seems, or am I the only one who didn’t pay enough attention during World History class?)

632: Muhammad dies in Medina.

793: Vikings raid the Lindisfarne abbey in Northumbria — the start of Norse activity in the British Isles.

1191: Richard I arrives in Acre, beginning his crusade.

1783: Laki, a volcano in Iceland, begins an eight-month eruption which will kill more than 9,000 people and cause a seven-year famine.

1789: James Madison introduces twelve proposed amendments to the United States Constitution in Congress; ten of them will become the Bill of Rights. Of the two that are “rejected,” the first has to do with how Representatives should be apportioned to states, which will become part of the main body of the Constitution, anyway. The second looks to forbid Congress from giving itself a pay raise. It will not receive the necessary number of ratifications, but in 1982, a student named Gregory Watson will realize the amendment is still alive due to its lacking a time limit. He will lobby various states to ratify it, and it will become the 27th amendment in 1992.

1861: Tennessee secedes from the Union. (Voluntarily.)

1906: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs the Antiquities Act into law, authorizing the President to protect certain parcels of public land with historical or conservation value.

1912: Carl Laemmle incorporates Universal Pictures.

1918: Amateur astronomer Grace Cook confirms Zygmunt Laskowski’s discovery of Nova Aquilae, the brightest nova since Kepler’s Supernova of 1604.

1929: Margaret Bondfield is appointed Minister of Labour; she is the first woman appointed to a UK Cabinet position.

1949: An FBI report names Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni, and Edward G. Robinson as Communist Party members. (Seriously, FBI? You’re gonna go after a blind and deaf woman? That’s who you find threatening??)

1949: Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is published.

1953: The Supreme Court rules that restaurants in Washington, D.C. cannot refuse to serve black patrons.

1959: Navy submarine USS Barbero and the Post Office Department make the only delivery of “Missile Mail.” The Barbero fires an altered Regulus cruise missile — its nuclear warhead had been replaced by two mail containers — toward the Naval Auxiliary Air Station at Naval Station Mayport in Florida. The missile strikes its target after 22 minutes, whereupon personnel open it and forward the mail to a Jacksonville, Florida post office. (Can we all just tacitly agree it was a bad idea to fire a U.S. missile toward a U.S. military base, no matter what it contained? Further, can we agree to keep this bit of history secret from Jeff Bezos?)

1966: The National Football League and American Football League announce a merger, to become effective in 1970.

1967: During the Six-Day War, Israeli forces allegedly mistake Navy research ship USS Liberty for an Egyptian ship in international waters north of the Sinai Peninsula. They consequently attack it with jet fighters and torpedo boats, killing 34 and wounding 171.

1972: South Vietnamese forces attack the village of Trảng Bàng, which had been occupied by North Vietnamese forces. As a group of civilians and South Vietnamese soldiers flee from the Caodai Temple toward South Vietnam-held positions, a Republic of Vietnam Air Force pilot mistakes them for enemy soldiers and attacks the area with a napalm bomb. Among the group is nine-year-old girl Phan Thị Kim Phúc, who runs down the road naked after the napalm burns the clothing off her body, screaming in pain and terror as it causes third-degree burns on her back and other parts of her body. Two of her cousins die in the attack. AP photographer Nick Ut captures the moment in a photograph that will: run in the New York Times the next day; win a Pulitzer Prize the next day; have its authenticity called into question by U.S. President Richard Nixon; and become iconic as a representation of the horrors of the Vietnam War. After snapping the photo, Ut takes Phúc and other survivors to Barsky Hospital in Saigon, where doctors believe her burns to be so severe she won’t survive. She will stay in the hospital for 14 months and undergo 17 surgical procedures before returning home, but won’t be able to move properly until 1982, after she receives treatments at a special clinic in West Germany. Ut will visit her until he is evacuated during the fall of Saigon, then stay in touch with her throughout their lives. (Wait, Nixon questioned the authenticity of the photograph? What, exactly, did he think it showed? Of course, I supposed it’s almost refreshing to know “fake news” was an equally ridiculous claim even then.)

1984: New South Wales declares homosexuality legal. (Oh, that’s nice. I wonder how they feel about being left-handed, or having red hair. Are those legal yet?)

1992: The first World Oceans Day is celebrated, coinciding with the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

1995: U.S. Marines rescue downed U.S. Air Force pilot Captain Scott O’Grady in Bosnia. O’Grady had been shot down while patrolling a no-fly zone on June 2, and been forced to survive off bugs and rainwater while evading hostile forces for six days.

2001: Mamoru Takuma kills eight and injures 15 in a mass stabbing at an elementary school in the Osaka Prefecture of Japan. (NRA members practically have a mass orgasm in their zealous rush to point out that murders happen even without guns.)

2009: Two American journalists are found guilty of illegally entering North Korea, and sentenced to 12 years of penal labor. Kim Jong-il will pardon them in August, one day after former U.S. President Bill Clinton arrives in a publicly unannounced visit to negotiate their release.

On June 9,

53: Nero marries Claudia Octavia.

68: Nero commits suicide, ending the Julio-Claudian dynasty and starting the civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. (Dang, Nero, way to ruin your anniversary.)

1856: Five hundred Mormons leave Iowa City for the Mormon Trail.

1862: Stonewall Jackson concludes his successful Shenandoah Valley Campaign with a victory in the Battle of Port Republic; his tactics will be studied by militaries around the world.

1915: William Jennings Bryan resigns as Secretary of State over a disagreement with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s strongly worded response to Germany on the sinking of the RMS Lusitania.

1930: Leo Vincent Brothers kills Chicago Tribune reporter Jake Lingle at the Illinois Central train station during rush hour, allegedly over a $100,000 gambling debt owed to Al Capone.

1934: Donald Duck debuts in “The Wise Little Hen.”

1944: In retaliation for guerrilla attacks by the French Resistance, German troops arrest all men between 16 and 60 in the French city of Tulle. They execute 99 of the civilians by hanging them from lampposts and balconies in the city.

1954: Joseph Welch, special counsel for the United States Army, lashes out at Senator Joseph McCarthy during hearings on whether Communism has infiltrated the Army. He gives McCarthy a rebuke that will become famous: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” (REM will exhume the rebuke’s audio in 1987.)

1959: The U.S. launches the first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, the USS George Washington.

1968: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson declares a national day of mourning for Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

1973: Secretariat wins the U.S. Triple Crown.

1978: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opens its priesthood to “all worthy men,” ending a 148-year-old policy of excluding black men.

On June 10,

671: The first rokoku, or Japanese water clock, is installed in the Japanese capital of Otsu, under Emperor Tenji.

1692: Bridget Bishop is hanged at Gallows Hill near Salem, Massachusetts, for “certaine Detestable Arts called Witchcraft and Sorceries.” (Does the wording of that charge sound a tad passive-aggressive to anyone else? It’s like saying, “a certain person who shall remain nameless” while staring at the person you’re talking about.)

1829: The first Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge takes place on the Thames.

1854: The first class graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy.

1886: Mount Tarawera erupts in New Zealand, killing 153 people and burying the famous Pink and White Terraces. Eruptions will continue for three months, creating a fissure 17 km in length across the mountain peak.

1935: Dr. Bob Smith, an alcoholic, drinks a beer to settle his nerves before performing an operation; it is his last alcoholic drink, establishing the date as the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous by him and Bill Wilson.

1940: The Kingdom of Italy declares war on France and the United Kingdom; U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt denounces Italy’s actions in his “Stab in the Back” speech at UVa’s graduation ceremony.

1944: At 15 years old, Joe Nuxhall of the Cincinnati Reds is the youngest player ever in a Major League game.

1947: Saab produces its first automobile. (But when did the automobile produce its first sob?)

1963: U.S. President John F. Kennedy signs the Equal Pay Act of 1963 into law.

1964: The Senate breaks a 75-day filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, leading to the bill’s passage. (Whoa, they fought its passage with unending prattle for 75 days? That’s some dedication to racism, y’all.)

1967: Israel and Syria agree to a cease-fire, ending the Six-Day War.

1977: James Earl Ray escapes from Brushy Mountain State Prison in Petros, Tennessee. He will be recaptured three days later. (When I first read this, I was wondering why a distinguished actor was in jail.)

1980: The African National Congress in South Africa publishes a call to fight from their imprisoned leader, Nelson Mandela.

1990: British Airways Flight 5390 experiences explosive decompression when an improperly installed windscreen panel separates from the fuselage. Captain Tim Lancaster is partially sucked out of the aircraft, with his knees catching on the flight controls. This allows flight attendant Nigel Ogden to rush forward and grab his belt. Lancaster’s torso is exposed to the extreme wind and cold for 20 minutes while Ogden literally holds onto him for life and copilot Alastair Atchison works to land the plane safely at Southampton Airport. There are no fatalities. Ogden suffers a dislocated shoulder and frostbite on his face, with damage to one eye. Lancaster suffers from frostbite, bruising, shock, and three fractures on his arms. He will return to work less than five months later. (I hope Ogden got to fly free anywhere, anytime. And that whenever he worked again, he’d say, “Coffee, tea, or saving your life?”)

1991: Phillip and Nancy Garrido abduct 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard while she is walking to her bus stop in Meyers, California. Her stepfather witnesses the abduction and gives chase on his mountain bike, but is unable to keep up. The Garridos drive her to their home in Antioch, where they will keep her for 18 years. Phillip will imprison and repeatedly rape her, and Jaycee will give birth to two daughters during that time — the first at age 13. Phillip will eventually begin allowing Jaycee off of his property with supervision, and she will stick to his scripted versions of her identity. He will appear in public with Jaycee’s daughters in August 2009, and their behavior will arouse enough suspicion for the case to unravel. He and Nancy will be arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced in 2011 to 431 years to life and 36 years to life, respectively. Jaycee will be reunited with her family, write one book about her ordeal and a later book about her recovery, settle with the State of California for $20 million in compensation for investigative lapses, and focus on raising her daughters in an undisclosed location.

2002: Kevin Warwick conducts the first direct electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans.

2003: NASA launches the Spirit Rover, beginning the Mars Exploration Rover mission.

On June 11,

1184 BC: Troy is sacked and burned. (I guess Trojans aren’t reliable protection, after all.)

1509: Henry VIII marries Catherine of Aragon.

1770: James Cook runs aground on the Great Barrier Reef.

1775: The first naval engagement of the American Revolution — the Battle of Machias — takes place, resulting in the capture of a small British vessel.

1776: Continental Congress appoints Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to the Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence. (“Committee of Five” would make a great band name.)

1788: Russian explorer Gerasim Izmailov reaches Alaska.

1895: Paris–Bordeaux–Paris is the first automobile race in history.

1919: Sir Barton is the first horse to win the Triple Crown.

1935: Inventor Edwin Armstrong gives the first public demonstration of FM broadcasting in the U.S. — at Alpine, New Jersey.

1936: The London International Surrealist Exhibition opens. (No one can find it, because the map is a fish.)

1942: The U.S. agrees to send Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union.

1944: USS Missouri is commissioned; it is the last battleship built by the U.S. It will also be the site of the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender.

1955: An Austin-Healey and a Mercedes-Benz collide at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, killing 83 spectators and injuring at least 100; it is the deadliest ever accident in motorsports.

1962: Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin escape from Alcatraz.

1963: Alabama Governor George Wallace stands at the door of Foster Auditorium in an attempt to block two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from attending the University of Alabama. National Guard troops accompany them later in the day, allowing them to register.

Elsewhere, U.S. President John F. Kennedy proposes the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the American public.

Elsewhere, Protesting the persecution of Buddhists in South Vietnam, Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức burns himself to death with gasoline in a busy Saigon intersection.

1970: Having been appointed on May 15, Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington officially receive their ranks as U.S. Army Generals, becoming the first females to do so.

1987: Diane Abbott, Paul Boateng, and Bernie Grant are elected as the first black MPs in Great Britain.

2001: Timothy McVeigh is executed for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.

2002: Congress acknowledges Antonio Meucci as the inventor of the telephone.

2004: Cassini–Huygens makes its closest flyby of the Saturn moon Phoebe.

2008: The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope launches into orbit.

2018: 3 World Trade Center officially opens.

On June 12,

1665: Thomas Willett is appointed the first mayor of New York City.

1775: British general Thomas Gage declares martial law in Massachusetts, offering a pardon to all colonists who lay down their arms — with the exception of Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who would be hanged if captured.

1817: German inventor Karl von Drais unveils his invention, the Laufmaschine, or “running machine” — an early form of bicycle. Later known as the velocipede or dandy horse, the invention has no pedals and is operated by sitting astride the seat and propelling it by literally running. The invention will enjoy some popularity, but rutted roads will force its users to ride it on sidewalks, endangering pedestrians. This will result in bans in multiple countries, causing the trend to die for decades.

1939: The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, New York.

Elsewhere, shooting begins on “Dr. Cyclops,” the first horror film made in three-strip Technicolor.

1942: Anne Frank receives a locking autograph book for her thirteenth birthday; eight days later, she will begin using it as a diary.

1943: Nazis massacre almost all of residents of the Jewish Ghetto in Brzezany, Poland, leading around 1200 of them to the city’s old Jewish graveyard and shooting them.

1963: NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers returns home from a meeting with NAACP lawyers in the early morning and parks in front of his house in Jackson, Mississippi. His children inside call out to his wife Myrlie that he is home. As Evers exits his car, he is shot in the back. The bullet passes through his heart and knocks him to the ground, but he manages to get back up and stagger 30 feet to his front door, where he collapses. Myrlie finds him there and rushes him to the local hospital, which at first denies him entry because he is black. After Myrlie explains who he is, the hospital admits him; he is the first African American to be admitted to an all-white hospital in Mississippi. He dies 50 minutes later. An Army veteran, he will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on June 19. On June 21, authorities will arrest Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens’ Council, for the murder. The following February and April, all-white juries will become deadlocked and fail to reach a verdict. De La Beckwith will go free for nearly 30 years, at which point Myrlie will take the case to the new county judge. De La Beckwith will be prosecuted on new evidence, and convicted of murder on February 5, 1994. He will die in prison at age 80, in January 2001.

1964: Anti-apartheid activist and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life in prison for sabotage in South Africa.

1967: The Supreme Court rules in Loving v. Virginia that all state laws prohibiting interracial marriage are unconstitutional.

1970: Pittsburgh Pirates’ Dock Ellis pitches a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres, while high on LSD. (One might say he was on a bender. He was loaded. Didn’t anyone tell him that was a no-no? But the fans didn’t balk. He must have been relieved. Okay, I’m out.)

1981: “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is released.

1987: At the Brandenburg Gate, U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly challenges Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.

1991: Russians democratically elect Boris Yeltsin as president.

1994: Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman are murdered outside Simpson’s home in Los Angeles. Her estranged husband, O.J. Simpson, will later be charged with the murders, but acquitted by a jury.

1997: Queen Elizabeth II reopens the Globe Theatre in London.

2016: Omar Mateen opens fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He will kill 49 people and injure 58 before police kill him in a gunfight.

2017: American student Otto Warmbier returns home in a coma after having spent 17 months in a North Korean prison; he will die a week later.

On June 13,

313: The Edict of Milan is posted in Nicodemia, granting religious freedom throughout the Roman Empire.

1525: Martin Luther marries Katharina von Bora, breaking the celibacy rule decreed by the Roman Catholic Church for priests and nuns.

1774: Rhode Island is the first of Britain’s North American colonies to ban importing slaves.

1777: Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette lands near Charleston, South Carolina; he has come to help train the Continental Army.

1881: The USS Jeannette is crushed in an Arctic Ocean ice pack. (I use ice packs to crush headaches.)

1886: A fire devastates much of Vancouver, British Columbia.

1893: Grover Cleveland notices a rough spot in his mouth. On July 1, he will undergo secret surgery to remove a large, cancerous portion of his jaw; the operation will not be revealed to the public until 1917, nine years after his death.

1944: Germany launches the first V1 Flying Bomb attack on England. Only four of the eleven bombs strike their targets.

1966: The Supreme Court rules in Miranda v. Arizona that the police must inform suspects of their rights before questioning them.

1967: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson nominates Solicitor-General Thurgood Marshall to become the first black justice on the Supreme Court.

1971: The New York Times begins publication of the Pentagon Papers.

1981: During the Trooping the Colour ceremony in London, teenager Marcus Sarjeant fires six blank shots at Queen Elizabeth II. (Maybe he just really hated the name, “Trooping the Colour.” It made me want an ice pack.)

1983: Pioneer 10 passes beyond the orbit of Neptune, becoming the first man-made object to leave the central Solar System.

1994: A jury in Anchorage, Alaska blames recklessness by Exxon and Captain Joseph Hazelwood for the Exxon Valdez disaster, allowing victims of the oil spill to seek $15 billion in damages.

1996: The Montana Freemen surrender after an 81-day standoff with FBI agents.

1997: A jury sentences Timothy McVeigh to death for his part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

On June 14,

1775: The Continental Congress establishes the Continental Army, marking the birth of the United States Army.

1777: Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes as the Flag of the United States.

1789: Captain William Bligh and 18 other HMS Bounty mutiny survivors reach Timor after an open-boat journey of almost 4600 miles.

1822: Charles Babbage proposes a difference engine — an automatic mechanical calulator that tabulates polynomial functions — in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society. (Way to make a difference, Charles.)

1846: Anglo settlers in Sonoma, California, start a rebellion against Mexico and proclaim the California Republic.

1900: Hawaii becomes a United States territory.

1907: Norway grants women the right to vote.

1919: John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown leave St. John’s, Newfoundland on the first nonstop transatlantic flight.

1937: Pennsylvania becomes the first and only state to celebrate Flag Day officially as a state holiday.

1937: U.S. House of Representatives passes the Marihuana Tax Act, taxing the sale of cannabis. (Jeez, they couldn’t even spell it correctly — what were they smoking?)

1940: The German occupation of Paris begins. Seven hundred and twenty-eight Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first prisoners of Auschwitz.

1954: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law that places the words “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance.

1959: Disneyland Monorail System opens in Anaheim, California; it is the first daily operating monorail system in the Western Hemisphere.

1966: The Vatican announces the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, or “index of prohibited books,” originally instituted in 1557.

1967: Mariner 5 launches.

1994: A riot takes place in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia after the New York Rangers defeat the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. (I am really having trouble envisioning Canadian rioters. It must have been the most courteous riot ever.)

2002: Near-Earth asteroid 2002 MN misses the Earth by 75,000 miles — about one-third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon. (Whew! That was a close one!)

2017: Deranged left-wing activist James Hodgkinson opens fire at an Alexandria, Virginia practice session for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. He injures U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, U.S. Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner, congressional aide Zack Barth, and lobbyist Matt Mika, and engages in a ten-minute shootout with police that ends with him being fatally wounded.

On June 15,

1215: King John puts his seal to Magna Carta.

1520: Pope Leo X threatens to excommunicate Martin Luther.

1648: Margaret Jones is hanged in Boston for witchcraft; she is the first person executed for this crime in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1667: Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys administers the first human blood transfusion, putting about 12 ounces of sheep blood into a teen-aged boy who had been bled with leeches 20 times. (Yeah, not sure this guy really deserves to be remembered in the annals of medicine.)

1776: Delaware votes to suspend government under the British Crown and separate officially from Pennsylvania.

1844: Charles Goodyear receives a patent for vulcanization. (Spock approves.)

1846: The Oregon Treaty establishes the 49th parallel as the border between the U.S. and Canada, from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

1859: Ambiguity in the Oregon Treaty leads to the “Northwestern Boundary Dispute” between American and British/Canadian settlers.

1864: U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton sets aside 200 acres of land around Arlington Mansion as a military cemetery, establishing Arlington National Cemetery.

1877: Henry Ossian Flipper is the first black cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy.

1878: Eadweard Muybridge takes a series of photographs to prove that all four feet of a horse leave the ground when it runs; the study will become the basis of motion pictures. (Spoiler: He was actually photographing Pegasus.)

1896: The deadliest tsunami in Japan’s history kills more than 22,000 people.

1916: U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America, making them the only American youth organization with a federal charter.

1919: John Alcock and Arthur Brown reach Clifden, Ireland, completing the first nonstop transatlantic flight.

1921: Bessie Coleman is the first black woman to earn a pilot’s license.

1934: Great Smoky Mountains National Park is founded.

1940: Operation Ariel begins as Allied troops start to evacuate France, following Germany’s takeover there.

1970: Charles Manson goes on trial for the Tate murders.

1985: In a fit of insanity, Bronius Maigys attacks Rembrandt’s painting Danaë, throwing sulfuric acid on it and cutting it twice with a knife.

1991: Mount Pinatubo erupts in the Philippines, killing more than 800 people. It is the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th Century.

1992: The U.S. Supreme Court rules in United States v. Álvarez-Machaín that it is permissible for the U.S. to forcibly extradite suspects in foreign countries and bring them here for trial, without approval from those other countries. (Because, as we all know, our Supreme Court has authority in other countries.)

1996: The Provisional Irish Republican Army detonates a truck bomb in the middle of Manchester, England, devastating the city centre and injuring 200 people.

2012: Nik Wallenda crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

2013: Speeding recklessly and intoxicated on pot, Valium, and stolen beer, 16-year-old Ethan Couch collides with a group of people helping at the scene of a disabled vehicle in Burleson, Texas, killing four and injuring nine. Three hours later, his blood alcohol content is measured at 0.24 percent. During his trial for intoxication manslaughter, his attorneys will argue that he suffers from “affluenza” and is unable to understand that actions have consequences because his parents had taught him that wealth buys privilege. The judge will sentence Couch to ten years of probation and order him to therapy at a long-term in-patient rehab facility, causing national outrage over the lenient sentence. A Twitter video will show Couch playing Beer Pong in December 2015, a violation of his ten-year probation without alcohol. A warrant will be issued and Couch and his mother will disappear. They will be found and arrested later that month in Puerto Vallarta, and eventually deported from Mexico to the U.S. In February 2016, Couch will be sentenced to four consecutive 180-day prison sentences, one for each of the four deaths he originally caused. After his April 2018 release, he will be required to wear an ankle monitor and alcohol detection patch, to submit to drug testing, and to conform to a 9:00 p.m. curfew. He will be allowed to drive, but his vehicle will have to use a video-equipped interlock ignition device that prevents him from starting it without passing a breathalyzer text.

On June 16,

1846: The Papal conclave of 1846 elects Pope Pius IX; he will become the longest-reigning elected pope in history, serving for more than 31 years.

1858: Abraham Lincoln delivers his “House Divided” speech in Springfield, Illinois.

1871: The University Tests Act allows students to enter Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham Universities without having to take religious tests. (Unless they plan to study Theology.)

1883: After a children’s variety show in Victoria Hall in Sunderland, England, about 1100 children stampede toward a staircase when they believe they are missing out on the distribution of exit prizes. The children at the bottom of the staircase cannot get through the door in a timely manner, causing 183 of them to die of compressive asphyxia in the resulting crush.

1884: The first purpose-built roller coaster opens at Coney Island — LaMarcus Adna Thompson’s “Switchback Railway.” (That means 136 years’ worth of vomit has accumulated there — think of the history it holds!)

1897: Officials sign a treaty annexing the Republic of Hawaii to the U.S.; the Republic will not be dissolved until a year later.

1903: Ford Motor Company is incorporated. (Speaking of more than a century of vomit….)

1904: Irish author James Joyce takes his future wife, Nora Barnacle, on their first date; he will set his novel “Ulysses” on this date and the date will become a celebration of Joyce’s life called “Bloomsday” — named for the protagonist of the novel. (There’s all kinds of unhealthy obsession at play in that sentence.)

1911: The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company is founded in Endicott, New York; it will later become International Business Machines.

1944: At age 14, George Junius Stinney, Jr. is the youngest person executed in the U.S. in the 20th century. He had been accused of the murder of two young girls in Alcolu, South Carolina, three months previously. Police said he confessed to the murders, but there was no written record of said confession. His trial took less than a day, no transcript was recorded, and the all-white jury convicted Stinney, who was black, in less than 10 minutes. They sentenced him to death by the electric chair. His conviction will be posthumously vacated 70 years later, with the circuit court judge ruling that he had not been given a fair trial, he’d had no effective defense representation, and his Sixth Amendment rights had been violated.

1961: Ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defects from the Soviet Union.

1963: Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space, on the Vostok 6 mission.

1977: Larry Ellison, Bob Miner, and Ed Oates incorporate Software Development Laboratories (SDL) in Redwood Shores, California; it will later become Oracle Corporation.

1981: U.S. President Ronald Reagan awards the Congressional Gold Medal to Ken Taylor, Canada’s former ambassador to Iran, for helping six Americans escape from Iran during the hostage crisis of 1979-1981. Taylor is the first foreign citizen to receive the honor.

2001: Christopher Bain is born.

2010: Bhutan is the first country to totally ban tobacco.

2012: China launches Shenzhou 9 with three astronauts, including the first female Chinese astronaut — Liu Yang.

Elsewhere, the USAF’s robotic Boeing X-37B spaceplane returns to Earth after a classified 469-day orbital mission.

2016: Shanghai Disneyland Park, the first Disney Park in Mainland China, opens to the public.

On June 17,

653: Pope Martin I is arrested in the Lateran Palace after having angered Emperor Constans II by publishing the decrees of the Lateran Council of 649; he will be taken to Constantinople and tried for high treason. (Why was no one ever tried for low treason?)

1579: Sir Francis Drake claims a land he calls Nova Albion for England; it will become California.

1631: Mumtaz Mahal dies during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, will spend the next 17 years building her mausoleum — the Taj Mahal. (Not sure I want to know how they stored her during that time.)

1673: French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet reach the Mississippi River; they will be the first Europeans to make a detailed account of its course.

1775: Colonists inflict heavy casualties on British forces despite losing the Battle of Bunker Hill.

1839: Hawaiian King Kamehameha III issues the edict of toleration, giving Roman Catholics the freedom to worship in the Hawaiian Islands.

1885: The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor.

1901: The College Board introduces its first standardized test, the forerunner to the SAT.

1933: In Kansas City, Missouri, gangsters attempting to free captured fugitive Frank Nash gun down four law enforcement officials and Nash himself. (I guess a bad guy with a gun was the only thing that could stop a bad guy without a gun?)

1939: Convicted murderer Eugen Weidmann is guillotined in Versailles outside the Saint-Pierre prison; his is the last public execution in France.

1963: The Supreme Court rules 8–1 in Abington School District v. Schempp, against public schools requiring students to recite Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer.

1967: The People’s Republic of China announces a successful test of its first thermonuclear weapon.

1972: Five White House operatives are arrested for burgling the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate office complex, in an attempt by some members of the Republican party to illegally wiretap the opposition. The resulting investigation and scandal discovery will lead to Richard Nixon’s resignation as President.

1985: Space Shuttle Discovery launches, carrying Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud — the first Arab and first Muslim in space — as a payload specialist.

1987: The dusky seaside sparrow becomes extinct upon the death of the last individual of the species.

1991: The South African Parliament repeals the Population Registration Act, which had required racial classification of all South Africans at birth.

1992: U.S. President George Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin sign a “joint understanding” agreement on arms reduction between the U.S. and Russia.

1994: Following a televised low-speed highway chase, O. J. Simpson is arrested for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

2015: Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white supremacist, opens fire and kills nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

On June 18,

1429: French forces under Joan of Arc defeat the main English army under Sir John Fastolf at the Battle of Patay, turning the tide of the Hundred Years’ War.

1812: U.S. President James Madison signs a U.S. declaration of war on the UK.

1815: The Duke of Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher (Whinny!) defeat Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.

1858: Charles Darwin receives a paper from Alfred Russel Wallace with conclusions about evolution nearly identical to Darwin’s, prompting him to publish his theory. (Way to believe in yourself, Charles.)

1873: Susan B. Anthony is fined $100 for having attempted to vote in the 1872 presidential election.

1928: Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean…as a passenger.

1940: UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivers his “Finest Hour” speech.

1948: Columbia Records introduces the LP record album in a public demonstration in New York City. (They had to wait until there were 12 in existence before offering their penny deal, though.)

1983: Sally Ride is the first American woman in space.

On June 19,

325: The original Nicene Creed is presented at the First Council of Nicaea.

1269: French King Louis IX of France orders all Jews found in public without an identifying yellow badge to be fined ten livres of silver.

1586: English colonists leave Roanoke Island, having failed to establish England’s first permanent settlement in North America.

1846: The first officially recorded, organized baseball game is played, under Alexander Cartwright’s rules on the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey. Cartwright umps as the New York Base Ball Club beats the Knickerbockers, 23–1. (Is it any wonder the Knickerbockers are no longer a baseball team?)

1862: Congress nullifies Dred Scott v. Sandford, prohibiting slavery in U.S. territories.

1865: Slaves in Galveston, Texas, finally learn of their freedom, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation and more than two months after the official end of the Civil War. The date will come to be memorialized as “Juneteenth,” a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. (And yes, Mr. President, plenty of people had heard of it before your blunder put it into the limelight.)

1910: The first Father’s Day is celebrated, in Spokane, Washington.

1934: The Communications Act of 1934 establishes the Federal Communications Commission.

1943: The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL merge for one season due to player shortages caused by World War II. (The Steaglers?)

1949: The first NASCAR race takes place, at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

1953: Spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at Sing Sing, in New York.

1964: After an 83-day filibuster ends with cloture, the Senate passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

1978: The “Garfield” comic strip debuts. (Ironically, that was a Monday.)

2012: Fearing extradition to the U.S. after having published previously classified documents, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange requests asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

2018: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues patent number 10 million, for “Coherent Ladar Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection.” (If anything ever needed a patent, it’s that. Hard to believe it didn’t have one before, what with everyone trying to steal the concept.)

On June 20,

1787: Oliver Ellsworth moves at the Federal Convention to call the government the “United States.”

1789: Members of the French Third Estate take the Tennis Court Oath. (Love is in the air.)

1819: The SS Savannah is the first steam-propelled vessel to cross the Atlantic, although most of its journey was made under sail.

1840: Samuel Morse receives the patent for the telegraph.

1863: Separating from Virginia, West Virginia is admitted as the 35th U.S. state.

1877: Alexander Graham Bell installs the world’s first commercial telephone service, in Hamilton, Ontario.

1893: Lizzie Borden is acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother.

1942: Kazimierz Piechowski and three others, dressed as members of the SS-Totenkopfverbände, steal an SS staff car and escape from Auschwitz.

1944: Germany test launches the MW 18014 V-2 rocket to an altitude of 176 km, making it the first man-made object to reach outer space.

1945: U.S. Secretary of State James Francis Byrnes approves the transfer of Wernher von Braun and his team of Nazi rocket scientists to the U.S. under Operation Paperclip.

1963: After the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union and U.S. sign an agreement to establish the so-called “red telephone” link between Washington and Moscow.

1972: An 18½-minute gap appears in the tape recording of the conversations between Richard Nixon and his advisers regarding the recent arrests of his operatives for breaking into the Watergate complex.

1975: “Jaws” is released in the U.S.; it will become the highest-grossing film of its time and start the “summer blockbuster” trend.

1990: David H. Levy and Henry Holt discover Asteroid Eureka. (I wonder what they shouted.)

On June 21,

1749: Halifax, Nova Scotia, is founded.

1791: King Louis XVI and his immediate family begin their Flight to Varennes, where they will be recognized and arrested, during the French Revolution. (He wanted to get to Montmédy, but he came up short. When he got to the guillotine, he came up shorter.)

1915: In Guinn v. United States, the Supreme Court strikes down the Oklahoma grandfather clause legislation that was denying black Americans the right to vote.

1919: Admiral Ludwig von Reuter scuttles the German fleet at Scapa Flow, Orkney, killing nine sailors. They are the last casualties of World War I.

1940: Italy begins an unsuccessful invasion of France.

1942: A Japanese submarine surfaces near the Columbia River in Oregon, firing 17 shells at Fort Stevens in one of only a few attacks by Japan against the U.S. mainland.

1957: Ellen Fairclough is sworn in as Canada’s first female Cabinet Minister.

1964: Deputy Sherriff Cecil Price delivers three civil rights workers — Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Mickey Schwerner — into the hands of the Ku Klux Klan near Philadelphia, Mississippi. The Klan members beat Chaney, who is black, then shoot all three fatally. Price and six conspirators will be convicted of civil rights violations, but not murder. Two will be acquitted due to a deadlocked jury.

1973: In its decision in Miller v. California, the Supreme Court establishes the Miller test for obscenity in U.S., requiring three conditions to be met in order for a work to be considered obscene: “(a) whether ‘the average person, applying contemporary community standards’ would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

1978: Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Evita” opens at the Prince Edward Theatre, London. (It passed the Miller test.)

1982: John Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

1989: The Supreme Court rules in Texas v. Johnson that flag-burning as a form of political protest is protected by the First Amendment. (This news apparently hasn’t yet reached the ears of the current U.S. President.)

2000: Scotland repeals Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, which outlawed the “promotion” of homosexuality in the UK.

2001: A federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, indicts 14 foreign nationals — 13 Saudi and one Lebanese — in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 American servicemen.

2004: Mojave Aerospace Ventures’ SpaceShipOne is the first privately funded spaceplane to achieve spaceflight.

2005: Edgar Ray Killen, who had previously been unsuccessfully tried for the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner, is convicted of manslaughter 41 years later, thanks to the case having been reopened in 2004.

On June 22,

1633: The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo to recant his view that the Sun is the center of the Universe. (Because the church should definitely make the call on matters of science.)

1807: British warship HMS Leopard attacks and boards the American frigate USS Chesapeake.

1839: Cherokee leaders Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot are assassinated for having signed the Treaty of New Echota, which had resulted in the Trail of Tears.

1870: U.S. Congress creates the Department of Justice. (Their intent was good, believe it or not.)

1911: George V and Mary of Teck are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1940: France is forced to sign the Second Compiègne armistice with Germany, in the same railroad car in which the Germans signed the Armistice in 1918.

1941: Nazi Germany invades the Soviet Union.

1942: U.S. Congress formally adopts the Pledge of Allegiance.

1944: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 into law; it will come to be more commonly known as the G.I. Bill. (“G.I. Bill” would have made a great name for an action figure.)

1969: The Cuyahoga River catches fire in Cleveland, Ohio, drawing national attention to water pollution and spurring the passing of the Clean Water Act and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. (A river, which is made of water. On fire. Nothing to see here, folks.)

1978: James W. Christy discovers Charon, Pluto’s first satellite.

1984: Virgin Atlantic Airways launches with its first flight from London Gatwick Airport.

1990: Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie is dismantled.

On June 23,

1611: Henry Hudson’s fourth voyage ends in mutiny, with Henry, his son, and seven loyal crew members being set adrift in an open boat in Hudson Bay; they will never be heard from again.

1683: William Penn signs a friendship treaty with Lenni Lenape Indians in Pennsylvania.

1713: French residents of Acadia are given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia.

1794: Empress Catherine II of Russia grants Jews permission to settle in Kiev.

1812: Great Britain revokes its restrictions on American commerce, eliminating one of the chief reasons for going to war.

1865: Brigadier General Stand Watie surrenders the last significant Confederate army, at Fort Towson in the Oklahoma Territory. (Yes, this was more than two months after Lee surrendered. Those Confederates were a stubborn lot.)

1868: Christopher Latham Sholes receives a patent for an invention he calls the “Type-Writer.”

1894: The International Olympic Committee is founded at the Sorbonne in Paris.

1917: Replacing Babe Ruth on the mound after Ruth is ejected for punching an umpire, Boston Red Sox pitcher Ernie Shore retires 26 Washington Senators batters in a row.

1926: The College Board administers the first SAT exam. (Some wealthy parent somewhere immediately starts scheming.)

1931: Wiley Post and Harold Gatty take off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island in a single-engine plane, en route to breaking the world record for the fastest flight around the globe — it was previously set by a zeppelin. They will complete their flight in eight days and almost 16 hours.

1942: Allies capture Germany’s latest fighter aircraft — a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 — intact when it mistakenly lands at RAF Pembrey in Wales. (I bet that pilot was embarrassed.)

1947: The U.S. Senate overrides U.S. President Harry Truman’s veto of the Taft–Hartley Act. (So it’s true, then — there was a time when the Senate would stand up to the President.)

1960: The FDA officially approves Enovid, making it the first approved combined oral contraceptive pill in the world.

1969: IBM announces that, effective January 1970, it will price its software and services separately from hardware, essentially creating the modern software industry.

1972: U.S. President Richard Nixon and White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman are taped talking about using the CIA to obstruct the FBI’s investigation into the Watergate break-ins.

1972: Title IX of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 is amended, prohibiting sexual discrimination in any educational program receiving federal funds.

1973: A six-year-old boy dies in a fire at a house in Hull, England; it is the first of 26 deaths by fire caused over seven years by arsonist Peter Dinsdale.

1991: The “Sonic the Hedgehog” game is released in the U.S.

1996: The Nintendo 64 console is released in Japan, with Nintendo ultimately selling 32.93 million units worldwide.

2012: Ashton Eaton breaks the decathlon world record at the United States Olympic Trials.

2013: Nik Wallenda is the first man to successfully walk across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope.

2014: The last of Syria’s declared chemical weapons are shipped out for destruction.

2016: The United Kingdom votes in a referendum to leave the European Union — an act known as “Brexit” — by 52% to 48%.

On June 24,

1374: A large outbreak of St. John’s Dance affects the residents of Aachen, Germany, as they pour out of their homes and twitch and whirl uncontrollably in the streets until they collapse from exhaustion. The affliction will spread throughout Europe and take place sporadically for several centuries. Scientists will never agree on what caused it. (I think it’s called a flash mob.)

1497: John Cabot lands at Newfoundland, leading the first European exploration of North America since the Vikings.

1793: The first Republican constitution is adopted in France.

1812: Napoleon’s Grande Armée begins its invasion of Russia.

1880: “O Canada” is performed for the first time, at the Congrès national des Canadiens-Français. It will become the national anthem of Canada.

1916: Mary Pickford is the first female film star to sign a million-dollar contract.

1922: The American Professional Football Association changes its name to the National Football League.

1938: Pieces of a meteorite land near Chicora, Pennsylvania; it is estimated to have weighed 450 metric tons when it hit the Earth’s atmosphere and exploded.

1947: Private pilot Kenneth Arnold reports the first UFO sighting in the U.S. to get nationwide news coverage, claiming to have seen nine shiny discs flying past Mount Rainier, Washington at speeds he estimated to be 1200 mph at a minimum. The press coins the term “flying saucer” from his description. (Cue Daniel Stern’s voice: “I don’t know what I was thinking in that moment, but when I look back, I can’t help but think I was changed forever.”)

1950: South Africa passes the Group Areas Act, formally segregating races.

1957: In Roth v. United States, the Supreme Court rules that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment.

1995: South Africa defeats New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup; Nelson Mandela presents Francois Pienaar with the Webb-Ellis trophy in an iconic post-apartheid moment.

2004: Capital punishment is declared unconstitutional in New York.

2012: Lonesome George dies; he is the last known individual of Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii, a subspecies of the Galápagos tortoise. (The last of his kind, and some wiseacre thought it would be funny to name him “Lonesome George.” Not cool, naming guy, not cool.)

On June 25,

841: Charles the Bald and Louis the German win the Battle of Fontenay-en-Puisaye. (Which was apparently a 1920s gang battle, given their nicknames.)

1678: Graduating from the University of Padua, Venetian Elena Cornaro Piscopia is the first woman to receive a PhD.

1848: M. Thibault takes a daguerrotype of barricades in an empty Parisian street prior to the arrival of troops during the June Days Uprising. The image will be published in the August edition of “Journées illustrées de la révolution de 1848,” making it the first known instance of photojournalism.

1876: Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer makes his soon-to-be-famous last stand, dying in combat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. (I wonder if his family tried to Sioux for wrongful death.)

1906: Disturbed Pittsburgh millionaire Harry Thaw shoots and kills prominent architect Stanford White; he will be acquitted by reason of insanity.

1910: The United States Congress passes the Mann Act, prohibiting interstate transport of females for “immoral purposes.”

1923: Capt. Lowell H. Smith and Lt. John P. Richter perform the first ever aerial refueling in a DH-4B biplane.

1938: Dr. Douglas Hyde is inaugurated as the first President of Ireland. (I hope his vice president was named Mr. Jekyll.)

1943: Jews in Poland’s Czestochowa Ghetto stage an uprising against the Nazis.

1947: “The Diary of Anne Frank” is published.

1950: North Korea invades South Korea.

1967: Fourteen nations participate in a two-and-a-half hour program called “Our World” — the first live, international, global satellite production. The Beatles represent the UK and close the broadcast performing “All You Need Is Love” for the first time.

1978: The rainbow flag representing gay pride is flown for the first time, during the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade.

1984: Prince releases “Purple Rain.”

1993: Kim Campbell is sworn in as the first female Prime Minister of Canada.

1997: An unmanned Progress spacecraft collides with the Mir space station.

Elsewhere, the National Hockey League approves expansion franchises for Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

1998: The Supreme Court rules in Clinton v. City of New York, that the Line Item Veto Act of 1996 is unconstitutional.

On June 26,

1483: Richard III becomes King of England.

1843: The Treaty of Nanking comes into effect, ceding Hong Kong Island to the British “in perpetuity.”

1870: U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signs a bill making Christmas a federal holiday. (And because it’s already late June, the malls rush to get their decorations up.)

1886: Henri Moissan isolates elemental Fluorine.

1906: The first Grand Prix motor racing event takes place.

1927: The Cyclone roller coaster opens on Coney Island.

1934: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Federal Credit Union Act, establishing credit unions.

1936: The first practical helicopter — the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 — takes flight.

1944: The RAF mistakenly bombs San Marino — a neutral state — due to faulty information, leading to 35 civilian deaths.

1945: Fifty Allied nations sign the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, California.

1948: “The New Yorker” publishes Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery.” (People get stoned.)

1963: John F. Kennedy gives his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, underlining the support of the United States for democratic West Germany, shortly after the building of the Berlin Wall.

1974: The Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, scans the first Universal Product Code to sell an item. That item is a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum.

1975: Special Agents Ronald A. Williams and Jack R. Coler enter South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in search of Jimmy Eagle, a young man wanted for questioning in connection with the recent assault and robbery of two ranch hands. Following a truck that matches the description of Eagle’s, the agents come under fire from the truck’s occupants. They radio for reinforcements, stressing they will die without them. They then radio that they have been shot. By the time reinforcements can get to them, there are 125 bullet holes in their car, four of their guns are missing, and both agents are dead of gunshot wounds to their heads. Also dead is American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Joe Stuntz. Authorities will recover some of the agents’ stolen guns from vehicles tied to various members of AIM, including Leonard Peltier. Two other activists will be acquitted after asserting they had acted in self-defense, but Peltier will have a separate trial later, having fled to Canada and subsequently been extradited. His trial will raise multiple questions and doubts due to inconsistent testimony and suspicion of evidence- and witness-tampering; nevertheless, he will be convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. Amnesty International will place his case under the “Unfair Trials” category of a future annual report. He will remain in prison despite multiple appeals, petitions for clemency, and civil rights lawsuits.

1977: Elvis Presley holds his final concert, at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana.

1997: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Communications Decency Act violates the First Amendment.

2000: The Human Genome Project announces its completion of a “rough draft” sequence.

Elsewhere, Pope John Paul II reveals the third secret of Fátima. (See May 13; I’m too lazy to go into it again.)

2003: The Supreme Court rules in Lawrence v. Texas that gender-based sodomy laws are unconstitutional.

2007: Pope Benedict XVI reinstates the traditional laws of papal election, under which a candidate must receive two-thirds of the votes.

2013: The Supreme Court rules that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act — which limited the definitions of marriage and prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages for the purpose of federal laws or programs — is unconstitutional and in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The federal government must now recognize the state-legal marriages of same-sex couples, guaranteeing them certain federal rights.

2015: The Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage under the 14th Amendment, making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. (And apparently the Supreme Court really likes to make rulings on June 26.)

On June 27,

1358: The Republic of Ragusa is founded. (Ragusa should not be confused with Ragu sauce, but it’s possible to mishear one as the other if you mumble or talk with your mouth full. Also, I would totally vacation at the Republic of Ragu sauce.)

1556: The thirteen Stratford Martyrs are burned at the stake near London for their Protestant beliefs.

1844: A mob kills Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and his brother Hyrum at the Carthage, Illinois jail. As mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph had ordered the destruction of the facilities of a local newspaper that had criticized him in its first and only issue, warning that he was practicing polygamy and intended to set himself up as a theocratic king — he was running for President at the time. The ensuing destruction led to riot charges against the Smith brothers. Joseph declared martial law in Nauvoo and called on the Nauvoo Legion — the local militia — to protect the city, whereupon the brothers voluntarily traveled to the county seat at Carthage and surrendered to authorities to face the riot charges. They were then charged with treason against the state for having declared martial law. While they are awaiting trial, an armed mob of about 200 men storm the building. Joseph at first believes them to be the Nauvoo Legion, come to rescue him. Upon realizing they are not there to help him, he and the other men in the room attempt to hold back the mob. One member shoots through the door, hitting Hyrum in the face. He cries out “I am a dead man!” before collapsing and dying almost instantly. As the others push through the door, Joseph fires back with a small pistol that a supporter had smuggled in, then attempts to escape through the second-story window. He is shot twice in the back and once in the chest — the last shot coming from a musket outside — before falling to his death. Five men will be indicted for the killings, but acquitted by jury.

1895: The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Royal Blue — the first U.S. passenger train to use electric locomotives — makes its first run from Washington, D.C., to New York City.

1898: Joshua Slocum completes the first solo circumnavigation of the globe.

1941: In the city of Iași, Romanian authorities launch one of the most violent pogroms in Jewish history, murdering at least 13,266 Jews.

1950: The U.S. decides to send troops to fight in the Korean War.

1971: Rock promoter Bill Graham closes Fillmore East in New York — the “Church of Rock and Roll” — after only three years in business.

1974: U.S. President Richard Nixon visits the Soviet Union.

1976: The PLO hijacks Air France Flight 139 en route to Paris and redirects it to Entebbe, Uganda.

1982: Space Shuttle Columbia launches on its final research and development flight mission, STS-4.

2007: Tony Blair resigns as British Prime Minister after 10 years.

2013: NASA launches the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, a space probe intended to observe the Sun.

On June 28,

1776: Thomas Hickey, Continental Army private and bodyguard to General George Washington, is hanged for “mutiny, sedition, and treachery.” He had been jailed for passing counterfeit money, and revealed to another prisoner that he was part of a conspiracy of soldiers preparing to defect to the British. He also might have been part of an assassination plot against Washington.

1838: Queen Victoria is crowned.

1846: Adolphe Sax patents the saxophone. (File under: Everything you always wanted to know about Sax, but were afraid to ask.)

1859: The first conformation dog show takes place, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

1865: The Army of the Potomac is disbanded.

1880: Australian bushranger Ned Kelly is captured at Glenrowan.

1894: Labor Day becomes an official U.S. holiday.

1895: The U.S. Court of Private Land Claims rules James Reavis’ claim to Barony of Arizona is “wholly fictitious and fraudulent.”

1902: U.S. Congress passes the Spooner Act, authorizing President Theodore Roosevelt to acquire rights from Colombia for the Panama Canal.

1911: The Nakhla meteorite — the first one to suggest signs of aqueous processes on Mars — falls to Earth and lands in Egypt.

1914: Young Bosnia member Gavrilo Princip assassinates Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo. Tensions will rise throughout Europe, which was already polarized and fraught with conflict due to rising imperialism, militarism, and nationalism. Austria will declare war on Serbia one month later, and World War I will begin as alliances fall into place. By the time the fighting stops on November 11, 1918, it will have taken 17 million lives and wounded 20 million combatants.

1919: Representatives sign the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending the state of war between Germany and the Allies of World War I.

1926: Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merge their two companies to form Mercedes-Benz. (Seems Daimler got the short end of the stick when they chose the new name.)

1942: Nazi Germany starts its strategic summer offensive against the Soviet Union, codenamed Case Blue.

1964: Malcolm X forms the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

1969: Police raid the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar, in the early hours. Angry with constant harassment and brutality, patrons refuse to comply and residents refuse to disperse. When an officer hits a gay woman over the head as he forces her into the paddy wagon, she incites the onlookers to throw things at the police. Violence and rioting break out throughout the neighborhood. The Stonewall Riots will last for another five days, and come to be regarded as the galvanizing force for LGBTQ+ political activism.

1978: The U.S. Supreme Court, in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, bars quota systems in college admissions.

1981: A bomb kills 73 officials of the Islamic Republican Party in Tehran.

1987: For the first time in military history, a civilian population is targeted for chemical attack as Iraqi warplanes bomb the Iranian town of Sardasht.

1997: Mike Tyson is disqualified in the third round of a boxing match for biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear.

2001: Slobodan Miloševic is extradited to the ICTY in The Hague to stand trial.

2004: The Coalition Provisional Authority grants sovereign power to the interim government of Iraq, ending U.S.-led rule there.

On June 29,

1613: The Globe Theatre burns to the ground.

1880: France annexes Tahiti. (Because it was practically a suburb?)

1888: George Edward Gouraud records an excerpt of a performance of Handel’s “Israel in Egypt” onto Edison’s yellow paraffin phonograph cylinder; it will be thought for many years to be the oldest known recording of music.

1889: Hyde Park and several other Illinois townships vote to be annexed by Chicago, forming the largest U.S. city in area and second largest in population at the time. (Hyde Park was much closer to Chicago than, say, Tahiti was to France.)

1916: Roger Casement is sentenced to death for his part in Ireland’s Easter Rising.

1927: Lester J. Maitland and Albert F. Hegenberger complete the first transpacific flight, landing on Oahu, Hawaii, after flying for 25 hours and 50 minutes from Oakland, California on the Bird of Paradise — a U.S. Army Air Corps Fokker tri-motor plane.

1945: The Soviet Union annexes Carpathian Ruthenia. (I have no idea if they’re near each other, but damn if June 29 isn’t the day for annexation.)

1950: U.S. President Harry Truman authorizes a sea blockade of Korea.

1956: The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 officially creates the U.S. Interstate Highway System.

1972: The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Furman v. Georgia that arbitrary and inconsistent imposition of the death penalty violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

1974: Isabel Perón is sworn in as the first female President of Argentina.

Elsewhere, Mikhail Baryshnikov defects from the Soviet Union to Canada while on tour with the Kirov Ballet.

1975: Steve Wozniak tests his first prototype of the Apple I computer.

1987: Vincent Van Gogh’s “Le Pont de Trinquetaille” painting sells for $20.4 million at an auction in London.

1995: A Space Shuttle docks with the Russian space station Mir for the first time, as part of Atlantis Mission STS-71.

2006: The Supreme Court rules in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that U.S. President George W. Bush’s plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violates U.S. and international law.

2007: Apple Inc. releases the first iPhone.

2012: A derecho sweeps across the eastern U.S., killing at least 22 people and leaving millions without power.

On June 30,

1794: Native Americans under Blue Jacket attack Fort Recovery.

1859: French acrobat Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope. (Did he not know about the bridge?)

1864: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln grants Yosemite Valley to California for “public use, resort and recreation.”

1882: Charles J. Guiteau is hanged in Washington, D.C. for the assassination of U.S. President James Garfield.

1905: Albert Einstein submits his article “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” for publication in “Annalen der Physik.” The article introduces special relativity.

1906: U.S. Congress passes the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act.

1908: The Tunguska Event — the largest impact event on Earth in recorded history — takes place over Eastern Siberia. The massive explosion, attributed to the air burst of a meteor, flattens 770 square miles of forest with no known human casualties. No impact crater will be found, leading to the theory that the object disintegrated about 3-6 miles above the Earth.

1934: Himmler’s SS forces begin a deadly purge of anywhere from 85-1000 of Hitler’s political rivals in Germany, in what will come to be known as the Night of the Long Knives. Nazi propaganda will present the extrajudicial executions as a preventive measure against a supposed coup. The purge will cement Hitler’s place as a dictator in Germany. (Nobody tell Trump.)

1937: London introduces the world’s first emergency telephone number — 999.

1953: Chevrolet’s assembly line in Flint, Michigan produces the first Corvette. (Testosterone levels rise throughout the U.S.)

1966: The National Organization for Women is founded.

1971: The crew of the Soviet Soyuz 11 spacecraft die after losing their air supply through a faulty valve.

1972: The first leap second is added to the UTC time system.

1985: Thirty-nine American hostages from the hijacked TWA Flight 847 are freed in Beirut after being held for 17 days.

1986: The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Bowers v. Hardwick that states can outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults. (Because the state belongs in the bedroom, amirite?)

1990: East Germany and West Germany merge their economies.

On July 1,

1766: François-Jean de la Barre is tortured and beheaded before his body is burnt on a pyre — with a copy of Voltaire’s “Dictionnaire philosophique” nailed to his torso — for the crime of not saluting a Roman Catholic religious procession in Abbeville, France.

1770: Lexell’s Comet is seen closer to the Earth than any other comet in recorded history.

1855: The Quinault and the Quileute cede their land to the United States.

1863: The Battle of Gettysburg begins.

1867: The British North America Act takes effect as the Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia join into confederation, creating the nation of Canada. Sir John A. Macdonald is sworn in as the first Prime Minister of Canada.

1870: The Department of Justice formally comes into existence. (It will only take 150 years to destroy it.)

1873: Prince Edward Island joins the Canadian Confederation.

1874: The first commercially successful typewriter — the Sholes and Glidden — goes on sale.

1878: Canada joins the Universal Postal Union.

1879: Charles Taze Russell publishes the first edition of the religious magazine “The Watchtower.”

1881: The world’s first international telephone call is made, between St. Stephen, New Brunswick and Calais, Maine. (It sounds impressive, but they’re literally less than a mile apart. The callers could have yelled across the border.)

1885: The United States terminates its reciprocity and fishery agreement with Canada.

1890: Canada and Bermuda are linked by telegraph cable.

1903: The first Tour de France bicycle race begins.

1908: The Morse code string of three dots, three dashes, and three dots is adopted as the international distress signal, for the convenience of being able to quickly tap the symbols out. Because they also happen to be the symbols for “SOS,” people will assume it’s an acroynym, but the truth is, “SOS” was never meant to stand for anything. (I feel like my entire childhood was a lie.)

1931: United Airlines begins service, as Boeing Air Transport.

Elsewhere, Wiley Post and Harold Gatty are the first people to circumnavigate the globe in a single-engined monoplane.

1957: The International Geophysical Year begins. (What a beautiful world this will be. What a glorious time to be free.)

1958: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation links television broadcasting across Canada via microwave. (Must have been broadcasting a cooking show.)

1963: The U.S. introduces ZIP codes for domestic mail.

1966: The first color television transmission in Canada takes place, from Toronto.

1968: The CIA officially establishes its Phoenix Program as a means of destroying the political infrastructure of the Viet Cong.

Elsewhere, 62 countries sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

1972: The first Gay pride march in England takes place.

1979: Sony introduces the Walkman. (Sorta like an iPod, kids.)

1980: “O Canada” officially becomes the national anthem of Canada. (Good Lord, Canada, do you do anything on the other 364 days of the year?)

1984: The MPAA introduces the PG-13 rating. “Red Dawn” will be the first film to receive the rating.

1987: The radio station WFAN is launched in New York City as the world’s first all-sports radio station.

1991: The Warsaw Pact is officially dissolved.

1997: China resumes sovereignty over the city-state of Hong Kong, ending 156 years of British colonial rule. The handover ceremony is attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles of Wales, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

2002: The International Criminal Court is established, to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. (Oooohhh! Aggression! We definitely need to watch out for that crime.)

2007: England bans smoking in all public indoor spaces.

On July 2,

1698: Thomas Savery patents the first steam engine.

1776: The Continental Congress adopts a resolution severing ties with the Kingdom of Great Britain, voting for independence with 12 affirmative votes — the New York delegation is not authorized to vote for independence, so it abstains. The colonies officially sever ties with Great Britain. But the delegates can’t agree on the wording of the draft announcement, so they debate revisions to the official wording of the Declaration of Independence, which will be approved on July 4. (Wait, wait, wait — you mean, Independence Day is really July 2?!? And every July 4, all we’re celebrating is an editing triumph? A PR victory? Sheesh. Talk about fake news….)

1822: Thirty-five slaves are hanged in South Carolina after being accused of organizing a slave rebellion.

1839: Fifty-three rebelling African slaves led by Joseph Cinqué take over the slave ship Amistad, twenty miles off the coast of Cuba.

1881: Charles J. Guiteau shoots and fatally wounds U.S. President James Garfield, who will die of complications from his wounds on September 19.

1890: Congress passes the Sherman Antitrust Act.

1900: The first Zeppelin flight takes place, on Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany. (I’ve always thought their fourth album to be their best, but the first Zeppelin was pretty good, too.)

1921: U.S. President Warren G. Harding signs the Knox–Porter Resolution, formally ending the war between the U.S. and Germany.

1934: The Night of the Long Knives ends with the death of Ernst Röhm, a former friend and ally of Hitler who had come to pose too much of a potential threat to him.

1937: Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan are heard from for the last time, over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight.

1962: The first Wal-Mart store opens, in Rogers, Arkansas.

1964: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting segregation in public places.

1976: North Vietnam declares a union with South Vietnam to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

2001: Robert Tools receives the first implant of an AbioCor self-contained artificial heart. He will live for 151 days before having a stroke.

2002: Steve Fossett is the first person to fly around the world alone in a balloon, nonstop.

On July 3,

1754: George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to the French during the French and Indian War. (He eventually did a better job in the military.)

1775: George Washington takes command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Toldja.)

1776: John Adams writes to his wife, predicting that the previous day’s date, July 2, will become an American holiday and commemorated as the date of the new country’s independence from Great Britain. (Missed it by that much, John.)

1819: The first savings bank in the U.S. opens — the Bank for Savings in the City of New-York.

1844: The last two great auks are killed. Fishermen at Eldey Island, off the coast of Iceland, spot the mates from a distance and chase them down to kill them for sport. The female had been incubating an egg, which one of the fishermen crushes while giving chase. (The guy literally stamped out a species. And there are still days when I don’t hate humanity.)

1852: Congress establishes the United States’ 2nd mint, in San Francisco.

1863: The Battle of Gettysburg ends with Pickett’s Charge, a futile infantry assault by the Confederates that will come to be argued as a mistake from which they will never recover.

1884: Dow Jones & Company publishes its first stock average.

1886: Karl Benz unveils the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, the first purpose-built automobile.

1886: The “New-York Tribune” is the first newspaper to use a linotype machine, eliminating typesetting by hand.

1890: Idaho is admitted as the 43rd U.S. state.

1913: Re-enacting Pickett’s Charge at the Great Reunion of 1913, Confederate veterans reach “the high-water mark of the Confederacy” — the furthest point reached during the charge — and are met by the outstretched hands of friendship from Union survivors.

1938: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and lights the eternal flame at Gettysburg Battlefield.

1940: To prevent ships from falling into German hands, the British fleet bombards the French fleet of the Atlantic based at Mers El Kébir, sinking three battleships and killing 1200 sailors.

1944: Soviet troops liberate Minsk from Nazi control during Operation Bagration.

1952: Congress approves the Constitution of Puerto Rico.

1962: Jackie Robinson is the first black player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

1979: U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.

1988: U.S. Navy warship USS Vincennes shoots down Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people aboard.

1996: The British Government returns the Stone of Scone to Scotland.

2013: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is overthrown by the military after four days of protests across the country, calling for his resignation. President of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt Adly Mansour is declared acting president.

On July 4,

1054: A supernova — SN 1054 — is seen near Zeta Tauri by numerous observers on Earth. Its remnants will form the Crab Nebula.

1744: The Iroquois sign the Treaty of Lancaster, ceding lands between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River to the British colonies.

1776: The Second Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence. (Revised.)

1802: The U.S. Military Academy opens at West Point, New York.

1803: U.S. President Thomas Jefferson announces the Louisiana Purchase to the American public, telling them their country has just doubled in size.

1817: Construction on the Erie Canal begins in Rome, New York.

1826: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, former U.S. presidents who signed the Declaration of Independence, both die on the document’s 50th anniversary. (Revised.)

1827: Slavery is abolished in the State of New York.

1831: Samuel Francis Smith writes “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” for Boston’s July 4 festivities.

1845: Henry David Thoreau moves into a small cabin on Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. He will write an account of his two years there, entitled “Walden.”

1855: Walt Whitman publishes his book of poems, “Leaves of Grass.”

1862: To pass the time while riding to a picnic on a rowboat, Charles Dodgson tells a fantastic story to a young girl named Alice Liddell and her sisters. Liddell asks him to write it down for her, which he will do in time. In November 1864, he will present her with the manuscript of a book called “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground.” Soon thereafter, he will publish it as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” under the pen name Lewis Carroll.

1863: Vicksburg, Mississippi surrenders to U.S. forces under Ulysses S. Grant after 47 days of siege.

Elsewhere, the Army of Northern Virginia withdraws from the battlefield after losing the Battle of Gettysburg, signalling an end to the Confederate invasion of U.S. territory.

1892: Western Samoa changes the International Date Line, causing Monday, July 4, to occur twice and resulting in a year with 367 days. (Bill Murray should have done a movie about reliving that day.)

1910: In a heavyweight boxing match, black boxer Jack Johnson knocks out white boxer Jim Jeffries — named “The Great White Hope” by white fans who were outraged that the heavyweight champ was black, and had urged Jeffries to come out of retirement and reclaim the title for white people. Johnson’s victory, reaffirming the heavyweight title for a black man, sparks race riots by angry white people across the U.S., resulting in many black Americans being injured or killed.

1911: A massive heat wave strikes the northeastern United States, killing 380 people in 11 days and breaking temperature records in several cities.

1913: U.S. President Woodrow Wilson addresses American Civil War veterans at the Great Reunion of 1913.

1918: Bolsheviks kill Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

1934: Leo Szilard patents the chain-reaction design that will eventually be used in the atomic bomb.

1939: Recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig informs a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considers himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth” — then announces his retirement from baseball.

1941: Nazi-collaborating Latvians begin burning the synagogues of Riga, sometimes locking Jews inside setting the blazing buildings.

1946: The Philippines attains full independence from the U.S., after 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various powers.

1950: Radio Free Europe first broadcasts. (I didn’t know R.E.M. was around back then.)

1960: The 50-star U.S. flag debuts in Philadelphia, ten and a half months after the admission of Hawaii as the 50th state.

1966: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into law, to go into effect the following year.

1976: The U.S. celebrates its Bicentennial. (Revised.)

1987: In France, former Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie — “the Butcher of Lyon” — is convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment.

1997: NASA’s Pathfinder space probe lands on Mars.

1998: Japan launches the Nozomi probe to Mars, joining the U.S. and Russia as a space-exploring nation.

2004: The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower is laid on the World Trade Center site in New York City.

2005: The Deep Impact collider hits the comet Tempel 1.

2009: The Statue of Liberty’s crown reopens to the public after eight years of closure due to security concerns following the September 11 attacks. (So, airplanes were allowed to fly again after only two days, but it took eight years to secure 354 steps inside a statue?)

2012: Scientists announce the discovery of a new particle they suspect to be the Higgs boson — “the God particle” — at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

On July 5,

1687: Isaac Newton publishes “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.”

1775: The Second Continental Congress adopts the Olive Branch Petition, a last attempt by the colonists to avoid armed conflict with Great Britain, in which they pledge loyalty and outline their rights. The king will refuse to read it.

1915: The Liberty Bell leaves Philadelphia by special train, headed for the Panama–Pacific International Exposition.

1934: Police open fire on striking longshoremen in San Francisco. It will come to be known as “Bloody Thursday.” (Does it seem to anyone else that there are a lot of events named “Bloody ____day?” Come on, guys — think of another name. There are only seven bloody days in the week.)

1935: U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signs the National Labor Relations Act, governing labor relations in the U.S.

1937: Hormel Foods introduces Spam. (I plan to celebrate by sending a lot of unsolicited email messages.)

1946: The bikini goes on sale after its debut at an outdoor fashion show in Paris. (The most misleading promotion of a bikini sale I ever saw was a sign reading, “Bikinis half off.” There was a line of men halfway around the block, waiting to get into that store.)

1950: American and North Korean forces clash for the first time, in the Battle of Osan.

Elsewhere, the Knesset passes the Law of Return, granting all Jews the right to immigrate to Israel.

1954: The BBC broadcasts its first television news bulletin.

Elsewhere, Elvis Presley records his first single, “That’s All Right,” at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee.

1971: U.S. President Richard Nixon formally certifies the Twenty-sixth Amendment, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 years.

1975: Arthur Ashe becomes the first black man to win the Wimbledon singles title.

1980: Swedish tennis player Björn Borg wins his fifth Wimbledon final and becomes the first male tennis player to win the championships for five consecutive years.

1989: U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell sentences Oliver North to a three-year suspended prison term, two years’ probation, $150,000 in fines, and 1,200 hours of community service for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal. The convictions will be later overturned.

1996: Dolly the sheep is the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.

1999: U.S. President Bill Clinton imposes trade and economic sanctions against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

2006: North Korea tests four short-range missiles, one medium-range missile, and a long-range Taepodong-2. The long-range Taepodong-2 reportedly fails in mid-air over the Sea of Japan.

2009: The largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever discovered in England, consisting of more than 1,500 items, is found near the village of Hammerwich.

2016: The Juno space probe arrives at Jupiter for a 20-month survey of the planet.

On July 6,

1348: Pope Clement VI issues a papal bull protecting the Jews accused of having caused the Black Death. (And their accusers respond, “Man, that’s some papal bull!”)

1483: Richard III is crowned King of England.

1535: Sir Thomas More is executed for treason against King Henry VIII of England. (And England is suddenly Sir Thomas Less.)

1854: The Republican Party holds its first convention — in Jackson, Michigan.

1885: Louis Pasteur successfully tests his rabies vaccine on Joseph Meister, a boy who was bitten by a rabid dog.

1887: Anti-monarchists force King David Kalākaua of the Kingdom of Hawaii to sign the Bayonet Constitution, transferring much of his authority to the Legislature of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

1919: The British dirigible R34 completes the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by an airship, landing in New York.

1933: The first Major League Baseball All-Star Game is played, in Chicago’s Comiskey Park. The American League defeats the National League, 4–2.

1939: Legislation closes the last remaining Jewish businesses in Nazi Germany.

1942: Anne Frank and her family go into hiding in the “Secret Annexe” above her father’s office in an Amsterdam warehouse.

1944: Army Lt. Jackie Robinson, who is black, refuses to move to the back of a military bus, leading to his trial for a general court martial. He will be acquitted, enabling him to eventually move on and play baseball for the Dodgers, where he will make history as the first black player to break the color barrier in the modern baseball era.

Elsewhere, The Hartford circus fire — one of the worst fire disasters in U.S. history — kills approximately 168 people and injures more than 700 in Hartford, Connecticut.

1947: The AK-47 goes into production in the Soviet Union.

1957: Althea Gibson is the first black athlete to win the Wimbledon championships.

Elsewhere, John Lennon and Paul McCartney meet as teenagers after Lennon’s band, The Quarrymen, performs at Woolton Fete.

1986: Davis Phinney is the first American cyclist to win a road stage of the Tour de France.

1989: A member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad takes control of Tel Aviv–Jerusalem bus 405 and drives it over a cliff, killing 16 passengers.

On July 7,

1456: A retrial verdict acquits Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after her death. (They would have done it sooner, but didn’t know what was at stake.)

1534: Jacques Cartier makes his first contact with aboriginal peoples in what is now Canada.

1834: In New York City, riots against abolitionists begin. They will last for four nights.

1846: American troops occupy Monterey and Yerba Buena, beginning the conquest of California.

1863: The U.S. begins its first military draft. Exemptions cost $300. (Or a diagnosis of bone spurs, which could be purchased for less.)

1865: Four conspirators are hanged for their roles in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

1898: William McKinley signs the Newlands Resolution, annexing Hawaii as a territory of the U.S.

1907: Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. stages his first Follies, on the roof of the New York Theater.

1911: The United States, Great Britain, Japan, and Russia sign the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911, banning open-water seal hunting. It is the first international treaty addressing wildlife preservation.

1928: Sliced bread is sold for the first time, by the Chillicothe Baking Company. (It was the greatest invention since…since…hmm, let me get back to you on this one.)

1930: Henry J. Kaiser begins construction of Boulder Dam, which will become known as Hoover Dam.

1946: Mother Francesca S. Cabrini is the first American to be canonized.

Elsewhere, Howard Hughes nearly dies when his XF-11 reconnaissance aircraft prototype crashes in a Beverly Hills neighborhood.

1954: Elvis Presley makes his radio debut when WHBQ Memphis plays “That’s All Right.”

1958: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Alaska Statehood Act into law.

1959: Venus occults the star Regulus, allowing scientists to determine the diameter of Venus and the structure of its atmosphere.

1980: Iran institutes sharia law.

1981: U.S. President Ronald Reagan appoints Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States.

1983: Samantha Smith, an American schoolgirl, flies to the Soviet Union at the invitation of Secretary General Yuri Andropov.

1985: At 17, Boris Becker is the youngest player ever to win Wimbledon.

1992: The New York Court of Appeals rules that women have the same right as men to go topless in public.

2003: NASA Opportunity rover MER-B, or Mars Exploration Rover–B, launches.

2016: Former U.S. soldier Micah Xavier Johnson shoots 14 police officers during an anti-police protest in Dallas, Texas, killing five of them. He is subsequently killed by a robot-delivered bomb.

On July 8,

1099: About 15,000 starving Christian soldiers begin the siege of Jerusalem by marching in a religious procession around the city as its Muslim defenders watch. (Great idea; let’s take a bunch of people who are already low on energy, and make them march. Better yet, let their enemies observe, so they can see when the starving people inevitably stumble.)

1497: Vasco da Gama sets sail on the first direct European voyage to India.

1579: Our Lady of Kazan, a holy icon of the Russian Orthodox Church, is discovered underground in the city of Kazan, Tatarstan.

1776: John Nixon gives the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, from the steps of the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia.

1876: In a terrorist act intended to suppress black voting, white supremacists round up about two dozen black citizens in Hamburg, South Carolina, surround them, and murder four at random.

1889: The first issue of “The Wall Street Journal” is published.

1932: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at 41.22, the lowest level of the Great Depression.

1947: Reports are broadcast that a UFO crash-landed in Roswell, New Mexico.

1948: The Air Force accepts its first female recruits into a program called Women in the Air Force, or WAF.

1972: Israeli Mossad assassinate Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani.

2011: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on the final mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle program.

2014: Israel launches an offensive on Gaza amid rising tensions following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.

On July 9,

1540: Henry VIII annuls his marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. (I’m starting to sense a pattern with this guy.)

1776: George Washington orders the Declaration of Independence to be read out loud to Continental Army troops in Manhattan, as thousands of British troops on Staten Island prepare for the Battle of Long Island.

1793: The Act Against Slavery in Upper Canada bans the importation of slaves and promises to free those who are born into slavery — when they turn 25. (Bit of a half measure, isn’t it? “We think slavery is wrong, but only after you’ve surrendered your best years to it.”)

1850: President Zachary Taylor dies after eating raw fruit and iced milk, to be succeeded in office by his Vice President, Millard Fillmore. (He would Fillmore glasses with warm milk, instead.)

1868: The states ratify the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law. (Kudos for the written commitment; too bad it wouldn’t take for a century or so.)

1877: The first Wimbledon Championships tournament begins.

1893: U.S. Surgeon Daniel Hale Williams performs the first successful open-heart surgery in the U.S. — without anesthesia. (Ummm…)

1896: William Jennings Bryan delivers his “Cross of Gold” speech advocating bimetallism at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

1918: The deadliest rail accident in U.S. history occurs in Nashville, Tennessee, as an inbound local train collides with an outbound express, killing 101 and injuring 171.

1922: Johnny Weissmuller swims the 100 meters freestyle in 58.6 seconds, breaking the world swimming record and the “minute barrier.”

1937: A vault fire destroys the silent film archives of Fox Film Corporation.

1979: In an unsuccessful assassination attempt, a car bomb destroys a Renault motor car owned by Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld outside their home in France.

1986: The New Zealand Parliament passes the Homosexual Law Reform Act, legalizing homosexuality in New Zealand. (So big of the law to allow people to love.)

On July 10,

1212: The Great Fire of Southwark burns much of London to the ground.

1778: France declares war on Great Britain, allying itself with the American colonists.

1850: Millard Fillmore is sworn in, a day after Zachary Taylor’s death made him U.S. President.

1913: The temperature in Death Valley, California hits 134° F — the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth.

1925: Meher Baba begins his 44 years of silence. His followers will eventually observe Silence Day on this date in commemoration. (You wouldn’t know they’re celebrating, though.)

1925: The Scopes Trial begins in Dayton, Tennessee. (A science teacher taught science. The horror.)

1938: Howard Hughes takes off on what will be a record-setting 91-hour airplane flight around the world.

1941: Polish Jews living in and near the village of Jedwabne are massacred.

1951: Armistice negotiations for the Korean War begin at Kaesong.

1962: Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, launches into orbit.

1966: The Chicago Freedom Movement — led by Martin Luther King, Jr. — holds a rally at Soldier Field in Chicago, with as many as 60,000 people attending.

1978: “ABC World News Tonight” premieres.

1985: French DGSE agents bomb and sink the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior, killing Fernando Pereira.

1991: The South African cricket team is readmitted into the International Cricket Council, following the end of Apartheid.

Elsewhere, Boris Yeltsin takes office as the first elected President of Russia.

1992: Former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega is sentenced to 40 years in prison for drug and racketeering violations.

1997: In London, scientists report the findings of the DNA analysis of a Neanderthal skeleton which supports the “Out of Africa” theory of human evolution, beginning with an “African Eve” estimated at 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. (White supremacists everywhere scream to learn they are descended from Africans. At least, the ones who can read the findings do.)

1998: The Diocese of Dallas agrees to pay $23.4 million to nine former altar boys who claimed they were sexually abused by Rudolph Kos, a former priest.

1999: The U.S. defeats China in a penalty shoot-out to win the final match of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The game is watched by 90,185 spectators, setting a new world record for attendance at a women’s sporting event.

2000: Aérospatiale-Matra, DASA, and CASA merge to form EADS, the world’s second-largest aerospace group.

2005: Hurricane Dennis hits the Florida Panhandle, causing billions of dollars in damage.

2007: Erden Eruç begins the first solo human-powered circumnavigation of the world.

2017: Mosul is declared fully liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

On July 11,

1576: Martin Frobisher sights Greenland. (I wonder if he tried to buy it.)

1735: Pluto moves inside the orbit of Neptune for the last time before 1979 — according to contemporary calculations.

1789: Jacques Necker is dismissed as France’s Finance Minister, which will lead to the Storming of the Bastille three days later.

1796: Under the terms of the Jay Treaty, the U.S. takes possession of Detroit from Great Britain.

1798: Having been disbanded after the Revolutionary War, the U.S. Marine Corps is re-established.

1801: French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons discovers his first comet. He will discover another 36 — more than anyone else in history — over the next 27 years.

1804: U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr mortally wounds former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in an illegal duel. He will never be tried and the charges will be dropped, but his political career will end after this, the final year of his term. (The warning was right there in the song — fools who run their mouths off wind up dead.)

1889: Tijuana, Mexico, is founded.

1895: Auguste and Louis Lumière demonstrate movie film technology to scientists.

1897: Salomon August Andrée leaves Spitsbergen in an attempt to reach the North Pole by balloon. He will later crash and die. (Little know fact: He was downed by flying reindeer.)

1899: Giovanni Agnelli founds Fiat.

1914: Babe Ruth makes his debut in Major League Baseball, pitching seven strong innings for the Boston Red Sox in their 4-3 defeat of the Cleveland Indians.

1921: Former U.S. President William Howard Taft is sworn in as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; no person has since held both offices.

1922: The Hollywood Bowl opens.

1936: NYC’s Triborough Bridge is opened to traffic.

1960: Harper Lee publishes “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

1962: The first transatlantic satellite television transmission takes place.

1977: U.S. President Jimmy Carter posthumously awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Martin Luther King, Jr.

1979: Skylab, NASA’s first space station, re-enters Earth’s atmosphere as its orbit decays, disintegrating over the Indian Ocean and sending debris to sparsely populated areas in and around Australia.

On July 12,

1493: Hartmann Schedel’s “Nuremberg Chronicle,” one of the best-documented early printed books, is published.

1543: Henry VIII of England marries his sixth wife, Catherine Parr. She will be his last wife. (So glad to hear he finally settled down after sowing a few wild oats.)

1562: Fray Diego de Landa, acting Bishop of Yucatán, burns the sacred books of the Maya.

1789: Radical French journalist Camille Desmoulins leaps to a cafe table and gives an impromptu speech decrying the previous day’s dismissal of Jacques Necker and inciting the crowd to take up arms, which they will do two days later with the storming of the Bastille.

1804: Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton dies of his injuries a day after having been shot by Vice President Aaron Burr in a duel. (He should’ve known the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and him.)

1806: Sixteen German imperial states leave the Holy Roman Empire and form the Confederation of the Rhine.

1862: U.S. Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor.

1943: German and Soviet forces engage in one of the largest tank battles of all time — the Battle of Prokhorovka.

1948: Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion orders 50,000-70,000 Palestinians to be expelled from the towns of Lod and Ramla. The resulting exodus will come to be remembered as a death march.

1962: The Rolling Stones perform their first concert, at London’s Marquee Club.

1963: Pauline Reade, 16, disappears in Gorton, England; she is the first victim in the Moors murders.

On July 13,

1787: The U.S. Continental Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance, establishing governing rules for the Northwest Territory. It also establishes procedures for admitting new states, and limits the expansion of slavery.

1793: Charlotte Corday assassinates journalist and French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat in his bathtub. (Horror movies had me afraid to take a shower in my youth, while history had me afraid to take a bath. I stank as a kid.)

1863: In New York City, opponents of the draft begin three days of rioting, which will be later regarded as the worst in U.S. history.

1956: The Dartmouth workshop is the first conference on artificial intelligence.

1973: Alexander Butterfield reveals the existence of the “Nixon tapes” to the U.S. Senate special committee investigating the Watergate break-in.

1977: New York City experiences an electrical blackout that will last nearly 24 hours, leading to widespread fires and looting.

1985: The Live Aid benefit concert takes place in London, Philadelphia, Moscow, Sydney, and other global locations.

Elsewhere, U.S. Vice President George H. W. Bush becomes the Acting President for the day when Ronald Reagan undergoes surgery to remove polyps from his colon. (I wish they had made a comedic hijinx movie called “George’s Big Day.”)

2008: Taliban and al-Qaeda guerrillas attack U.S. Army and Afghan National Army troops in Afghanistan, in the Battle of Wanat. It is one of the bloodiest Taliban attack thus far in the war.

2016: UK Prime Minister David Cameron resigns and is succeeded by Theresa May.

On July 14,

1789: Citizens of Paris storm the Bastille. This will come to be seen as the flash point of the French Revolution.

1790: Citizens of Paris celebrate the unity of the French people and the national reconciliation in the Fête de la Fédération.

1798: The Sedition Act becomes law in the U.S., making it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the U.S. government. (Boy, they were really taking that new Constitution seriously, huh?)

1865: Edward Whymper and his party make the first ascent of the Matterhorn; four of them will die during their descent.

1874: The Chicago Fire of 1874 burns down 47 acres of the city, destroys 812 buildings, and kills 20 people. As a result, the fire insurance industry will demand municipal reforms from Chicago’s city council.

1881: Pat Garrett shoots and kills Billy the Kid outside Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

1911: Harry Atwood, an exhibition pilot for the Wright brothers, lands his airplane on the South Lawn of the White House. President Taft will later award him a Gold medal for this feat.

1933: In Germany, all political parties are outlawed except the Nazi Party. Nazi eugenics begins with the proclamation of the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, which calls for the compulsory sterilization of any citizen suffering from alleged genetic disorders.

1938: Howard Hughes completes a 91-hour airplane flight around the world, setting a new record.

1943: The George Washington Carver National Monument, in Diamond, Missouri, is the first National Monument in honor of an African American.

1950: North Korean troops initiate the Battle of Taejon.

1960: Jane Goodall arrives at the Gombe Stream Reserve, in present-day Tanzania, to begin her study of chimpanzees in the wild.

1965: During its flyby of Mars, the Mariner 4 takes the first close-up photos of another planet.

1976: Canada abolishes capital punishment.

1992: Lynne and William Jolitz release 386BSD, beginning the Open Source operating system revolution. Linus Torvalds will release Linux soon afterward.

2002: A neo-Nazi attempts to assassinate French President Jacques Chirac during Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, firing one shot into a parade — it misses its mark — before he is wrestled to the ground.

2015: NASA’s New Horizons probe performs the first flyby of Pluto, completing the initial survey of the Solar System.

2016: During Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, terrorist Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drives a cargo truck into a crowd of people, killing 86 and injuring more than 400. ISIL claims responsibility for urging him into jihad.

On July 15,

70: Titus and his armies breach the walls of Jerusalem.

1099: Christian soldiers take the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem following a long siege by the crusaders.

1149: The reconstructed Church of the Holy Sepulchre is consecrated in Jerusalem.

1741: Aleksei Chirikov sights land in Southeast Alaska and sends men ashore in a longboat; they are the first Europeans there.

1799: French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard finds the Rosetta Stone in the Egyptian village of Rosetta during Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign.

1806: U.S. Army Lieutenant Zebulon Pike begins an expedition from Fort Bellefontaine near St. Louis, Missouri, to explore the west.

1815: Napoleon Bonaparte surrenders aboard HMS Bellerophon.

1823: A fire destroys the ancient Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, Italy.

1834: The Spanish Inquisition is officially disbanded. (It only took 356 years.)

1838: During Ralph Waldo Emerson’s address at Harvard Divinity School, he outrages the Protestant community by discounting Biblical miracles and declaring Jesus a great man, but not God.

1870: Georgia is the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union. (Peachy.)

1910: Emil Kraepelin’s “Clinical Psychiatry” gives Alzheimer’s disease its name, after Kraepelin’s colleague Alois Alzheimer.

1916: William Boeing and George Conrad Westervelt incorporate Pacific Aero Products in Seattle; it will later be renamed Boeing.

1954: The Boeing 367-80, the prototype for both the Boeing 707 and the C-135 series, has its first flight.

1955: Eighteen Nobel laureates sign the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons; thirty-four others will later co-sign it.

1975: The Apollo–Soyuz Test Project is the first joint Soviet-United States human-crewed flight. It is also the last launch of an Apollo spacecraft, and of the Saturn family of rockets.

1979: Jimmy Carter gives his “malaise speech” — a critique of American materialism and a call to the nation to reflect on its meaning and purpose.

1997: Spree killer Andrew Cunanan shoots and kills fashion designer Gianni Versace on the steps of Versace’s mansion in Miami Beach.

2002: “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh pleads guilty to supplying aid to the enemy and to possession of explosives during the commission of a felony.

In related news, the Anti-Terrorism Court of Pakistan gives the death sentence to British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and gives life terms to three others suspected of murdering “The Wall Street Journal” reporter Daniel Pearl.

2003: AOL Time Warner disbands Netscape and assists with the establishment of the Mozilla Foundation.

2006: Twitter launches. (And society marks the official start of its plummet into a morass of decay.)

On July 16,

622: The Islamic calendar begins.

1054: Three Roman legates break relations between Western and Eastern Christian Churches by placing an invalidly issued Papal bull of Excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia during Saturday afternoon divine liturgy. (An invalidly issued Papal bull is a serious matter. I mean it — no bull.)

1377: Richard II is crowned King of England.

1661: Swedish bank Stockholms Banco issues the first banknotes in Europe.

1769: Father Junípero Serra founds California’s first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Over the following decades, it will evolve into the city of San Diego.

1790: The Residence Act establishes Washington, D.C. as the United States capital.

1861: Following orders from U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Union troops begin a 25-mile march into Virginia for what will become the First Battle of Bull Run — the first major land battle of the Civil War.

1862: Having taken the city of New Orleans in a naval battle in April, Commander David Farragut is promoted to a newly created rank in the U.S. Navy — that of rear admiral. The Navy previously used the term “flag officer” for “admiral” in order to differentiate themselves from European navies, but U.S. Congress creates the rank to honor Farragut. (I have to agree; “rear flag officer” would have sounded weird.)

1915: The Order of the Arrow is founded to honor American Boy Scouts who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law.

1935: The world’s first parking meter is installed, in Oklahoma City.

1941: Joe DiMaggio hits safely for the 56th consecutive game, a streak that still stands as an MLB record.

1942: The government of Vichy France orders the mass arrest of 13,152 Jews, who will be deported to Auschwitz.

1945: The Atomic Age begins as the U.S. successfully detonates a plutonium-based test nuclear weapon near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Meanwhile, the USS Indianapolis leaves San Francisco with parts for the atomic bomb “Little Boy” bound for Tinian Island.

1948: Four pirates storm the cockpit of the Miss Macao passenger seaplane with the intent to rob and ransom the wealthy passengers. They are met with resistance and ultimately fail, although they shoot the pilot. This will come to be considered the first hijacking of a commercial aircraft.

1950: A North Korean patrol happens upon thirty stranded, unarmed, critically wounded U.S. Army soldiers and the chaplain and medic tending to them on a mountain above the village of Tuman, South Korea. The medic escapes, but the patrol executes the chaplain as he prays over the soldiers, then kill the others. The incident will come to be known as the Chaplain-Medic Massacre.

1956: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closes its last “Big Tent” show, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; all subsequent circus shows will take place in arenas.

1969: Apollo 11 — the first mission to land astronauts on the Moon — launches from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Kennedy, Florida.

1979: Iraqi President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr resigns and is replaced by Saddam Hussein.

1999: John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, and his sister-in-law die when Kennedy crashes his Piper Saratoga into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

2015: Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez commits a drive-by shooting at the Armed Forces Career Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, wounding a U.S. Marine. He then makes his way to a U.S. Navy Reserve center, rams his car through a security gate, and opens fire at, in, and around one of its buildings. He fatally wounds a Navy sailor, kills four Marines, and wounds a police officer before the police kill him in the gunfight.

On July 17,

180: In Carthage, Publius Vigellius Saturninus executes 12 inhabitants of Scillium, North Africa, for their Christian beliefs. This is the last of the persecutions under Marcus Aurelius, and the earliest record of Christianity in that part of the world.

1203: The Fourth Crusade captures Constantinople. The Byzantine emperor Alexios III Angelos flees into exile.

1429: Following a successful campaign by Joan of Arc, Charles VII is crowned King of France in the Reims Cathedral. (Btw, “campaign” refers to her military campaign to remove English troops and take Reims for France, but it’s fun to imagine her engaging in a political campaign to make him king. I wonder what political rallies were like back then.)

1717: King George I sails down the Thames with a barge of 50 musicians in the premiere performance of Handel’s “Water Music.” (Oh, sure — when Handel does it, it’s okay, but when the Sex Pistols do it, they get arrested.)

1762: Catherine II becomes tsar of Russia upon the murder of Peter III.

1771: Chipewyan chief Matonabbee, guiding Samuel Hearne on his Arctic overland journey, massacres a group of unsuspecting Inuit.

1791: During the French Revolution, General Lafayette has members of the French National Guard open fire on a crowd of radical Jacobins at the Champ de Mars, Paris, killing scores of people.

1867: Harvard School of Dental Medicine is established in Boston; it is the first U.S. dental school affiliated with a university.

1902: Willis Carrier creates the first air conditioner, in Buffalo, New York. (He should be hailed as a hero.)

1917: King George V issues a proclamation that the male line descendants of the British Royal Family will bear the surname Windsor.

1918: Bolsheviks execute Tsar Nicholas II and his immediate family and retainers at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

1918: German sub U-55 sinks the RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the 705 Titanic survivors. Five people die.

1932: A riot ensues between the Nazi Party paramilitary forces — the SS and SA — and the German Communist Party, leaving 18 people dead in Altona, Schleswig-Holstein. The incident will be remembered as Altona Bloody Sunday.

1938: Having been denied permission to fly from New York to Ireland and having filed a flight plan to return to Long Beach, California, Douglas Corrigan takes off from Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field and heads out over the Atlantic. He will land at Baldonnel Aerodome in County Dublin after 28 hours, claiming to have made a navigational error. He will come to be hailed as “Wrong Way” Corrigan.

1945: The three main leaders of the Allied nations — Churchill, Truman, and Stalin — meet in Potsdam, Germany to decide the nation’s future.

1955: Walt Disney dedicates and opens Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

1975: An American Apollo and a Soviet Soyuz dock with each other in orbit, marking the first such link-up of spacecraft from the two nations.

1976: The Summer Olympics open in Montreal under the controversy of 25 African teams boycotting the games due to New Zealand’s participation. New Zealand had participated in South African sporting events during Apartheid, and while other international sports organizations ruled to exclude them, the IOC had declined.

1984: The national drinking age in the U.S. changes from 18 to 21. (I was less than a month from turning 18; I’ve never felt so betrayed.)

1989: The B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber has its first flight. (How did they know?)

2001: Concorde returns to service nearly a year after the July 2000 crash.

On July 18,

390 BC: The Senones, an invading Gallic tribe, defeat the Roman army at the Battle of the Allia. Momentarily stunned by their sudden victory, the Senones await retaliation for a bit on the field of battle, then move onward to Rome. Finding the city gates open and the walls unmanned, they are again surprised. They make camp in order to avoid night battle inside a strange city. The next day, they will commence the sacking of Rome.

452: Attila lays siege to Aquileia; he will eventually sack and destroy it. (Must be a good date for sacking. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.)

1290: King Edward I issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews — about 16,000 — from England.

1870: The First Vatican Council decrees the dogma of papal infallibility. (Talk about your papal bull….)

1925: Hitler publishes “Mein Kampf.”

1966: Gemini 10 launches from Cape Kennedy on a 70-hour mission that includes docking with an orbiting Agena target vehicle.

Elsewhere, a scantily detailed, racially charged incident in the Seventy-Niner’s Café sparks the six-day Hough riots in Cleveland, Ohio; 1,700 Ohio National Guard troops will intervene to restore order.

1968: Intel is founded in Mountain View, California.

1969: Senator Ted Kennedy hosts a party on Chappaquiddick Island for six older men — five of whom are married — and six young “Boiler Room Girls” from his brother Robert’s 1968 presidential campaign. One of them — 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne — leaves with the Senator, who loses control of his car on the single-lane Dike Bridge and drives it into Poucha Pond. Kennedy escapes from the car, swims to shore, and departs, leaving Kopechne trapped in the submerged car to drown. He will report the accident the next day, minutes after a diver recovers Kopechne’s body. The diver, Captain John Farrar of Edgartown Fire Rescue, will allege that Kopechne lived for at least two hours and died of suffocation rather than drowning — meaning, she could have been rescued alive. Kennedy will plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident causing bodily injury and will receive the minimum sentence of two months’ incarceration, which will be suspended. He will pay Kopechne’s parents $90,904 from his personal funds and $50,000 from his insurance company. They will not bring legal action against him.

1976: Nadia Comaneci is the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics.

1984: James Oliver Huberty opens fire at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California, killing 21 and injuring 19 before police shoot him dead.

1994: The Rwandan Patriotic Front takes control of Gisenyi and northwestern Rwanda, forcing the interim government into Zaire and ending its genocide.

2013: The Government of Detroit, with up to $20 billion in debt, files for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

On July 19,

64: The Great Fire of Rome begins in the merchant shops near Circus Maximus; it will rage for six days, be brought under control, reignite, burn for three more days, and destroy two thirds of the city. Allegedly, Nero will blame the fire on Christians, initiating Roman persecution of Christians. Later historians will cast some doubt that Nero did such.

1701: Representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy sign the Nanfan Treaty, ceding a large territory north of the Ohio River to England.

1843: The SS Great Britain launches as the largest vessel afloat in the world; it is also the first ocean craft with an iron hull and screw propeller.

1845: The Great New York City Fire of 1845 kills four firefighters and 26 civilians, and destroys 345 buildings.

1848: A two-day Women’s Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, New York.

1900: The first line of the Paris Métro opens for operation.

1903: Maurice Garin wins the first Tour de France.

1943: More than 500 Allied aircraft bomb Rome heavily, inflicting thousands of casualties. (July 19 was historically bad for Rome.)

1963: Joe Walker flies a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 347,800 feet, qualifying the flight as human spaceflight under international convention by surpassing an altitude of 100 km. (Joe Walker? More like Joe Flyer, amirite?)

1977: The world’s first GPS signal is transmitted from Navigation Technology Satellite 2 and received at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

1979: The Sandinista rebels overthrow the government of the Somoza family in Nicaragua.

1979: The oil tanker SS Atlantic Empress collides with the oil tanker Aegean Captain in the Caribbean, causing the largest ever ship-borne oil spill and the fifth largest oil spill in general.

1980: The Summer Olympics opens in Moscow.

1981: French President François Mitterrand meets privately with U.S. President Ronald Reagan to reveal the existence of the Farewell Dossier, a collection of documents showing the Soviet Union has been stealing American technological research and development.

1983: The first three-dimensional reconstruction of a human head in a CT is published.

On July 20,

1738: Canadian explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye reaches the western shore of Lake Michigan. (He could have used his nametag as a bridge from the eastern shore.)

1807: Napoleon awards a patent to Nicéphore Niépce for the Pyréolophore, the world’s first internal combustion engine.

1831: The Seneca and Shawnee people agree to give up their land in western Ohio for 60,000 acres west of the Mississippi River. (An Admiral Ackbar quote comes to mind.)

1848: The first Women’s Rights Convention concludes after two days in Seneca Falls, New York.

1871: British Columbia joins the confederation of Canada.

1903: The Ford Motor Company ships its first automobile.

1934: Police in Minneapolis fire on striking truck drivers, killing two and wounding 67.

In Seattle, police fire tear gas on 2000 striking longshoremen before moving in with clubs.

In Oregon, the governor calls in the National Guard to break a strike on the docks of Portland.

1940: California opens its first freeway — the Arroyo Seco Parkway.

1944: Hitler survives an assassination attempt led by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who will be executed the following day.

1949: Israel and Syria sign a truce, ending their 19-month war.

1950: In Philadelphia, Harry Gold pleads guilty to having spied for the Soviet Union by passing secrets from atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs. (You might say he was Fuched.)

1951: A Palestinian gunman named Mustafa Shukri Ashu assassinates King Abdullah I of Jordan while the king attends Friday prayers in Jerusalem.

1954: Otto John, head of West Germany’s secret service, defects to East Germany.

1960: Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) elects Sirimavo Bandaranaike as prime minister, making her the world’s first elected female head of government.

1968: The first International Special Olympics Summer Games event is held at Soldier Field in Chicago, featuring about 1000 athletes with intellectual disabilities.

1969: Apollo 11 successfully makes the first manned landing on the Moon, in the Sea of Tranquility. Six and a half hours later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to walk on the Moon. The walk technically occurs on July 21, if you go by UTC time. I go by ET. (My page, my time zone.)

1973: Bruce Lee dies at age 32 from a brain edema, possibly caused by a reaction to a prescription painkiller.

1976: The Viking 1 successfully lands on Mars.

1977: Under the Freedom of Information Act, the CIA releases documents revealing it had engaged in mind-control experiments.

1982: The Provisional IRA detonates two bombs in Hyde Park and Regent’s Park in central London, killing eight soldiers, wounding 47 people, and leading to the deaths of seven horses.

1997: The fully restored USS Constitution — Old Ironsides — celebrates its 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years.

2005: The Civil Marriage Act legalizes same-sex marriage in Canada.

2012: James Holmes opens fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and injuring 70.

2015: The U.S. and Cuba resume full diplomatic relations after five decades.

2017: Having served nine years of a 33-year sentence for armed robbery, O.J. Simpson is granted parole. (This allows him to get back to his primary mission of searching for the real killer.)

On July 21,

356 BC: The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is destroyed by arson.

1645: Qing dynasty regent Dorgon issues an edict ordering every Han Chinese man to shave his forehead and braid the rest of his hair into a queue identical to those of the Manchus. (Can you imagine if contemporary leaders tried this? We’d all be stuck with the Kennedy, the Nixon, or the Trump.)

1861: The First Battle of Bull Run — the first major battle of the Civil War — earns a Confederate victory at Manassas Junction, Virginia.

1865: In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, Wild Bill Hickok shoots and kills Davis Tutt; this will come to be regarded as the first western showdown.

1873: At Adair, Iowa, Jesse James and the James–Younger Gang pull off the first successful train robbery in the American Old West.

1925: In Dayton, Tennessee, high school biology teacher John T. Scopes is found guilty of teaching evolution in class and fined $100. (We sure love science in this country, don’t we?)

1944: Claus von Stauffenberg and fellow conspirators are tortured and executed in Berlin, Germany, for the plot to assassinate Hitler the previous day.

1959: NS Savannah, the first nuclear-powered cargo-passenger ship, is launched as a showcase for U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” initiative.

Elsewhere, Elijah “Pumpsie” Green is the first African-American to play for the Boston Red Sox, the last MLB team to integrate.

1961: On the Mercury-Redstone 4 mission, Gus Grissom pilots Liberty Bell 7 on a suborbital flight, becoming the second American to go into space.

1972: Members of the Provisional IRA detonate 22 bombs in the space of 80 minutes in Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing nine and injuring 130 on “Bloody Friday.”

1973: In Lillehammer, Norway, Mossad agents kill a waiter whom they mistakenly think was involved in the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre.

1976: Christopher Ewart-Biggs, the British ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, is assassinated by a landmine planted on his vehicle’s route by the Provisional IRA.

1979: Jay Silverheels, a Mohawk actor known for his portrayal of Tonto on television’s “The Lone Ranger,” becomes the first Native American to have a star commemorated on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1983: The world’s lowest temperature in an inhabited location is recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica at -89.2° C, or -128.6° F.

2011: Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center to complete mission STS-135, ending NASA’s Space Shuttle program.

2012: Erden Eruç completes the first solo human-powered circumnavigation of the world. His journey took five years and 11 days, and his modes of transport included a rowboat, a sea kayak, canoes, a bicycle, and his feet. (Yes, feet can be a mode of transport; I recommend trying them sometime.)

On July 22,

1587: A second group of English settlers arrives on Roanoke Island off North Carolina to re-establish the deserted colony.

1598: Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” is entered on the Stationers’ Register, which licenses printed works at the time by decree of Queen Elizabeth. This gives the Crown tight control over all published material.

1793: Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first recorded human to complete a transcontinental crossing of North America.

1796: Surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company name an area in Ohio “Cleveland” after Gen. Moses Cleaveland, the superintendent of the surveying party. (They mark the occasion by losing a football game.)

1893: After admiring the view from the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado, Katharine Lee Bates writes “America the Beautiful.” (This should be our national anthem; it of the beauty of our country, which is much better than sitting in fear in the brig of an enemy ship, wondering if we just lost a battle.)

1933: Aviator Wiley Post returns to Floyd Bennett Field in New York City, completing the first solo flight around the world in seven days, 18 hours and 49 minutes.

1937: In the U.S., the Senate votes down President Franklin Roosevelt’s proposal to add more justices to the Supreme Court.

1942: The United States government begins compulsory civilian gasoline rationing due to wartime demands.

In Poland, the systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto begins.

1962: Mariner 1 flies erratically several minutes after launch and has to be destroyed. (Something doesn’t work right the first time, so you destroy it? Seems a bit spiteful, NASA.)

1976: Japan completes its last reparation to the Philippines for war crimes committed during imperial Japan’s conquest of the country during World War II.

1990: Greg LeMond wins his third Tour de France overall and second consecutive one.

1993: Levees near Kaskaskia, Illinois rupture, forcing the entire town to evacuate by barges operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.

1997: The second Blue Water Bridge opens between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario.

2003: Aided by Special Forces, members of the 101st Airborne attack a compound in Iraq, killing Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay, along with Qusay’s 14-year-old son and a bodyguard.

On July 23,

1829: William Austin Burt patents the typographer, a precursor to the typewriter. (I’m guessing the patent award was hand-written?)

1885: Former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant dies of throat cancer.

1903: The Ford Motor Company sells its first car.

1914: Austria-Hungary issues a series of demands in an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, demanding Serbia allow the Austrians to determine who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Serbia will accept all but one of the demands, leading Austria to declare war on July 28.

1929: Italy’s Fascist government bans the use of foreign words.

1961: The Sandinista National Liberation Front is founded in Nicaragua.

1962: Telstar relays the first publicly transmitted, live, trans-Atlantic television program. It features Walter Cronkite.

1967: In Detroit, one of the worst riots in U.S. history begins on 12th Street. It will ultimately kill 43 people, injure 342, and burn about 1400 buildings.

1968: In Cleveland, Ohio, a violent shootout occurs between a Black Militant organization and the Cleveland Police Department. A riot beginning during the shootout will last for five days.

1972: The U.S. launches Landsat 1, the first Earth-resources satellite.

1982: Outside Santa Clarita, California, actor Vic Morrow and two children are killed when a helicopter crashes onto them while shooting a scene from “Twilight Zone: The Movie.”

1995: Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp separately discover a new comet. Nearly a year later, Comet Hale–Bopp will become visible to the naked eye.

1997: Digital Equipment Corporation files antitrust charges against Intel.

2015: NASA announces the discovery of Kepler-452b.

On July 24,

1487: Citizens of Leeuwarden, Netherlands, strike against a ban on foreign beer. (I feel such solidarity with this one.)

1567: Mary, Queen of Scots, is forced to abdicate; she is replaced by her one-year-old son, James VI. (Can you imagine being ruled by a one-year-old? Of course, if you’ve ever been a parent of one, you probably don’t have to imagine.)

1701: Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founds a trading post at Fort Pontchartrain, which will later become the city of Detroit.

1847: After 17 months of travel, Brigham Young leads 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, where they will establish Salt Lake City. (I wonder where they got the name.)

1847: Richard March Hoe patents the rotary-type printing press.

1866: Tennessee is the first U.S. state to be readmitted to the Union following the Civil War.

1901: O. Henry is released from prison in Columbus, Ohio, after having served three years for embezzlement from a bank. (I hope when his mom found out what he had done, she shook her head and said, “Oh, Henry….”)

1911: Hiram Bingham III rediscovers Machu Picchu, “the Lost City of the Incas.”

1937: Alabama drops rape charges against the “Scottsboro Boys.”

1950: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station begins operations with the launch of a Bumper rocket.

1959: At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev have a “Kitchen Debate.” (Which one was pro-stainless appliances?)

1966: Michael Pelkey and Brian Schubert make the first BASE jump from El Capitan, with both men breaking bones as a result. (Their own, I hope.)

1969: Apollo 11 splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean.

1974: The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rules that President Richard Nixon does not have the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes, ordering him to surrender the tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor. (Those were the days.)

1980: Australia’s “Quietly Confident Quartet” wins the men’s 4×100 medley relay at the Moscow Olympics; it is the only time the U.S. has not won the event at Olympic level.

1983: Batting for the Kansas City Royals against the New York Yankees, George Brett has a game-winning home run nullified after umpires inspect his bat and determine the amount of pine tar on its handle exceeds the amount allowed. Brett is ruled out; it will come to be remembered as the “Pine Tar Incident.”

1987: At 91, Hulda Crooks becomes the oldest person to climb Mt. Fuji.

1998: Russell Eugene Weston Jr. bursts into the United States Capitol and opens fire, killing two police officers. He will later be ruled incompetent to stand trial.

On July 25,

1609: En route to Virginia, the English flagship Sea Venture is in danger of sinking after having fought a storm for three days. Water in the hold is at nine feet when Admiral George Somers spots land and orders the ship to be driven onto the reefs. The surviving crew of 150 comes ashore at Discovery Bay, in eastern Bermuda. They will go on to found a colony there. (How were so many colonies founded, when only one was lost?)

1722: Dummer’s War begins along the Maine-Massachusetts border. (More like dumber war, amirite?)

1755: British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council order the deportation of the Acadians. (Just to clarify, that was the immigrants deporting the indigents.)

1783: The last action of the American Revolution, the Siege of Cuddalore, is ended by a preliminary peace agreement.

1788: Mozart completes his Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K 550.

1837: William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone give the first successful demonstration of commercial use of an electrical telegraph.

1853: California Rangers kill Joaquin Murrieta, the famous California bandit known as the “Robin Hood of El Dorado.” The character of Zorro will one day be based on him.

1861: U.S. Congress passes the Crittenden–Johnson Resolution, stating that the Civil War is being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery. (Way to be progressive, Congress.)

1866: U.S. Congress passes legislation authorizing the rank of General of the Army. Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant is the first to be promoted to this rank.

1898: The U.S. seizes Puerto Rico from Spain.

1909: Louis Blériot makes the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine, completing the flight from Calais to Dover in 37 minutes in his plane.

1917: Sir Robert Borden introduces the first income tax in Canada as a “temporary” measure.

1934: Nazis assassinate Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in a failed coup attempt.

1940: General Henri Guisan orders the Swiss Army to resist German invasion, and makes surrender illegal.

1942: The Norwegian Manifesto calls for nonviolent resistance to the German occupation.

1943: The Grand Council of Fascism forces Benito Mussolini out of office, replacing him with Pietro Badoglio.

1946: The U.S. detonates an atomic bomb underwater in the lagoon of Bikini Atoll as part of its nuclear weapons testing program.

1961: U.S. President John F. Kennedy emphasizes in a speech that any attack on Berlin is an attack on NATO.

1965: Bob Dylan goes electric at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music.

1969: U.S. President Richard Nixon puts forth the Nixon Doctrine, stating that the U.S. now expects its Asian allies to see to their own military defense. This is the start of the “Vietnamization” of the Vietnam War.

1973: The Soviet space probe Mars 5 launches.

1976: Viking 1 takes the famous “Face on Mars” photo.

1978: Louise Joy Brown is the first human to be born after conception by in vitro fertilisation, or IVF.

1984: Salyut 7 cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya is the first woman to perform a space walk.

1993: The Saint James Church massacre occurs in Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa.

2000: Concorde Air France Flight 4590 crashes at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, killing 113 people.

2007: Pratibha Patil is sworn in as India’s first female president.

2010: WikiLeaks publishes classified documents about the War in Afghanistan, one of the largest leaks in U.S. military history.

On July 26,

1745: The first recorded women’s cricket match takes place, near Guildford, England.

1775: The Second Continental Congress establishes the office that will later become the United States Post Office Department. Benjamin Franklin becomes Postmaster General. (And someone, somewhere immediately complains about the price of stamps.)

1803: Arguably the world’s first public railway, the Surrey Iron Railway opens in south London.

1861: George B. McClellan assumes command of the Army of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1891: France annexes Tahiti.

1908: U.S. Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issues an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner; it will later be renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

1941: In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indochina, the U.S., Britain, and the Netherlands freeze all Japanese assets and cut off oil shipments.

1944: The Red Army enters Lviv in western Ukraine, capturing the city from the Nazis. Of the 160,000 Jews who lived in Lviv prior to occupation, only 300 survive.

1945: The USS Indianapolis arrives at Tinian with components and enriched uranium for the Little Boy nuclear bomb. (Quint was onboard.)

1946: Aloha Airlines begins service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947: U.S. President Harry Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947 into law, creating the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Department of Defense, United States Air Force, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the United States National Security Council.

1948: President Truman signs Executive Order 9981, desegregating the U.S. military.

1951: Walt Disney’s 13th animated film, “Alice in Wonderland,” premieres in London.

1953: Fidel Castro starts the Cuban Revolution with an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks. His movement takes the name of the date: 26th of July Movement.

Elsewhere, Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle orders an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek, Arizona; it will become known as the Short Creek raid.

1956: Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal, sparking international condemnation.

1958: Explorer 4 launches.

1963: Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, launches from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

1971: Apollo 15 launches; it is the first Apollo “J-Mission” and the first use of a Lunar Roving Vehicle.

1989: A federal grand jury indicts Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm; he is the first person prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

1990: U.S. President George H.W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 into law.

2005: STS-114 Mission sees the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery; it is NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

2016: Hillary Clinton becomes the first female nominee for President of the United States by a major political party when she is nominated at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. In the presidential election, she will win the popular vote but lose the electoral vote to Republican candidate Donald Trump. (Deep sigh.)

Elsewhere, Solar Impulse 2 becomes the first solar-powered aircraft to circumnavigate the Earth.

On July 27,

1054: Siward, Earl of Northumbria, invades Scotland and defeats its king, Macbeth. (Never tell this story in a theater.)

1775: The Second Continental Congress passes legislation establishing “an hospital for an army consisting of 20,000 men.” This is the founding of the U.S. Army Medical Department.

1789: The first U.S. federal government agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, is established; it will be later renamed the Department of State.

1794: Maximilien Robespierre is arrested after having encouraged the execution of more than 17,000 “enemies of the French Revolution.”

1866: The first permanent transatlantic telegraph cable is completed, stretching from Valentia Island, Ireland, to Heart’s Content, Newfoundland. (People could literally send telegraphs to their Heart’s Content.)

1890: Vincent van Gogh shoots himself; he will die two days later. (No joke — Don McLean’s “Vincent” is one of the most beautiful songs I know. Gets me every time.)

1919: The Chicago Race Riot erupts after a white man throws rocks at and kills a black swimmer at a segregated South Side beach. There will be 38 fatalities and 537 injuries over a five-day period.

1921: Frederick Banting and other researchers at the University of Toronto prove insulin regulates blood sugar.

1929: The Geneva Convention of 1929, dealing with treatment of prisoners of war, is signed by 53 nations.

1940: Warner Bros. releases the animated short “A Wild Hare,” introducing the character of Bugs Bunny.

1949: The first jet-powered airliner, the de Havilland Comet, has its maiden flight.

1953: The U.S., China, and North Korea sign an armistice agreement, ceasing hostilities in the Korean War. South Korean President Syngman Rhee refuses to sign, but pledges to observe the armistice.

1959: The Continental League is announced as baseball’s “3rd major league” in the United States. The league will disband before its teams can play.

1964: Five thousand more American military advisers are sent to South Vietnam, bringing the total number of U.S. forces in Vietnam to 21,000.

1974: The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee votes 27 to 11 to recommend the first article of impeachment — for obstruction of justice — against U.S. President Richard Nixon.

1987: RMS Titanic Inc. begins the first salvage expedition of wreckage of the RMS Titanic.

1990: The Supreme Soviet of the Belarusian Soviet Republic declares the independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union.

1995: The Korean War Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.

1996: A pipe bomb explodes at Centennial Olympic Park during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

2005: Matthew Bain is born.

2016: During a news conference in Florida, U.S. Presidential Candidate Donald Trump publicly appeals to Russia to find and release private emails from Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton; a Special Counsel investigation from 2017–2019 will later allege that Russian operatives began hacking into servers at the Democratic National Committee on that same day, leading to the July 13, 2018 indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers. Trump will continue to insist it’s a “hoax.”

On July 28,

1540: Thomas Cromwell is executed at the order of Henry VIII of England, on charges of treason. Henry marries his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, on the same day.

1794: Maximilien Robespierre and Louis Antoine de Saint-Just are executed by guillotine in Paris.

1866: At the age of 18, Vinnie Ream becomes the first female artist and youngest artist to receive a commission from the United States government, for a statue of Abraham Lincoln.

1868: The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, establishing African American citizenship and guaranteeing due process of law.

1896: The city of Miami, Florida is incorporated.

1914: In the culmination of the July Crisis, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, igniting World War I.

1917: The Silent Parade occurs in New York City, protesting murders, lynchings, and other violence directed toward African Americans.

1932: U.S. President Herbert Hoover orders the Army to forcibly evict the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans gathered in Washington, D.C.

1935: The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress makes its first flight.

1938: Hawaii Clipper disappears between Guam and Manila as the first loss of an airliner in trans-Pacific China Clipper service.

1939: The Sutton Hoo helmet is discovered.

1945: A U.S. Army B-25 bomber crashes into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building, killing 14 and injuring 26. (Today’s conspiracy theorists would have had a field day with that.)

1965: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces his order to increase the number of U.S. troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000.

1973: Nearly 600,000 people attend the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, a rock festival at the Watkins Glen International Raceway.

1996: The remains of a prehistoric man are discovered near Kennewick, Washington. They will come to be known as the Kennewick Man. (Someone really stretched the limits of creativity with that name, didn’t they?)

2005: The Provisional Irish Republican Army calls an end to its 30-year-long armed campaign in Northern Ireland.

2018: Australian Wendy Tuck becomes the first woman skipper to win the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

On July 29,

1836: The Arc de Triomphe is inaugurated in Paris. (I have no idea what “inaugurated” means in this sense, as a building isn’t elected. But it sounded impressive.)

1851: Annibale de Gasparis discovers asteroid 15 Eunomia.

1907: Sir Robert Baden-Powell sets up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour, on the south coast of England. The camp will come to be regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.

1914: The Cape Cod Canal opens.

1921: Hitler becomes leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party — the Nazis. Although the word “Socialist” appears in the party’s name, it is important to note the “National” that precedes it — Nazis are fascists, and politically aligned with the far right. They do not embrace socialism. (Seriously, open a book. Or Google.)

1932: In Washington, D.C., troops disperse the last of the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans marching to demand cash redemption of their service certificates.

1945: The BBC Light Programme radio station is launched for mainstream light entertainment and music.

1948: After a 12-year war-related hiatus since the 1936 Games in Berlin, the Summer Olympic games open in London.

1958: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act into law, creating NASA.

1959: Hawaii holds its first U.S. Congress elections as a U.S. state.

1965: The first 4000 101st Airborne Division paratroopers arrive in Vietnam, landing at Cam Ranh Bay.

1967: Off the coast of North Vietnam, the USS Forrestal catches fire in the worst U.S. naval disaster since World War II, killing 134.

1976: David Berkowitz — the “Son of Sam” — kills one person and seriously wounds another in the first of a series of attacks in New York City.

1980: Iran adopts a new “holy” flag after the Islamic Revolution.

1981: A worldwide television audience of more than 700 million people watch the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer to some guy with big ears.

1987: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President François Mitterrand sign an agreement to build the Eurotunnel under the English Channel.

1996: A U.S. federal court strikes down the child protection portion of the Communications Decency Act, claiming it is too broad.

2005: Astronomers announce their discovery of the dwarf planet Eris.

On July 30,

762: Baghdad is founded.

1619: In Jamestown, Virginia, the first representative assembly in the Americas — the House of Burgesses — convenes.

1676: Nathaniel Bacon issues the “Declaration of the People of Virginia,” a list of complaints beginning Bacon’s Rebellion against the rule of Governor William Berkeley. (The reason for his rebellion? He wanted to be able to further attack the Native Americans whom the colonists had run off the land, and against whom Bacon himself had already committed atrocities. Makes sense, huh?)

1729: Baltimore, Maryland is founded.

1863: Representatives of the U.S. and Chief Pocatello and other tribal leaders of the Shoshone sign the Treaty of Box Elder, calling for peaceable relations and annual reparation of $5000 by the U.S. to the Shoshone.

1864: Union forces attempt to break Confederate lines at Petersburg, Virginia by detonating a large bomb in a mine under their trenches. The Battle of the Crater ensues as Union forces rush into the crater, become confused, and are repelled by the Confederates. (Seems they couldn’t tell their mass from a hole in the ground.)

1865: The steamboat Brother Jonathan sinks off the coast of Crescent City, California, killing 225 passengers; it is the deadliest shipwreck on the U.S. Pacific Coast at the time.

1866: Armed Confederate veterans in New Orleans riot against a meeting of Radical Republicans, killing 48 people and injuring another 100.

1930: In Montevideo, Uruguay wins the first FIFA World Cup.

1932: Walt Disney’s “Flowers and Trees” premieres; it is the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first to win an Academy Award.

1945: Japanese submarine I-58 sinks the USS Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen. The Navy will not learn of the sinking until an aircraft notices the survivors floating in the ocean, four days later.

1956: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a joint resolution authorizing “In God We Trust” as the national motto.

1962: The Trans-Canada Highway, the longest national highway in the world, is officially opened.

1965: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.

1971: Apollo 15’s David Scott and James Irwin land on the Moon with the first Lunar Rover — the Apollo Lunar Module Falcon.

1974: U.S. President Richard Nixon releases subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court.

1975: Jimmy Hoffa disappears from the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan at about 2:30 p.m. He is never seen nor heard from again.

2003: In Puebla, Mexico, the last “old style” Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line, accompanied by a musical farewell tune played by a mariachi band. (I hope it was a Beatles song.)

2006: After 42 years, the world’s longest-running music show — Top of the Pops — is broadcast for the last time on BBC Two.

On July 31,

1201: John Komnenos the Fat attempts to usurp the throne of Alexios III Angelos. (He might have succeeded if he’d gone by the name John Komnenos the Phat.)

1492: The Alhambra Decree takes effect, expelling the Jews from Spain.

1703: Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet. He is pelted with flowers. (Okay, a pillory would suck, but being pelted with flowers? The horror.)

1715: One week after a Spanish treasure fleet of 12 ships left Havana, Cuba for Spain, eleven of them sink in a storm off the coast of Florida.

1763: Odawa Chief Pontiac’s forces defeat British troops at the Battle of Bloody Run during Pontiac’s War.

1777: The U.S. Second Continental Congress passes a resolution that the services of Gilbert du Motier “be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States.” (He was the very model of a modern major-general.)

1790: The first U.S. patent is issued. It goes to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.

1874: Dr. Patrick Francis Healy became the first African-American inaugurated as president of a predominantly white university — in this case, Georgetown.

1932: The Nazi Party wins more than 38% of the vote in German elections.

1938: Archaeologists in Persepolis discover engraved gold and silver plates from King Darius the Great.

1941: Under Hitler’s instructions, Hermann Göring orders SS General Reinhard Heydrich to “submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired Final Solution of the Jewish question.” (Please let the words “Final Solution” sink in. Take all the time you need. If you aren’t horrified, take a little more.)

1954: Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli become the first people to reach the summit of K2.

1964: Ranger 7 sends back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earthbound telescopes.

1991: The U.S. and Soviet Union sign the START I Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the first to reduce — with verification — both countries’ stockpiles.

1999: NASA intentionally crashes the Lunar Prospector into the Moon, ending its mission to detect frozen water on the Moon’s surface. (This means we’ve actually managed to litter somewhere other than Earth.)

2006: Fidel Castro hands over power to his brother, Raúl.

2007: Operation Banner, the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the longest-running British Army operation ever, comes to an end.

2012: Michael Phelps breaks the record set in 1964 by Larisa Latynina for the most medals won at the Olympics.

On August 1,

1800: The Acts of Union 1800 are passed, merging the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1834: The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into force, abolishing slavery in the British Empire.

1893: Henry Perky patents shredded wheat. (He refuses to comment, however, on the debate of crunchy wheat vs. nicely sweet.)

1911: Harriet Quimby takes her pilot’s test and becomes the first U.S. woman to earn an Aero Club of America aviator’s certificate.

1914: The German Empire declares war on the Russian Empire at the opening of World War I. The Swiss Army mobilizes. (They brought their knives.)

1936: Hitler presides over the Berlin Olympics opening ceremony.

1944: The Warsaw Uprising begins in Poland against the Nazi German occupation.

1946: Leaders of the Russian Liberation Army, a group of Russian POWs who collaborated with Nazi Germany, are executed in Moscow for treason.

1957: The U.S. and Canada form the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD.

1961: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara orders the creation of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the nation’s first centralized military espionage organization.

1965: Frank Herbert’s “Dune” is published; in 2003, it will be named the world’s best-selling science fiction novel.

1966: Charles Whitman stabs his mother and wife to death in their sleep before taking multiple firearms to the University of Texas in Austin, where he fatally shoots three people inside the university tower, proceeds to the tower’s 28th floor observation deck, and kills 10 more people and wounds 31 during a 96-minute shooting spree. Austin police officer Houston McCoy shoots Whitman dead, ending the rampage. One of the injured victims, David Gunby, sustains serious injuries that will cause him to suffer from kidney disease for 35 years. In 2001, he will stop his dialysis for good, dying a week later. This will make him the 16th person to die as a result of Whitman’s rampage.

1971: George Harrison holds the Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

1980: Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is elected President of Iceland, becoming the world’s first democratically elected female president.

1981: MTV begins broadcasting in the U.S. and airs its first music video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. (Wait, MTV once aired music videos?)

1984: Commercial peat-cutters discover the preserved bog body of a man, called Lindow Man, at Lindow Moss, Cheshire, England.

1993: The Great Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Flood of 1993 peaks.

2007: The I-35W Mississippi River bridge, spanning the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, collapses during evening rush hour, killing 13 people and injuring 145.

2008: The Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Railway begins operation as the fastest commuter rail system in the world.

On August 2,

1610: During Henry Hudson’s search for the Northwest Passage, he sails into a body of water that will later be named for him — Hudson Bay.

1776: Most of the Second Continental Congress delegates sign the Declaration of Independence, nearly a month after adopting it. (Wait, wait, wait — you mean, Independence Day is really August 2?!? And every July 4, all we’re celebrating is a post-dated check? A leaked announcement? Sheesh. Talk about fake news….)

1790: The first U.S. Census takes place.

1870: The world’s first underground tube railway, Tower Subway, opens in London. (And the first incident of graffiti takes place.)

1873: The Clay Street Hill Railroad begins operating the first cable car in San Francisco.

1923: U.S. President Warren G. Harding dies of cardiac arrest, making VP Calvin Coolidge the next President.

1932: Carl D. Anderson discovers the positron. (It becomes a popular carnival ride.)

1934: Hitler becomes Führer of Germany following the death of President Paul von Hindenburg.

1937: The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 goes into effect in the U.S. The act requires users to obtain a tax stamp, which they can’t do without providing details about the amount and location of their marijuana — effectively incriminating themselves.

1939: Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard write a letter to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging him to begin the Manhattan Project to develop a nuclear weapon.

1943: Jewish prisoners stage a revolt at Treblinka, one of the deadliest of Nazi death camps.

Elsewhere, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri rams and sinks Torpedo Boat PT-109. Lt. John F. Kennedy saves all but two of his crew.

1990: Iraq invades Kuwait, which will eventually lead to the Gulf War.

2018: Apple Inc. is the first U.S. company to be valued at over $1 trillion.

On August 3,

1492: The Pinta, the Santa Maria, and the Santa Clara — aka the Niña — depart mainland Spain under the command of Christopher Columbus, in search of a westward route to Asia. They will eventually stumble upon the “New World” of the Americas.

1527: In St. John’s, Newfoundland, John Rut sends the first known letter from North America. (That letter was “J.”)

1678: Robert LaSalle builds the Le Griffon, the first known ship built on the Great Lakes.

1811: Brothers Johann Rudolf and Hieronymus Meyer make the first ascent of Jungfrau, the third highest summit in the Bernese Alps.

1852: The first American intercollegiate athletic event takes place — a Boat Race between Harvard and Yale. Harvard wins.

1900: The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company is founded.

1914: Germany declares war against France. Romania declares its neutrality.

1921: Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, also a federal judge, confirms the ban of the eight Chicago Black Sox one day after their acquittal by a Chicago court.

1936: Jesse Owens wins the 100m dash at the Berlin Olympics.

1946: The world’s first themed amusement park, Santa Claus Land, opens. Its location? Santa Claus, Indiana. (Charlie Manx takes notice.)

1949: The Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League finalize the merger that will create the National Basketball Association.

1958: The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine, is the first vessel to complete a submerged transit of the North Pole. (Take that, Santa Claus Land.)

1977: Tandy Corporation announces the TRS-80, one of the world’s first mass-produced personal computers.

1997: The tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, opens after two and a half years of construction.

On August 4,

1693: Dom Perignon allegedly invents champagne; this is the date typically ascribed to that, although it is not clear whether he actually invented it. (So, we have an event that might not have happened, on a date when it might not have taken place. Just pop a cork and roll with it.)

1783: Mount Asama erupts in Japan, killing about 1400 people. The eruption will create a famine resulting in an additional 20,000 deaths.

1790: A newly passed tariff act creates the Revenue Cutter Service, forerunner of the United States Coast Guard.

1821: “The Saturday Evening Post” is published for the first time as a weekly newspaper.

1892: The father and stepmother of Lizzie Borden are found murdered in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. She will be tried and acquitted of the crimes a year later.

1914: In response to the German invasion of Belgium, Belgium and the British Empire declare war on Germany. The United States declares its neutrality.

1944: A tip from a Dutch informer leads the Gestapo to an Amsterdam warehouse, where they find and arrest Anne Frank, her family, and four others hiding in a secret annex behind a bookcase.

1964: Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney are found dead in Mississippi after having disappeared on June 21.

1977: U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs legislation creating the United States Department of Energy.

1987: The Federal Communications Commission rescinds the Fairness Doctrine, which had required radio and television stations to present controversial issues “fairly.”

1993: A federal judge sentences LAPD officers Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell to 30 months in prison for violating motorist Rodney King’s civil rights.

2007: NASA launches the Phoenix spacecraft on a mission to explore Mars. Its Delta II 7925 rocket’s exhaust gas creates a memorably colorful noctilucent cloud. (But don’t worry — the Phoenix rises from the gases.)

On August 5,

1305: The English capture William Wallace, leader of the Scottish resistance, near Glasgow.

1583: Sir Humphrey Gilbert establishes the first English colony in North America, at what is now St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

1620: The Mayflower departs from Southampton, England, on its first attempt to reach North America. It will be forced to dock in Dartmouth a week later when its companion ship, the Speedwell, is found to again be taking on water. The leak had been detected and thought repaired in Southampton. A second attempt will be made, but the Speedwell will again take on water, forcing the ships to return to Dartmouth. At that point, the Speedwell passengers still wishing to sail to the new world, will board the Mayflower instead. It will finally depart England in September. (I think we can all agree this was the right decision; would you want to sail on a ship with the word “well” — a large container of water — in its name?)

1735: New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger is acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York. He had been arrested for publishing multiple articles written by others, accusing the government of rigging elections and allowing the French enemy to explore New York harbor, and accusing the governor of an assortment of other crimes as well as being an idiot. Zenger had refused to name the anonymous authors. He is acquitted on the basis that what he had published was true. (Hmmm. A government official from New York claiming fake news when he’s criticized? Nah, couldn’t happen….)

1816: The British Admiralty dismisses Francis Ronalds’ new invention of the first working electric telegraph as “wholly unnecessary,” preferring to continue using the semaphore.

1858: Cyrus West Field and others complete the first transatlantic telegraph cable after several unsuccessful attempts. It will operate for less than a month. (Wait. Does that mean the British Admiralty was right?)

1861: In order to help pay for the war effort against the Confederacy, the United States government levies the first income tax; the Revenue Act of 1861 establishes the tax rate at three percent of all incomes over $800. It will be rescinded in 1872.

Elsewhere, the United States Army abolishes flogging.

1884: The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty is laid on Bedloe’s Island — now Liberty Island — in New York Harbor.

1888: Bertha Benz drives from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in the first long-distance automobile trip. It will be commemorated as the Bertha Benz Memorial Route 120 years later.

1914: The first electric traffic light is installed, in Cleveland, Ohio. (Given that the first iPhone won’t be released for nearly a century, drivers are forced to stare at their empty hands until after the light turns green.)

1926: Harry Houdini spends 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping; it will come to be considered his greatest feat.

1944: Nazis begin a week-long massacre of 40,000-50,000 civilians and POWs in Wola, Poland.

1957: “American Bandstand” debuts on ABC, playing the popular songs and showing popular dances of the time for teen-aged baby-boomers. (The show was okay, boomers.)

1962: Nelson Mandela is jailed under Apartheid; he will not be released until 1990.

Elsewhere, Marilyn Monroe is found dead at her home from a drug overdose.

1973: The USSR launches Mars 6.

1981: U.S. President Ronald Reagan fires 11,359 striking air-traffic controllers who ignored his order for them to return to work.

On August 6,

1787: Sixty proof sheets of the Constitution are delivered to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. (And eighty-proof drinks are served afterward.)

1806: Emperor Francis II abdicates, ending the Holy Roman Empire.

1819: Norwich University is founded in Vermont as the first private military school in the United States.

1890: At Auburn Prison in New York, murderer William Kemmler is the first person to be executed by electric chair.

1901: Kiowa land in Oklahoma is opened for white settlement, dissolving the contiguous reservation.

1914: Serbia declares war on Germany; Austria declares war on Russia.

1926: Gertrude Ederle is the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

Elsewhere, the Warner Bros. debuts its Vitaphone system, showing “Don Juan” in New York City.

1930: Judge Joseph Force Crater gets into a taxi in New York; it is his last known whereabouts.

1942: Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands is the first reigning queen to address a joint session of U.S. Congress.

1945: The Enola Gay drops the atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan, instantly killing about 70,000 people. In subsequent years, tens of thousands die due to burns and radiation poisoning.

1965: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting and voter registration.

1991: Tim Berners-Lee releases files describing his idea for the World Wide Web; WWW debuts as a publicly available service on the Internet.

Elsewhere, Takako Doi, chair of the Social Democratic Party, becomes Japan’s first female speaker of the House.

1996: NASA announces that the ALH 84001 meteorite, thought to originate from Mars, contains evidence of primitive life forms. (Congress announces that they do, too.)

Elsewhere, at The Palace in Los Angeles, the Ramones play their farewell concert.

2011: A U.S. military helicopter is shot down in Afghanistan, killing 30 American special forces members and a working dog, seven Afghan soldiers, and one Afghan civilian. It is the deadliest single event for the U.S. in the War in Afghanistan.

2012: NASA’s Curiosity rover lands on Mars.

On August 7,

1420: Construction begins on the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, in Florence.

1782: American Commander-in-Chief George Washington orders the creation of the Badge of Military Merit to honor soldiers wounded in battle. It will later be renamed the Purple Heart.

1786: The U.S. creates the first federal Indian Reservation.

1789: The United States Department of War is established.

1794: U.S. President George Washington invokes the Militia Acts of 1792 to suppress the tax-based Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania.

1909: Alice Huyler Ramsey and three friends become the first women to complete a transcontinental auto trip, taking 59 days to travel from New York City to San Francisco.

1927: The Peace Bridge opens between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York.

1944: IBM dedicates the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, aka the Harvard Mark I.

1947: The Kon-Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl’s balsa wood raft, smashes into a reef in the Tuamotu Islands, ending a 101-day, 4300-mile journey across the Pacific Ocean. Heyerdahl had been attempting to prove that pre-historic peoples could have traveled from South America.

1955: Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering, the precursor to Sony, sells its first transistor radios in Japan.

1959: The Lincoln Memorial design on the U.S. penny goes into circulation, replacing the “sheaves of wheat” design. It will be minted until 2008, to be followed by a special commemorative series in 2009, for the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

1962: Canadian-born American pharmacologist Frances Oldham Kelsey receives the U.S. President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, for her refusal to authorize thalidomide.

1964: U.S. Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving President Lyndon B. Johnson broad war powers to deal with North Vietnamese attacks on American forces.

1969: U.S. President Richard Nixon appoints Luis R. Bruce, a Mohawk-Oglala Sioux and co-founder of the National Congress of American Indians, as the new commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

1974: Philippe Petit performs “le coup” — a 45-minute, unauthorized high wire routine during which he crosses multiple times between the twin towers of the World Trade Center, 1312 feet in the air. All charges against him will be dismissed in exchange for him giving a children’s performance in Central Park. (Because a suicidally reckless daredevil is just the hero every child needs.)

1976: Viking 2 enters orbit around Mars.

1978: U.S. President Jimmy Carter declares a federal emergency at Love Canal due to toxic chemical waste.

1981: After 128 years of publication, “The Washington Star” ceases operations.

1987: Lynne Cox becomes the first person to swim from the United States to the Soviet Union, crossing the Bering Strait from Little Diomede Island in Alaska to Big Diomede in the Soviet Union.

1990: The first American soldiers arrive in Saudi Arabia as part of the Gulf War.

1993: Ada Deer, a Menominee activist, swears in as the head of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

1998: Bombings at United States embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya kill approximately 212 people.

On August 8,

1585: John Davis enters Cumberland Sound in search of the Northwest Passage.

1709: Bartolomeu de Gusmão demonstrates the lifting power of hot air in an audience before the king of Portugal in Lisbon, Portugal.

1794: Joseph Whidbey leads an expedition to search for the Northwest Passage. (That thing is better at hiding than Bigfoot.)

1831: Under the Treaty of Wapakoneta, 400 remnants of the Shawnee people are forced to relinquish their lands in Ohio in exchange for land west of the Mississippi River.

1844: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, headed by Brigham Young, is reaffirmed as the leading body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

1863: Following his defeat in the Battle of Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who will refuse it upon receipt. (Fortunately, Grant will accept it in 1865.)

1876: Thomas Edison receives a patent for the mimeograph. (Students of the 20th Century will thank him every time they smell a freshly produced document handed out by their teacher.)

1908: Wilbur Wright flies the Wright Model A — an improved version of the Wright Flyer — at the Hunaudieres race course, near Le Mans, France. It is the Wright Brothers’ first public demonstration of flight, nearly five years after historically taking to the air at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

1918: The Battle of Amiens begins a string of almost continuous Allied victories with a push through the German front lines in the Hundred Days Offensive.

1929: The German airship Graf Zeppelin begins a round-the-world flight. (I’ve always thought it was overrated; Graf Zeppelin IV was their best work.)

1942: In response to Mohandas Gandhi’s call for swaraj — or complete independence — the Quit India Movement is launched against British rule in India.

1945: Representatives of France, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States sign the London Charter, establishing the laws and procedures for the Nuremberg trials.

1946: The Convair B-36 has its first flight. It is the world’s first mass-produced nuclear weapon delivery vehicle, the heaviest mass-produced piston-engined aircraft, the military aircraft with the longest wingspan, and the first bomber with intercontinental range.

1963: In England, 15 train robbers steal £2.6 million in bank notes in what will come to be known as the Great Train Robbery.

1969: While a policeman halts traffic for about 10 minutes at an intersection in St. John’s Wood, London, photographer Iain Macmillan stands on a stepladder and photographs four men walking back and forth in a “zebra crossing” next to a recording studio. The four men are The Beatles, the studio is Abbey Road Studios, and the intersection is that of Grove End Road and Abbey Road, which they will cross three times as Macmillan shoots six photos. Paul McCartney will choose the fifth one, because it is the only one that shows them walking in time together, as the cover photo for their next — and final — album, “Abbey Road.” The photo will become iconic, the intersection will become famous, and the album will become a classic.

Late the same night in Los Angeles, under the orders of Charles Manson, four members of his “Family” invade the home of Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski, murdering Tate mere weeks before her baby is due, plus four other people. These plus the LaBianca murders of the following night are partially inspired by Manson’s misinterpretation of some of the lyrics from a previous Beatles album — “The Beatles,” aka the White Album. During their spree, the killers use their victims’ blood to write cryptic references to The Beatles’ lyrics. Later that year, police will raid George Spahn’s nearby ranch, which the Manson Family is using as a makeshift home and hideaway. During the raid, they will confiscate a door with similarly scrawled obscure lyrics that include a reference to “You Never Give Me Your Money” — a song from the since-released “Abbey Road.”

1974: U.S. President Richard Nixon, in a nationwide television address, announces his resignation from the office effective at noon the next day.

1989: Under the classified STS-28 Mission, Space Shuttle Columbia takes off on a five-day military mission. The details are unknown to the public to this day. (Conspiracy theorists’ heads explode as they try to reconcile not believing we’ve been in space with wanting to know what we were doing in space.)

1990: Iraq occupies and annexes Kuwait, an action that will soon lead to the Gulf War.

1991: The Warsaw radio mast, at one time the tallest construction ever built, collapses.

2000: Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley is raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor and 30 years after its discovery by undersea explorer E. Lee Spence.

2014: The World Health Organization declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding the Ebola virus epidemic in Western Africa.

On August 9,

1610: The First Anglo-Powhatan War begins in colonial Virginia.

1814: The Creek sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, giving up huge parts of Alabama and Georgia.

1854: Henry David Thoreau publishes “Walden.” (An action that, by virtue of killing trees alone, contradicts living simply in nature.)

1862: At Cedar Mountain, Virginia, Confederates under General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson narrowly defeat Union forces under General John Pope.

1877: A small band of Nez Percé Indians clash with the U.S. Army in the Battle of the Big Hole.

1892: Thomas Edison receives a patent for a two-way telegraph.

1896: Glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal dies in a fatal crash.

1907: The first Boy Scout encampment concludes at Brownsea Island in southern England. (And if my own experience as a Scouter is any indication, the boys’ parents were late picking them up at the designated meeting place.)

1930: The cartoon character Betty Boop debuts in “Dizzy Dishes.”

1936: Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal at the Berlin Olympics.

1944: The United States Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council release the first posters featuring Smokey Bear.

1945: The U.S. B-29 bomber Bockscar drops the Fat Man atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing 35,000 people outright.

Elsewhere, the Red Army invades Japanese-occupied Manchuria.

1974: Gerald Ford becomes U.S. President upon Nixon’s resignation. He is one of four presidents to have succeeded the position without subsequently being re-elected. Additionally, having succeeded the position of vice president after Spiro Agnew’s resignation, Ford has the dubious distinction of having served as both president and vice president without having ever been successfully elected to either.

1999: Russian President Boris Yeltsin fires Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin. He also fires his entire cabinet — for the fourth time. (Right in line with the old Russian saying: “Fool me three times, shame on you. Fool me four times, shame on me.”)

2014: White police officer Darren Wilson fatally shoots Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American, in Ferguson, Missouri. Wilson will claim Brown assaulted him and attempted to take his weapon. Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, a witness, will claim Wilson started the confrontation by grabbing Brown by the neck, threatening, and shooting twice. Both parties will agree Brown and Johnson fled and Wilson pursued them. Throughout the altercation, Wilson fires twelve bullets, hitting Brown six times. The event will spark months of unrest, leading to protests and riots throughout Ferguson and protests nationwide. Protests will use the slogan “Hands up, don’t shoot” to reflect the report that Brown had put his hands in the air and said, “Don’t shoot!” prior to Wilson’s final, fatal shot. Wilson will not be indicted and the Department of Justice will conclude that he acted in self-defense. (And some people will still get mad when black people try to convince the nation that their lives matter.)

On August 10,

1316: The Second Battle of Athenry takes place near Athenry during the Bruce campaign in Ireland. (Why didn’t they call it the Second Battle *near* Athenry?)

1519: Ferdinand Magellan’s Armada De Moluccas sets sail from Seville to circumnavigate the globe. The fleet will sail down the Guadalquivir River to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where they will take on supplies and prepare for their September 20 departure across the ocean. Magellan will not make it home alive — he will be killed by a poison arrow during the April 1521 Battle of Mactan, in the Phillipines — but Juan Sebastián Elcano, his second-in-command, will complete the expedition in September 1522.

1628: The Swedish warship Vasa sinks in the Stockholm harbor after only about 20 minutes of her maiden voyage. (I’ve had days like that.)

1675: The foundation stone is laid in London for the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

1680: The Pueblo Revolt begins in New Mexico.

1755: Under the orders of Charles Lawrence, the British Army begins to forcibly deport the Acadians from Nova Scotia to the Thirteen Colonies. (White Europeans sure were an uppity lot.)

1776: London receives word of the July 4 U.S. Declaration of Independence. (News traveled…quickly?)

1792: France’s King Louis XVI is arrested and taken into custody after a Parisian mob storms the Tuileries Palace and massacres his Swiss Guards.

1793: The Musée du Louvre officially opens in Paris.

1846: U.S. Congress charters the Smithsonian Institution, per the request made by James Smithson with his $500,000 donation.

1897: German chemist Felix Hoffmann discovers an improved way of synthesizing acetylsalicylic acid — aspirin. (Ironically, the research gives him a headache.)

1932: An 11-pound chondrite-type meteorite breaks into at least seven pieces and lands near the town of Archie, Missouri.

1948: “Candid Camera” makes its television debut after having been on radio for a year as “Candid Microphone.”

1949: U.S. President Harry Truman signs the National Security Act Amendment, streamlining the United States’ defense agencies and replacing the Department of War with the Department of Defense.

1954: At Massena, New York, the groundbreaking ceremony is held for the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

1971: The Society for American Baseball Research is founded in Cooperstown, New York. (I’d like to be a baseball researcher.)

1977: In Yonkers, New York, authorities arrest 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz — aka Son of Sam — for a series of killings in the New York City area over the period of a year.

1978: Three members of the Ulrich family are killed in an accident that will lead to the Ford Pinto litigation.

1981: Two weeks after his abduction from a Sears in Hollywood, Florida, six-year-old Adam Walsh’s severed head is discovered in a drainage canal in St. Lucie County. More than two years later, convicted serial killer Ottis Toole will confess to the crime, but will later recant. Due to lost evidence and the recanted confession, Toole will not be convicted of this particular murder, although he will eventually die while serving time for others. Adam’s father, John Walsh, will become an advocate for the victims of violent crimes, going on to host “America’s Most Wanted” and “In Pursuit With John Walsh.”

1988: U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing $20,000 payments to Japanese Americans who were either interned or relocated by the U.S. during World War II.

1990: The Magellan space probe reaches Venus. (Nice to know at least one Magellan reached an intended destination on this date.)

1995: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are indicted for the Oklahoma City bombing. Michael Fortier pleads guilty in a plea bargain for his testimony.

On August 11,

1786: Captain Francis Light establishes the British colony of Penang and its capital city of George Town, in what is modern-day Malaysia. (I know this from a little Light reading.)

1858: Charles Barrington, accompanied by Christian Almer and Peter Bohren, makes the first ascent of the Eiger in the Bernese Alps. About 700 climbers have made it to the top since then. (I know this from checking an Eiger counter.)

1929: With a home run at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio, Babe Ruth becomes the first baseball player to hit 500 career home runs.

1934: The first civilian prisoners arrive at the Federal prison on Alcatraz Island.

1942: Actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil receive a patent for a frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system; it will later become the basis for modern technologies used in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi.

1945: Poles in Kraków engage in a pogrom against Jews in the city, killing one and wounding five.

1960: Chad declares independence. (Until he starts hawking Alltel.)

1962: Vostok 3 launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on a four-day mission of 64 orbits around Earth, making Cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev the first human to float in microgravity.

1965: Around 7:00 p.m., California Highway Patrol officer Lee Minikus pulls over a car driven by Marquette Frye in the Watts neighborhood of southern Los Angeles, an area fraught with racial tension. Minikus, who is white, administers a field sobriety test and arrests Frye, who is black. Panicking, Frye resists and a scuffle breaks out. His step-brother Ronald, a passenger in the car, joins in. A crowd begins to gather and back-up police arrive. A member of the crowd begins to fight with an officer. Another officer jabs Ronald in the stomach with a riot baton, then intervenes in the fight with Marquette. Rena Price, the Frye brothers’ mother and owner of the car, arrives and attempts to pull the officers off Marquette, resulting in another fight. When the three are arrested and pushed into a patrol car, the crowd becomes angrier. More officers arrive, using batons and shotguns to keep the crowd away from the car. The sirens draw hundreds more people. Someone spits on a motorcycle officer as he attempts to leave; as he and another officer chase the woman they believe to have spat — Joyce Ann Gaines — the crowd converges around them, sending more officers into the throng. The two officers drag Gaines out of the crowd, angering bystanders due to their belief she is pregnant and being mishandled. By 7:45 p.m., a full-fledged riot begins, with crowd members throwing rocks and bottles at vehicles stuck in the ensuing traffic jam. As violence grows over the course of the night, residents begin dragging white motorists from vehicles and beating them. Lasting through August 16, the Watts Riots — or Watts Rebellion — will result in 34 deaths, 1032 injuries, 3438 arrests, and more than $40 million in property damage.

1972: The last U.S. ground combat unit leaves South Vietnam.

1984: During a soundcheck prior to his weekly address on NPR, Ronald Reagan quips, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Though it is not live, the soundcheck is recorded. Rumors of the joke begin almost immediately, and within days, a recording will be leaked to the public. The Soviet government will denounce the remarks as “unprecedentedly hostile.” On Aug. 14, Japanese and U.S. intelligence will decode a message from Vladivostok saying, “We now embark on military action against the U.S. forces.” That action will not take place, however, and the resulting raised alert status will be canceled almost immediately. Reagan’s approval rating will take a hit, but he will go on to win re-election in November.

On August 12,

1492: Nine days after setting sail from Spain, Christopher Columbus arrives in the Canary Islands to repair a rudder and restock on his first voyage to the New World. (Nine days? That’s it? You had one job, Columbus….)

1624: The president of the royal council of Louis XIII of France is arrested, leaving Cardinal Richelieu in the role of the King’s principal minister.

1851: Isaac Singer is granted a patent for his sewing machine.

1865: Joseph Lister, British surgeon and scientist, uses instruments sterilized with carbolic acid to perform the first antiseptic surgery.

1898: The Hawaiian flag is lowered from Iolani Palace and replaced with the U.S. flag to signify the transfer of sovereignty from the Republic of Hawaii to the United States. (The same way pirates would strike a nation’s flag on a ship and replace it with the Jolly Roger — they were just “transferring sovereignty.”)

1914: The United Kingdom declares war on Austria-Hungary; the countries of the British Empire follow suit.

1944: Alençon is liberated by General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque; it is the first city in France to be liberated from the Nazis by French forces.

1950: The North Korean Army executes 75 American POWs in a war crime that will come to be known as “the Bloody Gulch massacre.”

1952: The Soviet Union executes 13 imprisoned Jewish intellectuals in Moscow. The prisoners, accused of espionage and treason due to their anti-fascist stances, had been arrested 3-4 years prior, then tortured and isolated until their sentencing. The incident will come to be known as the “Night of the Murdered Poets.”

1960: NASA launches Echo 1A, its first successful communications satellite.

1964: South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games due to the country’s racist policies.

1977: The Space Shuttle Enterprise makes its first free flight.

1981: IBM releases its Personal Computer.

1990: In South Dakota, Sue Hendrickson discovers the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton found to date; it will be named “Sue” in her honor.

1992: Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. announce completion of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

1994: Major League Baseball players go on strike, which will eventually force the cancellation of that year’s World Series.

2000: The Russian Navy submarine Kursk explodes and sinks in the Barents Sea during a military exercise, killing its entire 118-man crew.

2017: Violence erupts at the “Unite the Right” rally held by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. James Alex Fields Jr. drives his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer. Trump will claim that there were “very fine people, on both sides.”

On August 13,

29 BC: Octavian holds the first of three consecutive triumphs in Rome to celebrate victory over the Dalmatian tribes. (Of course the Dalmatians were defeated during the dog days of summer.)

523: John I becomes the new Pope after the death of Pope Hormisdas. (And the papacy passes from the most interesting papal name ever, to the least.)

1521: After an extended siege, forces led by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés capture Tlatoani Cuauhtémoc and conquer the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.

1536: Buddhist monks from Enryaku-ji temple in Kyoto, Japan, set fire to 21 Nichiren temples in what will be known as the Tenbun Hokke Disturbance. (Is it just me, or is “disturbance” kind of downplaying mass arson?)

1624: King Louis XIII appoints Cardinal Richelieu as prime minister of France.

1779: The Royal Navy defeats the Penobscot Expedition with the most significant loss of United States naval forces prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

1792: The National Tribunal of France has King Louis XVI arrested and declared an enemy of the people.

1889: William Gray of Hartford, Connecticut is granted United States Patent Number 408,709 for “Coin-controlled apparatus for telephones.” (This was once a prevalent thing, kids.)

1898: Carl Gustav Witt discovers 433 Eros, the first near-Earth asteroid to be found.

1913: In the UK, Harry Brearley produces stainless steel for the first time.

1918: Opha May Johnson is the first woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.

1942: Major General Eugene Reybold of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizes the construction of facilities that will house the “Development of Substitute Materials” project, aka the Manhattan Project.

1961: East Germany closes the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin to thwart its inhabitants’ attempts to escape to the West, and construction begins on the Berlin Wall.

1964: Hanged for the murder of John Alan West, Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans are the last people executed in the United Kingdom.

1967: In separate incidents, two young women are the first fatal victims of grizzly bear attacks in the 57-year history of Montana’s Glacier National Park.

1969: The Apollo 11 astronauts are honored via ticker tape parade in New York City, then proceed to Los Angeles, where U.S. President Richard Nixon awards them the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

On August 14,

1040: King Duncan I is killed in battle against his first cousin and rival Macbeth, who succeeds him as King of Scotland. (But what did Lady Macbeth have against their dog? She was always telling him to get out.)

1480: At the Battle of Otranto, Ottoman troops behead 800 Christians for refusing to convert to Islam; the victims will later be honored in the Church.

1791: The Haitian Revolution begins as slaves from plantations in Saint-Domingue hold a Vodou ceremony, led by houngan Dutty Boukman at Bois Caïman.

1842: The Second Seminole War ends with the Seminoles being forced from Florida to Oklahoma.

1848: Congress organizes the Oregon Territory. (They start with a little Marie Kondo and some empty storage bins.)

1885: Japan issues its first patent, to the inventor of a rust-proof paint.

1888: During a press conference introducing Thomas Edison’s phonograph in London, England, audiences hear one of the first music recordings ever made; it is of English composer Arthur Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord.”

1893: France is the first country to undergo motor vehicle registration.

1901: Near modern-day Bridgeport, Connecticut, Gustave Whitehead allegedly makes the first powered flight. It will be reported in newspapers four days later, then relegated to obscurity. The claim is widely contested today, when credit still goes to the Wright Brothers.

1916: Romania declares war on Austria-Hungary.

1933: Loggers cause a forest fire in the Coast Range of Oregon; it will destroy 240,000 acres before it is fully extinguished on September 5, and will come to be known as the first forest fire of the Tillamook Burn.

1935: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, creating a government pension system for the retired.

1936: Rainey Bethea, who had raped and murdered a 70-year-old woman, is hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky in the last-known public execution in the United States. Because murder entailed death by electrocution and rape entailed death by hanging, the prosecutor had declined to charge him with murder in order to avoid a legal dilemma. The local sheriff was a woman, and news of the execution quickly spread due to the historical aspect of the first public execution being performed by a woman. It quickly turned into a media frenzy, which ends in great disappointment when she allows someone else to release the trapdoor. That person arrives drunk, and has to be told twice to release the door. The mistakes and the media frenzy will contribute to the end of public executions in the U.S.

1945: Japan accepts its terms of surrender from the Allies in World War II.

1959: The American Football League is founded and its first official meeting takes place.

1969: British troops are deployed in Northern Ireland.

1975: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” opens in London. It will become the longest-running release in film history.

1980: Lech Walesa leads strikes at the Gdansk, Poland shipyards.

2003: A software bug in the alarm system at Akron, Ohio’s FirstEnergy control room causes a widescale power blackout in parts of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada. The bug makes operators unaware of a need to redistribute load after overloaded transmission lines droop into foliage, and what could have been a manageable local blackout cascades into a regional collapse. Approximately 10 million people in Ontario and 45 million people in eight U.S. states lose power. Some won’t have it restored for two weeks.

2013: Egypt declares a state of emergency when security forces kill hundreds of demonstrators supporting former president Mohamed Morsi.

2015: The U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba re-opens after 54 years.

On August 15,

1248: The foundation stone is laid for Cologne Cathedral, which will be built to house the relics of the Three Wise Men. Construction will be completed 632 years later. (Sounds like there were zero wise men building it.)

1483: Pope Sixtus IV consecrates the Sistine Chapel.

1519: Panama City is founded.

1843: The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace is dedicated in Honolulu, Hawaii. Today it is called the Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu, and is the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the United States.

1843: Tivoli Gardens opens in Copenhagen, Denmark; today it is one of the oldest still-intact amusement parks in the world. (That Dog Days opening was great, Danes.)

1907: Fr. Raphael Morgan is ordained; he is the first black Eastern Orthodox priest in the United States.

1914: The Panama Canal opens with the passage of the cargo ship SS Ancon.

1915: A story in “New York World” newspaper reveals that the Imperial German government purchased excess phenol from Thomas Edison that could be used to make explosives for the war effort and diverted it to Bayer for aspirin production. (I need aspirin just trying to parse all of that out.)

1935: Will Rogers and Wiley Post are killed when their seaplane plunges into a lagoon just after takeoff in Barrow, Alaska.

1939: “The Wizard of Oz” premieres, at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California.

1945: Emperor Hirohito broadcasts the news of Japan’s surrender to the Japanese people. Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula ends, marking Korea’s independence from the Empire of Japan.

1947: India gains Independence from British rule after nearly 190 years, and joins the Commonwealth of Nations.

1948: The Republic of Korea is established south of the 38th parallel north.

1961: Border guard Conrad Schumann flees from East Germany while guarding the construction of the Berlin Wall. (I think I’ve spotted a flaw in their plan.)

1962: James Joseph Dresnok defects to North Korea after running across the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

1965: The Beatles play to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York City; the event will come to be regarded as the birth of stadium rock.

1969: The Woodstock Music & Art Fair opens on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, New York. Over the next three days, more than 400,000 attendees will watch and hear 32 rock and folk performances.

1970: Patricia Palinkas becomes the first woman to play professionally in an American football game.

1971: U.S. President Richard Nixon ends convertibility of the dollar into gold by foreign investors, completing the break from the gold standard.

1973: The United States ends its bombing of Cambodia.

1977: The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, receives a radio signal from deep space.

1995: Shannon Faulkner becomes the first female cadet to be enrolled at The Citadel.

2013: The Smithsonian announces the discovery of the olinguito, the first new carnivorous species found in the Americas in 35 years. (It’s also adorable.)

2015: North Korea moves its clock back half an hour to introduce Pyongyang Time, 8½ hours ahead of UTC.

On August 16,

1328: The House of Gonzaga seizes power in the Duchy of Mantua; it will rule until 1708. (But it won’t make the Tournament until 2017, losing to Carolina.)

1777: Under General John Stark, American forces rout British and Brunswick troops under Friedrich Baum at the Battle of Bennington in Walloomsac, New York. (Winter was coming.)

1780: The British defeat the Americans near Camden, South Carolina.

1792: Maximilien de Robespierre presents the petition of the Commune of Paris to the Legislative Assembly, demanding the formation of a revolutionary tribunal.

1812: American General William Hull surrenders Fort Detroit to the British without a fight. (You had one job, Hull.)

1841: U.S. President John Tyler vetoes a bill calling for the re-establishment of the Second Bank of the United States. Members of the Whig Party riot outside the White House in the most violent demonstration on White House grounds in U.S. history.

1858: U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

1896: Skookum Jim Mason, George Carmack, and Dawson Charlie discover gold in a tributary of the Klondike River in Canada, beginning the Klondike Gold Rush.

1913: Tohoku Imperial University of Japan — later Tohoku University — is the first university in Japan to admit female students.

1920: Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians is hit on the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees; he will die early the next day, the second player to die from injuries sustained in a Major League Baseball game. The first was Doc Powers, in 1909.

1930: Ub Iwerks releases he first color sound cartoon, “Fiddlesticks.”

1942: A WWII naval L-class blimp drifts in from the Pacific, to eventually crash in Daly City, California. The two-man crew cannot be found.

1954: “Sports Illustrated” publishes its first issue.

1960: Joseph Kittinger parachutes from a balloon 102,800 feet over New Mexico, setting three records: highest parachute jump, longest-duration free fall, and highest speed by a human without an aircraft. Those records will remain intact until Felix Baumgartner makes his famous space jump in 2012 — with Kittinger directing him.

1962: The Beatles fire drummer Pete Best; they will replace him with Ringo Starr two days later.

1989: A solar particle event affects computers at the Toronto Stock Exchange, forcing trading to halt.

2017: The Minamata Convention on Mercury becomes effective, with the intent of protecting health and the environment from mercury emissions and releases.

On August 17,

682: Pope Leo II begins his pontificate. (He probably pontificated frequently.)

1386: Karl Topia, the ruler of Albania, commits to participating in all wars of the Republic of Venice in exchange for receiving coastal protection against the Ottomans. (Probably the world’s earliest known protection racket. “Nice coast, Mr. Topia — would be a shame if something was ta happen to it.”)

1498: Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI, is the first person in history to resign the cardinalate — he does so in order to pursue a military career; the same day, King Louis XII of France names him Duke of Valentinois. Borgia’s exploits will later inspire Machiavelli to write “The Prince.” (In all of that, it’s easy to overlook one vital bit of information — a pope had a son. Umm.)

1560: The Papal Jurisdiction Act abolishes the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, establishing Protestantism as the national religion.

1585: Under the charge of Ralph Lane, the first group of colonists sent by Sir Walter Raleigh lands on Roanoke Island, off the coast of present-day North Carolina, to establish Roanoke Colony.

1798: Persecuted Catholic refugees hiding in the rainforest of La Vang in Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam, report seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the trees.

1807: The first commercial steamboat service in the world begins as Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat departs New York City on the Hudson River, en route to Albany, New York.

1862: The Dakota War of 1862 begins as Dakota warriors attack white settlements along the Minnesota River.

Elsewhere, Major General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart is assigned command of all the cavalry of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. He will bring fame to himself with success against the Union Army of the Potomac over the next year, only to run the flawed Gettysburg Campaign in July 1863, which will leave Lee’s army unaware of Union troop movements, nearly causing them to be trapped. Stuart will be mortally wounded in 1864 at the Battle of Yellow Tavern. His widow will wear black for the rest of her life.

1863: In Charleston, South Carolina, Union batteries and ships bombard Confederate-held Fort Sumter. (What goes around, comes around, eh, Johnny Reb?)

1864: Confederate forces defeat Union troops in the Battle of Gainesville, Florida.

1896: Bridget Driscoll becomes the first recorded case of a pedestrian killed by a motor car in the United Kingdom.

1908: Émile Cohl’s “Fantasmagorie” — the first animated cartoon — debuts in Paris.

1943: The U.S. Seventh Army — under General George S. Patton — arrives in Messina, Italy. Several hours later, the British 8th Army — under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery — arrives, completing the Allied conquest of Sicily.

Elsewhere, the First Québec Conference — a secret military conference between Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Lyon Mackenzie King — begins.

Still elsewhere, the Royal Air Force begins Operation Hydra, the first air raid of the Operation Crossbow strategic bombing campaign against Germany’s V-weapon program. (Hail Hydra.)

1945: George Orwell’s novella “Animal Farm” is published.

1953: The first meeting of Narcotics Anonymous takes place, in Southern California.

1962: Peter Fechter is shot and bleeds to death while trying to cross the new Berlin Wall.

1969: Category 5 Hurricane Camille hits the U.S. Gulf Coast, killing 256 and causing $1.42 billion in damage.

1970: The USSR launches Venera 7, which will become the first spacecraft to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet — in this case, Venus.

1977: The Soviet icebreaker Arktika becomes the first surface ship to reach the North Pole.

1978: Double Eagle II lands in Miserey, France, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine. It is the first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean. (I heard the flight left its passengers in Miserey.)

1998: U.S. President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an “improper physical relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky; later that day, he admits before the nation that he “misled people” about the relationship. This means he committed perjury previously when, under sworn testimony, he denied having sexual relations with her. This perjury will lead to his eventual impeachment by the House of Representatives.

2008: American swimmer Michael Phelps becomes the first person to win eight gold medals at one Olympic Games.

2017: Islamic terrorist Younes Abouyaaqoub drives a van into a crowd of pedestrians on La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain, killing 13 and injuring at least 130 more. He flees on foot and hijacks another vehicle, stabbing its driver to death. Four days later, police will shoot and kill Abouyaaqoub at a gas station 30 miles away.

On August 18,

1587: Virginia Dare, granddaughter of Governor John White of the Colony of Roanoke, is the first English child born in the Americas.

1590: John White returns from a supply trip to England and finds Roanoke Colony deserted. The colonists’ whereabouts will remain a mystery, and they will come to be known as The Lost Colony. (Not much of a governor, was he?)

1612: The trial of the Pendle witches, one of England’s most famous witch trials, begins at Lancaster Assizes.

1634: Urbain Grandier, accused and convicted of sorcery, is burned alive in Loudun, France.

1783: A huge fireball is seen across Great Britain as a meteor passes over the east coast.

1868: French astronomer Pierre Janssen discovers helium. (When he tries to tell people about it, he sounds like a chipmunk.)

1903: German engineer Karl Jatho allegedly flies his self-made, motored, gliding airplane — four months before the first flight of the Wright brothers. He has four witnesses. (But apparently not enough press.)

1917: A great fire in Thessaloniki, Greece destroys 32 percent of the city, leaving 70,000 individuals homeless.

1920: The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, granting women the right to vote.

1923: The Women’s Amateur Athletic Association organizes the first British track and field championships for women, at the Oxo Sports Ground in Downham, outside London.

1938: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the Thousand Islands Bridge, connecting New York with Ontario over the Saint Lawrence River. (It’s not nearly as impressive as the Buttermilk Ranch Bridge or the Zesty Italian Bridge.)

1940: The “Hardest Day” occurs as the German Luftwaffe makes an all-out attempt to destroy Britain’s RAF Air Command during the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe flies 850 sorties with 2200 aircrew over the course of the day in an attempt to destroy multiple airfields, which the RAF defends with 927 sorties involving 600 aircrew. The RAF loses 68 aircraft and the Luftwaffe loses 69. At the time, it is the largest aerial engagement in history.

1958: Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel “Lolita” is published in the United States.

1963: James Meredith becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi.

1965: Operation Starlite begins as U.S. Marines destroy a Viet Cong stronghold on the Van Tuong peninsula. It is the first major American ground battle of the Vietnam War.

1971: Australia and New Zealand decide to withdraw their troops from Vietnam.

1977: Having been previously restricted from leaving, anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko is arrested at a police roadblock while attempting to return to King William’s Town, South Africa. He is taken to a prison in Port Elizabeth, where he will be held naked in shackles for almost three weeks before being transferred to an interrogation room in another building in Port Elizabeth on September 6. During the ensuing 22-hour interrogation, while handcuffed and shackled, Biko will be severely beaten by at least one of ten police officers, resulting in a brain hemorrhage. Afterward, his captors will force him to remain standing, shackled to a wall. Five days later, he will be loaded into a Land Rover, naked and manacled, for a 740-mile transfer to a prison hospital in Pretoria. On September 12, he will die alone in a cell, the twenty-first person to die in a South African prison in a year and the forty-sixth political prisoner to die during interrogation since 1963, when the government permitted imprisonment without trial.

On August 19,

1504: In Ireland, the Hiberno-Norman de Burghs and Anglo-Norman Fitzgeralds fight the Battle of Knockdoe. (It was a Knockdoe drag-out fight.)

1692: In Salem, Massachusetts, one woman and four men — including a clergyman — are executed after having been convicted of witchcraft.

1782: The Battle of Blue Licks, the last major engagement of the American Revolution, occurs almost ten months after the surrender of the British commander Charles Cornwallis effectively ended the war.

1812: The American frigate USS Constitution defeats the British frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia, earning the nickname “Old Ironsides.” (Raymond Burr cannot be reached for comment.)

1839: The French Parliament introduces daguerreotypy globally, announcing that Louis Daguerre’s photographic process is a gift “free to the world.”

1848: The “New York Herald” breaks the news to the East Coast of the United States of the gold rush in California, which started in January. (News was apparently slow to travel in those days.)

1854: The First Sioux War begins when United States Army soldiers are massacred in retribution for having killed Lakota chief Conquering Bear.

1909: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds its first automobile race — a five-miler. Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer wins, with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour. (This means the 12,000 spectators got to enjoy the race for about — wait for it — five minutes. That’s not even enough time to get through the beer line.)

1934: The first All-American Soap Box Derby is held in Dayton, Ohio. (I hope it lasted longer than the first Indy race.)

Elsewhere, the German referendum of 1934 approves Hitler’s appointment as head of state with the title of Führer.

1936: The first of the Moscow Trials is convened, beginning the Great Purge of the Soviet Union.

1940: The B-25 Mitchell medium bomber takes flight for the first time.

1944: With the U.S. Third Army approaching under General Patton, the French Resistance stages an uprising against the German garrison in Paris, beginning the seven-day battle for the Liberation of Paris.

1945: Viet Minh take power in Hanoi, Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh.

1960: In Moscow, the Soviet Union sentences downed American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers to ten years’ imprisonment for espionage.

Also, the Soviet Union launches the Korabl-Sputnik 2 satellite, holding dogs Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, two rats, and a variety of plants.

1964: NASA launches Syncom 3, the first geostationary communication satellite.

1989: Several hundred East Germans cross the frontier between Hungary and Austria during the Pan-European Picnic, part of the events that began the process of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

1991: Several high-ranking members of the Soviet government stage a coup against President Mikhail Gorbachev, placing him under house arrest while he is on holiday in Foros, Ukraine.

1999: In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, tens of thousands of Serbians rally to demand the resignation of President Slobodan Miloševic.

2003: A car-bomb attack on UN headquarters in Iraq kills the agency’s top envoy Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 other employees.

Elsewhere, a Hamas-planned suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem kills 23 Israelis, seven of them children.

2017: A net pen break results in hundreds of thousands of farmed, non-native Atlantic salmon escaping into the wild in Washington state. The incident will be remembered as the Cypress Island Atlantic salmon pen break. (Witnesses report having heard three little voices shouting “Swim down!” and “Just keep swimming!” right before the net broke.)

On August 20,

1191: King Richard I of England initiates the Massacre at Ayyadieh, killing 2600–3000 Muslim hostages.

1707: The first Siege of Pensacola, Florida comes to an end with the failure of the British to capture the town.

1852: After colliding with the steamer Ogdensburg, the steamboat Atlantic sinks on Lake Erie, with the loss of 150-300 lives.

1858: Charles Darwin first publishes his theory of evolution through natural selection in “The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London,” alongside Alfred Russel Wallace’s same theory. (Only the stronger theory survived.)

1866: U.S. President Andrew Johnson formally declares the American Civil War over, more than 16 months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender. (Some U.S. citizens still haven’t heard the news.)

1882: Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” debuts, in Moscow. (I guess “1882 Overture” didn’t have the same flair.)

1910: The Great Fire of 1910, aka the Big Blowup or the Big Burn, begins in the northwestern United States, burning about 3 million acres over two days in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

1920: The first commercial radio station begins daily broadcasts as the “Detroit News Radiophone” while operating under amateur radio license with the call sign 8MK. It still operates today as WWJ.

Elsewhere, the National Football League is organized in Canton, Ohio as the American Professional Football Conference.

1926: Japan’s public broadcasting company, Nippon Hoso Kyokai or NHK, is established.

1938: Lou Gehrig hits his 23rd career grand slam, setting a record that will stand until Alex Rodriguez breaks it on September 20, 2013 — more than 75 years later. (But Gehrig did it without chemical assistance.)

1940: Ramón Mercader, a Spanish-born NKVD agent, fatally wounds exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky with an ice axe In Mexico City. Trotsky will die the next day.

Elsewhere, speaking to the British House of Commons, Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivers the line “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” in reference to the RAF crews fighting the Battle of Britain.

1962: The NS Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered civilian ship, embarks on its maiden voyage from Yorktown, Virginia to Savannah, Georgia. (What if every person and thing were named for the destination of their first voyage? I’d now like to go by the name, “That house in Springfield, which I barely remember.”)

1975: NASA launches the Viking 1 planetary probe toward Mars.

1977: NASA launches the Voyager 2 probe toward the outer planets. It will launch Voyager 1 more than two weeks later, but due to their differing trajectories, Voyager 1 will be the first to reach Jupiter and Saturn.

1986: In Edmond, Oklahoma, U.S. Postal employee Patrick Sherrill guns down 14 of his co-workers before taking his own life.

1991: More than 100,000 people rally outside the Soviet Union’s parliament building to protest the coup against President Mikhail Gorbachev.

1998: The Supreme Court of Canada rules that Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without the federal government’s approval. (Wait, so Quebec essentially wanted to break their obligation to Canadian laws, but they didn’t because of a Canadian law?)

On August 21,

1331: King Stefan Uroš III, after months of anarchy, surrenders to his son and rival Stefan Dušan, who succeeds as King of Serbia.

1680: The Pueblo Revolt successfully drives the remaining 2000 Spanish colonizers from the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México — leaving 400 of their dead behind. The Spanish will reconquer New Mexico 12 years later.

1770: James Cook formally claims eastern Australia for Great Britain, naming it New South Wales. (Pretty far south of Wales, imho.)

1791: The Haitian Revolution begins as Vodou high priest Dutty Boukman, during a ceremony, gives the signal for the Maroon slaves to rebel against their masters. Slaves embark on a violent campaign of rape, torture, mutilation, and murder of white people, and will take control of the entire Northern Province within ten days.

1831: Nat Turner leads black slaves and free blacks in a rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia.

1863: Quantrill’s Raiders, a group of pro-Confederate guerrillas including Frank and Jesse James, conduct a raid on the Unionist town of Lawrence, Kansas — chosen for its history of support for abolition and its reputation as a center for the Jayhawkers, vigilantes known for attacking plantations. Shortly after 5:00 that morning, about 450 guerrillas ride into town, capture the Eldridge House as a base, fan out in smaller groups, and pillage the remainder of the town. They burn a quarter of the buildings in town, loot most of the banks and stores, and kill more than 150 men and boys before riding out again — all before 9:00 a.m. The incident will come to be known as the Lawrence massacre.

1883: An F5 tornado devastates the town of Rochester, Minnesota. The next morning, the survivors will decide to centralize medical care and create an emergency hospital, which will lead to the eventual creation of the Mayo Clinic.

1888: William Seward Burroughs patents the first successful adding machine in the United States.

1897: Oldsmobile is founded.

1911: Louvre employee Vincenzo Perugia steals the Mona Lisa.

1945: Physicist Harry Daghlian is fatally irradiated in a criticality accident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (So, before he died, did he consult with a doctor or an exorcist?)

1957: The Soviet Union successfully conducts a long-range test flight of the R-7 Semyorka, the first intercontinental ballistic missile.

1959: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the union.

1961: American country music singer Patsy Cline returns to record producer Owen Bradley’s studio in Nashville, Tennessee to record her vocals to Willie Nelson’s “Crazy,” which will become her signature song. (Still an unfortunate title for a signature song.)

Elsewhere, the Marvelettes release “Please Mr. Postman,” which will become Motown’s first #1 hit in the U.S.

1968: James Anderson Jr. posthumously receives the first Medal of Honor to be awarded to an African-American U.S. Marine.

1993: NASA loses contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft. (Maybe it ghosted them.)

2000: Tiger Woods wins the 82nd PGA Championship, becomings the first golfer since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win three majors in a calendar year.

2013: Hundreds of people are reported killed by chemical attacks in the Ghouta region of Syria.

2017: A solar eclipse traverses the continental United States.

On August 22,

1485: The Battle of Bosworth Field sees the death of Richard III and the end of the House of Plantagenet.

1642: Charles I raises his standard in Nottingham, which marks the beginning of the English Civil War. (That first part sounds like a euphemism. “Hey, Chuck, did you raise your standard last night, bruh?”)

1654: Jacob Barsimson, the first known Jewish immigrant to America, arrives in New Amsterdam.

1770: James Cook lands on and names Possession Island, claiming Australia’s east coast as New South Wales. (He thought of it as his Possession).

1777: British forces abandon the Siege of Fort Stanwix after hearing rumors of Continental Army reinforcements.

1780: James Cook’s ship HMS Resolution returns to England without him, having seen him killed in Hawai’i during the voyage.

1846: The Second Federal Republic of Mexico is established.

1849: The first air raid in history occurs as, in retaliation for a Venetian revolt against Austrian rule, Austria launches about 200 pilotless balloon bombs against the blockaded city of Venice. The balloons are largely ineffective, but Venice will still surrender two days later.

1851: The yacht America wins the first America’s Cup. (Which made it exactly that.)

1864: Twelve nations sign the First Geneva Convention, establishing the rules of protection of the victims of armed conflicts.

1902: Cadillac Motor Company is founded.

Elsewhere, Theodore Roosevelt is the first President of the United States to make a public appearance in an automobile. (Not a Cadillac.)

1910: Japan annexes Korea with the signing of the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910; Japanese rule of Korea will last until the end of World War II.

1922: Michael Collins, commander-in-chief of the Irish Free State Army, is shot dead in an ambush during the Irish Civil War.

1962: The OAS attempts to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle.

1963: X-15 Flight 91 reaches the highest altitude of the X-15 program, at 354,200 feet.

1968: Pope Paul VI arrives in Bogotá, Colombia, marking the first visit of a pope to Latin America.

1971: J. Edgar Hoover and John Mitchell announce the arrest of 20 of the Camden 28.

1972: The International Olympic Committee expels Rhodesia for its racist policies.

1978: U.S. Congress passes the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment, with the aim of providing D.C. with full voting representation in: Congress, the Electoral College, and regarding amending the U.S. Constitution. The proposed amendment, however, will fail to be ratified by enough states; it won’t become part of the Constitution.

1989: Nolan Ryan strikes out Rickey Henderson to become the first Major League Baseball pitcher to record 5000 strikeouts.

1992: FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shoots and kills Vicki Weaver during an 11-day siege at her home at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

2003: Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is suspended after refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court building.

2004: Versions of The Scream and Madonna, two paintings by Edvard Munch, are stolen at gunpoint from a museum in Oslo, Norway.

2006: Grigori Perelman is awarded the Fields Medal for his proof of the Poincaré conjecture in mathematics. He refuses to accept the medal.

2007: The Texas Rangers defeat the Baltimore Orioles 30–3, the most runs scored by a team in modern Major League Baseball history.

On August 23,

AD 79: On the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, Mount Vesuvius begins to stir outside of Pompeii. (Foreshadowing, anyone?)

1305: Accused of high treason against the English crown for his role in the First War of Scottish Independence, Sir William Wallace is hanged and drawn and quartered at Smithfield, London. (But throughout all of it, he had a brave heart.)

1328: At the Battle of Cassel, French troops stop an uprising of Flemish farmers. (And probably hock their Flemish goods.)

1775: England’s King George III delivers his Proclamation of Rebellion to the Court of St James, asserting that the American colonies have progressed into a state of open and avowed rebellion.

1784: Western North Carolina — today’s eastern Tennessee — declares itself an autonomous territory known as the State of Franklin. (Yes, really.)

1831: Having resulted in the deaths of about 60 white people over two days, Nat Turner’s slave rebellion is effectively suppressed at Belmont Plantation, in Southampton County, Virginia. Turner escapes; he will elude capture until October 30, and will be hanged to death 12 days later.

1839: The United Kingdom captures Hong Kong as a base while preparing for the First Opium War, a three-year conflict with Qing China.

1864: The Union Navy captures Fort Morgan, Alabama, breaking Confederate dominance of all ports on the Gulf of Mexico except Galveston, Texas.

1898: The Southern Cross Expedition departs from London, the first British venture of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. (People visiting the docks get to see the Southern Cross for the first time.)

1904: The automobile tire chain is patented. (Don’t believe it; sounds like a snow job to me.)

1923: Captain Lowell Smith and Lieutenant John P. Richter perform the first mid-air refueling, while flying a De Havilland DH-4B. This enables them to set a flight endurance record of 37 hours.

1939: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union sign the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression treaty that secretly divides the Baltic states, Finland, Romania, and Poland between them.

1942: The Battle of Stalingrad begins. (Sounds like that Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact didn’t quite play out as expected.)

1954: The Lockheed C-130 multi-role aircraft has its first flight.

1966: Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.

1970: Organized by Mexican-American labor union leader César Chávez, the Salad Bowl strike begins. It is the largest farm worker strike in U.S. history.

1973: A bank robbery gone wrong in Stockholm, Sweden, turns into a hostage crisis; over the next five days, the hostages will begin to sympathize with their captors, originating the term “Stockholm syndrome.”

1975: The Pontiac Silverdome opens in Pontiac, Michigan, 30 miles outside Detroit.

1990: Saddam Hussein appears on Iraqi state television with a number of Western “guests” — actually hostages — in an effort to prevent the Gulf War.

1990: West and East Germany announce that they will reunite on October 3.

1991: The World Wide Web is opened to the public.

1994: Eugene Bullard, the only African-American pilot in World War I, is posthumously commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

2006: Having been abducted at age ten by Wolfgang Priklopil, Austrian Natascha Kampusch escapes after eight years of captivity.

2007: The skeletal remains of Russia’s last royal family members Alexei Nikolaevich and Anastasia Nikolaevna are discovered near Yekaterinburg, Russia.

2011: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is overthrown after the National Transitional Council forces take control of Bab al-Azizia compound during the Libyan Civil War.

Elsewhere, a magnitude-5.8 earthquake occurs in central Virginia. Damage occurs to monuments and structures in Washington, D.C. and I feel my house shake in Raleigh, North Carolina. The resulting damage is estimated at $200-300 million (across the region, not just at my house).

On August 24,

410: The Visigoths begin to pillage Rome.

455: The Vandals begin to plunder Rome. (I bet Romans hate August 24.)

1215: Pope Innocent III issues a bull declaring Magna Carta invalid.

1349: The people of Mainz and Cologne, Germany slaughter 12,000 Jews after blaming them for the bubonic plague.

1682: The fifth Duke of York awards William Penn a deed to the area that is now the state of Delaware; Penn adds it to his colony of Pennsylvania.

1690: Job Charnock of the East India Company establishes a factory in Calcutta, an event formerly considered the founding of the city.

1814: British troops invade Washington, D.C. and begin burning the city, destroying the Presidential Mansion — now known as the White House — and severely damaging the Capitol Building.

1857: The Panic of 1857 begins, setting off one of the most severe economic crises in United States history. (2020 accepts the challenge.)

1909: Workers start pouring concrete for the Panama Canal.

1932: Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop — from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey.

1941: Due to protests, Hitler orders the cessation of Nazi Germany’s systematic T4 euthanasia program of the mentally ill and the handicapped. Killings will continue for the remainder of the war.

1944: Allied troops begin the attack on Paris.

1949: The treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization goes into effect.

1950: Edith Sampson is the first black U.S. delegate to the United Nations.

1954: The Communist Control Act goes into effect, outlawing the American Communist Party.

1967: Led by Abbie Hoffman, members of the Youth International Party throw dollar bills from the viewing gallery of the New York Stock Exchange, causing trading to cease as brokers scramble to grab them.

1970: Vietnam War protesters bomb Sterling Hall at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, leading to an international manhunt for the perpetrators.

1981: Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the murder of John Lennon.

1989: Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose is banned from baseball for gambling.

1991: Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1992: Hurricane Andrew makes landfall in Homestead, Florida as a Category 5 hurricane, causing up to $25 billion in damages.

1995: Microsoft Windows 95 is released to the public in North America.

1998: The first radio-frequency identification, or RFID, human implantation is tested in the United Kingdom.

2006: The International Astronomical Union redefines the term “planet,” recategorizing Pluto as a dwarf planet. (At which point the mnemonic changes to: My very educated mother just served us…nothing.)

On August 25,

766: Emperor Constantine V humiliates 19 high-ranking officials, after discovering a plot against him. He executes the leaders, Constantine Podopagouros, and his brother Strategios, then has the other conspirators blinded and exiled. (That last bit, of course, is awful, but I’m intrigued by the bit about humiliation. I couldn’t find much more information, other than that one of them was paraded through the Hippodrome on a donkey. Was that really “humiliating?”)

1537: The Honourable Artillery Company is formed. It is the oldest surviving regiment in the British Army, and the second most senior.

1543: António Mota and his companions are the first Europeans to visit Japan.

1609: Galileo Galilei demonstrates his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers.

1814: On the second day of the Burning of Washington, British troops torch the Library of Congress, United States Treasury, Department of War, and other public buildings.

1823: American fur trapper Hugh Glass is mauled by a grizzly bear while on an expedition in South Dakota. (Hugh Glass? More like Huge Gash, amirite?)

1835: The first Great Moon Hoax article is published in “The New York Sun,” announcing the discovery of life and civilization on the Moon.

1875: Captain Matthew Webb becomes the first person to swim across the English Channel, traversing it from Dover, England to Calais, France in 21 hours and 45 minutes. (I doubt I could stay awake that long, let alone swim without touching the bottom.)

1894: Kitasato Shibasaburo discovers the infectious agent of the bubonic plague and publishes his findings in “The Lancet.” (It only took 1342 years from the first pandemic.)

1914: The German Army deliberately destroys the library of the Catholic University of Leuven, causing the loss of hundreds of thousands of irreplaceable volumes and Gothic and Renaissance manuscripts. (So August 25 has multiple examples of humanity achieving great things and destroying great things. Business as usual.)

1916: The United States National Park Service is created.

1939: The United Kingdom and Poland form a military alliance in which the UK promises to defend Poland in the event of an invasion by a foreign power. (Foreshadowing, anyone?)

1940: The British Royal Air Force bombs Berlin for the first time.

1944: The Allied Forces liberate Paris from Nazi control.

1945: Ten days after World War II ends, armed supporters of the Chinese Communist Party kill U.S. intelligence officer John Birch; he will come to be regarded by some as the first victim of the Cold War.

1948: The House Un-American Activities Committee holds the first televised congressional hearing, known as “Confrontation Day” between Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss. (Did they boo Hiss?)

1950: U.S. President Harry Truman orders the U.S. Army to seize control of the nation’s railroads to avert a strike.

1967: George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, is assassinated by a former member of his group.

1981: Voyager 2 spacecraft makes its closest approach to Saturn.

1989: Voyager 2 spacecraft makes its closest approach to Neptune.

1991: Linus Torvalds announces the first version of what will become Linux.

1997: Egon Krenz, former East German leader, is convicted of a shoot-to-kill policy at the Berlin Wall. (I thought he was a Ghostbuster.)

2001: American singer Aaliyah and several members of her record company are killed as their overloaded aircraft crashes shortly after takeoff from Marsh Harbour Airport, Bahamas.

2006: Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Lazarenko is sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment for money laundering, wire fraud, and extortion.

2012: Voyager 1 spacecraft enters interstellar space, the first man-made object to do so.

On August 26,

1346: The Battle of Crécy sees the military supremacy of the English longbow established over the French combination of crossbow and armoured knights. (Longbows beat crossbows and armour? That’s Crécy, amirite?)

1542: Francisco de Orellana completes the first-known navigation of the full length of the Amazon River, reaching the Atlantic Ocean after two and a half months.

1748: The Pennsylvania Ministerium is founded in Philadelphia; it is the first Lutheran denomination in North America.

1768: Captain James Cook begins his first voyage of discovery, setting sail for Australia and New Zealand from England on HMS Endeavour.

1789: The National Constituent Assembly of France issues the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.”

1791: John Fitch receives a patent for the steamboat.

1920: Having been ratified earlier in the month, the 19th Amendment to United States Constitution takes effect, giving women the right to vote.

1942: At Chortkiv, the Ukrainian police and German Schutzpolizei deport two thousand Jews to Belzec extermination camp in Poland. Five hundred of the sick and children are murdered on the spot.

1944: French Resistance leader Charles de Gaulle enters Paris after its liberation. Vichy militia fire on his procession.

1970: A new feminist movement leads a nationwide Women’s Strike for Equality.

1978: Albino Luciani is elected as Pope John Paul I. He will serve for only 33 days before dying of a presumed heart attack while reading in bed the night of September 28, leading to multiple amusing conspiracy theories about banks, Freemasons, and a slip of paper found in the dead pontiff’s hand containing a list of corrupt individuals. (Because everyone knows, when you assassinate someone to prevent him from exposing you, you leave the exposing item in his dead hand. That’s just common sense, isn’t it?)

1980: After John Birges plants a bomb at Harvey’s Resort Hotel in Stateline, Nevada, the FBI inadvertently detonates the bomb during its disarming. (I bet Harvey wasn’t happy.)

1998: The first flight of the Delta III rocket ends in disaster 75 seconds after liftoff, as the faulty guidance system causes the rocket to deplete its hydraulic fluid, pitch and veer off course, begin to break apart, and ultimately explode when the flight termination system kicks in. Its payload, the Galaxy X satellite, falls to the Atlantic and explodes on impact.

2009: After having been missing for more than 18 years, Jaycee Dugard is discovered alive in California in the company of Phillip Garrido — her kidnapper, captor, and rapist.

2017: The Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens in Atlanta, Georgia, the second NFL stadium to have “Mercedes-Benz” in its name. (I bet that tried the patience of the Saints.)

On August 27,

1172: Henry the Young King and Margaret of France are crowned junior king and queen of England. (It makes for a lovely prom.)

1832: Black Hawk — leader of the Sauk tribe of Native Americans — surrenders to U.S. authorities and ends the Black Hawk War, which he had fought in an effort to reclaim his tribal lands.

1859: Edwin L. Drake strikes oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania, leading to an oil rush and the operation of the world’s first commercially successful oil well. Seneca Oil will fire him due to modest returns. Drake had not purchased much land in the region, so the oil industry will explode around his land. Additionally, he had not patented his drilling technique. He will lose his earnings speculating on Wall Street, and die a poor pensioner in 1880. (In other words, on this date in 1859, big business began a 161-year winning streak against humanity.)

1881: The Georgia hurricane makes landfall near Savannah, killing about 700 people. (If they tried to name hurricanes for their landfall sites today, they’d have to change names 100 times according to forecast models.)

1883: Four enormous explosions mark the climax of the eruption of Krakatoa, destroying the island of Krakatoa and its surrounding archipelago, and causing years of disastrous climate change. The third explosion will come to be esimated to have unleashed energy equal to about 200 megatonnes of TNT, or four times the power of the Tsar Bomba — the most powerful thermonuclear weapon ever detonated. Its volume will come to be thought of as the loudest sound in history, having been heard as far as 3000 miles away, where residents of the island of Rodrigues thought it to be cannon fire from a nearby ship. It is thought that if anyone had been within 10 miles of the blast, they would have gone deaf. (Nevermind that they also would have gone dead.)

1893: The Sea Islands hurricane strikes near Savannah, Georgia, killing 1000-2000 people. (Even then, they couldn’t get the name right.)

1896: The shortest war in world history, the Anglo-Zanzibar War, lasts for about 40 minutes as the United Kingdom relentlessly bombs Zanzibar’s palace, which Sultan Khalid bin Barghash had refused to vacate. Bombardment begins at 9:02 East Africa Time, taking out defending artillery and setting fire to the palace. The British sink the Zanzibari royal yacht HHS Glasgow and two smaller vessels and continue bombardment of the palace, unleashing 500 shells, 4100 machine gun rounds, and 1000 rifle rounds. The Sultan flees at some point and his flag is shot down at 9:40. The lopsided war causes 500 Zanzibari deaths and casualties and one British casualty, marks the end of the Zanzibar Sultanate as a sovereign state, and starts a period of heavy British influence in Zanzibar.

1928: The Kellogg–Briand Pact outlawing war is signed by 15 nations. Sixty-one nations will ultimately sign it. (While a lovely sentiment, there’s really no way to punish the crime of war without, well, more war. It’s like making it a crime to arrest people.)

1939: German test pilot Erich Warsitz helms the maiden flight of the world’s first jet aircraft, the Heinkel He 178.

1956: The nuclear power station at Calder Hall is connected to the national power grid in the United Kingdom, becoming the world’s first commercial nuclear power station to generate electricity on an industrial scale.

1962: NASA launches the Mariner 2 for Venus.

2003: Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing within 34,646,418 miles. (Practically a collision!)

On August 28,

632: Fatimah, daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, dies. Her cause of death will remain a controversial topic between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

1565: Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sights land near St. Augustine, Florida and founds a settlement that will last to become the oldest continuously occupied European-established city in the continental United States. (That’s a lot of qualifiers, but yeah.)

1609: Henry Hudson discovers Delaware Bay.

1619: Ferdinand II is elected Holy Roman Emperor.

1789: William Herschel discovers Enceladus, a moon of Saturn.

1830: The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s new steam locomotive debuts, carrying the B&O directors in a passenger car and impressing them with its speed range of 10-14 mph. It will be nicknamed the “Tom Thumb” for its relatively small size, and it will bring on the era of steam locomotives replacing horse-drawn trains.

1845: The first issue of “Scientific American” is published. (“Think of it, gentlemen. Hoof-and-mouth disease a thing of the past!”)

1859: The Carrington event is the strongest geomagnetic storm on record to strike the Earth. Electrical telegraph service is widely disrupted.

1862: The American Civil War’s Second Battle of Bull Run, also known as the Battle of Second Manassas, begins. (Why not “the Second Battle of Manassas” instead of “the Battle of Second Manassas?” I lived in Northern Virginia, and can verify there’s only one Manassas.)

1898: Caleb Bradham’s beverage “Brad’s Drink” is renamed “Pepsi-Cola.”

1901: Silliman University is founded in the Philippines. It is the first American private school in the country.

1917: Ten Suffragettes are arrested while picketing the White House.

1924: The Georgian opposition stages the August Uprising against the Soviet Union.

1937: Toyota Motors becomes an independent company. (It had been living with its parents up until then.)

1943: German authorities demand that Danish authorities crack down on acts of resistance. The next day, martial law will be imposed on Denmark.

1955: Black teenager Emmett Till is brutally murdered in Mississippi, galvanizing the nascent civil rights movement.

1957: U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond begins a filibuster to prevent the Senate from voting on the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He will stop speaking 24 hours and 18 minutes later — the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single senator. (That is some serious dedication to racism, y’all.)

1963: During the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his “I Have a Dream” speech.

1964: The Philadelphia race riot, aka the Columbia Avenue Riot, begins in response to months of police brutality toward Black citizens. The riot will last for two days.

1968: Rioting takes place in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention, triggering a brutal police crackdown.

1988: During the Ramstein air show, three aircraft of the Frecce Tricolori demonstration team collide. The wreckage falls into the crowd, killing 75 and seriously injuring 346 spectators.

1990: Iraq declares Kuwait to be its newest province.

1993: The Galileo spacecraft discovers a moon around 243 Ida. Later named Dactyl, it is the first known asteroid moon.

2003: In “one of the most complicated and bizarre crimes in the annals of the FBI,” pizza delivery man Brian Wells is killed by a explosive collar after having been pulled into a complex plot involving a bank robbery/ransom and a scavenger hunt for the keys that would have defused the bomb.

On August 29,

708: Copper coins are minted in Japan for the first time. (Better than mint coins being coppered for the first time, I suppose.)

1756: Frederick the Great attacks Saxony, beginning the Seven Years’ War in Europe.

1758: The Treaty of Easton establishes the first American Indian reservation. It is established for the Lenape, at Indian Mills, New Jersey. The inhabitants will eventually be removed and forced further west.

1786: Following a series of protests by Massachusetts farmers and ex-soldiers in response to high debt and tax burden, an organized group of protestors take direct action and prevent the county court from sitting in Northampton. Daniel Shays is one of the leaders, and the event sparks what comes to be known as Shays’ Rebellion. Lasting until June 1787, the rebellion will draw retired General George Washington back into public life, which will lead to his election as the first President of the United States.

1831: Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction.

1869: The Mount Washington Cog Railway opens in New Hampshire; it is the world’s first mountain-climbing rack-and-pinion railway.

1885: Gottlieb Daimler patents the world’s first internal combustion motorcycle, the Reitwagen.

1898: The Goodyear tire company is founded.

1907: The Quebec Bridge collapses during construction, killing 75 workers.

1910: The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910 becomes effective, officially starting the period of Japanese rule in Korea.

1911: Ishi, considered the last Native American to make contact with European Americans, emerges from the wilderness near the foothills of Lassen Peak in Northern California. He is the sole remaining member of the Yahi people, who had been wiped out by the California genocide of the 19th Century. At 50, he had lived most of his life isolated from modern American culture. Anthropologists at UC-Berkeley will take him in, studying him and employing him as a janitor. Because Yahi tradition demands a member not speak his own name until formally introduced by another, and he is the last remaining Yahi, he cannot speak his name; antrohpologist Alfred Kroeber will name him Ishi, which means “man” in the Yana language. Ishi will spend nearly five years living in a university building in San Francisco, dying in March 1916. In 1999, Berkeley anthropologists will write a letter apologizing for his treatment.

1943: German-occupied Denmark scuttles most of its navy. Germany dissolves the Danish government.

1944: During the Slovak National Uprising, 60,000 Slovak troops turn against the Nazis.

1949: The Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb, known as First Lightning or Joe 1, at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.

1950: British troops arrive in Korea to bolster the U.S. presence there.

1958: United States Air Force Academy opens in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

1965: The Gemini V spacecraft returns to Earth, landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

1966: The Beatles perform their last ticketed concert, playing at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

1982: The synthetic chemical element Meitnerium, atomic number 109, is synthesized at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany.

1991: Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, the governing council, suspends all activities of the Soviet Communist Party.

1997: Netflix launches as an internet DVD rental service.

2005: Hurricane Katrina devastates much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, killing up to 1,836 people and causing $125 billion in damage.

On August 30,

70: Titus ends the siege of Jerusalem after destroying Herod’s Temple.

1464: Pope Paul II succeeds Pope Pius II as the 211th pope.

1791: HMS Pandora sinks after having run aground on the outer Great Barrier Reef the previous day.

1799: The entire Dutch fleet is captured by British forces under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby and Admiral Sir Charles Mitchell during the War of the Second Coalition.

1800: Gabriel Prosser postpones a planned slave rebellion in Richmond, Virginia due to rain. The governor, who had received word of the rebellion, calls out the state’s militia. Prosser escapes temporarily, but will be captured and hanged before the rebellion can take place. (Postponed due to rain? You weren’t playing baseball, Gabriel.)

1873: Austrian explorers Julius von Payer and Karl Weyprecht discover the archipelago of Franz Josef Land in the Arctic Sea. (I hope they shouted, “Franz Josef Land, ho!”)

1918: Fanni Kaplan shoots and seriously injures Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, prompting the Bolsheviks’ decree for Red Terror.

1945: The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong ends.

1963: The Moscow-Washington hotline goes into operation.

1967: Thurgood Marshall is confirmed as the first African-American justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

1984: The Space Shuttle Discovery takes off on its maiden voyage.

1992: The 11-day Ruby Ridge standoff ends when Randy Weaver surrenders to federal authorities.

1995: NATO launches Operation Deliberate Force against Bosnian Serb forces. (Subtle name for that operation, NATO.)

On August 31,

1422: King Henry V of England dies of dysentery while in France, making his nine-month-old son, Henry VI, king.

1776: William Livingston, the first Governor of New Jersey, begins serving his first term.

1798: Irish rebels, with French assistance, establish the short-lived Republic of Connacht. (Prompting one citizen to say, “It connacht last.”)

1864: During the American Civil War, Union forces led by General William T. Sherman launch an assault on Atlanta.

1888: Jack the Ripper kills Mary Ann Nichols, the first of his confirmed victims.

1895: German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin patents his navigable balloon. (But the idea goes over like a lead…oh, never mind.)

1897: Thomas Edison patents the Kinetoscope, the first movie projector.

1920: The first radio news program is broadcast by 8MK in Detroit.

1935: In an attempt to stay out of the growing tensions concerning Germany and Japan, the United States passes the first of its Neutrality Acts.

1936: Radio Prague, now the official international broadcasting station of the Czech Republic, goes on the air.

1939: Nazi Germany mounts a false flag attack on the Gleiwitz radio station, creating an excuse to attack Poland the following day. That attack will start World War II in Europe.

1940: Pennsylvania Central Airlines Trip 19 crashes near Lovettsville, Virginia. The CAB investigation of the accident is the first investigation to be conducted under the Bureau of Air Commerce act of 1938. (I grew up in Lovettsville, and knew nothing about this. That’s how small of a town it is — even its own residents have never heard its name mentioned.)

1943: The destroyer USS Harmon is commissioned, named for Mess Attendant Leonard Roy Harmon, an African American who had been posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his actions on the cruiser USS San Francisco during the Battle of Guadalcanal. The Harmon is the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after an African American.

1993: Russia finishes removing its troops from Lithuania.

1994: Russia finishes removing its troops from Estonia.

1995: Breaking tradition, Russia does not finish removing its troops from somewhere.

1997: Princess Diana of Wales dies in a car crash in Paris, along with her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul.

1999: The first of a series of bombings in Moscow kills one person and wounds 40 others.

2005: The 2005 Al-Aaimmah bridge stampede in Baghdad kills 953 people.

2006: Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream, stolen on August 22, 2004, is recovered in a raid by Norwegian police.

On September 1,

1420: At 9.4Mw, the Caldera earthquake hits Chile’s Atacama Region, causing tsunamis in Chile, Hawaii, and Japan.

1449: The Mongols capture the Emperor of China. (Where’s Mulan when you need her?)

1604: Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, is first installed at Harmandir Sahib — the Golden Temple. The scripture will come to be known Guru Granth Sahib.

1715: King Louis XIV of France dies after a reign of 72 years — the longest of any major European monarch.

1763: Catherine II of Russia endorses Ivan Betskoy’s plans for a Foundling Home in Moscow.

1774: In response to British soldiers under Gen. Thomas Gage removing gunpowder from a nearby magazine, Massachusetts Bay colonists rise up in what will be known as the Powder Alarm. Thousands of militiamen begin marching toward Boston and Cambridge, which will force the king’s Loyalists to flee. The situation will de-escalate without bloodshed, but will serve as an example to the militiamen who will eventually take arms against Loyalists.

1804: German astronomer Karl Ludwig Harding discovers Juno, one of the largest asteroids in the Main Belt.

1836: Narcissa Whitman, one of the first English-speaking white women to settle west of the Rocky Mountains, arrives at Walla Walla, Washington. (White woman Whitman wanders westward, ‘ward Walla Walla, Washington.)

1864: Confederate Army General John Bell Hood orders the evacuation of Atlanta, ending the four-month siege by General William Tecumseh Sherman.

1878: Alexander Graham Bell recruits Emma Nutt to the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company, making her the world’s first female telephone operator.

1894: More than 400 people die in the Great Hinckley Fire, a forest fire in Hinckley, Minnesota.

1897: The Tremont Street Subway opens in Boston; it is the first underground rapid transit system in North America.

1905: Alberta and Saskatchewan join the Canadian confederation.

1906: The International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys is established. (The founders immediately sue each other over who came up with the idea.)

1914: St. Petersburg, Russia, changes its name to Petrograd.

Elsewhere, the last known passenger pigeon, a female named Martha, dies in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo.

1920: The Fountain of Time sculpture opens in Chicago as a tribute to the 100 years of peace between the United States and Great Britain following the Treaty of Ghent.

1934: The first Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer animated cartoon — “The Discontented Canary” — is released to movie theatres. (Shoulda been a discontented passenger pigeon.)

1939: Employing the Blitzkrieg strategy, Nazi Germany and Slovakia invade Poland, beginning the European phase of World War II. General George C. Marshall becomes Chief of Staff of the United States Army. Switzerland mobilizes its forces and the Swiss Parliament elects Henri Guisan to head the Swiss Armed Forces — an event that can happen only during war or mobilization. Hitler signs an order to begin the systematic euthanasia of mentally ill and disabled people.

1941: The Nazis execute 2500 Jews by shooting in Ostroh, Ukraine.

1951: Australia, New Zealand, and the United States sign a mutual defense pact called the ANZUS Treaty. (People everywhere breathe a sigh of relief that “New Zealand” is two words and as such, adds the letter “Z” to the acronym.)

1952: Ernest Hemingway publishes his eventual Pulitzer Prize winner, “The Old Man and the Sea.”

1958: Iceland expands its fishing zone into a conflicted area with the United Kingdom, beginning the Cod Wars.

1969: Muammar Gaddafi rises to power via coup in Libya. (Westerners spend the next four decades arguing over how to spell his name.)

1970: Palestinian guerrillas attack the motorcade of King Hussein of Jordan in a failed assassination attempt.

1972: American Bobby Fischer defeats Russian Boris Spassky to become the world chess champion.

1974: The SR-71 Blackbird sets the record for flying from New York to London in the time of 1 hour, 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds, at a speed of 1,435.587 miles per hour.

1979: The American space probe Pioneer 11 passes within 13,000 miles of Saturn, becoming the first spacecraft to visit that planet. (But let’s be honest — is it really “visiting” if you’re 13,000 miles away? You can’t even hear the latest gossip.)

1982: The United States Air Force Space Command is founded.

1983: When commercial aircrafts Korean Air Lines Flight 007 enters Soviet airspace, a Soviet Union jet fighter shoots it down, killing all 269 on board — including U.S. Representative Lawrence McDonald.

1985: A joint American-French expedition locates the wreckage of the RMS Titanic.

2004: The Beslan school siege begins when armed terrorists take schoolchildren and school staff hostage in North Ossetia, Russia; by the end of the siege three days later, more than 385 people will be dead — including hostages, other civilians, security personnel, and terrorists.

On September 2,

44 BC: Cicero launches the first of his Philippicae — a series of speeches — attacking Mark Antony. He will make 14 of them over the following months. (Good thing he didn’t have Twitter.)

1192: Richard I of England and Muslim ruler Saladin sign the Treaty of Jaffa, which will lead to the end of the Third Crusade.

1649: The forces of Pope Innocent X destroy the Italian city of Castro, ending the Wars of Castro. (Doesn’t sound so innocent….)

1666: The Great Fire of London breaks out. It will burn for three days, destroying 10,000 buildings — including Old St Paul’s Cathedral.

1752: Great Britain, along with its overseas possessions, adopts the Gregorian calendar.

1789: The United States Department of the Treasury is founded.

1792: The September Massacres of the French Revolution begin. For five days, rampaging mobs will slaughter between 1100 and 1600 people — including three Roman Catholic bishops, more than 200 priests, and numerous prisoners believed to be royalist sympathizers.

1806: A massive landslide destroys the town of Goldau, Switzerland, killing 457.

1807: The British Royal Navy bombards Copenhagen with fire bombs and phosphorus rockets to prevent Denmark from surrendering its fleet to Napoleon.

1862: Following General John Pope’s disastrous defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln reluctantly restores Union General George B. McClellan to full command.

1864: Union forces enter Atlanta a day after the Confederate defenders fled, ending the Atlanta Campaign.

1870: During the Battle of Sedan, Prussian forces take Napoleon III and 100,000 of his soldiers prisoner.

1885: In Rock Springs, Wyoming, 150 white miners — who are struggling to unionize so they can strike for better wages and work conditions — attack their Chinese fellow workers. They kill 28, wound 15, and force several hundred more out of town. (Because that’s the way to bring about solidarity?)

1901: At the Minnesota State Fair, United States Vice President Theodore Roosevelt utters his famous phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” (He really just wanted a corn dog.)

1912: Arthur Rose Eldred receives the first Eagle Scout rank of the Boy Scouts of America.

1935: The Labor Day Hurricane, the most intense hurricane to strike the United States, makes landfall at Long Key, Florida — killing at least 400.

1945: Combat ends in the Pacific Theater of World War II as Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs and accepts the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Elsewhere, Vietnam declares its independence, forming the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

1946: The Interim Government of India is formed, headed by Jawaharlal Nehru as Vice President with the powers of a Prime Minister.

1958: During a reconnaissance mission along the Turkish-Armenian border, a United States Air Force C-130A-II-LM strays into Soviet airspace. Four Soviet MIGs respond and shoot the aircraft down over Yerevan in Armenia. The six crew members are killed; their remains will be repatriated to the U.S. The Soviets will not acknowledge the additional 11 intelligence-gathering personnel onboard; they will be presumed dead.

1960: Tibet sees the first election of the Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration. The Tibetan community will observe this date as Democracy Day.

1963: CBS Evening News lengthens its show from 15 to 30 minutes, becoming U.S. network television’s first half-hour weeknight news broadcast. (There was a time when the news was capped at 15 minutes a day? Sounds glorious!)

1970: NASA announces the cancellation of two Apollo missions to the Moon, Apollo 15 — a designation that will be re-used by a later mission — and Apollo 19.

1987: In Moscow, the trial begins for 19-year-old pilot Mathias Rust, who had flown his Cessna airplane into Red Square in May.

1998: The UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda finds Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, guilty of nine counts of genocide.

2010: The U.S. launches the 2010 Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

2013: The Eastern span replacement of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opens at 10:15 p.m. at a cost of $6.4 billion, after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake had damaged the previous span.

2018: The National Museum of Brazil is destroyed by a fire, with the loss of more than 90% of the museum’s collection.

2019: Hurricane Dorian, a category 5 hurricane, devastates the Bahamas, killing at least five.

On September 3,

301: San Marino is founded by Saint Marinus. Today, it is one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence.

1189: Richard I of England, aka Richard the Lionheart, is crowned at Westminster.

1666: The Royal Exchange burns down in the Great Fire of London.

1777: During the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, the Flag of the United States is flown in battle for the first time.

1783: The American Revolutionary War ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by the United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain.

1802: William Wordsworth composes the sonnet “Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802.” (That’s some creative titling there, Wordsworth.)

1838: Future abolitionist Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery.

1855: In Nebraska, 700 U.S. soldiers avenge the Grattan massacre by attacking a Sioux village and killing 100 men, women, and children.

1861: Confederate General Leonidas Polk invades neutral Kentucky, prompting the state legislature to ask for Union assistance.

1895: John Brallier becomes the first openly professional American football player, paid $10 by David Berry to play for the Latrobe Athletic Association in a 12-0 win over the Jeanette Athletic Association. (In 2020, that $10 would be worth…well, I don’t know, but it has to be less than the millions we pay jocks to play a game for us.)

1916: Firing incendiary ammo from a BE 2C, Lt. William Leefe Robinson destroys the German airship Schütte-Lanz SL 11 over Cuffley, north of London. It is the first German airship to be shot down on British soil.

1925: USS Shenandoah, the United States’ first American-built rigid airship, is destroyed in a squall line over Noble County, Ohio. Fourteen of her 42-man crew perish, including her commander, Zachary Lansdowne.

1933: Yevgeniy Abalakov is the first man to reach the highest point in the Soviet Union — Communism Peak, now called Ismoil Somoni Peak, in Tajikistan. (Communism Peak. They actually called a mountain Communism Peak. That’s like having a Monarchy Mountain or an Autonomous Collective Ridge.)

1935: Sir Malcolm Campbell is the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph, pushing the Campbell-Railton Blue Bird to a two-run average of 301.337.

1939: France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia declare war on Germany after the invasion of Poland, forming the Allies. The UK and France begin a naval blockade of Germany that lasts until the end of the war. It also marks the beginning of the Battle of the Atlantic.

1941: Karl Fritzsch, deputy camp commandant of Auschwitz, experiments with the use of Zyklon B in the gassing of Soviet POWs.

1942: In response to news of its coming liquidation, Dov Lopatyn leads an uprising in the Ghetto of Lakhva, in present-day Belarus.

1943: The Allied invasion of Italy begins on the same day that U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio sign the Armistice of Cassibile.

1944: Anne Frank and her family are placed on the last transport train from the Westerbork transit camp to Auschwitz.

1945: A three-day celebration begins in China, following the previous day’s victory over Japan.

1950: Nino Farina becomes the first Formula One Drivers’ champion after winning the 1950 Italian Grand Prix.

1967: Högertrafikomläggningen, or Dagen H, occurs in Sweden — traffic changes overnight from driving on the left to driving on the right, in order to be consistent with its bordering neighbors and reduce accidents among drivers crossing those borders.

1971: Qatar becomes an independent state.

1976: The Viking 2 lands at Utopia Planitia on Mars.

1981: The UN institutes the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international bill of rights for women.

1994: Russia and the People’s Republic of China agree to de-target their nuclear weapons against each other.

2001: In Belfast, Protestant loyalists begin a picket of Holy Cross, a Catholic primary school for girls. For the next 11 weeks, riot police will escort the students and their parents through hundreds of protesters, some of whom throw items and shout abuse. The protest will spark fierce rioting.

2016: The U.S. and China, together responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions, both formally ratify the Paris global climate agreement.

2017: North Korea conducts its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

On September 4,

1774: Europeans sight New Caledonia for the first time, during the second voyage of Captain James Cook.

1781: Los Angeles is founded by 44 Spanish settlers as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río Porciúncula — in English, “the town of our lady the Queen of Angels of the River Porciúncula.” (I’m glad they changed it, because “the El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río Porciúncula Dodgers” and “the the town of our lady the Queen of Angels of the River Porciúncula Lakers” just don’t have the same ring.)

1812: The Siege of Fort Harrison begins when the fort is set on fire. (Is it me, or does setting their place on fire seem like a weird strategy for keeping the enemy confined to that place?)

1839: The Battle of Kowloon — the first armed conflict of the First Opium War — takes place as British vessels open fire on Chinese war junks, enforcing a food sales embargo on the British community in China.

1862: General Robert E. Lee takes the Army of Northern Virginia, and the war, into the North as part of the Maryland Campaign.

1870: Emperor Napoleon III of France is deposed and the Third Republic is declared.

1882: The Pearl Street Station in New York City becomes the first power plant to supply electricity to paying customers.

1886: After almost 30 years of fighting, Apache leader Geronimo and his remaining warriors surrender to General Nelson Miles in Arizona.

1888: George Eastman registers the trademark Kodak and receives a patent for his camera that uses roll film. (Cameras…using something called film? What is this oddity?)

1923: The first U.S. airship, the USS Shenandoah, has its maiden flight.

1939: William J. Murphy commands the first Royal Air Force attack on Germany.

1941: A German submarine makes the first attack of the war against a United States warship, the USS Greer.

1944: The British 11th Armoured Division liberates the Belgian city of Antwerp.

Elsewhere, Finland exits from the war with the Soviet Union.

1948: Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands abdicates for health reasons. (There’s no shame in that, Mr. President — just sayin’.)

1949: The Peekskill riots erupt after a Paul Robeson concert in Peekskill, New York.

1950: Darlington Raceway is the site of the inaugural Southern 500, the first 500-mile NASCAR race. (At 1.37 miles per lap, that’s a total of 367 laps. So each car made 1468 left turns. Can you contain your excitement?)

1951: The first live transcontinental television broadcast takes place in San Francisco, from the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference.

1957: Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas, calls out the National Guard to prevent African-American students from enrolling in Central High School in Little Rock. The students’ rights to do so were established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954, via Brown v. Board of Education. The National Guard complies, blocking the students’ entry into the school. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower will later send federal troops to escort the students into the school, drawing national attention to the civil rights movement.

Elsewhere, the Ford Motor Company introduces the Edsel. (Not nearly as monumental, but still.)

1967: Operation Swift begins when U.S. Marines engage the North Vietnamese in battle in the Que Son Valley.

1972: Mark Spitz becomes the first competitor to win seven medals at a single Olympic Games.

Elsewhere, “The Price Is Right” premieres on CBS. In its 48th season at the time I typed this, it is the longest-running game show on American television. (And you’re hearing its theme song in your head right now.)

1977: The Golden Dragon massacre, a gang shooting, takes place in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

1998: Google is founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two students at Stanford University.

2001: Tokyo DisneySea opens to the public as part of the Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan.

2002: The Oakland Athletics win their 20th consecutive game, an American League record.

2007: Three terrorists suspected to be a part of Al-Qaeda are arrested in Germany after allegedly planning attacks on both the Frankfurt International airport and U.S. military installations.

On September 5,

917: Liu Yan declares himself emperor, establishing the Southern Han state in southern China, at his capital of Panyu. (Neat trick, declaring oneself emperor. I’d like to try that.)

1666: The Great Fire of London ends after four days, having destroyed more than 10,000 homes and other buildings, including Old St Paul’s Cathedral. The fire left 70,000 of the city’s 80,000 residents homeless, but only six people are known to have died.

1698: In an effort to westernize his nobility, Tsar Peter I of Russia imposes a tax on beards for all men except the clergy and peasantry. (I wonder if goatees qualified for a lower tax bracket.)

1774: The First Continental Congress assembles in Philadelphia.

1781: During the Battle of the Chesapeake, the French Navy repels the British Navy, contributing to the British surrender at Yorktown.

1791: Olympe de Gouges writes the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen.

1793: The French National Convention initiates the Reign of Terror.

1798: The Jourdan law makes conscription mandatory in France.

1812: The Siege of Fort Wayne begins when Chief Winamac’s forces attack two soldiers returning from the fort’s outhouses. (Understandable, as the soldiers had loaded the toilet paper under rather than over the roll.)

1836: Sam Houston is elected as the first president of the Republic of Texas.

1877: Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse is bayoneted by a United States soldier after resisting confinement in a guardhouse at Fort Robinson in Nebraska.

1882: New York City holds the first United States Labor Day parade.

1906: Bradbury Robinson of St. Louis University throws the first legal forward pass in American football, to teammate Jack Schneider. SLU defeats Carroll College, 22-0. (I bet they knew how to define a catch back then, too.)

1915: The pacifist Zimmerwald Conference begins.

1921: In one of the first Hollywood scandals, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle is implicated after his party in a San Francisco suite ends with the death of actress Virginia Rappe.

1927: Universal Pictures releases Disney’s “Trolley Trouble”” — the first cartoon featuring Disney’s original mascot, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. (Couldn’t have been that lucky; he was replaced by a mouse.)

1942: The Japanese high command orders withdrawal from Milne Bay, the first major Japanese defeat in land warfare during WWII’s Pacific War.

1945: Soviet embassy clerk Igor Gouzenko defects to Canada, exposing Soviet espionage in North America. The Cold War begins.

Elsewhere, Japanese American Iva Toguri D’Aquino is arrested in Yokohama on suspicion of being wartime radio propagandist Tokyo Rose.

1960: Cassius Clay, who will later change his name to Muhammad Ali, wins the gold medal in the light heavyweight boxing competition at the Olympic Games in Rome.

1969: U.S. Army Lieutenant William Calley is charged with six specifications of premeditated murder for the death of 109 Vietnamese civilians in My Lai.

1970: Jochen Rindt becomes the only driver to posthumously win the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship, after having been killed in practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

1972: A Palestinian terrorist group called “Black September” attacks and kidnaps 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games. Two of the athletes die in the attack; the other nine will be murdered the following day.

1975: Manson Family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempts to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, California.

1977: NASA launches the Voyager 1 spacecraft.

1978: Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat begin peace discussions at Camp David, Maryland.

1996: Hurricane Fran makes landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina as a Category 3 storm with 115 mph sustained winds. It will cause over $3 billion in damage and kill 27 people.

On September 6,

1492: Christopher Columbus sails from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, his final port of call before crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.

1522: The Victoria returns to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain; it is the only surviving ship of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition and the first known ship to circumnavigate the world.

1620: The Pilgrims sail from Plymouth, England on the Mayflower to settle in North America. (September 6 is a big day for sailing, apparently. Must be a Labor Day thing.)

1628: Puritans settle Salem, Massachusetts. (Witch ones?)

1642: England’s Parliament bans public stage-plays. (The home of Shakespeare…banned plays?)

1803: British scientist John Dalton begins using symbols to represent the atoms of different elements.

1847: Henry David Thoreau leaves Walden Pond and moves in with Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family in Concord, Massachusetts. (I hope they made him bathe first.)

1861: With no blood shed, Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s forces capture Paducah, Kentucky, giving the Union control of the Tennessee River’s mouth.

1870: Louisa Ann Swain of Laramie, Wyoming is the first woman in the United States to legally vote in a general election.

1901: Unemployed anarchist Leon Czolgosz shoots and fatally wounds U.S. President William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

1916: Clarence Saunders opens the first self-service grocery store — Piggly Wiggly — in Memphis, Tennessee.

1943: The Monterrey Institute of Technology is founded in Monterrey, Mexico as one of the largest and most influential private universities in Latin America.

Elsewhere, Pennsylvania Railroad’s premier train derails at Frankford Junction in Philadelphia, killing 79 people and injuring 117 others. (Not buying that one next time I play Monopoly.)

1946: U.S. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes announces that the U.S. will follow a policy of economic reconstruction in postwar Germany.

1955: A government-sponsored pogrom targets Istanbul’s Greek, Jewish, and Armenian minorities; dozens are killed in ensuing riots.

1962: The United States government begins the Exercise Spade Fork nuclear readiness drill.

Elsewhere, archaeologist Peter Marsden discovers the first of the Blackfriars Ships — dating back to the second century — in the Blackfriars area of the banks of London’s River Thames.

1966: Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd — the architect of apartheid — is stabbed to death in Cape Town, South Africa during a parliamentary meeting.

1970: Two passenger jets bound from Europe to New York are simultaneously hijacked by Palestinian terrorists — members of the PFLP — and taken to Dawson’s Field, Jordan. (“Dawson’s Field” sounds more like the setting of a teen soap opera than a hijacking destination.)

1972: Palestinian “Black September” terrorists kill the remaining nine Israeli athletes — along with a German policeman — taken hostage at the Munich Olympic Games the previous day.

1976: Soviet Air Defence Forces pilot Viktor Belenko lands a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 jet fighter at Hakodate in Japan and requests political asylum in the United States; his request is granted.

1983: The Soviet Union admits to shooting down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, stating that its operatives did not know that it was a civilian aircraft when it reportedly violated Soviet airspace.

1991: The Soviet Union recognizes the independence of the Baltic states Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Also, the Russian parliament approves the name change of Leningrad back to Saint Petersburg, to become effective October 1 of the same year.

1995: The Baltimore Orioles’ Cal Ripken, Jr. plays in his 2131st consecutive game, breaking a 56-year-old record.

1997: The Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales takes place in London. Well over a million people line the streets and 2.5 billion watch on television globally.

2007: Israel executes Operation Orchard, an air strike on a nuclear reactor in Syria.

2013: Poachers in Hwange National Park poison 41 elephants with cyanide in salt pans.

On September 7,

70: A Roman army under Titus occupies and plunders Jerusalem. (He’s one harsh comedian.)

878: Louis the Stammerer is crowned as king of West Francia by Pope John VIII. (I hope his first act was to abolish his nickname.)

1303: Guillaume de Nogaret takes Pope Boniface VIII prisoner on behalf of Philip IV of France. (I really, really hope Guillaume said, “I’m sorry. I am so sorry. I just keep imagining you waking up in the morning, sir, looking in the mirror and then in all seriousness saying to yourself, ‘You know what would be a really kick-ass name? Boniface!'”)

1571: Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, is arrested for his role in the Ridolfi plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I of England and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots.

1652: Around 15,000 Han farmers and militia rebel against Dutch rule on Taiwan. (And the Han shoot first.)

1776: Sergeant Ezra Lee makes the world’s first submarine attack. He is in the one-man submerged craft Turtle, with which he attempts to attach an explosive charge to the hull of HMS Eagle in New York Harbor. The plan fails, but General George Washington congratulates Lee on his attempt. Washington will eventually move Lee into secret service/special forces.

1812: The Battle of Borodino, the bloodiest battle of the Napoleonic Wars, ends with a French victory near Moscow.

1857: The Nauvoo Legion, a Utah militia group comprised of Mormon settlers including Isaac C. Haight and John D. Lee, attacks the Baker-Fancher emigrant wagon train, which is resting at Mountain Meadows while en route from Arkansas to California. Their intent is to give the impression of Native American hostilities. Disguised as Native Americans and working together with some recruited Southern Paiute Native Americans, the militia attacks the wagon train, then lays siege to it after the emigrants fight back. The siege will last for five days before militia commander William H. Dame, fearing the emigrants had seen white men among the attackers and discovered their identity, orders the emigrants killed. Some members of the militia will enter the emigrants’ camp under a white flag. They will assure the emigrants of their protection, offering to take them to retrieve more water and provisions. On September 11, the rest of the militia will attack them at an unfortified location, killing about 120 men, women, and older children. They will spare 17 children younger than seven, auction off the victims’ possessions, and allow local families to take in the surviving children. The Civil War will interrupt investigations, which will resume and result in nine indictments in 1874. John D. Lee will be the only perpetrator tried; he will be convicted, then executed by firing squad on March 23, 1877.

1864: Atlanta is evacuated on orders of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.

1911: French poet Guillaume Apollinaire is arrested and put in jail on suspicion of stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre.

1921: The first Miss America Pageant takes place — a two-day event in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

1923: The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is formed.

1927: Philo Farnsworth demonstrates the first fully electronic television system, based on a principle he had worked out a little more than six years previous — when he was 14.

1936: The last thylacine, a carnivorous marsupial, dies alone in its cage at the Hobart Zoo in Tasmania.

1940: The Luftwaffe begins the Blitz, bombing London and other British cities. They will continue doing so for more than 50 consecutive nights.

1953: Nikita Khrushchev is elected first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1963: The Pro Football Hall of Fame opens in Canton, Ohio with 17 charter members.

1978: Bulgarian secret police agent Francesco Gullino assassinates dissident Georgi Markov by firing a ricin pellet from a specially designed umbrella as Markov is walking along Waterloo Bridge in London. (Then Batman beats him up.)

1979: The Chrysler Corporation asks the U.S. government for $1.5 billion to avoid bankruptcy.

1986: Desmond Tutu is the first Black man to lead the Anglican Diocese of Cape Town.

1988: Abdul Ahad Mohmand, the first Afghan in space, returns to Earth after nine days on the Mir space station.

1996: Rapper and hip hop artist Tupac Shakur is fatally shot during a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. He will die six days later.

2005: Egypt holds its first multi-party presidential election.

2008: The U.S. government takes control of the two largest mortgage financing companies in the U.S. — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (What could possibly go wrong?)

2012: Citing Iran’s nuclear plans and purported human rights abuses, Canada officially cuts diplomatic ties with the country by closing its embassy in Tehran and ordering the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Ottawa.

2017: Equifax announces a cyber-crime identity theft event potentially impacting approximately 145,500,000 U.S. consumers.

On September 8,

1504: Michelangelo’s David is unveiled in Piazza della Signoria, in Florence, Italy.

1565: Spanish admiral and Florida’s first governor, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, founds the settlement of St. Augustine — today the oldest city in the U.S.

1727: A barn fire during a puppet show in the village of Burwell in Cambridgeshire, England, kills 78 people — many of whom are children.

1781: The Battle of Eutaw Springs in South Carolina, the American Revolution’s last significant battle in the Southern theater, ends in a narrow tactical victory for the British.

1810: Carrying 33 employees of John Jacob Astor’s newly created Pacific Fur Company, the Tonquin sets sail from New York Harbor. After a six-month journey around the tip of South America, it will arrive at the mouth of the Columbia River and Astor’s men will establish the fur-trading town of Astoria, Oregon.

1860: The steamship PS Lady Elgin sinks on Lake Michigan, with the loss of around 300 lives.

1863: In the Second Battle of Sabine Pass, a small Confederate force stops a Union invasion of Texas.

1883: The Northern Pacific Railway is completed in a ceremony at Gold Creek, Montana. Former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant drives the final “golden spike” into the ground.

1888: The body of Annie Chapman is found in London; she was Jack the Ripper’s second murder victim.

Elsewhere in England, the first six Football League matches are played.

Elsewhere, Isaac Peral tests his submarine. (It sinks underwater, so the test is a success.)

1892: The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance is recited for the first time.

1900: A powerful hurricane hits Galveston, Texas, killing about 8000 people.

1914: Private Thomas Highgate is the first British soldier to be executed for desertion during World War I.

1916: Augusta and Adeline Van Buren arrive in Los Angeles, having completed a 60-day, 5500-mile cross-country trip on motorcycles in a bid to prove women are capable of serving as military dispatch riders.

1921: Sixteen-year-old Margaret Gorman wins the Atlantic City Pageant’s Golden Mermaid trophy. Pageant officials will later dub her the first Miss America.

1923: Traveling at 20 knots, nine U.S. Navy destroyers run aground at Honda Point, off the California coast. The navigational error costs the loss of seven of the ships and the lives of 23 sailors. It is the largest peacetime loss of U.S. Navy ships.

1926: Germany is admitted to the League of Nations.

1930: 3M begins marketing Scotch transparent tape.

1935: U.S. Senator Huey Long, from Louisiana, spends the day at the State Capitol to ensure passage of House Bill Number One, a re-districting plan which effectively ousts his political opponent, Judge Benjamin Henry Pavy. Just after the bill passes, Pavy’s son-in-law Carl Weiss approaches Long and shoots him in the torso from four feet away. Long’s bodyguards return fire, killing Weiss as they hit him more than 60 times. Long runs down the stairs and hails a car for a ride to a nearby hospital, where surgeons will be unable to halt his internal bleeding. He will die in the early morning hours on September 10. (Baller move to hail his own ride in that condition, though.)

1941: German forces begin the Siege of Leningrad.

1945: The division of Korea begins as U.S. troops arrive to partition the southern region in response to Soviet troops having occupied the northern region a month previous.

1966: “Star Trek” premieres on television with the episode, “The Man Trap.” (That one legit terrified me as a kid when the salt vampire revealed itself.)

1971: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is inaugurated in Washington, D.C.

1974: U.S. President Gerald Ford signs the pardon of Richard Nixon for any crimes Nixon may have committed while in office. (Thereby assuring Ford will never be elected back into the job.)

1975: USAF Tech Sergeant Leonard Matlovich, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, appears in his Air Force uniform on the cover of “Time” with the headline, “I Am A Homosexual.” He will be discharged as a result.

1978: Black Friday, a massacre by soldiers against protesters in Tehran, results in 700-3000 deaths. It marks the beginning of the end of the monarchy in Iran.

1988: Yellowstone National Park is closed for the first time in U.S. history, due to ongoing fires.

2004: NASA’s unmanned spacecraft Genesis crash-lands when its parachute fails to open.

2005: On a mission to provide humanitarian aid in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, two Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft from EMERCOM land at a disaster aid staging area at Little Rock Air Force Base. It is the first instance in which Russia has flown such a mission to North America.

2016: NASA launches OSIRIS-REx, its first asteroid sample return mission. The probe will visit 101955 Bennu. It is expected to return with samples in 2023. (At which time this place will probably be run by apes.)

On September 9,

337: Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans succeed their father Constantine I as co-emperors. The Roman Empire is divided between the three Augusti. (What a bunch of Con men.)

1543: Mary Stuart is crowned “Queen of Scots” at nine months of age. (Must have been a pretty small crown.)

1739: The Stono Rebellion occurs near Charleston, South Carolina. It is the largest slave uprising in the mainland North American colonies prior to the American Revolution.

1776: The Continental Congress officially names its union of states the United States. (I wonder where they came up with the name.)

1791: Washington, D.C. is named after George Washington.

1839: John Herschel takes the first glass plate photograph. (I hope he gave it back.)

1850: California is admitted as the thirty-first U.S. state.

Elsewhere, the Compromise of 1850 transfers one-third of Texas’ claimed territory — parts of today’s Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming — to federal control in return for the U.S. federal government assuming $10 million of Texas’ pre-annexation debt.

1863: The Union Army enters Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1892: Edward Emerson Barnard discovers Amalthea, the third moon of Jupiter.

1940: George Stibitz facilitates the first remote operation of a computer. He uses a modified teletype to send commands over telegraph lines from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire to his Bell Labs team’s Complex Number Computer in New York.

1942: A Japanese floatplane lauched from a submarine drops incendiary bombs on Oregon, attempting to start a forest fire but causing only minor damage. It is the first time an enemy aircraft bombs the contiguous United States.

1956: Elvis Presley appears on “The Ed Sullivan Show” for the first time.

1965: The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development is established.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Betsy makes its second landfall near New Orleans, leaving 76 dead and causing $1.42 billion in damages. It is the first hurricane to cause more than $1 billion in unadjusted damage.

1966: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act into law, empowering the federal government to set and administer safety standards for motor vehicles.

1972: In Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park, a Cave Research Foundation team discovers a link between the Mammoth and Flint Ridge cave systems, making it the longest known cave passageway in the world.

1993: The Palestine Liberation Organization officially recognizes Israel as a legitimate state.

2001: Two al-Qaeda assassins who claimed to be Arab journalists wanting an interview, kill Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud in Afghanistan.

2015: Elizabeth II becomes the longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.

2016: The government of North Korea conducts its fifth and reportedly biggest nuclear test. World leaders condemn the act; South Korea calls it “maniacal recklessness.”

On September 10,

1419: John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, is assassinated by adherents of the Dauphin — the future Charles VII of France.

1509: An earthquake known as “The Lesser Judgment Day” strikes Constantinople. (They sure could name earthquakes back then.)

1608: John Smith is elected council president of Jamestown, Virginia.

1776: Nathan Hale volunteers to spy for the Continental Army.

1813: The United States defeats a British Fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie.

1846: Elias Howe receives a patent for the sewing machine.

1858: George Mary Searle discovers the asteroid 55 Pandora.

1897: A sheriff’s posse kills 19 unarmed striking immigrant miners in Lattimer, Pennsylvania.

1939: The submarine HMS Triton mistakenly sinks the submarine HMS Oxley near Norway; it is the Royal Navy’s first loss of a submarine in the war.

Elsewhere, Canada declares war on Germany, joining Poland, France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. (Canada, that hawklike nation, beat the U.S. to the punch.)

1960: At the Summer Olympics in Rome, Ethiopian Abebe Bikila wins the marathon to become the first sub-Saharan African to win a gold medal. He runs it bare-footed.

1961: The deadliest accident in Formula 1 history occurs during the Italian Grand Prix, as a crash kills German driver Wolfgang von Trips, plus the 13 spectators who are hit by his Ferrari.

1977: Convicted of torture and murder, Hamida Djandoubi is the last person to be executed by guillotine in France.

2002: Traditionally a neutral country, Switzerland becomes a full member of the United Nations.

2008: Considered by some to be the biggest scientific experiment in history, the Large Hadron Collider powers up at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. (I’m pretty sure I’ve been stuck in an alternate universe ever since. Convince me otherwise.)

2017: Hurricane Irma makes landfall on Cudjoe Key, Florida as a Category 4, after having caused catastrophic damage throughout the Caribbean. The storm will result in 134 deaths and $64.76 billion in damage.

On September 11,

9: The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest ends with the Roman Empire suffering the greatest defeat of its history and the Rhine being established as a border between the Empire and the so-called barbarians. That border will be observed for the next 400 years.

1226: The first recorded instance of the Catholic practice of perpetual Eucharistic adoration formally begins in Avignon, France.

1297: The Scots, jointly led by William Wallace and Andrew Moray, defeat the English in the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

1609: Henry Hudson discovers Manhattan Island and the indigenous people living there.

1714: Barcelona, capital city of Catalonia, surrenders to Spanish and French Bourbon armies during the War of the Spanish Succession.

1775: Benedict Arnold’s expedition leaves Cambridge, Massachusetts for Quebec.

1776: A British-American peace conference on Staten Island fails to stop the nascent American Revolutionary War.

1777: The British celebrate a major victory at the Battle of Brandywine in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

1789: Alexander Hamilton is appointed the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. (Cue the music…)

1792: Six men break in and steal the Hope Diamond and other French crown jewels from the house where they are stored.

1813: British troops arrive in Mount Vernon, Virginia to stage before marching to and invading Washington, D.C.

1826: Having declared his intent to publish a book against Freemasonry, ex-freemason Captain William Morgan is arrested in Batavia, New York for debt. He will be released, re-arrested, and released again, this time to a group of men who lead him to a carriage that will take them to Fort Niagara. He will disappear shortly thereafter. In October 1827, a badly decomposed body will wash ashore on Lake Ontario; many will presume the deceased to be Morgan. (I always figured they killed him to get his recipe for spiced rum.)

1830: The Anti-Masonic Party convention, one of the first American political party conventions, takes place.

1851: Several fugitive slaves stand against their former owners in armed resistance in Christiana, Pennsylvania, creating a rallying cry for the abolitionist movement.

1903: The first race is held at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin — the oldest major speedway in the world.

1941: Charles Lindbergh gives his Des Moines Speech accusing the British, Jews, and the Roosevelt Administration of pressing for war with Germany.

1945: The Australian 9th Division liberates the Japanese-run Batu Lintang camp, a POW and civilian internment camp on the island of Borneo.

1950: U.S. President Harry S. Truman approves military operations north of Korea’s 38th parallel.

1971: The Egyptian Constitution becomes official.

1982: International forces leave Beirut, having been there to guarantee the safety of Palestinian refugees following Israel’s Invasion of Lebanon. Five days later, Phalange forces will massacre several thousand refugees in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

1997: NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor reaches Mars.

Elsewhere, after a nationwide referendum, Scotland votes to establish a devolved parliament within the United Kingdom.

2001: Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda launches a series of suicide attacks in the U.S., for which 19 of its members highjack four aircraft and use them to kill 2,977 people. Two aircraft crash into the north and south towers of World Trade Center in New York City, causing both 110-story buildings to collapse and cause catastropic damage. The third aircraft crashes into The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. Passengers thwart the hijackers’ efforts on the fourth aircraft, causing it to crash into a field in Stonybrook Township, Pennsylvania while en route to Washington, D.C.

2007: Russia tests the largest conventional weapon ever, the Father of All Bombs.

2008: A major Channel Tunnel fire breaks out on a freight train, resulting in the closure of part of the tunnel for six months.

2011: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum opens on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

2012: Members of the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia attack the American diplomatic compound and a CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, killing four and wounding 10.

On September 12,

1185: In retaliation for his harsh and suppressive rule, Emperor Andronikos I Komnenos is brutally put to death in Constantinople. (Trust me; don’t Google it.)

1609: Aboard the Halve Maen, Henry Hudson begins his exploration of the Hudson River.

1634: A gunpowder factory explodes in Valletta, Malta, killing 22 people and damaging several buildings.

1846: Elizabeth Barrett elopes with Robert Browning.

1848: A new constitution establishes Switzerland as a federal state.

1857: Carrying 13-15 tons of gold from the California Gold Rush, the SS Central America sinks about 160 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, drowning a total of 426 passengers and crew.

1897: In the Battle of Saragarhi, 21 Sikh soldiers in British service make a last stand against ten thousand Afghan tribesmen, inflicting several hundred casualties in defense of their fort. The 4th battalion of the Sikh Regiment of Indian Army will commemorate the battle annually as Saragarhi Day.

1915: French soldiers rescue more than 4000 Armenian Genocide survivors stranded on Musa Dagh.

1940: Cave paintings are discovered in Lascaux, France.

Elsewhere, an explosion at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Kenvil, New Jersey kills 51 people and injures more than 200.

1942: RMS Laconia, carrying civilians, Allied soldiers, and Italian POWs is torpedoed off the coast of West Africa. It sinks with a heavy loss of life.

1952: Three boys in Flatwoods, West Virginia see a pulsing red light streak across the sky and crash at a nearby farm on a hill, prompting them to get two of the boys’ mother and set out to investigate. Three other boys and a dog show up. One of the boys — a 17-year-old National Guard member — spots what appears to be a pair of bright eyes in a tree. He screams when he sees what he will later describe as a ten-foot-tall monster with a red body and a glowing green face, possibly with claws for hands. The others see the same thing and run back down the hill in terror. Another boy sees them and notes the dog has its tail between its legs and one of the boys has wet himself. Their story will make the news and prompt a U.S. Air Force investigation, but no one else will ever report any strange findings on that hillside. The Flatwoods Monster will become a figure of local lore, bringing interested tourists to the town over the ensuing years.

1953: U.S. Senator and future President John Fitzgerald Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island.

1958: Working at Texas Instruments, Jack Kilby demonstrates the first working integrated circuit.

1959: “Bonanza” — the first regularly scheduled TV program presented in color — premieres. (And you’re hearing its theme song in your head right now, aren’t you?)

1962: U.S. President John Kennedy delivers his “We choose to go to the Moon” speech at Rice University.

1970: Palestinian terrorists blow up three hijacked airliners in Jordan, continuing to hold the passengers hostage in various undisclosed locations in Amman.

1974: Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia — the Messiah of the Rastafari movement — is deposed following a military coup by the Derg, ending a reign of 58 years.

1977: South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko dies in police custody after having been interrogated, beaten, and tortured the previous week.

1983: The USSR vetoes a United Nations Security Council Resolution deploring the Soviet destruction of Korean Air Lines Flight 007.

1984: Dwight Gooden sets the MLB record for strikeouts in a season by a rookie, with 276.

1990: The two German states and the Four Powers sign the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany in Moscow, paving the way for German reunification.

1992: NASA launches Space Shuttle Endeavour on the 50th shuttle mission. Onboard are: Mae Carol Jemison, the first African-American woman in space; Mamoru Mohri, the first Japanese citizen to fly in a U.S. spaceship; and Mark Lee and Jan Davis, the first married couple in space.

1994: Having stolen a single-engine Cessna 150 the night of September 11, Frank Eugene Corder attempts to fly it into the wall of the White House in the early morning hours. He crashes onto the south lawn and dies on impact, the lone casualty of the incident.

2003: The United Nations lifts sanctions against Libya after that country agrees to take responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, and recompense the families of victims.

Elsewhere, in Fallujah, U.S. forces mistakenly shoot and kill eight Iraqi police officers.

On September 13,

1501: Michelangelo begins work on his statue of David.

1541: After three years of exile, John Calvin returns to Geneva to reform the church under a doctrine known as Calvinism. (I’m glad he went with that name instead of Johnism.)

1609: Henry Hudson reaches the river that will later be named after him. (I think you know the one I’m talking about.)

1788: The Philadelphia Convention sets the date for the first presidential election in the United States, and New York City becomes the country’s temporary capital. (Anonymous Russian writs begin appearing on trees, accusing George Washington of writing state letters with his personal quill instead of a more secure one.)

1791: King Louis XVI of France accepts the new constitution. (Wise choice, considering the citizens were already engaged in armed revolution against him.)

1814: In a turning point in the War of 1812, the British fail to capture Baltimore. During the battle, while imprisoned overnight, Francis Scott Key composes his poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” to question whether the U.S. flag is still over the fort, or whether the British have won. His poem will later be set to music and become the United States’ national anthem. (So, a song expressing an astounding lack of faith in the U.S. military — “Did we win or did we lose? Oh my gosh, the suspense is killing me! We might be British again!” — became our national anthem. Yeah, I’d have gone with something a little more patriotic and appreciative, like “America the Beautiful.”)

1848: Vermont railroad worker Phineas Gage survives having a 1.25″-diameter iron rod driven into his brain; the effects on his behavior and personality will lead to discussion of the nature of the brain and its functions. (I hope when they first asked he said, “The effect? I’ll tell you what the effect is — it’s pissing me off!”)

1862: Union soldiers find a copy of Robert E. Lee’s battle plans in a field outside Frederick, Maryland. It is the prelude to the Battle of Antietam. (I’m having fun imagining the resulting conversation between Lee and whichever officer left his copy there.)

1898: Hannibal Goodwin patents celluloid photographic film.

1899: Henry Bliss falls from a New York City streetcar, is struck by an electric taxicab, hits the pavement, and has his head and chest crushed. He will die the next morning, making him the first person in the United States to be killed in an automobile accident. (Not gonna lie; I’m having trouble moving past the fact that he lived through the night with a crushed head and chest.)

1899: Mackinder, Ollier, and Brocherel make the first ascent of Batian — at 17,058 feet, the highest peak of Mount Kenya.

1923: Following a military coup in Spain, Miguel Primo de Rivera takes over as dictator.

1933: Elizabeth McCombs is the first woman elected to the New Zealand Parliament.

1948: Margaret Chase Smith is elected U.S. Senator, becoming the first woman to serve in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

1953: Nikita Khrushchev is appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1956: The IBM 305 RAMAC is introduced, the first commercial computer to use disk storage.

1962: An appeals court orders the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith, the first African-American student to attend the segregated university.

1964: Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd of 20,000 West Berliners in Waldbühne.

1985: Super Mario Bros. is released in Japan for the NES; it is the first in the Super Mario series of platform games.

1989: Desmond Tutu leads the largest anti-Apartheid march in South Africa.

1993: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shakes hands with Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat at the White House after signing the Oslo Accords, granting limited Palestinian autonomy.

2001: Civilian aircraft traffic resumes in the United States after the September 11 attacks.

2007: The United Nations General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

2013: Taliban insurgents attack the United States consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, with two members of the Afghan National Police reported dead and about 20 civilians injured.

On September 14,

1741: George Frideric Handel completes his oratorio “Messiah.” (Hallelujah.)

1752: The British Empire adopts the Gregorian calendar, skipping eleven days — the previous day was September 2. (That would have sucked for anyone with a project due September 14 who had thought on September 2, “I have plenty of time.”)

1763: Seneca warriors defeat British forces at the Battle of Devil’s Hole during Pontiac’s War.

1812: The French Grande Armée enters Moscow. The Fire of Moscow begins as soon as Russian troops leave the city.

1901: U.S. President William McKinley dies after having been shot on September 6 by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. McKinley is succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.

1917: The Russian Empire is formally replaced by the Russian Republic.

1939: The Estonian military boards the Polish submarine ORP Orzel in Tallinn, sparking a diplomatic incident that the Soviet Union will later use to justify the annexation of Estonia.

1954: In a secret test, a Soviet Tu-4 bomber drops a 40-kiloton atomic weapon just north of Totskoye.

1958: Designed by Ernst Mohr, the first two German post-war rockets reach the upper atmosphere. (He gave them just a little Mohr.)

1959: The Soviet probe Luna 2 crashes onto the Moon, becoming the first man-made object to reach it.

1960: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries — OPEC — is founded.

1975: Pope Paul VI canonizes the first American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton.

1984: Joe Kittinger becomes the first person to fly a gas balloon solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

1992 The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina declares the breakaway Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia to be illegal.

1994: The Major League Baseball season is canceled due to a strike.

1998: Telecommunications companies MCI Communications and WorldCom complete their $37 billion merger to form MCI WorldCom.

2000: Microsoft releases Windows ME.

2001: An historic National Prayer Service for victims of the September 11 attacks, takes place at Washington National Cathedral. A similar service is held in Canada on Parliament Hill, the largest vigil ever held in that nation’s capital.

2003: In a referendum, Estonia approves joining the European Union.

2007: The Northern Rock bank experiences the first bank run in the United Kingdom in 150 years. (It started because a little kid wanted to use his tuppence to feed the birds.)

2015: The first observation of gravitational waves occurs; it will be announced by the LIGO and Virgo collaborations on February 11, 2016.

On September 15,

668: Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II is assassinated in his bath at Syracuse, Italy. (This is why I never bathe.)

1440: Gilles de Rais, one of the earliest known serial killers, is taken into custody.

1789: The United States “Department of Foreign Affairs” — established by law in July — is renamed the Department of State and given a variety of domestic duties.

1835: HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, reaches the Galápagos Islands.

1851: Saint Joseph’s University is founded in Philadelphia.

1862: Confederate forces capture Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

1916: During the Battle of the Somme, tanks are used for the first time in battle. (They caused Somme casualties.)

1935: The Nuremberg Laws deprive German Jews of citizenship. Nazi Germany adopts a new national flag bearing the swastika.

1944: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill meet in Quebec as part of the Octagon Conference to discuss strategy.

1948: The F-86 Sabre sets the world aircraft speed record at 671 mph.

1959: Nikita Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet leader to visit the United States. (It was all for shoe.)

1962: The Soviet ship Poltava heads toward Cuba, one of the events precipitating the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1963: Four children die in the bombing of an African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama.

1967: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to a sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin, writes a letter to Congress urging the enactment of gun control legislation.

1971: The first Greenpeace ship sets sail, to protest against nuclear testing on Amchitka Island.

1978: Muhammad Ali outpoints Leon Spinks in a rematch, becoming the first boxer to win the world heavyweight title three times.

1981: The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

2004: National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman announces a lockout of the players’ union and cessation of operations by the NHL head office.

2008: Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

On September 16,

681: Pope Honorius I is posthumously excommunicated by the Sixth Ecumenical Council. (“We know you’re dead, but don’t come back.”)

1620: Pilgrims set sail from England on the Mayflower.

1880: The “Cornell Daily Sun” prints its first issue in Ithaca, New York. It is the United States’ oldest continuously independent college daily.

1893: Settlers make a run for prime land in the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma.

1908: The General Motors Corporation is founded.

1920: A bomb in a horse wagon explodes in front of the J. P. Morgan building in New York City, killing 38 and injuring 400.

1956: TCN-9 Sydney is the first Australian television station to commence regular broadcasts.

1959: The first successful photocopier, the Xerox 914, is introduced in a demonstration on live television from New York City. (Jeez, I wonder what went wrong with the first 913 of them.)

1966: The Metropolitan Opera House opens at Lincoln Center in New York City, with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s opera, “Antony and Cleopatra.”

1970: King Hussein of Jordan declares war against the Palestine Liberation Organization; the conflict will come to be known as Black September.

1979: Eight people escape from East Germany to the west in a homemade hot air balloon.

Elsewhere, the Sugarhill Gang releases “Rapper’s Delight” — considered by many to be the first rap song ever. (If rap didn’t exist before that, how did they come up with the title?)

1987: The Montreal Protocol is signed to protect the ozone layer from depletion.

1992: The trial of deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega ends in the United States with a 40-year sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering.

2007: Security guards working for Blackwater Worldwide shoot and kill 17 Iraqis in Nisour Square, Baghdad.

2013: A gunman kills 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

On September 17,

1382: Louis the Great’s daughter, Mary, is crowned “king” of Hungary because the people didn’t like the idea of a queen. (And this fooled them?)

1630: The city of Boston, Massachusetts is founded.

1683: Antonie van Leeuwenhoek writes a letter to the Royal Society describing “animalcules” — now known as microorganisms.

1776: The Presidio of San Francisco is founded in New Spain.

1778: The Treaty of Fort Pitt is signed. It is the first formal treaty between the United States and a Native American tribe. (Spoiler: It didn’t end well for the tribe.)

1787: The United States Constitution is signed in Philadelphia.

1849: American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery.

1859: Joshua A. Norton declares himself “Norton I, Emperor of the United States” in a decree printed in the “San Francisco Bulletin.” An eccentric local, Norton will walk the streets of San Francisco for the next two decades, clad in a Navy coat and plumed hat, often carrying a military saber. He will issue his own currency and issue decrees, and many San Francisco citizens will indulge him. He will eat in restaurants at no charge and people will bow to him as they pass. He will die of a stroke in January 1880. (Free meals? I officially decree myself the King of Knightdale, North Carolina. Now where’s my barbecue?)

1862: George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac halts the northward drive of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the single-day Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American military history. The battle takes place in Maryland and ends with 22,717 dead, wounded, or missing.

1908: Orville Wright crashes the Wright Flyer, killing passenger Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge — the first airplane fatality.

1916: Manfred von Richthofen — “The Red Baron” — wins his first aerial combat.

1920: The NFL is organized as the American Professional Football Association in Canton, Ohio.

1925: Frida Kahlo suffers near-fatal injuries in a bus accident in Mexico. This will cause her to abandon her medical studies and take up art.

1954: William Golding publishes “Lord of the Flies.” (A great kids’ book.)

1961: The world’s first retractable-roof stadium, the Civic Arena, opens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1976: NASA unveils the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

1978: Israel and Egypt sign the Camp David Accords.

1980: After weeks of strikes at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, the nationwide independent trade union Solidarity is established.

1983: Vanessa Williams becomes the first black Miss America.

1991: Linus Torvalds releases the first version of the Linux kernel to the Internet.

2001: The New York Stock Exchange reopens for trading after the September 11 attacks, ending the longest closure since the Great Depression.

2006: Fourpeaked Mountain erupts in Alaska; it is the first eruption for the volcano in at least 10,000 years.

2011: The Occupy Wall Street movement begins in Zuccotti Park, New York City.

2013: Grand Theft Auto V earns more than half a billion dollars on its first day of release.

On September 18,

1793: U.S. President George Washington lays the first cornerstone of the United States Capitol.

1809: The Royal Opera House opens in London.

1812: The 1812 Fire of Moscow dies down after destroying more than three-quarters of the city. Napoleon returns from the Petrovsky Palace to the Moscow Kremlin, spared from the fire.

1837: Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young found Tiffany & Young, which will be renamed Tiffany & Co., in New York City as a “stationery and fancy goods emporium.” (I bet Young was mad when the name changed.)

1850: The United States Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, requiring that slaves be returned to their owners even if found in a free state.

1851: “The New-York Daily Times” is published for the first time; it will later become “The New York Times.” (Please note: It has never had the name, “the failing New York Times.”)

1862: The Confederate States celebrate a Thanksgiving Day for the first and only time.

1870: Henry D. Washburn observes and names Old Faithful Geyser.

1873: The bank Jay Cooke & Company declares bankruptcy, contributing to the Panic of 1873.

1879: Britain’s Blackpool Illuminations are switched on for the first time; the event will become an annual lights festival.

1882: The Pacific Stock Exchange opens.

1895: Booker T. Washington delivers the Atlanta Exposition Speech on race relations.

1906: The 1906 Hong Kong typhoon kills an estimated 10,000 people.

1919: The Netherlands gives women the right to vote.

Elsewhere, Fritz Pollard becomes the first African American to play professional football for a major team — the Akron Pros.

1927: The Columbia Broadcasting System goes on the air.

1928: Juan de la Cierva makes the first crossing of the English Channel in an autogyro.

1934: The Soviet Union is admitted to the League of Nations.

1939: The radio show “Germany Calling” begins transmitting Nazi propaganda.

1940: German submarine U-48 sinks the British liner SS City of Benares, killing 77 child refugees among others.

1943: Hitler orders the deportation of Danish Jews.

1944: British submarine HMS Tradewind torpedoes Jun’yo Maru, killing 5,600 — mostly slave laborers and POWs.

1947: The National Security Act establishes the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency in the United States. It also establishes the Air Force as an equal partner of the Army and Navy.

1948: Margaret Chase Smith of Maine becomes the first woman elected to the United States Senate without completing another senator’s term.

1960: Fidel Castro arrives in New York City as the head of the Cuban delegation to the United Nations.

1977: Voyager I takes the first distant photograph of the Earth and the Moon together.

1980: Soyuz 38 carries two cosmonauts to the Salyut 6 space station.

1984: Joe Kittinger completes the first solo balloon crossing of the Atlantic.

2001: The first mailing of anthrax letters in the 2001 anthrax attacks takes place, from Trenton, New Jersey.

2014: Scotland votes against independence from the United Kingdom, by 55% to 45%.

On September 19,

1676: In full-fledged rebellion over not being allowed to exterminate Native Americans, Nathaniel Bacon’s forces burn Jamestown, Virginia to the ground.

1778: The Continental Congress passes the first United States federal budget. (The trouble begins.)

1796: George Washington’s Farewell Address is printed across America as an open letter to the public.

1852: Annibale de Gasparis discovers the asteroid Massalia from the north dome of the Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte.

1881: U.S. President James A. Garfield dies of wounds suffered in a July 2 shooting. Vice President Chester A. Arthur becomes President. (It was a Monday; no wonder Garfield hates Mondays.)

1893: New Zealand women gain the right to vote when the governor consents to the Electoral Act of 1893.

1940: Witold Pilecki is voluntarily captured and sent to Auschwitz, with the intent of smuggling out information to start a resistance movement.

1952: The United States bars suspected socialist Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country after a trip to England.

1957: Plumbbob Rainier is the first nuclear explosion entirely contained underground, producing no fallout. (“Are ya ready, kids?” “Aye-aye, Captain!” “Whooooooooo lives in a nuclear site underground?” “Plumbbob Rainier!” “Safely contained there, with no fallout found!” “Plumbbob Rainier!”)

1976: When two Imperial Iranian Air Force F-4 Phantom II jets fly out to investigate an unidentified flying object over Tehran, both independently lose instrumentation and communications as they approach, only to have them restored upon withdrawal.

1982: Scott Fahlman posts the first documented emoticons 🙂 and 😦 on the Carnegie Mellon University bulletin board system.

1985: Tipper Gore and others form the Parents Music Resource Center as Frank Zappa and other musicians testify at U.S. Congressional hearings on obscenity in rock music. (Of course there’s obscenity in rock music! There’s also obscenity in pop, rap, country, hip-hop, etc. Know what to do if it offends you? Avoid listening to it.)

1991: Two German tourists discover Ötzi the Iceman in the Alps on the border between Italy and Austria.

1995: “The Washington Post” and “The New York Times” publish the Unabomber’s manifesto.

2010: The leaking oil well in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is sealed.

2011: Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees surpasses Trevor Hoffman to become Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader with 602.

2019: A drone strike by the United States kills 30 civilian farmers in Afghanistan.

On September 20,

1187: Saladin begins the Siege of Jerusalem. (They were in their Saladin days.)

1378: Cardinal Robert of Geneva is elected as Pope Clement VII, beginning the Papal Schism — a 39-year period of discontent among factions within the Roman Catholic Church as three men claim papal title and/or authority.

1498: The Nankai tsunami washes away the building housing the Great Buddha at Kotoku-in. It will remain outside from then on.

1519: Ferdinand Magellan and about 270 men set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda on their expedition to circumnavigate the globe.

1596: Diego de Montemayor founds the city of Monterrey in New Spain.

1835: The decade-long Ragamuffin War starts when rebels capture Porto Alegre in Brazil. (“Ragamuffin” and “War” are two words that don’t sound right together.)

1860: The future King Edward VII begins the first North American visit by a Prince of Wales.

1893: Charles Duryea and his brother road-test the first American-made, gasoline-powered automobile.

1911: The White Star Line’s RMS Olympic collides with the British warship HMS Hawke. (You had one job, navigators.)

1941: Lithuanian Nazis and local police murder 403 Jews in Nemencine.

1942: A German Einsatzgruppe begins the two-day massacre of at least 3,000 Jews in Letychiv, Ukraine.

1946: The first Cannes Film Festival is held; it was planned for seven years prior, but delayed by World War II.

1962: James Meredith, an African American, is temporarily barred from entering the University of Mississippi. The federal government will intervene on his behalf.

1967: RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 is launched Clydebank, Scotland.

1971: Having weakened after making landfall in Nicaragua the previous day, Hurricane Irene regains enough strength to be renamed Hurricane Olivia, making it the first known hurricane to cross from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific.

1973: Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome.

Elsewhere, singer Jim Croce, songwiter and musician Maury Muehleisen, and four others die when their aircraft crashes on takeoff at Natchitoches Regional Airport in Louisiana.

1977: Vietnam is admitted to the United Nations.

1982: NFL players begin a 57-day strike.

1984: A suicide bomber in a car attacks the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 22 people.

2000: Individuals from the Real Irish Republican Army attack the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service building in London with a Russian-built RPG-22 anti-tank missile.

2001: In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush declares a “War on Terror.” (Terror refuses to comment.)

2007: Between 15,000 and 20,000 protesters march on Jena, Louisiana, in support of the Jena Six — six black youths who had been convicted of assaulting a white classmate.

2008: A dump truck full of explosives detonates in front of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing 54 and injuring 266.

2011: The United States military ends its “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly for the first time.

2017: Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, resulting in 2,975 deaths, $90 billion in damage, and a major humanitarian crisis. (Unfortunately, the territory will receive very little aid after White House staffers forget to tell the President that Puerto Rico is part of the U.S.)

2019: Roughly 4 million people, mostly students, demonstrate across the world against climate change. 16-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden leads the demonstration in New York City. (The U.S. President proves his courage by attacking her on Twitter.)

On September 21,

1780: Continental Army officer Benedict Arnold turns his coat against the Americans and gives the British the plans to West Point. (If it happened today, people would claim it’s fake news.)

1792: The French National Convention abolishes the monarchy.

1843: John Williams Wilson takes possession of the Strait of Magellan on behalf of the Chilean government.

1933: Salvador Lutteroth establishes Mexican professional wrestling.

1937: J. R. R. Tolkien publishes “The Hobbit.” (A short read.)

1938: The Great Hurricane of 1938 makes landfall on Long Island in New York, killing 500-700 people.

1942: On the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, Nazis send more 1000 Jews from Pidhaitsi, Ukraine to Belzec extermination camp. In Dunaivtsi, Ukraine, Nazis murder 2588 Jews.

Elsewhere, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress makes its maiden flight.

1949: Mao Zedong announces the People’s Republic of China will be under the leadership of the Communist Party.

1953: Lieutenant No Kum-sok, a North Korean pilot, defects to South Korea with his jet fighter.

1964: The North American XB-70 Valkyrie — the world’s fastest bomber — makes its maiden flight.

1972: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos declares martial law, beginning his authoritarian rule.

1981: Sandra Day O’Connor is unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

1993: Russian President Boris Yeltsin triggers a constitutional crisis by suspending parliament and scrapping the constitution.

1996: U.S. Congress passes the Defense of Marriage Act. (I wasn’t aware marriage was ever under attack.)

2001: More than 35 network and cable channels broadcast “America: A Tribute to Heroes” — raising over $200 million for the victims of the September 11 attacks.

Elsewhere, white 17-year-old Ross Parker is murdered in Peterborough, England, by a gang of ten British Pakistani youths in an unprovoked, racially motivated crime.

2003: The Galileo spacecraft is destroyed by being sent into Jupiter’s atmosphere. (She had drops of Jupiter in her gear.)

On September 22,

1692: Salem, Massachusetts sees the last hanging of those convicted of witchcraft; the others will eventually be released.

1711: The Tuscarora War begins in present-day North Carolina.

1761: George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz are crowned King and Queen, respectively, of the Kingdom of Great Britain.

1776: Nathan Hale is hanged for spying during the American Revolution.

1789: The office of United States Postmaster General is established. (After 231 years, let’s please keep it.)

1823: Joseph Smith claims to have found the Golden Plates — the source for the Book of Mormon — after having been directed by God through the Angel Moroni to the place where they were buried.

1862: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation, announcing that slaves in rebel states will be freed if the rebels do not end the fighting and rejoin the Union by the first of the following year. (Please tell me he was planning to free the slaves regardless. Please?)

1888: “National Geographic” publishes its first issue.

1892: While shunting at sidings in a railyard near Lindal-in-Furness, England, a locomotive disappears into the ground as a large hole opens underneath it. It will never be recovered, staying buried at an unknown depth beneath the railway. The Lindal railway incident will inspire Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “The Lost Special” as well as the TV show, “Lost.”

1910: The Duke of York’s Picture House opens in Brighton; it will become the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.

1914: A German submarine sinks three British cruisers over a 70-minute period, killing almost 1500 sailors.

1919: The steel strike of 1919, led by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, begins in Pennsylvania before spreading across the United States.

1927: Jack Dempsey loses the “Long Count” boxing match to Gene Tunney.

1939: A joint German-Soviet military parade takes place in Brest-Litovsk, celebrating the successful invasion of Poland.

1941: On Rosh Hashanah, the German SS murders 6000 Jews in Vinnytsia, Ukraine — the survivors of the killings that had taken place a few days earlier, in which about 24,000 Jews were executed.

1948: Gail Halvorsen officially starts parachuting candy to children as part of the Berlin Airlift.

1975: Sara Jane Moore attempts to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford in California, taking two shots with a .38 Special from about 40 feet away, but missing. The Secret Service push Ford into his limo and Donald Rumsfeld lies down on top of him as the limo speeds off to the airport. (Kinda rude to treat someone like a mattress, Donald.)

1979: A bright flash, resembling the detonation of a nuclear weapon, is observed near the Prince Edward Islands. Its cause will never be determined.

1980: Iraq invades Iran.

1991: The Dead Sea Scrolls are made available to the public for the first time.

1993: A barge strikes a railroad bridge near Mobile, Alabama, causing the deadliest train wreck in Amtrak history, with 47 passengers killed.

1995: The Sri Lanka Air Force bombs the Nagerkovil school and kills at lease 34 — most of them ethnic Tamil schoolchildren.

2013: At least 75 people are killed in a suicide bombing at a Christian church in Peshawar, Pakistan.

On September 23,

1338: A French force defeats the English in the Battle of Arnemuiden — the first naval battle of the Hundred Years’ War and the first naval battle in which gunpowder artillery is used.

1641: Carrying over 100,000 pounds of gold — worth over $1 billion today — the Merchant Royal is lost at sea off Land’s End. (That’s too bad; that would have bought a lot of herringbone polos there.)

1642: Harvard College has its first commencement ceremony. (This was well before Elgar published Pomp and Circumstance; I wonder what they played?)

1779: U.S. Naval Commander John Paul Jones wins the Battle of Flamborough Head onboard the USS Bonhomme Richard. (Bonhomme Richard sounds like a song title the other John Paul Jones might have played with Led Zeppelin.)

1806: Having explored the Pacific Northwest, Lewis and Clark return to St. Louis. (“Hey, you just explored thousands of square miles of untamed wilderness! What are you gonna do now?” “We’re going to…St. Louis?”)

1845: The first baseball team to play under modern rules — the Knickerbockers Baseball Club — is founded in New York. (People undoubtedly complained about the infield fly rule; they got their Knickerbockers in a twist.)

1846: Having worked independently on the necessary mathematics, astronomers Urbain Le Verrier, John Couch Adams, and Johann Gottfried Galle collaborate on the discovery of Neptune.

1889: Fusajiro Yamauchi founds Nintendo Koppai to produce and market the card game Hanafuda. The company will later become Nintendo Company, Limited. (I wonder if its first hires were a couple of Italian plumbers.)

1905: Norway and Sweden sign the Karlstad treaty to peacefully dissolve their Union.

1911: Pilot Earle Ovington makes the first official American airmail delivery under the authority of the United States Post Office Department.

1913: Roland Garros of France becomes the first to fly in an airplane across the Mediterranean, flying from St. Raphael, France to Bizerte, Tunisia.

1932: The unification of Saudi Arabia is completed.

1962: The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts opens in New York City.

1980: Bob Marley plays what will be the last concert of his life, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1986: In a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros’ Jim Deshaies strikes out the first eight batters he faces, setting a record.

2002: The first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox — Phoenix 0.1 — is released.

2019: British travel company, Thomas Cook Group, declares bankruptcy — leaving employees without jobs and 600,000 customers stranded abroad. Hotels throughout the world are stuck with £3.5 million in unpaid bills.

On September 24,

1789: U.S. Congress passes the Judiciary Act, creating the office of the Attorney General and federal judiciary system, and ordering the composition of the Supreme Court. (They decided it should be composed of judges.)

1846: U.S. Army General Zachary Taylor captures Monterrey during the Mexican-American War. (I hope as a result they called him Monterrey Zach.) (Sorry, that joke was cheesy.)

1852: The first airship operated by engine — Henri Giffard’s steam-powered model — travels 17 miles from Paris to Trappes.

1869: Gold prices plummet after U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant orders the Treasury to sell large quantities of gold in reaction to Jay Gould’s and James Fisk’s plot to control the market.

1890: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially renounces polygamy. (So do all their wives.)

1906: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaims Devils Tower in Wyoming as the nation’s first National Monument.

1911: Strong winds wreck His Majesty’s Airship No. 1 — Britain’s first rigid airship — at Barrow-in-Furness, before its first flight.

1929: U.S. Army Air Corps pilot Jimmy Doolittle performs the first flight with no vision from the cockpit, proving that full instrument flight is possible from take-off to landing.

1935: Earl and Weldon Bascom produce the first rodeo ever held outdoors under electric lights.

1948: The Honda Motor Company is founded. (The founders did it on their own, with no Accord.)

1950: Western Canada’s Chinchaga fire becomes the largest recorded fire in North American history, sending smoke all the way to Europe.

1957: U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower sends the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce desegregation.

1960: The U.S. Navy launches the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise. (It boldly went where no one had gone before.)

1975: Members of the Southwest Face expedition become the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest by any of its faces, rather than using a ridge route.

1996: Representatives of 71 nations sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at the United Nations.

2007: India wins its first T20 international Cricket World Cup.

2009: The G20 summit begins in Pittsburgh, with 30 global leaders in attendance.

2014: The Mars Orbiter Mission makes India the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so on its first attempt.

2019: The U.S. House of Representatives initiates an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. (It didn’t end well.)

On September 25,

1237: England and Scotland sign the Treaty of York, establishing the location of their common border.

1513: Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa reaches what would become known as the Pacific Ocean.

1690: The first newspaper in the Americas — “Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick” — is published. It will become the only issue ever published. (It was probably cost-prohibitive to print that long of a name.)

1775: Ethan Allen surrenders to British forces after attempting to capture Montreal during the Battle of Longue-Pointe.

Elsewhere, Benedict Arnold’s expedition sets off for Quebec.

1789: U.S. Congress passes 12 constitutional amendments: the Bill of Rights comprised of the first ten, plus the unratified Congressional Apportionment Amendment and the Congressional Compensation Amendment. (Whew, good thing they got their compensation in there!)

1804: The Teton Sioux demand one of the boats from the Lewis and Clark Expedition as a toll for allowing the expedition to move further upriver.

1890: U.S. Congress establishes Sequoia National Park.

1906: Leonardo Torres y Quevedo demonstrates his Telekino invention, using it to guide a boat from the shore in the port of Bilbao, in what is considered to be the first use of a remote control.

1912: Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is founded in New York City. (Somebody should have written an article about it.)

1926: The international Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery is signed.

1956: TAT-1 is inaugurated; it is the first submarine transatlantic telephone cable system. (As opposed to TAT-2, which is subdermal ink.)

1957: U.S. Army troops enforce the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

1974: Dr. Frank Jobe performs first ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery. The patient is baseball player Tommy John; the procedure will come to be known as Tommy John surgery.

1977: About 4200 people run in the first Chicago Marathon.

1978: PSA Flight 182, a Boeing 727, collides in mid-air with a Cessna 172 and crashes in San Diego, killing 144 people.

1992: NASA launches the Mars Observer. Eleven months later, the probe will fail while preparing for orbital insertion.

2018: Bill Cosby is sentenced to three to ten years in prison for aggravated sexual assault.

On September 26,

46 BC: Julius Caesar dedicates a temple to Venus Genetrix, fulfilling a vow he made at the Battle of Pharsalus.

1580: Francis Drake completes his circumnavigation of the Earth. (I wonder where he found a Gomco clamp that big.)

1777: British troops occupy Philadelphia.

1789: U.S. President George Washington appoints Thomas Jefferson the first United States Secretary of State.

1905: Albert Einstein publishes the third of his Annus Mirabilis papers, introducing his special theory of relativity.

1914: The Federal Trade Commission Act establishes the United States Federal Trade Commission.

1933: Surrendering to the FBI, Machine Gun Kelly shouts, “Don’t shoot, G-Men!” The term will become a nickname for FBI agents.

1934: The ocean liner RMS Queen Mary launches.

1942: Senior SS official August Frank issues a memorandum detailing how Jews should be “evacuated.”

1950: UN troops recapture Seoul from North Korean forces.

1960: In Chicago, the first televised presidential debate takes place — in this instance, between candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

1969: The Beatles release “Abbey Road” — the last album they will ever record. Their “Let It Be” album will be released after the group breaks up, but they recorded and shelved it previously.

1973: Concorde makes its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time.

1980: A far-right bombing kills 13 people and injures 211 more at Oktoberfest in Munich.

1981: Houston Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan throws his fifth no-hitter, setting a Major League record.

1983: Soviet Air Force officer Stanislav Petrov identifies a report of an incoming nuclear missile as a computer error and not an American first strike, avoiding nuclear war by retaliation.

Elsewhere, Australia II wins the America’s Cup, ending the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year domination of the race.

1984: The United Kingdom and China agree to a transfer of Hong Kong sovereignty, to take place in 1997.

2008: Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy is the first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel.

On September 27,

1066: William the Conqueror and his army set sail from the mouth of the Somme river, to lead the Norman conquest of England.

1590: Pope Urban VII dies 13 days after being chosen as the Pope, making his reign the shortest papacy in history.

1777: Lancaster, Pennsylvania becomes the capital of the United States for one day, after Congress evacuates Philadelphia due to the approach of British troops.

1791: The National Assembly votes to award full citizenship to Jews in France.

1822: Jean-François Champollion announces that he has deciphered the Rosetta Stone. (That guy rocked.)

1825: The Stockton and Darlington Railway is ceremonially opened; it is the world’s first public railway to use steam locomotives.

1903: The Wreck of the Old 97 occurs, an American rail disaster that will become the subject of a popular ballad.

1908: Production of the Model T begins at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit.

1928: The United States recognizes the Republic of China. (“Hey! That’s China!”)

1930: Bobby Jones wins the Grand Slam of golf.

1938: The Queen Elizabeth ocean liner is launched in Glasgow.

1940: Germany, Japan, and Italy sign the Tripartite Pact in Berlin.

1949: The People’s Republic of China chooses Zeng Liansong’s design for its flag. (That must be why it was such a big deal for the U.S. to recognize them in 1928; it’s harder to recognize a country without a flag.)

1956: U.S. Air Force Captain Milburn G. Apt becomes the first person to exceed Mach 3, shortly before his Bell X-2 goes out of control and costs him his life.

1962: Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” is published, inspiring an environmental movement and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

1975: The last use of capital punishment in Spain sparks worldwide protests.

1996: The Battle of Kabul ends in a Taliban victory that establishes the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

2003: The SMART-1 satellite is launched.

2007: NASA launches the Dawn probe to the asteroid belt.

2008: CNSA astronaut Zhai Zhigang becomes the first Chinese person to perform a spacewalk.

2019: More than 2 million people participate in strikes across 2400 locations worldwide, to protest climate change. (But climate change refuses to back down.)

On September 28,

935: Duke Wenceslaus I of Bohemia is murdered by a group of nobles led by his brother Boleslaus I, who succeeds him. (Someone should have warned him, “Good Duke Wenceslaus, look out!”)

1066: William the Conqueror lands in England to begin the Norman conquest. (Why couldn’t Norman handle his own conquest?)

1542: Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo of Portugal arrives at what is now San Diego, California.

1779: Samuel Huntington is elected President of the Continental Congress, succeeding John Jay.

1781: American forces backed by a French fleet begin the siege of Yorktown.

1787: The Congress of the Confederation votes to send the newly written United States Constitution to the state legislatures for approval.

1821: The Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire is drafted. It will be made public on October 13.

1844: Oscar I of Sweden-Norway is crowned king of Sweden.

1867: Toronto becomes the capital of Ontario, having also been the capital of Ontario’s predecessors since 1796.

1871: The Brazilian Parliament passes a law that frees all government-owned slaves, and all children born to slaves thereafter. (But they left current private slaves as slaves? Missed it by *that* much, Brazil.)

1889: The General Conference on Weights and Measures defines the length of a meter. (Spoiler alert: It’s 100 centimeters.)

1892: The first American football night game occurs as Wyoming Seminary takes on Mansfield State Normal.

1912: U.S. Army Corporal Frank S. Scott becomes the first enlisted man to die in an airplane crash.

1919: A race riot takes place in Omaha, Nebraska when a mob of 5,000-15,000 White citizens gathers at the Douglas County Courthouse to demand the surrender of prisoner Will Brown, a Black man who was arrested after having been accused of rape. When the chief of police refuses to hand Brown over and urges the mob to let justice run its course, they begin pillaging shops for firearms and eventually set fire to the Courthouse. Mayor Edward Smith emerges around 11:00 p.m., a shot rings out, and a man dressed as a soldier claims the mayor shot him. The crowd attacks the mayor and attempts to lynch him, going so far as to hang him from a traffic signal tower before a state agent and city detectives drive a car into the crowd, lower the mayor, and take him to the hospital. He will stay there for several days before recovering. The sheriff will lead prisoners to the roof of the burning courthouse, where the mob will cut firehoses and refuse to let anyone raise a rescue ladder until Brown is turned over to them. They eventually win out, capturing Brown and lynching him from a telephone post before riddling his corpse with bulletholes, tying it to a vehicle and dragging it through the streets, using lantern oil to set it ablaze, and hauling the charred remains through the business district throughout the early hours of the next morning.

1924: A U.S. Army Air Service team completes the first aerial circumnavigation of the globe.

1928: Alexander Fleming notices a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory, discovering what will later become known as penicillin.

1939: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agree on a division of Poland. The siege of Warsaw comes to an end.

1941: Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox achieves a .406 batting average for the season; he will be the last major league baseball player to bat .400 or better.

1951: CBS makes the first color television available for sale to the general public, but the product will be discontinued less than a month later.

1971: The Parliament of the UK passes the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, banning the medicinal use of cannabis.

1991: The U.S. Strategic Air Command stands down all ICBMs scheduled for deactivation under START I, as well as its strategic bomber force.

1995: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat sign the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

2000: A few months before his election as Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon visits al-Aqsa Mosque — known to Jews as the Temple Mount — in Jerusalem.

2008: Falcon 1 becomes the first privately developed, liquid-fueled, ground-launched vehicle to put a payload into orbit.

On September 29,

1227: Pope Gregory IX excommunicates Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II for his failure to participate in the Crusades.

1789: The first United States Congress adjourns. The U.S. Department of War establishes a regular army with several hundred men.

1829: The Metropolitan Police of London is founded. It will come to be known as the Met. (I thought that was a subway.)

1885: The first practical public electric tramway in the world is opened — in Blackpool, England.

1907: The cornerstone is laid for the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul — aka Washington National Cathedral — in Washington, D.C.

1918: Germany’s Supreme Army Command tells the Kaiser and the Chancellor to open negotiations for an armistice.

1923: The British Mandate for Palestine takes effect, creating Mandatory Palestine.

Elsewhere, the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon takes effect.

Elsewhere, the First American Track & Field championships for women are held. (So, today is known for two mandates and a woman date.)

1940: Two Avro Anson aircraft collide in mid-air over New South Wales in Australia, remain locked together, and manage to land safely.

1941: German forces, with the aid of local Ukrainian collaborators, begin the two-day Babi Yar massacre.

1949: The Communist Party of China writes the Common Programme for the future People’s Republic of China.

1954: CERN — the European Organization for Nuclear Research — is established.

1957: The Kyshtym disaster occurs at Mayak, a secret plutonium production site near Kyshtym in Russia. The cooling system fails in a storage tank containing 70-80 tons of liquid nuclear waste. The failure causes an explosion that releases an estimated 20 MCi, or 800 PBq, of radioactivity into the air. A radioactive cloud spreads over hundreds of miles, with hot particles spreading more than 20,000 square miles and fallout causing long-term contamination in up to 7720 square miles. About 10,000 people will be evacuated, most or all without being told the reason. Details will not emerge for years, but it will be estimated that up to 8015 people died from the event. Today, the disaster is the third-most serious nuclear accident ever recorded — behind Fukushima Daiichi and Chernobyl.

1971: Oman joins the Arab League. (They shouted, “O man, this is great!”)

1972: Japan establishes diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China after breaking official ties with the Republic of China.

1975: WGPR is the first black-owned-and-operated television station in the U.S.

1988: NASA launches STS-26, the first mission since the Challenger disaster.

1990: Construction is completed on Washington National Cathedral. (It only took 83 years to the day.)

2004: Asteroid 4179 Toutatis passes within four lunar distances of Earth.

2007: Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, is demolished in a controlled explosion.

2013: Members of Boko Haram kill more than 42 people at the College of Agriculture in Nigeria.

On September 30,

1520: Suleiman the Magnificent is proclaimed sultan of the Ottoman Empire. (How cool would it be to have “the Magnificent” as a title?)

1541: Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto and his forces enter Tula territory in present-day western Arkansas, where they encounter fierce resistance.

1791: The first performance of Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute” takes place; he will die two months later.

1882: Thomas Edison’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant begins operation; it will later be known as Appleton Edison Light Company.

1888: Jack the Ripper kills his third and fourth victims — Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.

1915: Serbian Private Radoje Ljutovac is the first soldier in history to shoot down an enemy aircraft with ground-to-air fire.

1922: The University of Alabama opens football season with a 110-point shutout of the Marion Military Institute; it still stands as Alabama’s record for largest margin of victory and as their only 100-point game.

1927: Babe Ruth hits his 60th home run for the season; he is the first baseball player to reach that milestone.

1935: The Hoover Dam is dedicated. (I’ll say it is; it’s been working hard, 24 hours every day, for 85 years now.)

1938: The League of Nations unanimously outlaws “intentional bombings of civilian populations.”

1943: President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

1947: The 1947 World Series is the first to be televised, to include an African-American player, to exceed $2 million in receipts, to see a pinch-hit home run, and to have six umpires on the field.

1949: The Berlin Airlift ends.

1954: The U.S. Navy submarine USS Nautilus is commissioned as the world’s first nuclear-powered vessel.

1962: Mexican-American labor leader César Chávez founds the National Farm Workers Association.

Elswhere, James Meredith enters the University of Mississippi, the first African American to be enrolled there.

1968: The Boeing 747 is presented to the public for the first time.

1972: Roberto Clemente has the 3000th and final hit of his career.

1977: NASA budget cuts and dwindling power reserves force the shutdown of the Apollo program’s ALSEP experiment packages left on the Moon.

1990: The Dalai Lama unveils the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa.

2005: Danish newspaper “Jyllands-Posten” ignites controversy by publishing cartoons depicting Islamic prophet Muhammad.

2016: Two paintings with a combined value of $100 million are recovered after having been stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in 2002.

On October 1,

1800: Via the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, Spain cedes Louisiana to France, who will sell the land to the United States 30 months later. (The irony being that it didn’t belong to Spain to begin with.)

1814: The Congress of Vienna opens, with the mission of redrawing Europe’s political map after the defeat of Napoleon the previous spring.

1832: Texian political delegates convene at San Felipe de Austin to petition for changes in the governance of Mexican Texas.

1843: “The News of the World” begins publication in London.

1890: U.S. Congress establishes Yosemite National Park. (Pure nepotism — Yosemite Sam was their uncle.)

1891: Stanford University opens.

1903: The Boston Americans play the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of the modern World Series.

1908: Ford Model T automobiles are offered for sale at $825. (Not including tags, taxes, or fees, I’m sure. By the time they nickel and dime you, it’s up to a whopping $830.)

1910: A large bomb destroys the Los Angeles Times building, killing 21 and injuring many more. Publisher Harrison Otis will hire private detective William J. Burns to track down the bomber(s). Burns’ investigation will eventually lead him to John J. McNamara, treasurer of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers Union. McNamara and his brother had planned the bombing against Otis for his anti-union views.

1931: The George Washington Bridge opens, linking New Jersey and New York. (Unfortunate.)

1936: Francisco Franco is named head of the Nationalist government of Spain.

1938: Germany annexes the Sudetenland.

1939: After a one-month siege, German troops occupy Warsaw.

1940: The Pennsylvania Turnpike opens; it is considered by many to be the first superhighway in the U.S.

1942: USS Grouper torpedoes Lisbon Maru, not knowing it’s carrying British prisoners of war from Hong Kong.

1946: The International Military Tribunal issues death sentences to 12 Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg trials.

1949: The People’s Republic of China is established.

1957: U.S. paper money imprinted with the phrase “In God we trust” enters circulation for the first time. (If our money has God’s name on it, shouldn’t we send it to Him on April 15 instead?)

1958: NASA replaces the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

1961: The United States Defense Intelligence Agency is formed; it is the country’s first centralized military intelligence organization.

1964: The Free Speech Movement is launched on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. Students begin a lengthy protest against the university’s ban of on-campus political activities. (And they do so with…wait for it…a political activity.)

Elsewhere, Japanese Shinkansen — or “bullet trains” — begin high-speed rail service from Tokyo to Osaka.

1969: Concorde breaks the sound barrier for the first time.

1971: Walt Disney World opens near Orlando, Florida. (Some entity somewhere begins printing my destiny with red ink.)

Elsewhere, the first practical CT scanner is used to diagnose a patient.

1975: Muhammad Ali defeats Joe Frazier in a boxing match in Manila, Philippines. The match will come to be remembered as “the thrilla in Manila.”

1979: Pope John Paul II begins his first pastoral visit to the United States.

1982: Epcot opens at Walt Disney World in Florida. (The aforementioned entity makes more red entries in my ledger.)

Elsewhere, Helmut Kohl replaces Helmut Schmidt as Chancellor of Germany through a constructive vote of no confidence. (Germany really likes having Helmuts for their head.)

Elsewhere, Sony and Phillips launch the compact disc in Japan, and Sony releases the first compact disc player — the model CDP-101.

1985: Israel attacks the Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters in Tunisia during “Operation Wooden Leg.” (They celebrate with a meal at Long John Silver’s.)

1989: Denmark introduces the world’s first legal same-sex registered partnerships.

2000: Palestinians protest the murder of 12-year-old Muhammad al-Durrah by the Israeli police, beginning the “October 2000 events.” (I wonder where they came up with that name.)

2009: The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom takes over the judicial functions of the House of Lords.

2017: A gunman opens fire on the crowd at a country music festival at the Las Vegas Strip, killing 58 and injuring 851 before taking his own life.

On October 2,

1187: Saladin captures Jerusalem after 88 years of Crusader rule.

1528: William Tyndale publishes “The Obedience of a Christian Man,” which advocates the divine right of kings.

1535: Jacques Cartier discovers the site that will become Montreal.

1780: John André, a British Army officer, is hanged as a spy by the Continental Army.

1789: The United States Bill of Rights is sent to the various States for ratification.

1864: Confederates defeat a Union attack on Saltville, Virginia, then massacre wounded Union prisoners — most of them from a black cavalry unit.

1919: U.S. President Woodrow Wilson suffers a massive stroke, which will leave him incapacitated for several weeks.

1928: The “Prelature of the Holy Cross and the Work of God” — commonly known as Opus Dei — is founded. (Opus Dei was my favorite Ron Howard character.)

1959: Rod Serling’s anthology series “The Twilight Zone” premieres on CBS with the episode “Where Is Everybody?”

1967: Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as the first African-American justice of the United States Supreme Court.

1970: An aircraft carrying the Wichita State University football team, administrators, and supporters crashes in Colorado, killing 31 people.

1980: Following his acceptance of a bribe during the Abscam sting, U.S. Representative Michael Myers becomes the first member of either chamber of Congress to be expelled since the Civil War. (That must be what led him to kill all those teen-agers 29 days later.)

1996: U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments.

2002: The Beltway sniper attacks begin; they will last for 23 days.

2007: President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea goes to North Korea for an Inter-Korean summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

On October 3,

1283: Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, is the first nobleman to be executed by hanging and drawing & quartering.

1739: The Ottoman Empire and Russia sign the Treaty of Niš at the end of the Russian–Turkish War. (It is no longer the Treaty of Niš. It is now the Treaty of Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-PTANG! Zoom, Boing! Z’nourrwringmmš.)

1789: U.S. President George Washington proclaims a Thanksgiving Day for that year.

1863: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln declares the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

1873: Chief Kintpuash and companions are hanged for their part in the Modoc War of northern California.

1919: Cincinnati Reds pitcher Adolfo Luque is the first Latino to appear in a World Series.

1942: A German V-2 rocket reaches a record 85 km — 53 miles — in altitude.

1949: WERD, the first black-owned radio station in the United States, opens in Atlanta.

1952: The United Kingdom successfully tests a nuclear weapon, becoming the world’s third nuclear power.

1957: The California State Superior Court rules that Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl and Other Poems” is not obscene.

1962: Sigma 7 launches from Cape Canaveral with Wally Schirra aboard, for a six-orbit flight.

1963: A violent coup in Honduras begins two decades of military rule.

1985: The Space Shuttle Atlantis makes its first flight.

1986: TASCC, a superconducting cyclotron at the Chalk River Laboratories in Canada, officially opens.

1990: The German Democratic Republic is abolished and becomes part of the Federal Republic of Germany.

1991: South African writer Nadine Gordimer is announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

1995: The O.J. Simpson murder case ends with a verdict of not guilty.

2008: President George W. Bush signs the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 for the U.S.

On October 4,

1363: The Battle of Lake Poyang, one of the largest naval battles in history, takes place. Zhu Yuanzhang’s rebels defeat rival Chen Youliang.

1535: The Coverdale Bible is printed, with translations into English by William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale. (Tyndale didn’t get his name on it? I wonder if he coveted his neighbor’s possessive.)

1582: Pope Gregory XIII introduces the Gregorian Calendar. (And in complete humility, lets it carry his name.)

1795: Napoleon suppresses counter-revolutionary rioters threatening the National Convention, beginning his rise to prominence.

1824: Mexico adopts a new constitution and becomes a federal republic.

1876: The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas opens as the first public college in Texas.

1883: The Orient Express has its first run. (That trip was murder.)

1895: Horace Rawlins wins the first U.S. Open Men’s Golf Championship.

1918: An explosion kills more than 100 people and destroys a shell loading plant in New Jersey.

1927: Gutzon Borglum begins the sculpting/construction of Mount Rushmore into the granite face of Six Grandfathers Mountain in South Dakota’s Black Hills. The Lakota Sioux had long considered the Black Hills to be sacred ground when the sculpture idea was conceived, and the land had been promised to them in perpetuity via treaty in 1868 — but gold was discovered there in 1877, and the U.S. confiscated the land. The sculpture was conceived by historian Jonah LeRoy Robinson, who felt it would help promote tourism in the area. Robinson had envisioned carving the faces of legends of the Old West, to include three prominent Native Americans — Sacagawea, Chief Red Cloud, and Chief Crazy Horse — in addition to Lewis & Clark and Buffalo Bill Cody. Borglum wanted figures with “broader appeal” and chose four American presidents — a further slap in the face to the Lakota people. Construction will last for 14 years, at which point lack of funding will force Borglum’s son to discontinue plans to portray the presidents from head to waist. Their faces will remain.

1936: The British Union of Fascists and various anti-fascist organizations violently clash in the Battle of Cable Street.

1941: Norman Rockwell’s Willie Gillis character debuts on the cover of “The Saturday Evening Post.”

1957: Sputnik is the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.

1958: France adopts its present-day constitution.

1963: Hurricane Flora kills 6000 in Cuba and Haiti.

1965: Pope Paul VI begins the first papal visit to the Americas.

1983: Richard Noble sets a new land speed record of 633.468 mph / 1019.468 kph at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

1985: The Free Software Foundation is founded.

1991: The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty is opened for signature.

1997: The second largest cash robbery in U.S. history occurs as a Loomis, Fargo & Co. vault supervisor and eight co-conspirators steal $17.3 million from the Loomis regional office vault in Charlotte, North Carolina.

2004: SpaceShipOne wins the Ansari X Prize for private spaceflight.

2006: WikiLeaks is launched.

On October 5,

610: Heraclius arrives at Constantinople, kills Byzantine Emperor Phocas, and becomes emperor. (Also known as Heraclius’ very busy day.)

816: King Louis the Pious is crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

1450: Louis IX, Duke of Bavaria, expels Jews from his jurisdiction.

1607: Assassins sent by the Pope attempt to kill Venetian statesman and scientist Paolo Sarpi. (Check me if I’m wrong, but that doesn’t seem like model Christian behavior.)

1789: The Women’s March on Versailles effectively terminates royal authority in France. (The king shouldn’t have grabbed them by the bourgeoisie.)

1857: The city of Anaheim, California is founded.

1869: The Hennepin Island tunnel — a tunnel under the Mississippi River in present-day Minneapolis — collapses during construction, nearly destroying St. Anthony Falls.

1905: The Wright brothers pilot the Wright Flyer III in a new world record flight of 24 miles in 39 minutes.

1910: In a revolution in Portugal, the monarchy is overthrown and a republic is declared.

1911: The Kowloon–Canton Railway commences service.

1921: The World Series is broadcast on radio for the first time.

1938: Nazi Germany invalidates Jewish citizens’ passports, preventing their flight from persecution.

1943: Japanese forces execute 98 American POWs on Wake Island.

1945: A six-month strike by Hollywood set decorators turns into a bloody riot at the gates of the Warner Brothers studio.

1947: U.S. President Harry Truman makes the first televised address from the Oval Office.

1966: A reactor at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station near Detroit suffers a partial meltdown.

1970: The Public Broadcasting Service — PBS — is founded. (It was a sunny day. Everything was A-okay.)

1982: Tylenol products are recalled after tampered bottles in Chicago caused seven deaths from cyanide poisoning.

1984: Marc Garneau becomes the first Canadian in space.

1986: Mordechai Vanunu’s story in “The Sunday Times” reveals Israel’s secret nuclear weapons.

2000: Mass demonstrations in Serbia force President Slobodan Milošević to resign.

On October 6,

23: Rebels decapitate Wang Mang two days after his capital was sacked during a peasant rebellion.

404: Byzantine Empress Eudoxia dies from the miscarriage of her seventh pregnancy.

1539: Spain’s DeSoto expedition takes over the Apalachee capital of Anhaica for their winter quarters. (“Hi, we’re from another country, but we need a place to stay. Your place is ours now.”)

1683: Immigrant families found Germantown, Pennsylvania in the first major German immigration to America.

1777: British forces capture Forts Clinton and Montgomery on the Hudson River.

1789: King Louis XVI is forced to change his residence from Versailles to the Tuileries Palace. (The revolution was upon him and he was trying to keep ahead.)

1884: The Naval War College of the United States is founded in Rhode Island.

1898: Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the largest American music fraternity, is founded at the New England Conservatory of Music.

1903: The High Court of Australia sits for the first time. (Boy, their legs must have been sore by then.)

1927: “The Jazz Singer” — the first prominent “talkie” movie — premieres.

1973: Egypt and Syria launch coordinated attacks against Israel, beginning the Yom Kippur War.

1979: Pope John Paul II is the first pope to visit the White House.

1981: Islamic extremists murder Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

1995: The first planet orbiting another sun, 51 Pegasi b, is discovered.

2007: Jason Lewis completes the first human-powered circumnavigation of the Earth.

2010: Instagram is founded.

On October 7,

1691: The charter for the Province of Massachusetts Bay is issued.

1763: King George III issues the Royal Proclamation of 1763, closing indigenous lands north and west of the Alleghenies to white settlements.

1777: Americans defeat the British in the Second Battle of Saratoga, also known as the Battle of Bemis Heights.

1826: The Granite Railway begins operations; it is the first chartered railway in the U.S.

1868: Cornell University holds opening day ceremonies. Its initial student enrollment is 412 — the highest at any American university to date.

1870: Léon Gambetta escapes the siege of Paris in a hot-air balloon. (How did no one notice a hot-air balloon flying up and out of the city?)

1916: Georgia Tech defeats Cumberland University 222–0 in the most lopsided college football game in American history. (Can you imagine the Herculean effort of Cumberland’s coach to raise the team’s spirits after that?)

1933: Air France is inaugurated, a merger of five French airlines.

1940: The McCollum memo, a U.S. Naval Intelligence memo issued more than a year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, recommends eight actions for the U.S. to take with regard to the Japanese Empire in the South Pacific. One of those actions is to bring the U.S. into World War II by provoking the Japanese into attacking us.

1944: During an uprising at Birkenau concentration camp, Jewish prisoners burn down Crematorium IV.

1949: The communist German Democratic Republic — East Germany — is formed.

1950: Mother Teresa establishes the Missionaries of Charity.

1958: The U.S. manned spaceflight project is renamed Project Mercury.

1959: The Soviet probe Luna 3 transmits the first-ever photographs of the far side of the Moon. (Roger Waters takes notice.)

1963: U.S. President John F. Kennedy signs the ratification of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

1985: Four men from the Palestine Liberation Front hijack the MS Achille Lauro off the coast of Egypt.

1987: Sikh nationalists declare the independence of Khalistan from India; it is not internationally recognized.

1988: Inupiaq hunter Roy Ahmaogak discovers three gray whales trapped in pack ice near Alaska and tries to free them with a chainsaw. The situation will become a multinational effort to free the whales, dubbed “Operation Breakthrough.” The youngest whale will die during the process. The remaining two will disappear after icebreakers create an escape path, assumed to have made it out to open water.

1993: The flood of ’93 ends at St. Louis, Missouri after 103 days, as the Mississippi River falls below flood stage.

1996: Fox News Channel begins broadcasting. (It will take them only 20 years to break the country.)

1998: Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, is found tied to a fence with severe wounds from a beating he received at the hands of two men in Laramie, Wyoming. He will die five days later.

2001: The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan begins with an air assault and covert operations on the ground.

2002: The Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on STS-112 to continue assembly of the International Space Station.

2008: Asteroid 2008 TC3 impacts the Earth over Sudan, the first time an asteroid impact is detected prior to its entry into earth’s atmosphere.

On October 8,

1480: The Great Stand on the Ugra River ends Tartar rule over Moscow. (An effective tooth-brushing routine would have done the same thing, but whatever.)

1645: Jeanne Mance opens the first lay hospital in North America.

1871: The Great Chicago Fire and the Peshtigo Fire break out.

1918: Assuming command of the seven remaining men from his platoon during a battle to capture a hill near Chatel-Chéhéry, France, U.S. Army Corporal Alvin C. York — the future Sergeant York — leads an attack on a German machine gun nest. He gains a machine gun, kills 28 German soldiers, and captures 132. He will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions.

1921: At Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, KDKA conducts the first live broadcast of a football game.

1939: Following its September invasion, Germany annexes western Poland.

1956: The New York Yankees’ Don Larsen pitches the only perfect game in a World Series.

1967: Guerilla leader Che Guevara and his men are captured in Bolivia.

1973: Israel loses more than 150 tanks in a failed attack on Egyptian-occupied positions during the Yom Kippur War.

1974: Franklin National Bank collapses due to fraud and mismanagement; it is the largest bank failure in the history of the United States at that time.

1982: Poland bans Solidarity and all other trade unions.

Elsewhere, “Cats” opens on Broadway. It will run for nearly 18 years before closing on September 10, 2000. (That’s a lot of memories.)

1990: Israeli police kill 17 Palestinians and wound more than 100 near the Dome of the Rock.

2001: A twin engine Cessna and a Scandinavian Airlines System jetliner collide in heavy fog during takeoff from Milan, Italy, killing 118 people.

2001: U.S. President George W. Bush announces the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security. (Cue ominous music.)

2014: Thomas Eric Duncan — a Liberian visitor who was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States — dies of the disease.

On October 9,

768: Carloman I and Charlemagne are crowned kings of the Franks. (But they weren’t named Frank; shouldn’t they have been crowned kings of the guys whose names start with “C,” have “arl” in the middle, and end in “man” or “magne?”)

1446: The hangul alphabet is published in Korea. (Korean children immediately begin playing a letter guessing game called “hangul man.”)

1604: Supernova 1604 is sighted. It is to date the most recent supernova to be observed within the Milky Way.

1635: Roger Williams is banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony after religious and policy disagreements.

1701: The Collegiate School of Connecticut is chartered in Old Saybrook; it will later be renamed Yale University. (“Collegiate” means college-like, so Yale is a college-like school, I guess?)

1740: Dutch colonists and Javanese natives begin massacring the ethnic Chinese population in Batavia; they will eventually kill 10,000.

1812: In a naval engagement on Lake Erie, American forces capture two British ships: HMS Detroit and HMS Caledonia.

1824: Slavery is abolished in Costa Rica.

1847: Slavery is abolished in Saint Barthélemy.

1873: A meeting at the U.S. Naval Academy establishes the U.S. Naval Institute.

1874: The Treaty of Bern creates the Universal Postal Union.

1913: The steamship SS Volturno catches fire in the mid-Atlantic.

1919: The Cincinnati Reds win the World Series, which will result in the Black Sox Scandal. Eight players from the Chicago White Sox will be accused of having thrown the series in return for money from a gambling syndicate. After their indictment, the “Chicago Daily News” will publish a piece aimed at one of them — star outfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson — entitled, “Say it ain’t so, Joe.” The phrase will do down in history. The ten players not implicated, along with manager Kid Gleason, will receive bonus checks making up the difference between the winners’ and losers’ share for playing in the Series. The eight “Black Sox” will eventually be acquitted, but will be banned from the sport for life.

1936: Boulder Dam, which will later become Hoover Dam, begins generating electricity and transmitting it to Los Angeles.

1963: In Italy, a large landslide a causes a giant wave to overtop the Vajont Dam, killing over 2,000.

1966: South Korean troops commit the Binh Tai Massacre, killing 168 villagers in South Vietnam.

1967: A day after his capture, Ernesto “Che” Guevara is executed for having attempted to incite a revolution in Bolivia.

1969: In Chicago, the National Guard is called in as demonstrations continue over the trial of the “Chicago Eight.” (These eight won’t have a colorful nickname like the eight from 50 years prior.)

1970: The Khmer Republic is proclaimed in Cambodia.

1980: Pope John Paul II greets the Dalai Lama during a private audience in Vatican City.

1981: President François Mitterrand abolishes capital punishment in France.

1986: “The Phantom of the Opera” — which will become the second-longest-running musical in London — opens at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

1995: An Amtrak Sunset Limited train is derailed by saboteurs near Palo Verde, Arizona.

2003: Mission: Space opens to the public in Walt Disney World.

2006: North Korea conducts its first nuclear test.

2009: The first lunar impact occurs from NASA’s Lunar Precursor Robotic Program.

2012: Pakistani Taliban attempt to assassinate outspoken schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai.

2019: Turkey begins its military offensive in northeastern Syria.

On October 10,

1780: The Great Hurricane of 1780 kills 20,000–30,000 in the Caribbean.

1845: The Naval School opens with 50 students in Annapolis, Maryland. It will later be renamed the United States Naval Academy.

1846: English astronomer William Lassell discovers Triton, the largest moon of the planet Neptune. (Neptune’s triton? I see what they did there.)

1871: The Great Chicago Fire begins around 9:00 p.m., in or around a small barn near 137 DeKoven Street. It will last into October 10, killing about 300 people, destroying about 3.3 square miles of the city, and leaving more than 100,000 people homeless.

1913: U.S. President Woodrow Wilson triggers the explosion of the Gamboa Dike, completing major construction on the Panama Canal.

1933: A United Airlines Boeing 247 is destroyed by sabotage; it is the first such proven case in the history of commercial aviation.

1963: The Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty comes into effect.

1964: The Tokyo Summer Olympics opening ceremony is the first to be relayed live by satellites.

1966: The Beach Boys release “Good Vibrations” — one of their biggest singles, ranked the 6th greatest song ever by “Rolling Stone.”

1967: The Outer Space Treaty comes into force.

1973: U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns in the wake of being charged with federal income tax evasion.

2018: Hurricane Michael makes landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane. It kills 57 people in the United States and causes an estimated $25.1 billion in damage.

On October 11,

1138: A massive earthquake strikes Aleppo; it is one of the most destructive earthquakes ever.

1311: The peerage and clergy restrict the authority of English kings with the Ordinances of 1311. (We could use their help today.)

1614: The New Netherland Company applies to the States General of the Netherlands for exclusive trading rights in what is now the northeastern United States.

1767: Surveying is completed for the Mason–Dixon line, separating Maryland from Pennsylvania. (That’s right — the fabled line we’ve always thought to separate North and South, puts Maryland in the South.)

1776: A fleet of American boats on Lake Champlain is defeated by the Royal Navy, but the battle delays the British advance until 1777.

1811: The Juliana begins operation as the first steam-powered ferry in New York harbor.

1862: Confederate troops conduct a raid on Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

1865: Hundreds of Black men and women march in Jamaica, starting the Morant Bay rebellion.

1890: In Washington, D.C., the Daughters of the American Revolution is founded.

1906: San Francisco sparks a diplomatic crisis between the United States and Japan by ordering segregated schools for Japanese students.

1910: Piloted by Arch Hoxsey, Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane.

1937: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor begin a 12-day tour of Nazi Germany, during which they will meet Hitler.

1950: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission gives the first license for a field-sequential color system for television, to CBS.

1954: In accord with the 1954 Geneva Conference, French troops complete their withdrawal from North Vietnam.

1958: NASA launches Pioneer 1, its first space probe. The flight will last for 43 hours, but the probe will fail to achieve a stable orbit due to guidance error. It will be destroyed upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.

1968: NASA launches Apollo 7, the first successful manned Apollo mission.

1972: A race riot occurs on the United States Navy aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, off the coast of Vietnam.

1976: George Washington is posthumously promoted to the grade of General of the Armies. (He doesn’t do much after his promotion.)

1984: Space Shuttle Challenger astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes the first American woman to perform a space walk.

1986: U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Iceland to continue discussions about scaling back IRBM arsenals in Europe.

1987: The AIDS Memorial Quilt is first displayed, during the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

1991: Professor Anita Hill delivers her televised testimony concerning sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas, who has been nominated for the Supreme Court. (This may shock you, but Thomas will become a Supreme Court Justice anyway.)

2000: NASA launches the 100th Space Shuttle mission.

2001: The Polaroid Corporation files for federal bankruptcy protection.

On October 12,

1279: The Nichiren Shōshū branch of Buddhism is founded in Japan.

1492: Christopher Columbus’ first expedition makes landfall in The Bahamas. (He was aiming for India. Remarkably, he kept his job. Even more remarkably, the event is commemorated in the U.S.)

1692: A letter from the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Province ends the Salem witch trials.

1773: America’s first insane asylum — Public Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds, in Williamsburg, Virginia — admits its first patients.

1792: The first celebration of Columbus Day is held in New York City. (They celebrated a guy who was bad at his job — except for the part of his job that involved torturing and mutilating Native Americans. He was quite competent at that part.)

1793: The cornerstone of Old East is laid; it is the oldest state university building in the United States, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

1799: Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse becomes the first woman to jump from a balloon with a parachute. (Why the balloon had its own parachute, we’ll never know.)

1810: The citizens of Munich hold the first Oktoberfest.

1847: Werner von Siemens founds Siemens & Halske, which later becomes Siemens AG.

1871: The British in India enact the Criminal Tribes Act, naming many local communities “Criminal Tribes.”

1892: U.S. public school students recite The Pledge of Allegiance for the first time.

1901: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt officially renames the “Executive Mansion” as “the White House.”

1915: British nurse Edith Cavell is executed by a German firing squad for having helped Allied soldiers escape from Belgium.

1918: A massive forest fire kills 453 people in Minnesota.

1928: An iron lung respirator is used for the first time, at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

1933: The military Alcatraz Citadel becomes the civilian Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary.

1945: Desmond Doss is the first conscientious objector to receive the U.S. Medal of Honor. A deeply religious man who believed in non-violence, Doss had been offered a deferment due to his job at a shipyard, instead choosing to enlist — but refusing to carry a weapon. He served as a U.S. Army medic and received the Bronze Star Medal for his actions in Guam and the Philippines. He received the Medal of Honor for having saved 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa.

1960: Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a desk at the United Nations to protest a Philippine assertion.

Elsewhere, Japan Socialist Party leader Inejiro Asanuma is stabbed to death during a live Television broadcast. (Which kinda makes a Philippine assertion seem like a petty thing to get worked up about, Nikita.)

1963: The Soviet Union releases Jesuit missionary Reverend Walter Ciszek after nearly 23 years of imprisonment.

1964: The Soviet Union launches the Voskhod 1 into Earth orbit; it is the first spacecraft with a multi-person crew, and the first flight without pressure suits.

1970: Vietnamization continues as U.S. President Richard Nixon announces that the United States will withdraw 40,000 more troops from Vietnam before Christmas.

1971: The 2500-year celebration of the Persian Empire begins. (Wow, 2500 years is a long party; I’d probably have to have tapped out after a couple hours.)

1984: The Provisional Irish Republican Army attempts to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet. They fail, but the bomb kills five people and wounds 31.

1994: The Magellan spacecraft burns up in the atmosphere of Venus.

1998: Matthew Shepard, a gay student at University of Wyoming, dies five days after having been beaten and abandoned outside of Laramie.

2000: Two suicide bombers damage the USS Cole, a US Navy destroyer, killing 17 crew members and wounding at least 39.

2005: The second Chinese human spaceflight — Shenzhou 6 — is launched, carrying two cosmonauts in orbit for five days.

2017: The United States announces its decision to withdraw from UNESCO and is immediately followed by Israel.

2018: Princess Eugenie marries Jack Brooksbank at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

2019: The Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans collapses during construction, killing two and injuring 20.

On October 13,

54: Roman emperor Claudius dies from poisoning under mysterious circumstances.

1269: The present-day church building at Westminster Abbey is consecrated.

1307: Hundreds of Knights Templar in France are arrested at dawn by King Phillip the Fair, and later confess under torture to heresy. (That treatment doesn’t exactly live up to Phillip’s moniker.)

1775: The Continental Congress establishes the Continental Navy — the predecessor of the United States Navy.

1792: In Washington, D.C., the cornerstone of the United States Executive Mansion — what will one day be called the White House — is laid.

1821: The Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire is publicly proclaimed.

1843: B’nai B’rith — the oldest Jewish service organization in the world — is founded in New York City.

1884: The International Meridian Conference establishes the meridian of the Greenwich Observatory as the prime meridian.

1885: The Georgia Institute of Technology is founded in Atlanta.

1903: The Boston Red Sox win the first modern World Series, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth game, five games to three. (Either the rules have changed, or they weren’t satisfied winning four games to three.)

1908: While being escorted around the British Parliament buildings as a visitor, suffragette Margaret Travers Symons breaks away from her escort, bursts into the House of Commons, and shouts “Votes for women!” before being escorted from the building. This makes her the first woman to speak before the House of Commons. (It would have been cool if a bunch of singing, dancing chimney sweeps appeared in the chamber, singing “Votes for women! Step in time!”)

1917: An estimated 70,000 people witness “the Miracle of the Sun” — aka “the Miracle of Fátima” in Portugal. Prophesied by three shepherd children, the miracle is reported to have involved the sun appearing to zig-zag in the sky, careen toward Earth, and emit radiant colors for ten minutes. (The same thing will one day be experienced by 70,000 fans at Woodstock, but that will be due to chemical, not miracle.)

1943: Marshal Pietro Badoglio announces that Italy has officially declared war on Germany.

1946: France adopts the constitution of the Fourth Republic.

1962: A cyclone equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane, with winds above 150 mph, kills 46 people in the Pacific Northwest.

1972: Aeroflot Flight 217 crashes outside Moscow, killing 174.

Elsewhere, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashes in the Andes mountains. Of the 28 survivors, 12 will perish before they can be rescued on December 23.

1976: Dr. F. A. Murphy produces the first electron micrograph of an Ebola virus, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1983: Ameritech Mobile Communications launches the first US cellular network, in Chicago.

2010: The mining accident in Copiapó, Chile ends as all 33 trapped miners arrive at the surface after a record 69 days underground.

2013: A stampede occurs in India during the Hindu festival Navratri, killing 115 and injuring more than 110.

2019: Kenyan Brigid Kosgei runs the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04, a new world record for a woman.

On October 14,

1066: The Battle of Hastings marks the official start of the Norman conquest of England.

1884: George Eastman receives a patent on his paper-strip film. (If only someone had gotten a picture of the occasion for him.)

1908: Defeating the Detroit Tigers 2-0, the Chicago Cubs win their last World Series for 108 years.

1912: En route to a campaign speech in Milwaukee, former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt is shot in the chest by John Flammang Schrank. After Schrank is apprehended, the wounded Roosevelt shouts for him to remain unharmed, then proceeds to give his speech. (Baller move.)

1926: A.A. Milne publishes “Winnie-the-Pooh.”

1933: Germany withdraws from the League of Nations and World Disarmament Conference. (In literature, this would have been known as “foreshadowing.”)

1947: Chuck Yeagar becomes the first human to exceed the speed of sound. (With the aid of a rocket plane, of course.)

1962: An American recon aircraft photographs the installation of Soviet ballistic missiles in Cuba, the precursor to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1964: Martin Luther King Jr. receives the Nobel Peace Prize for using nonviolence to fight racial inequality.

1968: The Apollo 7 crew holds the first live TV broadcast by American astronauts in orbit.

Elsewhere, Jim Hines runs the 100-meter sprint in 9.95 seconds, breaking the ten-second barrier.

1977: While Anita Bryant touts her anti-homosexuality, anti-gay rights views at a televised press conference in Des Moines, Iowa, Thom Higgins — one of several protesters at the event — rushes on-camera and smashes a pie into her face. She responds with a homophobic slur, “Well, at least it’s a fruit pie,” then begins to pray “for him to be delivered from his deviant lifestyle” before bursting into tears.

1979: About 100,000 people participate in the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

1982: Ronald Reagan declares War on Drugs.

1998: Eric Rudolph is charged with six bombings, including the 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta.

2012: Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner becomes the first human to break the sound barrier without a vehicle, jumping to earth from a helium balloon in the stratosphere. During his 24-mile descent, he reaches an estimated top speed of 843.6mph, or Mach 1.25. (Hear that, Chuck Yeagar? Felix didn’t need a rocket plane!)

On October 15,

1582: Adoption of the Gregorian calendar begins, eventually leading to near-global use.

1783: Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier pilots the Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon in the first human ascent.

1793: Queen Marie Antoinette of France is tried and convicted, and condemned to death the following day. (I guess they didn’t like their cake.)

1815: Napoleon begins his exile on Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

1863: The H. L. Hunley — the first submarine to sink a ship — sinks, killing its inventor. (Literally. Not like, it killed him to see his invention destroyed. He was onboard, and sank with it.)

1878: The Edison Electric Light Company begins operation. (I hope Edison yelled, “Hey, you guyyys!”)

1879: The Segura River floods in southeastern Spain, killing 1077 people.

1888: Investigators receive the infamous “From Hell” letter allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper.

1910: Airship America is launched from New Jersey in the first attempt to cross the Atlantic by a powered aircraft, with a crew of six men and one cat brought aboard for luck. One of the ship’s two engines fails in four hours, but the crew will continue the flight. After various other problems develop, the crew and cat will abandon the ship just short of three days into the flight — half of the time it was expected to take to cross at 20 mph. They will attract the attention of a passing steamship with a Morse lamp, requesting to contact it via wireless. After communicating their plan by wireless, the crew and cat enter the lifeboat and detach it from the airship. Without the lifeboat’s weight, the airship will drift upward and out of sight, never to be seen again. The steamship will recover the crew and cat. (I guess it brought them luck in that sense?)

1917: France executes Dutch dancer Mata Hari for espionage. (Lancelot Link is outraged, and decides it was probably Baron von Butcher, not France, who killed Mata.)

1923: Germany introduces the Rentenmark to counter hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic.

1928: The airship Graf Zeppelin completes its first trans-Atlantic flight, landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey. (I bet they had *two* cats onboard.)

1932: Tata Airlines, which will later become Air India, makes its first flight.

1939: The New York Municipal Airport is dedicated; it will later be renamed LaGuardia Airport.

1945: The former premier of Vichy France, Pierre Laval, is executed for treason.

1951: Mexican chemist Luis E. Miramontes completes the synthesis of norethisterone, the basis of an early oral contraceptive. (Ironically giving birth to a trend.)

1954: Hurricane Hazel devastates the eastern seaboard of North America, killing 95 and causing massive floods as far north as Toronto.

1956: FORTRAN — the first modern computer language — is shared with the coding community for the first time. (I’ve programmed in FORTRAN and believe me, the coding community should have given it right back.)

1965: During an anti-war rally, activist David Miller burns his draft card in defiance of a new law prohibiting the act. The FBI will later arrest him; he will be sentenced to two years in prison.

1966: Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seal create the Black Panther Party. (Forrest Gump has a fight in the middle of it.)

1989: Wayne Gretzky becomes the all-time leading points scorer in the NHL.

1990: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev receives the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to reduce Cold War tensions and open up his nation.

1991: The Oh-My-God particle — an ultrahigh-energy cosmic ray measured at 40,000,000 times that of the highest-energy protons produced in a particle accelerator — is detected by the Fly’s Eye camera at the University of Utah HiRes observatory in Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.

1994: The Clinton administration returns Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to the island.

1995: Marco Campos dies during a race at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, the only driver ever killed in the International Formula 3000 series.

1997: The Cassini probe launches from Cape Canaveral for Saturn.

2001: NASA’s Galileo spacecraft passes within 112 miles of Jupiter’s moon Io.

2003: China launches Shenzhou 5, its first manned space mission.

2005: A neo-Nazi protest against African-American street gangs sets off a riot in Toledo, Ohio. Twenty-nine people are arrested.

2006: The 6.7Mw Kiholo Bay earthquake rocks Hawaii, causing property damage, injuries, landslides, power outages, and the closure of Honolulu International Airport.

2007: Seventeen activists in New Zealand are arrested in the country’s first post-9/11 anti-terrorism raids.

2008: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes down 733.08 points, or 7.87% — the second-worst percentage drop in the Dow’s history at that time. (Leading 2020 to say, “Hold my year.”)

On October 16,

1384: Jadwiga is crowned King of Poland, although she is a woman. (The story is confusing and I don’t have the energy to parse it out; sorry.)

1780: The British-led Royalton raid is the last Native American raid on New England.

1793: French Queen Marie Antoinette is executed.

1817: Simón Bolívar sentences Manuel Piar to death for challenging the racial caste in Venezuela.

1834: Much of the ancient structure of London’s Palace of Westminster burns to the ground.

1843: William Rowan Hamilton invents quaternions, a three-dimensional system of complex numbers. (Because regular numbers aren’t complex enough.)

1846: Prior to surgery, dentist William T. G. Morton administers ether to his patient in the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia.

1847: “Jane Eyre” is published in London.

1859: Abolitionist John Brown leads a raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

1869: Well diggers “discover” the Cardiff Giant, a fake petrified giant planted on the site by George Hull in one of the most famous American hoaxes.

1869: Girton College, Cambridge is founded; it is England’s first residential college for women.

1875: Brigham Young University is founded in Provo, Utah.

1882: The Nickel Plate Railroad opens for business.

1909: William Howard Taft and Porfirio Díaz hold the first summit between a U.S. and a Mexican president, during which they narrowly escape assassination by a man standing along their procession route.

1916: Margaret Sanger opens the first family planning clinic in the United States.

1919: Hitler delivers his first public address at a meeting of the German Workers’ Party.

1923: The Walt Disney Company is founded.

1939: No. 603 Squadron RAF intercepts the first Luftwaffe raid on Britain.

1946: Ten guilty Nuremberg trial defendants are executed by hanging.

1950: “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is published. (Without the Oxford comma, my respect, or decent editing.)

1951: The first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, is assassinated in Rawalpindi.

1962: The Cuban missile crisis begins when Kennedy is informed of October 14 U-2 photos showing nuclear missiles. The crisis will last for 13 days starting from this point.

1964: China detonates its first nuclear weapon.

Elsewhere, Leonid Brezhnev becomes leader of the Soviet Communist Party, while Alexei Kosygin becomes the head of government.

1968: Tommie Smith and John Carlos are ejected from the US Olympic team for participating in the Olympics Black Power salute.

1975: Three-year-old Rahima Banu, from Bangladesh, is the last known case of naturally occurring smallpox.

1978: Pope John Paul II becomes the first non-Italian pontiff since 1523.

1984: Desmond Tutu receives the Nobel Peace Prize.

1995: The Million Man March takes place in Washington, D.C.

1996: Eighty-four football fans die and 180 are injured in a massive crush at a match in Guatemala City. (Soccer. It’s referring to soccer.)

1998: Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is arrested in London on a murder extradition warrant.

On October 17,

1091: A tornado thought to be of strength T8/F4 strikes the heart of London. (When it hit the local jail, it led to the colorful British phrase, “Don’t get your twisters in a knick.”)

1604: Kepler’s Supernova is observed in the constellation of Ophiuchus.

1660: The Nine regicides who signed the death warrant of Charles I of England are hanged and drawn and quartered.

1777: British General John Burgoyne surrenders his army at Saratoga, New York.

1781: British General Charles Cornwallis surrenders during the Siege of Yorktown.

1814: When a 22-foot vat of porter bursts at Meux & Co’s Horse Shoe Brewery, the resulting “London Beer Flood” claims the lives of at least eight people. (But they die happy.)

1817: The tomb of Pharaoh Seti I is discovered.

1888: Thomas Edison files a patent for the Optical Phonograph.

1907: Marconi begins the first commercial transatlantic wireless service.

1919: RCA is incorporated as the Radio Corporation of America.

1931: Al Capone is convicted of income tax evasion.

1933: Albert Einstein flees Nazi Germany and moves to the United States.

1940: The body of Communist propagandist Willi Münzenberg is found in South France, starting a never-solved mystery.

1941: The USS Kearny is the first U.S. Navy vessel to be torpedoed by a U-boat.

1956: Queen Elizabeth II officially opens the world’s first commercial full-scale nuclear power station — Calder Hall, in Sellafield, England.

Elsewhere, Bobby Fischer defeats Donald Byrne in the chess “Game of the Century.”

1961: Directed by their chief Maurice Papon, Paris police massacre scores of Algerian protesters.

1965: The 1964–65 New York World’s Fair closes after two years and more than 51 million attendees. (Wait, so it was actually the 1963-65 New York World’s Fair? False advertising!)

1973: OPEC imposes an oil embargo against countries they deem to have helped Israel in the Yom Kippur War.

1979: Mother Teresa is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Elsewhere, the Department of Education Organization Act creates the U.S. Department of Education.

1992: Having gone to the wrong house, Japanese student Yoshihiro Hattori is killed by a homeowner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

1994: Russian journalist Dmitry Kholodov is assassinated while investigating corruption in the armed forces.

2001: Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi is the first Israeli minister to be assassinated in a terrorist attack.

2005: “The Colbert Report” premieres on Comedy Central.

2018: The recreational use of cannabis is legalized in Canada. (Twinkie sales rise dramatically.)

On October 18,

1009: Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah demolishes the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

1540: Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto’s forces destroy the fortified town of Mabila in present-day Alabama, killing Paramount Chief Tuskaloosa.

1851: Herman Melville publishes “Moby-Dick” under the name “The Whale.” (The different name doesn’t make the book any easier to read.)

1867: The United States takes possession of Alaska via a $7.2 million purchase from Russia.

1922: The British Broadcasting Company — later Corporation — is founded. (The different name doesn’t make the station any easier to watch.)

1929: The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council overrules the Supreme Court of Canada in Edwards v. Canada when it declares that women are considered “Persons” under Canadian law.

1945: The USSR’s nuclear program receives plans for the United States’ plutonium bomb from spy Klaus Fuchs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

1951: The Studio for Electronic Music is established at the West German Broadcasting facility in Cologne, creating the first modern music studio.

1954: Texas Instruments announces the first transistor radio. (They announce it on the radio, but most people miss the announcement.)

1963: Félicette, a black and white female Parisian stray, is the first cat launched into space.

1967: The Soviet probe Venera 4 reaches Venus and becomes the first spacecraft to measure the atmosphere of another planet.

1979: The Federal Communications Commission begins allowing people to have home satellite earth stations without a federal government license.

2019: NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch conduct the first all-female spacewalk outside of the International Space Station.

On October 19,

1216: King John of England dies at Newark-on-Trent and is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry.

1512: Martin Luther becomes a doctor of theology. (He is, however, unable to cure it.)

1596: The Spanish ship San Felipe runs aground on the coast of Japan and its cargo is confiscated by local authorities.

1781: The siege of Yorktown comes to an end.

1789: John Jay is sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the United States.

1864: The Battle of Cedar Creek ends the last Confederate threat to Washington, D.C.

Elsewhere, Confederate agents based in Canada rob three banks in Saint Albans, Vermont. (There’s probably a statue somewhere honoring them.)

1866: In accordance with the Treaty of Vienna, Austria cedes Veneto and Mantua to France, which immediately awards them to Italy in exchange for the earlier Italian acquiescence to the French annexation of Savoy and Nice. (So they were the players to be named later?)

1900: Max Planck discovers Planck’s law of black-body radiation.

1943: Researchers at Rutgers University isolate Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis. (Anti-vaxxers being formulating conspiracy theories pertaining to its side effects.)

1950: Iran is the first country to accept technical assistance from the United States under the Point Four Program.

1960: The United States imposes a near-total trade embargo on Cuba.

1973: U.S. President Richard Nixon rejects an Appeals Court decision that he turn over the Watergate tapes.

1987: The United States Navy conducts Operation Nimble Archer, an attack on two Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf. (Again, who comes up with these operation names?)

Elsewhere, Black Monday occurs as the Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 22%, or 508 points.

2003: Pope John Paul II beatifies Mother Teresa. (Sounds like a euphemism.)

2005: Saddam Hussein goes on trial in Baghdad for crimes against humanity.

On October 20,

1568: The Spanish Duke of Alba defeats a Dutch rebel force under William the Silent. (No wonder the rebels lost; they couldn’t hear his commands.)

1720: The Royal Navy captures Caribbean pirate Calico Jack.

1803: The United States Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase.

1818: The United States and the United Kingdom sign the Convention of 1818, settling the Canada–United States border — mostly on the 49th parallel.

1941: Thousands of civilians in German-occupied Serbia are murdered in the Kragujevac massacre.

1944: Liquefied natural gas leaks from storage tanks and then explodes in Cleveland, Ohio, leveling 30 blocks and killing 130 people.

Elsewhere, American general Douglas MacArthur fulfills his promise to return to the Philippines when he commands an Allied assault on the islands.

1947: In the U.S., the House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into alleged Communist infiltration of the Hollywood film industry. Accusations will result in a blacklist that will prevent some from working in the industry for years.

1951: The “Johnny Bright incident” occurs in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where the Drake Bulldogs are playing against Oklahoma A&M College — today’s Oklahoma State University. The Bulldogs’ halfback/quarterback, Johnny Bright, is a nationally prominent African-American player — which draws the ire of Oklahoma A&M. Prior to the game, the A&M players — allegedly at their coaches’ instruction — planned to target Bright. A&M students had even claimed Bright would not be around by the game’s end. He is knocked unconscious three times during the first seven minutes of the game, due to blows from defensive tackle Wilbanks Smith. One of the hits occurs behind the play, after Bright has already handed off the ball. Smith elbows him in the face, breaking his jaw. Bright stays in for a few plays, completing a 61-yard touchdown pass before the injury forces him to leave the game. It is the first time in his three-year collegiate career that he finishes a game with less than 100 yards. A&M wins the game, 27-14. “Des Moines Register” photographers John Robinson and Don Ultang, who set up a camera focused on Bright after hearing the rumors of him being targeted, manage to capture a six-image sequence of the jaw-breaking late hit. It will win them a Pulitzer Prize the following year. Reporter Bob Spiegel will publish a report on the incident in the Oct. 30 issue, quoting students claiming to have heard an A&M coach repeatedly saying, “Get that n—-r.” A&M President Oliver Willham will deny any wrongdoing even after the evidence is published nationwide, starting a cover-up that will last more than half a century. Drake and Bradley University will withdraw from the Missouri Valley Conference when it becomes obvious that no disciplinary action will be taken against Smith. The incident will provoke the NCAA into changing some rules and mandating more protective helmets — with face guards. Once a Heisman Trophy contender, Bright will finish fifth in the balloting after his stats decline for the season. He will graduate the following year and go on to play for 12 years in the Canadian Football League, retiring as their all-time leading rusher and later being inducted into their Hall of Fame. Smith will receive more than 1000 letters about the incident — most of them hate mail and death threats, but some congratulating and/or thanking him. He will never apologize for the incident, and will maintain it was not racially motivated. In 2005, Oklahoma State University President David Schmidly will mail a formal apology to Drake President David Maxwell — 22 years after Bright’s death.

1952: The Governor of Kenya declares a state of emergency and begins arresting hundreds of suspected leaders of the Mau Mau Uprising.

1961: The Soviet Union performs the first armed test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, launching an R-13 from a Golf-class submarine.

1968: Former U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.

1973: The “Saturday Night Massacre” occurs as U.S. President Richard Nixon fires U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refuse to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who is finally fired by Robert Bork.

Elsewhere, Queen Elizabeth II opens the Sydney Opera House after 14 years of construction.

1977: Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd’s airplane crashes, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines.

On October 21,

1512: Martin Luther joins the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg.

1520: Ferdinand Magellan discovers a strait in Chile, facilitating passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. The strait will be named after him. (News flash: The strait is actually curved.)

1600: Tokugawa Ieyasu defeats the leaders of rival Japanese clans in the Battle of Sekigahara and becomes shōgun of Japan.

1774: The flag of Taunton, Massachusetts is the first to include the word “Liberty.” (Luke Skywalker spent a night inside that town a long time ago.)

1797: In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun U.S. Navy frigate USS Constitution launches.

1824: Portland cement is patented.

1854: Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses are sent to the Crimean War.

1867: The Medicine Lodge Treaty is signed by southern Great Plains Indian leaders, forcing Native American Plains tribes to relocate to a reservation in western Oklahoma.

1879: Thomas Edison applies for a patent for his design for an incandescent light bulb.

1892: In Chicago, opening ceremonies are held for the World’s Columbian Exposition. Construction delays will postpone the actual opening until May 1, 1893.

1921: U.S. President Warren G. Harding delivers the first speech by a sitting U.S. President against lynching in the deep South.

1940: Ernest Hemingway publishes “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” (Spoiler alert: It tolls for thee.)

1944: The first kamikaze attack occurs, damaging HMAS Australia during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Elsewhere, Soviet troops massacre German civilians in Nemmersdorf, Germany.

1945: French women vote for the first time.

1956: The Mau Mau Uprising is defeated in Kenya.

1959: In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opens to the public.

Elsewhere, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower approves the transfer of all Army space-related activities to NASA, including most of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency.

1967: The National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam organizes a march of fifty thousand people from the Lincoln Memorial to the Pentagon. During the protest, a young man begins placing carnations into the barrels of the M14 rifles being wielded by the soldiers of the 503rd Military Police Battalion as they face off with the protesters. “Washington Star” photographer captures the moment the man — later identified as 18-year-old George Edgerly Harris III — carefully places one of the carnations into a barrel that has been leveled at him. The photograph will be called “Flower Power” and will be nominated for the 1967 Pulitzer Prize.

1969: A Somali coup d’état establishes a Marxist–Leninist administration.

1971: A gas explosion kills 22 people at a shopping centre near Glasgow, Scotland.

1973: Fred Dryer of the Los Angeles Rams is the first player in NFL history to score two safeties in the same game.

1978: Australian civilian pilot Frederick Valentich vanishes over the Bass Strait south of Melbourne, after reporting contact with an unidentified aircraft.

1979: Moshe Dayan resigns from the Israeli government due to strong disagreements with Prime Minister Menachem Begin over policy towards the Arab nations.

1983: The metre is defined as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. (In case you ever want to try to measure one at home.)

1986: In Lebanon, pro-Iran kidnappers claim to have abducted American writer Edward Tracy. He will be released in August 1991.

1994: North Korea and the United States sign an Agreed Framework that requires North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program and agree to inspections.

On October 22,

1707: Four British naval vessels run aground on the Isles of Scilly due to faulty navigation. In response, the first Longitude Act will be enacted in 1714. (It took them seven years to react? There must have been a lot of naval-gazing going on in those legistlature meetings.)

1746: The College of New Jersey is chartered; it will later be renamed Princeton University.

1777: American defenders of Fort Mercer on the Delaware River repulse repeated Hessian attacks in the Battle of Red Bank.

1784: Russia founds a colony on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

1797: André-Jacques Garnerin makes the first recorded parachute jump, from 3200 feet above Paris. (I can’t imagine skydiving today, let alone before anyone had ever tried it.)

1836: Sam Houston is inaugurated as the first President of the Republic of Texas.

1844: Millerites, followers of Baptist preacher William Miller anticipate the end of the world in conjunction with the Second Advent of Christ. The following day will become known as the Great Disappointment. (So…they were disappointed that the world *didn’t* end? Nihilists.)

1879: Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric incandescent light bulb; it lasts 13.5 hours before burning out.

1883: The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City opens, with a performance of Gounod’s “Faust.”

1884: The International Meridian Conference designates the Royal Observatory, Greenwich as the world’s prime meridian.

1907: A run on the stock of the Knickerbocker Trust Company sets in motion the events that will cause the Panic of 1907.

1934: In East Liverpool, Ohio, FBI agents shoot and kill notorious bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd.

1943: In the Second firestorm raid on Germany, the RAF conducts an air raid on the town of Kassel, killing 10,000 and rendering 150,000 homeless.

1962: U.S. President John F. Kennedy, after internal counsel from Dwight D. Eisenhower, announces that American reconnaissance planes have discovered Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba, and that he has ordered a naval “quarantine” of that nation. (I don’t think that word means what he thought it means.)

1964: Jean-Paul Sartre is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but turns down the honor. (He probably didn’t have The Words.)

1966: The Supremes become the first all-female music group to attain a No. 1 selling album  with “The Supremes A’ Go-Go.”

1968: Apollo 7 safely splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean after having orbited Earth 163 times.

1975: The Soviet unmanned space mission Venera 9 lands on Venus.

1976: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans Red Dye No. 4 after it was discovered that it caused tumors in the bladders of dogs.

1999: Maurice Papon, an official in the Vichy France government during World War II, is jailed for crimes against humanity.

2001: Grand Theft Auto III is released. It will popularize the genre of open-world, action-adventure videogames — and spark controversy around violence therein.

2005: Tropical Storm Alpha forms in the Atlantic Basin, making the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season the most active on record, with 22 named storms. (2020 clears its throat.)

2019: Same-sex marriage is legalized and abortion is decriminalized in Northern Ireland.

On October 23,

42 BC: Mark Antony and Octavian decisively defeat Brutus’s army, leading Brutus to commit suicide. (I don’t know if this was before or after Antony married Jennifer Lopez.)

1642: The Battle of Edgehill is the first major battle of the English Civil War.

1707: The First Parliament of Great Britain convenes.

1812: A French general begins a conspiracy to overthrow Napoleon, claiming that the Emperor died in Russia. (Is it just me, or does starting an easily disproven death rumor seem like a feeble attempt at an overthrow? I mean, what was the guy planning to do after Napoleon showed up alive?)

1850: The first National Women’s Rights Convention begins in Worcester, Massachusetts.

1864: The Battle of Westport is the last significant American Civil War engagement west of the Mississippi River.

1906: Alberto Santos-Dumont flies an airplane in the first heavier-than-air flight in Europe.

1911: The Italo-Turkish War sees the first use of an airplane in combat when an Italian pilot makes a reconnaissance flight.

1970: Gary Gabelich sets a land speed record in a rocket-powered automobile called the Blue Flame, fueled with natural gas.

1973: U.S. President Richard Nixon agrees to turn over subpoenaed audio tapes of his Oval Office conversations. (And by “agrees,” I mean “is forced by law.”)

1982: A gunfight breaks out between police officers and members of a religious cult in Arizona. The shootout leaves two cultists dead and dozens of cultists and police officers injured.

1983: During the Lebanese Civil War, the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut is hit by a truck bomb, killing 241 U.S. military personnel. A French army barracks in Lebanon is also hit, killing 58 troops.

1995: Yolanda Saldívar is found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of popular Latin singer Selena.

2015: The lowest sea-level pressure in the Western Hemisphere and the highest reliably measured non-tornadic sustained winds are recorded in Hurricane Patricia, which strikes Mexico hours later, killing at least 13 and causing over $280 million in damages.

On October 24,

1590: John White, governor of the second Roanoke Colony, returns to England after an unsuccessful search for the lost colonists. (I imagine it was an awkward conversation after he got back.)

1851: William Lassell discovers the moons Umbriel and Ariel orbiting Uranus. (Nope, not gonna do it.)

1857: Sheffield F.C. is founded in England. It is currently the world’s oldest association football club still in operation.

1861: The first transcontinental telegraph line across the United States is completed.

1871: An estimated 17 to 20 Chinese immigrants are lynched in Los Angeles, California.

1901: Annie Edson Taylor is the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

1902: Guatemala’s Santa María Volcano begins to erupt, becoming the third-largest eruption of the 20th century.

1911: Orville Wright keeps his glider in the air for nine minutes and 45 seconds at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

1926: Harry Houdini gives his final performance; it takes place at the Garrick Theatre in Detroit.

1929: “Black Thursday” occurs on the New York Stock Exchange. It is the first day of the market crash that will cause the Great Depression.

1931: The George Washington Bridge opens to public traffic over the Hudson River.

1945: The United Nations Charter comes into effect.

1946: A camera on the V-2 No. 13 rocket takes the first photograph of Earth from outer space.

1947: Walt Disney testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee, naming Disney employees he believes to be communists. (But there’s Snow White way to betray one’s employees.)

1949: The cornerstone is laid for the United Nations Headquarters.

1954: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower pledges the country’s support to South Vietnam.

1957: The United States Air Force starts the X-20 Dyna-Soar manned space program. (Dyna-Saur. So, they named a futuristic program…after an extinct race of animals?)

1960: A ballistic missile explodes on the launch pad in the Soviet Union, killing more than 100 people.

1975: In Iceland, 90% of women take part in a national strike, refusing to work in protest of gender inequality.

1980: The government of Poland legalizes the Solidarity trade union.

1986: Nezar Hindawi is sentenced to 45 years in prison, the longest sentence handed down by a British court, for the attempted bombing of an El Al flight at Heathrow Airport.

1990: Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti reveals to the Italian parliament the existence of Gladio, the Italian NATO force formed in 1956, intended to be activated in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion.

1992: The Toronto Blue Jays become the first Major League Baseball team based outside the United States to win the World Series. One week later, Canadians Phil Hartman and Catherine O’Hara will gloat about it in song on “Saturday Night Live.”

1998: Deep Space 1 is launched to explore the asteroid belt and test new spacecraft technologies.

2002: Police arrest spree killers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, ending the Beltway sniper attacks in the area around Washington, D.C.

2003: Concorde makes its last commercial flight.

2008: “Bloody Friday” occurs, as many of the world’s stock exchanges experience the worst declines in their history, with drops of around 10% in most indices.

2014: The China National Space Administration launches an experimental lunar mission, Chang’e 5-T1, which will loop behind the Moon and return to Earth.

2015: A driver crashes into the Oklahoma State Homecoming parade, killing four people and injuring 34.

On October 25,

1760: King George III succeeds the British throne upon the death of his grandfather, King George II.

1812: The American frigate USS United States, commanded by Stephen Decatur, captures the British frigate HMS Macedonian.

1861: The Toronto Stock Exchange is created.

1927: The Italian luxury liner SS Principessa Mafalda sinks off the coast of Brazil, killing 314.

1940: Benjamin O. Davis Sr. becomes the first African-American general in the United States Army.

1944: Heinrich Himmler orders a crackdown on the Edelweiss Pirates, a loosely organized youth culture in Nazi Germany that has helped army deserters and others to hide from the Third Reich.

Elsewhere, the USS Tang under Richard O’Kane — the top American submarine ace of the war — is sunk by the ship’s own malfunctioning torpedo. (I’ve had days like that.)

1962: Adlai Stevenson shows the United Nations Security Council reconnaissance photographs of Soviet ballistic missiles in Cuba.

1973: Egypt and Israel accept United Nations Security Council Resolution 339.

1980: Proceedings conclude on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. (They decide they’re against it.)

1983: The United States and its Caribbean allies invade Grenada, six days after Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and several of his supporters were executed in a coup d’état.

On October 26,

1520: Charles V is crowned as Holy Roman Emperor.

1774: The first Continental Congress adjourns in Philadelphia. (Unlike today’s Congress, they did their job first.)

1813: A combined force of British regulars, Canadian militia, and Mohawks defeat American forces in the Battle of the Chateauguay.

1825: The Erie Canal opens, allowing direct passage from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.

1892: Ida B. Wells publishes “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases.”

1921: The Chicago Theatre opens.

1936: The first electric generator at Hoover Dam goes into full operation.

1944: The Battle of Leyte Gulf ends with an overwhelming American victory.

1955: After the last Allied troops have left the country, following the provisions of the Austrian Independence Treaty, Austria declares that it will never join a military alliance.

1967: Mohammad Reza Pahlavi crowns himself Emperor of Iran.

1968: Soviet cosmonaut Georgy Beregovoy pilots Soyuz 3 into space for a four-day mission.

1970: Muhammad Ali boxes for the first time after his three-year hiatus due to draft evasion.

1977: After several days of fever and headache, Ali Maow Maalin — a cook in Somalia — develops a rash. It will be confirmed as smallpox, and will turn out to be the last natural case of that disease. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consider this date to be the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox.

1994: Jordan and Israel sign a peace treaty.

1995: Mossad agents assassinate Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shaqaqi in his hotel in Malta.

Elsewhere, an avalanche hits the Icelandic village Flateyri, destroying 29 homes and burying 45 people — 20 of whom will die.

1999: Britain’s House of Lords votes to end the right of hereditary peers to vote in Britain’s upper chamber of Parliament.

2000: The Sony PlayStation 2 is launched in North American markets, with 27 launch titles.

2001: The United States passes the USA PATRIOT Act into law.

On October 27,

312: Constantine is said to have received his famous Vision of the Cross.

1275: Traditional founding of the city of Amsterdam.

1682: Philadelphia is founded in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Some guy eats horse crap in celebration.)

1775: King George III expands on his Proclamation of Rebellion in the Thirteen Colonies during his speech from the throne at the opening of Parliament.

1810: The United States annexes the former Spanish colony of West Florida. (Any chance we could give it back?)

1838: Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs issues the Extermination Order, which orders all Mormons to leave the state or be killed. (Ummm.)

1904: The first underground New York City Subway line opens. It will later be designated as the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line.

1914: The new British battleship HMS Audacious is sunk by a minefield laid by the armed German merchant-cruiser Berlin.

1936: Mrs. Wallis Simpson obtains the divorce that will eventually allow her to marry King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, forcing his abdication from the throne.

1954: Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. becomes the first African-American general in the United States Air Force.

1961: NASA tests the first Saturn I rocket in Mission Saturn-Apollo 1.

1962: USAF Major Rudolf Anderson’s U-2 reconnaissance airplane is shot down over Cuba by a Soviet-supplied surface-to-air missile, making him the only direct human casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Elsewhere, Soviet Commodore and Submarine B-59 Executive Officer Vasily Arkhipov refuses to authorize the firing of a nuclear torpedo at a U.S. warship near Cuba when the sub’s crew believes war might have already started. His decision averts nuclear war.

1967: Catholic priest Philip Berrigan and others of the “Baltimore Four” protest the Vietnam War by pouring blood on Selective Service records.

1971: The Democratic Republic of the Congo is renamed Zaire.

1986: The British government suddenly deregulates financial markets, which will lead to a total restructuring of the way in which the markets operate. The event will come to be known as “the Big Bang.” (No, not that Big Bang. The other Big Bang.)

1988: U.S. President Ronald Reagan suspends construction of the new U.S. Embassy in Moscow due to Soviet listening devices in the building structure.

1992: U.S. Navy Airman Apprentice Terry M. Helvey brutally murders his shipmate, Petty Officer Third Class Allen R. Schindler, Jr., for being gay. Helvey essentially stomps Schindler to death in a public toilet, allegedly while singing. Schindler’s face is so disfigured that his family will have to identify him by the tattoos on his arm. Despite Captain Douglas J. Bradt’s attempts to keep the incident quiet, Helvey will be convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Bradt will be transferred to shore duty. Helvey’s accomplice, Charles Vins, will plea-bargain to three lesser offenses and serve a 78-day sentence before receiving a general discharge. The event will lead to debate about gay people in the military, resulting in the United States’ “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. (aka Clinton’s copout.)

1994: Gliese 229B is the first Substellar Mass Object to be unquestionably identified.

1995: Former Prime Minister of Italy Bettino Craxi is convicted in absentia of corruption.

1997: The Asian financial crisis causes a crash in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

1999: Gunmen open fire in the Armenian Parliament, killing the Prime Minister and seven others.

2004: The Boston Red Sox defeat the St. Louis Cardinals to win their first World Series in 86 years.

2018: A gunman opens fire on a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 and injuring 6 — including 4 police officers.

2019: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi kills himself and three children by detonating a suicide vest during the U.S. military Barisha raid in northwestern Syria.

On October 28,

1420: Beijing is officially designated the capital of the Ming dynasty when the Forbidden City is completed.

1492: Christopher Columbus lands in Cuba. (I bet *they* don’t have a holiday named after him.)

1636: The Massachusetts Bay Colony votes to establish a theological college. It will later become Harvard University.

1726: Jonathan Swift publishes “Gulliver’s Travels.”

1886: U.S. President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty. (That dedication will mean something for about 130 years.)

1893: Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathétique” premieres. He will die nine days later.

1919: U.S. Congress passes the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto, paving the way for Prohibition to begin the following January. (I have newfound respect for Wilson after learning this.)

1922: Italian fascists led by Benito Mussolini march on Rome and take over the Italian government.

1942: The Alaska Highway first connects Alaska to the North American railway network at Dawson Creek in Canada. (They didn’t want to wait / For their lives to be over.)

1948: Paul Müller is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the insecticidal properties of DDT. (That didn’t work out too well, did it, Paul?)

1956: Elvis Presley receives a polio vaccination on national TV. (Oddly, no one accuses him of being a sheep.)

1962: Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev orders the removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.

2005: I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby is indicted for his involvement in the Plame affair.

2014: A rocket carrying NASA’s Cygnus CRS Orb-3 resupply mission to the International Space Station explodes seconds after taking off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia.

On October 29,

539 BC: Cyrus the Great enters the capital of Babylon, where he will liberate the exiled Jews and allow them to return to their land.

1390: Paris sees its first trial for witchcraft, which will lead to the death of three people.

1618: Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for having allegedly conspired against James I of England.

1787: Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni” premieres, in Prague.

1863: Eighteen countries meet in Geneva and agree to form the International Red Cross.

1888: The Convention of Constantinople is signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace.

1901: In Amherst, Massachusetts, nurse Jane Toppan is arrested for murdering the Davis family of Boston with an overdose of morphine.

Elsewhere, Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of U.S. President William McKinley, is executed by electrocution.

1921: The Harvard University football team loses to Centre College, ending a 25-game winning streak. The game will come to be considered one of the biggest upsets in college football.

1929: The New York Stock Exchange crashes in what will be called the Crash of ’29 or “Black Tuesday,” ending the Great Bull Market of the 1920s and beginning the Great Depression.

1941: The “Great Action” takes place in the Kaunas Ghetto, as German occupiers massacre over 10,000 Lithuanian Jews at the Ninth Fort by forcing them into large pits and shooting them.

1942: In the United Kingdom, leading clergymen and political figures hold a public meeting to register outrage over Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews. (That it took them a year from the previous event is bad enough; now consider there was plenty of persecution before 1941.)

1948: Israeli soldiers capture the Palestinian village of Safsaf in the Galilee; after, the IDF massacres between 52 and 64 villagers.

1956: Israeli forces invade the Sinai Peninsula and push Egyptian forces back toward the Suez Canal. (Did the Convention of Constantinople apply in this case?)

1957: Israel’s prime minister David Ben-Gurion and five of his ministers are injured when Moshe Dwek throws a grenade into Israel’s Knesset.

1960: In Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Clay — who will later take the name Muhammad Ali — wins his first professional fight. (It was due to his fists of Clay.)

Elsewhere, an airplane carrying the Cal Poly football team crashes on takeoff in Toledo, Ohio.

1961: Syria exits from the United Arab Republic.

1964: A group of thieves including “Murph the surf” steal a collection of irreplaceable gems, including the 565-carat Star of India, from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

1967: Montreal’s World Fair, Expo 67, closes with over 50 million visitors.

1969: The first-ever computer-to-computer link is established on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet.

1971: In Macon, Georgia, guitarist Duane Allman is killed in a motorcycle accident.

1972: The three surviving perpetrators of the Munich massacre are released from prison in exchange for the hostages of hijacked Lufthansa Flight 615.

1980: The demonstration flight of a C-130 secretly modified for an Iran hostage rescue attempt ends in a crash landing at Eglin Air Force Base’s Duke Field, Florida; this will lead to the cancellation of Operation Credible Sport.

1986: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opens the last stretch of the M25 motorway.

1991: The American Galileo spacecraft makes its closest approach to 951 Gaspra, becoming the first probe to visit an asteroid.

1994: Francisco Martin Duran fires over two dozen shots at the White House; he will be convicted of trying to kill U.S. President Bill Clinton.

1998: Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off on STS-95 with 77-year-old John Glenn on board, making him the oldest person to go into space. ATSC HDTV broadcasting premieres in the U.S. with the launch.

2004: The Arabic-language news network Al Jazeera broadcasts an excerpt from an Osama bin Laden video in which the terrorist leader first admits direct responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks and refers to the 2004 U.S. presidential election.

2015: China announces the end of its one-child policy after 35 years.

On October 30,

1485: King Henry VII of England is crowned, beginning the Tudor reign.

1831: Nat Turner is arrested after having led the bloodiest slave rebellion in United States history.

1925: John Logie Baird creates Britain’s first television transmitter.

1938: Orson Welles broadcasts his radio play of H. G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds,” causing anxiety in some of the audience in the United States. (I wonder how those people would have felt about the things we hear on the radio today.)

1941: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt approves $1 billion in Lend-Lease aid to the Allied nations.

Elsewhere, 1500 Jews from Pidhaytsi are sent by Nazis to Bełżec extermination camp.

1942: Lt. Tony Fasson and Able Seaman Colin Grazier drown while taking code books from the sinking German submarine U-559.

1944: Anne and Margot Frank are deported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They will die there of disease the following year, shortly before the end of WWII.

1945: Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs signs a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the baseball color line.

1953: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower approves the top-secret document NSC 162/2 concerning the maintenance of a strong nuclear deterrent force against the Soviet Union.

1961: The Soviet Union detonates the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful explosive device ever detonated.

Elsewhere in the Soviet Union, due to “violations of Vladimir Lenin’s precepts,” it is decreed that Joseph Stalin’s body be removed from its place of honor inside Lenin’s tomb and buried near the Kremlin Wall with a plain granite marker.

1973: The Bosphorus Bridge in Turkey is completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosphorus for the second time.

1974: The “Rumble in the Jungle” takes place — a boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire. (Also a great song by Jethro Tull.)

1985: Space Shuttle Challenger lifts off for mission STS-61-A, its final successful mission.

1991: The Madrid Conference commences in an effort to revive peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. (If you’re wondering how it turned out, efforts are still ongoing.)

1993: Loyalists carry out a mass shooting at a Halloween party in Greysteel, Northern Ireland, killing six Catholics and two Protestants.

1995: Quebec citizens narrowly vote — 50.58% to 49.42% — to remain a province of Canada in their second referendum on national sovereignty.

2014: Sweden is the first European Union member state to officially recognize the State of Palestine.

On October 31,

683: During the Siege of Mecca, the Kaaba catches fire and burns down.

1517: Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. (Then he proclaims, “I got 95 problems, but this niche ain’t one.”)

1864: Nevada is admitted as the 36th U.S. state.

1903: The Purdue Wreck — a railroad train collision in Indianapolis — kills 17 people, including 14 players of the Purdue University football team.

1913: The Lincoln Highway is dedicated; it is the first automobile highway across the United States.

Elsewhere, The Indianapolis Streetcar Strike begins, leading to a riot.

1922: Benito Mussolini is made Prime Minister of Italy.

1926: The last issue is published of the independent Italian newspaper “Il Mondo.” It will thereafter be suppressed by the Mussolini regime. (I wonder if he called it “fake news.”)

1938: In an effort to restore investor confidence, the New York Stock Exchange unveils a fifteen-point program aimed to upgrade protection for the investing public.

1940: The Battle of Britain ends with the United Kingdom preventing a possible German invasion.

1941: Mount Rushmore is completed after 14 years. (Let’s not vandalize that mountain anymore, please.)

Elsewhere, the destroyer USS Reuben James is torpedoed by a German U-boat near Iceland, killing more than 100 U.S. Navy sailors. It is the first U.S. Navy vessel to be sunk by an enemy in WWII.

1956: The United Kingdom and France begin bombing Egypt to force the reopening of the Suez Canal.

1963: A propane tank explosion at the Indiana State Fair Coliseum in Indianapolis kills 74 people and injures another 400 during an ice-skating show.

1968: Citing progress with the Paris peace talks, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces to the nation that he has ordered a complete cessation of “all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam” effective the following day. (October surprise, anyone?)

1973: Three Provisional Irish Republican Army members escape from Mountjoy Prison, Dublin aboard a hijacked helicopter that landed in the exercise yard.

1984: Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two Sikh security guards. Riots break out in New Delhi and other cities, resulting in the killing of about 3000 Sikhs.

1998: Iraq announces it will no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.

1999: Yachtsman Jesse Martin returns to Melbourne after 11 months of circumnavigating the world, solo, non-stop, and unassisted. (So he claims, but with no one having been there to witness the trip and no stops having been made to prove his progress? Hmmmm.)

2000: Soyuz TM-31 launches, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station and starting two decades of continuous crewing of the ISS.

2002: A federal grand jury in Houston, Texas indicts former Enron chief financial officer Andrew Fastow on 78 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice related to the collapse of his ex-employer.

2011: The global population of humans reaches seven billion. The date will be recognized by the United Nations as the “Day of Seven Billion.” (That’s some creative naming there, UN.)

2017: ISIL jihadist Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov drives a rented pickup truck into cyclists and runners over an approximate one-mile stretch of the Hudson River Park’s bike path in New York City, killing eight and injuring 11 before being shot by a policeman and arrested.

On November 1,

1512: The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo, is exhibited to the public for the first time.

1570: The All Saints’ Flood devastates the Dutch coast.

1604: William Shakespeare’s “Othello” is performed for the first time, at Whitehall Palace in London.

1611: William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” is performed for the first time, at Whitehall Palace in London. (Those two plays have decidedly different content, btw.)

1683: The British colony of New York is divided into 12 counties.

1765: The British Parliament enacts the Stamp Act on the Thirteen Colonies in order to help pay for British military operations in North America.

1790: Edmund Burke publishes “Reflections on the Revolution in France,” predicting the French Revolution will end in a disaster.

1800: John Adams becomes the first U.S. president to live in the Executive Mansion, which will later be renamed the White House.

1814: Congress of Vienna opens to re-draw the European political map after the defeat of France in the Napoleonic Wars.

1848: In Boston, Massachusetts, the first medical school for women opens. It is called Boston Female Medical School, but will later merge with the Boston University School of Medicine. (“Female Medical School” sounds like it means something other than what it was.)

1861: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln appoints George B. McClellan as the commander of the Union Army, replacing General Winfield Scott.

1870: In the United States, the Weather Bureau makes its first official meteorological forecast. It will later be renamed the National Weather Service. (Someone, somewhere complains about the forecast being wrong.)

1894: Nicholas II becomes the new Tsar of Russia after his father, Alexander III, dies. He will also be its last tsar.

1894: Buffalo Bill, 15 of “his” Indians, and Annie Oakley are filmed by Thomas Edison in his Black Maria Studio in West Orange, New Jersey.

1896: A picture showing the bare breasts of a woman appears in “National Geographic” magazine for the first time. (Middle-school boys develop a sudden interest in the world.)

1897: The first Library of Congress building opens to the public; it had previously been housed in the Congressional Reading Room in the U.S. Capitol.

1901: Sigma Phi Epsilon, the largest national male collegiate fraternity, is established at Richmond College in Virginia.

1911: The world’s first combat aerial bombing mission takes place in Libya during the Italo-Turkish War, as Second Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti of Italy drops several small bombs.

1918: The Malbone Street Wreck — the worst rapid transit accident in U.S. history — occurs under the intersection of Malbone Street and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York City, with at least 102 deaths.

1920: American fishing schooner Esperanto defeats the Canadian fishing schooner Delawana in the First International Fishing Schooner Championship Races in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Sounds riveting.)

1922: The last sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed VI, abdicates his position.

1938: Seabiscuit defeats War Admiral in an upset victory during a horse race deemed “the match of the century.”

1941: American photographer Ansel Adams takes a picture of a moonrise over the town of Hernandez, New Mexico; it will become one of the most famous images in the history of photography.

1948: Six thousand people die when a Chinese merchant ship explodes and sinks off southern Manchuria.

1950: Puerto Rican nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo attempt to assassinate U.S. President Harry S. Truman at Blair House.

Elsewhere, Pope Pius XII claims papal infallibility when he formally defines the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. (Pius? After he claimed infallibility, they shoulda called him Hubris.)

1951: During Operation Buster–Jangle, 6500 American soldiers are forced to be exposed to “Desert Rock” atomic explosions in Nevade, for training purposes.

1952: The United States successfully detonates Ivy Mike, the first thermonuclear device, at the Eniwetok atoll. The explosion is the equivalent of ten megatons of TNT.

1957: The Mackinac Bridge opens to traffic, connecting Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas via what at the time is the world’s longest suspension bridge between anchorages.

1960: While campaigning for President of the United States, John F. Kennedy announces his idea of the Peace Corps.

1963: The Arecibo Observatory, with the largest radio telescope ever constructed, officially opens in Puerto Rico.

1968: The Motion Picture Association of America’s film rating system is officially introduced, with the ratings G, M, R, and X.

1973: Leon Jaworski is appointed as the new Watergate Special Prosecutor.

1979: Griselda Álvarez becomes the first female governor of a state of Mexico.

1982: Honda is the first Asian automobile company to produce cars in the United States, opening a factory in Marysville, Ohio. The first car produced there is an Accord.

1987: British Rail Class 43 HST hits a rail vehicle record speed of 238 km/h, with onboard fuel generating electricity for traction motors.

1993: The Maastricht Treaty takes effect, formally establishing the European Union.

On November 2,

1675: Plymouth Colony governor Josiah Winslow leads a colonial militia against the Narragansett during King Philip’s War.

1795: The French Directory, a five-man revolutionary government, is created. (I thought a French Directory is where one would look for a French Connection.)

1868: New Zealand officially adopts a standard time to be observed nationally. (That time was 3:17.)

1889: North Dakota and South Dakota are admitted as the 39th and 40th U.S. states.

1917: The Balfour Declaration proclaims British support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” with the clear understanding “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities.”

Elsewhere, the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, in charge of preparing and carrying out the Russian Revolution, holds its first meeting. (A committee meeting. To plan a revolution. I wonder if anyone brought doughnuts?)

1920: KDKA of Pittsburgh starts broadcasting as the first commercial radio station. Its first broadcast is the announcement of the result of the U.S. presidential election. (Its second announcement is that it has started broadcasting.)

1936: The British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, the world’s first regular, “high-definition” — defined at the time as at least 200 lines — service. The channel will be renamed BBC1 in 1964.

1947: In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the first and only flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules — aka the “Spruce Goose” — the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.

1951: Six thousand British troops arrive in Suez after the Egyptian government abrogates the Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936.

1956: Israel occupies the Gaza Strip.

1959: “Twenty-One” game show contestant Charles Van Doren admits to a Congressional committee that he received questions and answers in advance.

Elsewhere, the first section of the M1 motorway, the first inter-urban motorway in the United Kingdom, is opened between the present junctions 5 and 18, along with the M10 motorway and M45 motorway.

1960: Penguin Books is found not guilty of obscenity in the trial R v Penguin Books Ltd, the “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” case.

1963: South Vietnamese President Ngô Đình Diệm is assassinated following a military coup.

1964: King Saud of Saudi Arabia is deposed by a family coup, and replaced by his half-brother Faisal. (So why didn’t they change the country’s name to Faisali Arabia?)

1965: Norman Morrison, a 31-year-old Quaker, sets himself on fire in front of the river entrance to the Pentagon to protest the use of napalm in the Vietnam war.

1966: The Cuban Adjustment Act comes into force, allowing 123,000 Cubans the opportunity to apply for permanent residence in the United States.

1967: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and “The Wise Men” conclude that the American people should be given more optimistic reports on the progress of the war.

1983: U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

1984: Velma Barfield is the first woman executed in the United States since 1962.

1986: American hostage David Jacobsen is released in Beirut after 17 months in captivity.

1988: The Morris worm, the first Internet-distributed computer worm to gain significant mainstream media attention, is launched from MIT.

2016: The Chicago Cubs defeat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, ending the longest Major League Baseball championship drought at 108 years.

On November 3,

1493: Christopher Columbus first sights the island of Dominica in the Caribbean Sea. (Still not India, Chris.)

1534: English Parliament passes the first Act of Supremacy, making King Henry VIII head of the Anglican Church, supplanting the pope and the Roman Catholic Church.

1783: The American Continental Army is disbanded.

1793: French playwright, journalist, and feminist Olympe de Gouges is executed by guillotine.

1817: The Bank of Montreal, Canada’s oldest chartered bank, opens in Montreal.

1838: “The Times of India” — the world’s largest circulated English-language daily broadsheet newspaper — is founded as “The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce.”

1868: John Willis Menard, a Louisiana Republican, is the first African American elected to the United States Congress. An electoral challenge will prevent him from taking the position.

1911: Chevrolet officially enters the automobile market, in competition with the Ford Model T.

1957: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2. Onboard is the first animal to enter orbit — a dog named Laika. She dies of overheating within hours — allegedly.

1964: Residents of Washington, D.C. are able to vote in a U.S. presidential election for the first time. They cast the majority of their votes for incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson.

1969: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon addresses the nation on television and radio, asking the “silent majority” to join him in solidarity on the Vietnam War effort and to support his policies.

1973: NASA launches the Mariner 10 toward Mercury. On March 29, 1974, it will become the first space probe to reach that planet.

1979: The Greensboro Massacre occurs during a “Death to the Klan” rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, as Klansmen and neo-Nazis open fire on members of the Communist Workers Party. They kill five and wound seven.

1986: The Lebanese magazine “Ash-Shiraa” reports that the United States has been secretly selling weapons to Iran in order to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon.

1992: Democratic Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton defeats incumbent Republican President George H. W. Bush and Independent candidate Ross Perot in the U.S. presidential election.

1997: The United States imposes economic sanctions against Sudan in response to its human rights abuses of its own citizens and its material and political assistance to Islamic extremist groups across the Middle East and Eastern Africa.

2014: One World Trade Center officially opens in New York City, replacing the World Trade Center Twin Towers that were destroyed on September 11, 2001.

On November 4,

1429: Joan of Arc liberates Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier.

1677: The future Mary II of England marries William, Prince of Orange; they later jointly reign as William and Mary.

1737: The Teatro di San Carlo, the oldest working opera house in Europe, is inaugurated in Naples, Italy.

1783: Mozart’s “Symphony No. 36” is performed for the first time, in Linz, Austria.

1791: The Western Confederacy of American Indians wins a major victory over the United States in the Battle of the Wabash.

1847: Sir James Young Simpson, a Scottish physician, discovers the anaesthetic properties of chloroform. (As a joke, he passes it to his assistant and asks, “Does this smell strange to you?”)

1890: The City and South London Railway, London’s first deep-level tube railway, opens between King William Street and Stockwell.

1921: Japanese Prime Minister Hara Takashi is assassinated in Tokyo.

1922: In Egypt, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his men find the entrance to Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

1924: Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming becomes the first woman elected as a governor in the United States.

1939: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons by belligerents. (I’m not sure belligerents should carry weapons.)

1942: Disobeying a direct order by Hitler, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel begins a retreat of his forces after a costly defeat during the Second Battle of El Alamein. The retreat will ultimately last five months.

1952: The United States government establishes the National Security Agency, or NSA. (Cue ominous music.)

1960: At the Kasakela Chimpanzee Community in Tanzania, Dr. Jane Goodall observes chimpanzees creating tools — the first-ever such observation in non-human animals. (They were good tools, too. One chimp fashioned a lathe out of coconut shelves, while another was able to convert palm leaves into a band saw.)

1962: The United States concludes Operation Fishbowl, its final above-ground nuclear weapons testing series, in anticipation of the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. (“Shoot, the world is going to outlaw this? We’d better hurry and get it done.”)

1966: The Arno River floods Florence, Italy, to a maximum depth of 22 ft, leaving thousands homeless and destroying millions of masterpieces of art and rare books. Venice is submerged on the same day at its all-time record acqua alta of 76 in.

1970: Salvador Allende takes office as President of Chile, the first Marxist to become president of a Latin American country through open elections.

1973: The Netherlands experiences the first Car-Free Sunday caused by the 1973 oil crisis. Highways are used only by cyclists and roller skaters. (Is anyone else giddy at the thought of seeing roller skaters on a highway?)

1979: A group of Iranian college students overruns the U.S. embassy in Tehran and takes 90 hostages.

1995: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by an extremist Israeli.

2008: Barack Obama is the first person of biracial or African-American descent to be elected President of the United States.

On November 5,

1605: Guy Fawkes is arrested as a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot, a plan to blow up England’s King James I and the Parliament. Fawkes will be executed and Guy Fawkes Day will become an annual celebration on this date, as British citizens burn Fawkes in effigy. (Albus Dumbledore will thumb his nose at this notion by giving the name Fawkes to an animal that literally comes back to life after burning to ashes.)

1768: The Treaty of Fort Stanwix is signed, further adjusting the boundary line set forth in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 between Native American lands and White settlements in the Thirteen Colonies.

1780: Miami Chief Little Turtle’s forces defeat French-American forces under Colonel LaBalme.

1831: Nat Turner is tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for having led a slave rebellion in Virginia the previous spring.

1862: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln removes George B. McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac.

Elsewhere, in Minnesota, 303 Dakota warriors are found guilty of the rape and murder of White civilians during the Dakota War, and are sentenced to hang. Of these, 38 will ultimately be executed; the others will be reprieved. All of them will insist they never harmed a White civilian.

1872: In defiance of the law, suffragist Susan B. Anthony votes for the first time. She will later be fined $100. (I hope she paid with 100 of those dollar coins with her face on them, just to rub it in.)

1895: George B. Selden is granted the first U.S. patent for an automobile.

1916: Political differences over an intended labor rally in Everett, Washington lead to a shoot-out between local police and members of the Industrial Workers of the World. “Bloody Sunday” ends with 7-14 dead and 43-47 wounded.

1917: Lenin calls for the October Revolution. (You were a few days late on that call, Vlad.)

1925: Secret agent Sidney Reilly, the first “super-spy” of the 20th century, is executed by the Soviet secret police for conducting espionage on behalf of Britain. (He couldn’t have been too super if they caught and killed him.)

1940: Franklin D. Roosevelt is the first and only President of the United States to be elected to a third term.

1943: A single plane, thought to be German, drops four bombs on the neutral Vatican.

1995: André Dallaire attempts to assassinate Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of Canada, but is thwarted when the Prime Minister’s wife locks the door. (Because apparently assassins respect doors too much to shoot through them or break them down?)

2006: Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq, and his co-defendants Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, are sentenced to death in the al-Dujail trial for their roles in the 1982 massacre of 148 Shi’a Muslims.

2007: Google unveils its Android operating system for mobile devices.

2009: Having become critical of United States war actions in the middle east, and possibly subscribing to jihadist beliefs, U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan opens fire at Fort Hood, Texas, reportedly shouting “Allahu Akbar!” He murders 13 and wounds 32 in the deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. military installation. The Army will not charge him with terrorism.

2013: India launches the Mars Orbiter Mission, its first interplanetary probe.

2017: Convicted domestic abuser Devin Patrick Kelley enters his estranged wife’s church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and methodically shoots the congregants, firing 700 rounds over the course of 11 minutes. He kills 26 and injures 20 before trading fire with armed citizen Stephen Willeford, who shoots Kelley in the leg and torso. Kelley flees in his vehicle, loses control, and crashes, then kills himself with a gunshot to the head.

On November 6,

1789: Father John Carroll is appointed as the first Roman Catholic bishop in the U.S.

1869: The first official intercollegiate American football game takes place in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Rutgers College defeats the future Princeton University — then known as the College of New Jersey — by a score of 6–4.

1894: William Hooker receives a patent for the mousetrap. (The actual thing, not the Rube Goldberg-inspired board game that always used to get set off accidentally by the slightest nearby movement, resulting in multiple fights with multiple siblings.)

1913: Mohandas Gandhi is arrested as he leads a march of Indian miners in South Africa.

1923: Jacob Schick receives a patent for the electric shaver.

1935: Edwin H. Armstrong announces his development of FM broadcasting.

1952: The first hydrogen bomb is set off at Eniwetok Atoll.

1957: “Meet the Press” debuts on television.

1961: A natural gas well ignites when a pipe ruptures in the Sahara Desert of Algeria, sending flames 450-800 feet in the air. The “Devil’s Cigarette Lighter” fire will burn until April 28, 1962, when Red Adair and team will use explosives to deprive the flames of oxygen.

1962: The United Nations General Assembly adopts a resolution condemning South Africa for its racist apartheid policies, and calls on all UN members to end economic and military relations with South Africa.

1965: Cuba and the United States agree on the details of a proposed emigration airlift for Cubans who wish to join their families in the United States.

1971: The United States Atomic Energy Commission tests the largest U.S. underground hydrogen bomb, code-named Cannikin, on Amchitka Island in the Aleutians. (They will later change the code name to Darth Cader.)

1973: U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger hosts a Middle East peace-keeping talk in Tunisia before continuing to Egypt.

1975: A mass demonstration by the Morocco people begins “The Green March” with 350,000 unarmed Moroccans crossing the border into the Spanish-controlled area of Western Sahara, demanding the return of the Moroccan Sahara. Spanish troops protecting the border are ordered not to fire, in order to avoid bloodshed. (“The Green March” was longer than “The Green Mile.”)

1980: The Chinese government praises U.S. President-elect Ronald Reagan, calling him “moderate” and “pragmatist.”

1985: American newspapers reveal that U.S. President Ronald Reagan authorized the shipment of arms to Iran as part of the Iran-Contra affair to release American hostages.

1986: Fiat buys Alfa Romeo.

1989: In the hopes of freeing U.S. hostages in Iran, the U.S. agrees to unfreeze $567 million in Iranian assets that have been held since 1979.

1990: About 20 percent of the Universal Studios backlot is destroyed by arson.

1995: Mark Messier scores his 500th NHL goal.

Elsewhere, Art Modell announces that he has signed a deal that will relocate the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore.

1999: Australian citizens vote to keep the queen. (Maybe they thought they were voting on a chess match.)

2007: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia meets Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican to discuss the plight of 1.5 million Christians who live in Saudi Arabia but are not allowed to worship in public. It is the first audience by the head of the Roman Catholic Church with a Saudi monarch.

2008: World leaders send congratulations to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on his election, including the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is the first official message of goodwill presented to an American leader by Iran.

2011: The state of Oklahoma is hit by a 5.6 magnitude earthquake, thought to be one of the strongest to hit the area.

2012: Tammy Baldwin is the first openly gay politician to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

2013: It is announced that a copy of Napoleon’s will, written by his close adviser, will be auctioned off in Paris, France.

On November 7,

1492: The Ensisheim meteorite strikes the Earth around noon in a wheat field outside the village of Ensisheim in Alsace, France. It is the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact.

1665: “The London Gazette” — the oldest surviving journal — is first published.

1775: John Murray, the Royal Governor of the Colony of Virginia, starts the first mass emancipation of slaves in North America. He does so by issuing Lord Dunmore’s Offer of Emancipation, which offers freedom to slaves who abandoned their colonial masters to fight with Murray and the British.

1786: The Stoughton Musical Society is founded; it is the oldest musical organization in the United States.

1837: In Alton, Illinois, abolitionist Elijah P. Lovejoy is shot dead by a mob while attempting to protect his printing shop from being destroyed a third time.

1861: The first Melbourne Cup horse race is held.

1874: “Harper’s Weekly” publishes a Thomas Nast cartoon depicting the Republican vote as an elephant; the symbol will stick as a party symbol. The cartoon also features a donkey, which Nast first drew as a Democratic symbol in 1870.

1885: The completion of Canada’s first transcontinental railway is makred by the Last Spike ceremony at Craigellachie, British Columbia.

1893: Colorado grants women the right to vote; it is the second state to do so.

1900: The People’s Party is founded in Cuba.

1907: Jesús García drives a burning train full of dynamite 3.7 miles away from the town of Nacozari de García before the train explodes, saving the entire town. (Because Jesús saves.)

1908: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are reportedly killed in San Vicente Canton, Bolivia. (Burt Bacharach starts singing.)

1910: The first air freight shipment — from Dayton to Columbus, Ohio — is undertaken by the Wright brothers and department store owner Max Moorehouse.

1913: The Great Lakes Storm of 1913 strikes — a massive blizzard with winds reaching hurricane force. The storm will ultimately kill 250 and cause over $5 million in damage.

1916: Jeannette Rankin is the first woman elected to the United States Congress.

1917: The October Revolution takes place, getting its name from the Julian calendar date of 25 October. The Bolsheviks storm the Winter Palace.

1918: The 1918 influenza epidemic spreads to Western Samoa, killing 7542 — about 20% of the population — by the end of the year. (So wear a mask, morons.)

1919: The first Palmer Raid takes place in the U.S., with more than 10,000 suspected communists and anarchists being arrested in 23 cities.

1920: Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow issues a decree that will lead to the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

1929: New York City’s Museum of Modern Art opens to the public.

1931: The Chinese Soviet Republic is proclaimed.

1940: In Tacoma, Washington, the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses in a windstorm, four months after its completion.

1941: Soviet hospital ship Armenia is sunk by German planes while evacuating refugees, wounded military, and the staff of several Crimean hospitals. It is estimated that more than 5000 people die in the sinking.

1944: Soviet spy Richard Sorge, a half-Russian, half-German World War I veteran, is hanged by his Japanese captors along with 34 members of his ring.

1944: Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected for a fourth term as President of the United States.

1954: In the U.S., Armistice Day becomes Veterans Day.

1956: The United Nations General Assembly adopts a resolution calling for the United Kingdom, France, and Israel to immediately withdraw their troops from Egypt.

1957: The Gaither Report calls for more American missiles and fallout shelters.

1967: Carl B. Stokes is elected mayor of Cleveland, Ohio; he is the first African-American mayor of a major American city.

Elsewhere, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, establishing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

1973: The United States Congress overrides President Richard M. Nixon’s veto of the War Powers Resolution, limiting presidential power to wage war without congressional approval.

1983: A bomb explodes inside the United States Capitol. No one is injured, but an estimated $250,000 in damage is caused.

1989: Douglas Wilder wins the governor’s seat in Virginia, becoming the first elected African-American governor in the United States.

Elsewhere, David Dinkins is the first African American to be elected Mayor of New York City.

1990: Mary Robinson is the first woman to be elected President of the Republic of Ireland.

1991: Earving “Magic” Johnson announces that he is HIV-positive, and retires from the NBA.

1994: WXYC, the student radio station of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, streams the world’s first internet radio broadcast.

1996: NASA launches the Mars Global Surveyor.

2000: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration discovers one of the country’s largest LSD labs inside a converted military missile silo in Wamego, Kansas. (Some of it falls as they try to carry it out; they accidentally drop some acid.)

On November 8,

1519: Hernán Cortés enters Tenochtitlán and Aztec ruler Moctezuma II welcomes him with a great celebration. (Moctezuma probably regretted this after Cortés made him a prisoner in his own palace.)

1602: The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford is opened to the public.

1605: Robert Catesby, ringleader of the Gunpowder Plotters, is killed.

1837: Mary Lyon founds Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, which will later become Mount Holyoke College.

1861: The “Trent Affair” occurs when the USS San Jacinto stops the British mail ship Trent and arrests two Confederate envoys, sparking a diplomatic crisis between the UK and U.S.

1889: Montana is admitted as the 41st U.S. state.

1892: The New Orleans general strike begins, uniting Black and White American trade unionists for the first time in a successful four-day general strike action.

1895: While experimenting with electricity, Wilhelm Röntgen discovers the X-ray. (Surprisingly, he isn’t wearing goggles with spirals on the lenses.)

1901: Bloody clashes take place in Athens following the translation of the Gospels into demotic Greek. (They were probably mad because they thought it said “demonic” Greek.)

1917: The first Council of People’s Commissars is formed, including Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Joseph Stalin. (Nothing gets done, because the three of them are afraid to turn their backs to each other.)

1923: In the “Beer Hall Putsch” in Munich, Hitler leads the Nazis in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government. He is wounded and flees, escaping immediate arrest — but will be arrested and charged with treason two days later.

1933: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt unveils the Civil Works Administration, an organization designed to create jobs for more than 4 million unemployed Americans.

1937: The Nazi exhibition “Der ewige Jude” — “The Eternal Jew” — opens in Munich, displaying anti-Semitic photographs and caricatures.

1939: In Munich, Hitler narrowly escapes assassination by Georg Elser while celebrating the 16th anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch. (Wait…why was Hitler celebrating his own failure, that sent him to prison? I will never understand Nazis.)

1950: The first jet aircraft-to-jet aircraft dogfight in history takes place during the Korean War, as U.S. Air Force Lt. Russell J. Brown, piloting an F-80 Shooting Star, shoots down two North Korean MiG-15s.

1957: The UK conducts its first successful hydrogen bomb test, over Kiritimati in the Pacific.

1966: Former Massachusetts Attorney General Edward Brooke is the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction.

Elsewhere, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into law an antitrust exemption allowing the National Football League to merge with the upstart American Football League.

1972: HBO launches its programming with the broadcast of the 1971 movie “Sometimes a Great Notion,” starring Paul Newman and Henry Fonda.

1973: The right ear of John Paul Getty III is delivered to a newspaper outlet along with a ransom note, convincing his father to pay $2.9 million for his release.

1994: On the night of the 1994 United States midterm elections, Republicans make historic electoral gains by securing massive majorities in both houses of Congress, bringing a close to four decades of Democratic domination.

1999: Bruce Miller is killed at his junkyard near Flint, Michigan. His wife Sharee Miller, who convinced her online lover Jerry Cassaday to kill him — before later killing himself — will be convicted of the world’s first “Internet murder.”

2002: The United Nations Security Council unanimously approves a resolution on Iraq, forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm or face “serious consequences.”

2004: More than 10,000 U.S. troops and a small number of Iraqi army units participate in a siege on the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.

2006: The Israeli Defense Force kills 19 Palestinian civilians in their homes during the shelling of Beit Hanoun.

2011: The potentially hazardous asteroid 2005 YU55 passes 0.85 lunar distances from Earth — about 201,700 miles, the closest known approach by an asteroid of its brightness since 2010 XC15 in 1976.

2013: Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, strikes the Visayas region of the Philippines. The storm will leave at least 6340 people dead with over 1000 still missing, and cause $2.86 billion in damage.

On November 9,

694: At the Seventeenth Council of Toledo, Egica — a king of the Visigoths of Hispania — accuses Jews of aiding Muslims, and sentences all Jews to slavery.

1313: Louis the Bavarian defeats his cousin Frederick I of Austria at the Battle of Gammelsdorf. (Can we all agree that “Louis the Bavarian” would make a great 1930s gangster name?)

1620: Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sight land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

1780: In the Battle of Fishdam Ford, a force of British and Loyalist troops fail in a surprise attack against the South Carolina Patriot militia under Brigadier General Thomas Sumter.

1799: Napoleon leads the Coup of 18 Brumaire, ending the Directory government and becoming First Consul of the successor. (I have to admit, the meaning of most of that is lost on me.)

1851: Kentucky marshals abduct abolitionist minister Calvin Fairbank from Jeffersonville, Indiana and take him to Kentucky to stand trial for having helped a slave escape.

1862: In the American Civil War, Union General Ambrose Burnside assumes command of the Army of the Potomac after George B. McClellan is removed.

1872: The Great Boston Fire of 1872 begins in the basement of a warehouse and begins to spread. It lasts for 12 hours, consuming about 65 acres of downtown, destroying 776 buildings, and causing $73.5 million in damage.

1883: The 90th Winnipeg Battalion of Rifles of the Canadian Armed Forces is founded. It will later be called the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.

1887: The United States receives rights to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

1906: Theodore Roosevelt is the first sitting President of the United States to make an official trip outside the country when he goes to inspect progress on the Panama Canal.

1923: In Munich, Germany, police and government troops crush the Nazis’ attempted coup in Bavaria — the Beer Hall Putsch.

1938: German diplomat Ernst vom Rath, a Nazi, dies from gunshot wounds at the hands of Herschel Grynszpan, a Polish-Jewish refugee who shot vom Rath two days prior in retaliation for Germany’s arrest, theft from, and deportation of 12,000 Jews. That night, the Nazis use vom Rath’s death as the pretext to launch Kristallnacht, a brutal overnight anti-Semitic pogrom in Germany consisting of beating Jewish citizens, demolishing 267 synagogues and more than 7000 Jewish businesses, and arresting and sending 30,000 Jewish men to concentration camps.

1960: Robert McNamara is named president of Ford Motor Company; he is the first non-Ford to hold that position. He will not hold it long, resigning a month later to join the administration of newly elected U.S. president, John F. Kennedy.

1965: A Catholic Worker Movement member, Roger Allen LaPorte, sets himself on fire in front of the United Nations building in protest against the Vietnam War. (A similar event took place in front of the Pentagon a week before. Can we agree that self-immolation is probably not a good trend to take up?)

1967: NASA launches the unmanned Apollo 4 test spacecraft atop the first Saturn V rocket from Cape Kennedy, Florida.

Elsewhere, the first issue of “Rolling Stone” magazine is published. The cover shot is a still of John Lennon in “How I Won the War.”

1970: The Supreme Court of the United States votes 6–3 against hearing a case to allow Massachusetts to grant residents the right to refuse military service in an undeclared war.

1979: The NORAD computers and the Alternate National Military Command Center in Fort Ritchie, Maryland detect what appears to be a massive Soviet nuclear strike. After a review of the raw data from satellites and a check of the early-warning radars, the alert is cancelled. (It always pays to double-check in these situations.)

1985: At 22, Garry Kasparov of the Soviet Union becomes the youngest World Chess Champion when he defeats fellow Soviet Anatoly Karpov.

1989: East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, allowing its citizens to travel freely to West Berlin.

1998: In the largest civil settlement in American history, a U.S. federal judge orders 37 U.S. brokerage houses to pay $1.03 billion to cheated NASDAQ investors, to compensate for price fixing.

2004: Firefox 1.0 is released.

2005: Suicide bombers attack three hotels in Amman, Jordan, killing at least 60 people.

2007: The German Bundestag passes the controversial data retention bill, mandating six-month storage of citizens’ telecommunications traffic data without probable cause. (Someone, somewhere rationalizes it by saying, “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you haven’t anything to worry about.”)

On November 10,

1202: Despite letters from Pope Innocent III forbidding it and threatening excommunication, Catholic crusaders begin a siege of Zara — later Zadar, Croatia.

1580: After a three-day siege, the English Army beheads more than 600 people, including papal soldiers and civilians, at Dún an Óir, Ireland.

1702: English colonists under the command of James Moore besiege Spanish St. Augustine during Queen Anne’s War.

1766: The last colonial governor of New Jersey, William Franklin, signs the charter of Queen’s College. It will later be renamed Rutgers University.

1775: Samuel Nicholas founds the United States Marine Corps at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia.

1793: A Goddess of Reason is proclaimed by the French Convention, at the suggestion of Pierre Gaspard Chaumette. The Cult of Reason is France’s first state-sponsored atheistic “religion,” meant to replace Catholicism. It will be replaced by Robespierre’s Cult of the Supreme Being the following year.

1847: The passenger ship Stephen Whitney wrecks in thick fog off the southern coast of Ireland, killing 92 of the 110 on board. The disaster will prompt the construction of the Fastnet Rock lighthouse.

1865: Major Henry Wirz, the superintendent of Camp Sumter — a severely mismanaged prison camp with a 28% mortality rate in Andersonville, Georgia — is hanged for having conspired to impair the lives of Union prisoners of war. He is one of three American Civil War soldiers executed for war crimes.

1871: Henry Morton Stanley locates missing explorer and missionary, Dr. David Livingstone in Ujiji. He greets him with the famous words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” (To which Livingstone replies, “Last time I checked” before breaking into an unwarranted fit of guffaws.)

1898: In Wilmington, North Carolina, White supremacists enact a coup against the multi-racial local government. Alfred Waddell leads a mob of 500 White vigilantes to burn and gut the office of Black newspaper “The Daily Record” in retaliation for its perceived role in the recent election of progressive Black “Fusion Party” members to the Board of Aldermen, as well as having written an anti-lynching article claiming that White women willingly had sex with Black men. After destroying the paper, the mob grows to about 2000 people and fans out across the city, destroying other Black businesses and killing 60-300 Black citizens. Outside of the city, the Wilmington Massacre is misrepresented as a Black riot, and Governor Daniel Russell authorizes the use of Wilmington Light Infantry troops to quell it. Waddell leads a group to Mayor Silas P. Wright and forces him, the board of aldermen, and the police chief to resign at gunpoint. The mob installs a new city council, which “elects” Waddell as the new mayor. The next day, Waddell will use his power to banish around 20 prominent Black citizens from the city. After successfully orchestrating the coup, Waddell will remain in office until 1906. His revisionism will be largely successful, convincing many outsiders that the massacre and coup were a lawful act against Black insurrection.

1918: The Western Union Cable Office in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, receives a top-secret coded message from Europe announcing that all fighting in the Great War will cease the next day. (Why does something like that have to be top-secret? You’d think they’d want to share the news. In fact, why does a truce have to be pre-determined instead of immediate? Did they want one more day of fighting?)

1942: Germany invades Vichy France following French Admiral François Darlan’s agreement to an armistice with the Allies in North Africa.

1951: With the rollout of the North American Numbering Plan, direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service begins in the United States.

1954: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicates the USMC War Memorial — the Iwo Jima memorial — in Arlington Ridge Park in Arlington County, Virginia.

1958: New York diamond merchant Harry Winston donates the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution.

1969: National Educational Television in the United States debuts “Sesame Street.” (Unfortunately, despite it being a sunny day and everything seeming to be A-okay, no one knows how to get, hot to get to that channel.)

1970: For the first time in five years, an entire week ends with no reports of American combat fatalities in Southeast Asia.

1971: In Cambodia, Khmer Rouge forces attack the city of Phnom Penh and its airport, killing 44, wounding at least 30, and damaging nine aircraft.

1972: Southern Airways Flight 49 from Birmingham, Alabama is hijacked and, at one point, threatened with crashing into the nuclear installation at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After two days, the plane will land in Havana, Cuba, where Castro will jail the hijackers.

1975: The United Nations General Assembly passes Resolution 3379, determining that Zionism is a form of racism.

Elsewhere, the 729-foot-long freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinks during a storm on Lake Superior, killing all 29 crew on board. (The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay if they’d put 15 more miles behind her.)

1979: A 106-car Canadian Pacific freight train carrying explosive and poisonous chemicals from Windsor, Ontario derails in Mississauga, just west of Toronto, causing a massive explosion and resulting in the largest peacetime evacuation in Canadian history — and one of the largest in North American history.

1983: Bill Gates introduces Windows 1.0. (A-Ha! Why would he have given it a number if he wasn’t planning to release future versions? This is proof he had a plan all along! He’s a conspirator!)

1989: Germans begin to tear down the Berlin Wall.

1997: WorldCom and MCI Communications announce a $37 billion merger; it is the largest in U.S. history at the time.

2002: A tornado outbreak stretches from Northern Ohio to the Gulf Coast, one of the largest outbreaks recorded in November. The strongest tornado, an F4, hits Van Wert, Ohio.

2006: The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia opens; U.S. President George W. Bush dedicates it and announces that Marine Corporal Jason Dunham will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Iraq War.

2008: Over five months after landing on Mars, NASA declares the Phoenix mission concluded after communications with the lander are lost. (Seems kinda redundant to say the mission is over at that point — you’d think that would be obvious from the fact the thing had stopped working — but whatever.)

On November 11,

1028: Constantine VIII dies, ending his 66-year uninterrupted reign as emperor or co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

1215: The Fourth Council of the Lateran meets, defining the doctrine of transubstantiation — the process by which bread and wine are, according to that doctrine, said to transform into the body and blood of Christ. (I grew up Catholic, but I’m grossed out at that concept.)

1572: Tycho Brahe observes the supernova SN 1572.

1620: The Mayflower Compact is signed in what will become Provincetown Harbor, near Cape Cod.

1634: Following pressure from Anglican bishop John Atherton, the Irish House of Commons passes An Act for the Punishment for the Vice of Buggery. (He probably insisted on proofreading it three times; he was kind of anal like that.)

1675: Gottfried Leibniz demonstrates integral calculus for the first time, determining the area under the graph of y = ƒ(x). (He pointed at a sheet of paper and said, “There. See, beneath that line? That’s the area under the graph. Everything else is the area over or around it.”)

1750: Riots break out in Lhasa after the murder of the Tibetan regent.

Elsewhere, the F.H.C. Society — also known as the Flat Hat Club — is formed at Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is the first college fraternity.

1778: Loyalists and Seneca Indian forces attack a fort and village in eastern New York during the American Revolutionary War, killing more than 40 civilians and soldiers.

1831: In Jerusalem, Virginia, Nat Turner is hanged for having incited a slave uprising.

1839: The Virginia Military Institute is founded in Lexington, Virginia.

1864: General William Tecumseh Sherman begins burning Atlanta to the ground in preparation for his march to the sea. (Most folks would have just packed a suitcase, but whatever.)

1869: The Victorian Aboriginal Protection Act is enacted in Australia, giving the government control of indigenous people’s wages and terms of employment, and where they can live. It also gives the government control of their children, effectively leading to the Stolen Generations. (I hope we can all agree this was government overreach?)

1880: Australian bushranger Ned Kelly is hanged at Melbourne Gaol.

1887: August Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer, and George Engel are executed for their roles in the Haymarket affair.

1889: The State of Washington is admitted as the 42nd U.S. state.

1911: Many cities in the Midwestern United States break their record highs and lows on the same day as a strong cold front rolls through.

1918: Germany signs an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car in the forest of Compiègne.

1921: U.S. President Warren G. Harding dedicates the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

1923: Adolf Hitler is arrested in Munich for high treason, for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch.

1926: The United States Numbered Highway System is established.

1930: Patent number US1781541 is awarded to Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd for their invention, the Einstein refrigerator.

1934: The Shrine of Remembrance opens in Melbourne, Australia. (Isn’t every shrine one of remembrance?)

1940: In the Battle of Taranto, the Royal Navy launches the first all-aircraft ship-to-ship naval attack in history.

1961: A mob in Kindu massacres 13 Italian Air Force servicemen, deployed to the Congo as a part of a UN peacekeeping force.

1966: NASA launches Gemini 12.

1967: In a propaganda ceremony in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, three American prisoners of war are released by the Viet Cong and turned over to “new left” antiwar activist Tom Hayden.

1992: The General Synod of the Church of England votes to allow women to become priests.

1993: A sculpture honoring women who served in the Vietnam War is dedicated at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

1999: The House of Lords Act is given Royal Assent, restricting membership of the British House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage.

2000: One hundred and fifty-five skiers and snowboarders die when a cable car catches fire in an alpine tunnel in Kaprun, Austria.

2001: Journalists Pierre Billaud, Johanne Sutton, and Volker Handloik are killed in Afghanistan during an attack on the convoy they are traveling in.

2004: The New Zealand Tomb of the Unknown Warrior is dedicated at the National War Memorial in Wellington.

Elsewhere, the Palestine Liberation Organization confirms the death of Yasser Arafat from unidentified causes. Mahmoud Abbas is elected chairman of the PLO minutes later.

2006: Queen Elizabeth II unveils the New Zealand War Memorial in London, commemorating the loss of soldiers from the New Zealand Army and the British Army.

On November 12,

1439: Plymouth becomes the first town incorporated by the English Parliament.

1892: Pudge Heffelfinger becomes the first professional American football player, participating in his first paid game for the Allegheny Athletic Association. His payment of $500 is not publicized.

1893: Abdur Rahman Khan accepts the Durand Line as the border between Afghanistan and the British Raj. (A Raj captain named Kuhrk responds by shouting, “Khaaaaaaaan!”)

1912: The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men are found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

1927: Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in undisputed control of the Soviet Union.

1928: SS Vestris sinks approximately 200 miles off Hampton Roads, Virginia, killing at least 110 passengers — mostly women and children who die after the vessel is abandoned.

1936: The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge opens to traffic.

1940: Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov arrives in Berlin to discuss the possibility of the Soviet Union joining the Axis Powers. (But first, he has a cocktail.)

1941: Temperatures around Moscow drop to -12° C as the Soviet Union launches ski troops for the first time against the freezing German forces near the city.

1942: The naval Battle of Guadalcanal begins between Japanese and American forces. The battle will last for three days and end with an American victory.

1948: In Tokyo, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East sentences seven Japanese military and government officials — including General Hideki Tojo — to death for their roles in World War II.

1954: Ellis Island ceases operations.

1956: In the midst of the Suez Crisis, Palestinian refugees are shot dead in Rafah by Israeli soldiers following the invasion of the Gaza Strip.

1958: A team of rock climbers led by Warren Harding completes the first ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

1969: Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh breaks the story of the My Lai Massacre.

1970: The Oregon Highway Division attempts to destroy a rotting beached Sperm whale with explosives, leading to the now infamous “exploding whale” incident.

Elsewhere, the 1970 Bhola cyclone makes landfall on the coast of East Pakistan, becoming the deadliest tropical cyclone in history.

1971: U.S. President Richard Nixon sets February 1, 1972 as the deadline for the removal of another 45,000 American troops from Vietnam.

1979: In response to the hostage situation in Tehran, U.S. President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all petroleum imports from Iran into the United States.

1980: The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn and takes the first images of its rings.

1981: Space Shuttle Mission STS-2, with the Space Shuttle Columbia, marks the first time a manned spacecraft is launched into space twice.

1990: Tim Berners-Lee publishes a formal proposal for the World Wide Web.

1997: Ramzi Yousef is found guilty of having masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

2001: Taliban forces abandon Kabul ahead of advancing Afghan Northern Alliance troops.

2003: Shanghai Transrapid sets a new world speed record of 311 mph for commercial railway systems.

2014: The Philae lander, deployed from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe, reaches the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

On November 13,

1160: Louis VII of France marries Adela of Champagne. (The reception included a Champagne toast.)

1775: Patriot revolutionary forces under Gen. Richard Montgomery occupy Montreal.

1841: James Braid first sees a demonstration of animal magnetism, which leads to his study of the subject he eventually calls hypnotism.

1851: The Denny Party lands at Alki Point, before moving to the other side of Elliott Bay to what will become Seattle.

1916: Prime Minister of Australia Billy Hughes is expelled from the Labor Party over his support for conscription.

1918: Allied troops occupy Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. (This is a date in Constantinople; now it’s waiting in Istanbul.)

1927: The Holland Tunnel opens to traffic as the first Hudson River vehicle tunnel linking New Jersey to New York City.

1940: Walt Disney’s animated musical film “Fantasia” is released, on the first night of a roadshow at New York’s Broadway Theatre.

1942: U.S. and Japanese ships engage in an intense, close-quarters surface naval engagement during the Guadalcanal Campaign.

1947: The Soviet Union completes development of the AK-47, one of the first assault rifles.

1950: General Carlos Delgado Chalbaud, President of Venezuela, is assassinated in Caracas.

1954: Great Britain defeats France to capture the first ever Rugby League World Cup, which takes place in Paris in front of around 30,000 spectators.

1956: The Supreme Court of the United States declares Alabama laws requiring segregated buses to be illegal. The Montgomery Bus Boycott ends. (Rosa Parks stood up, alright — just not in the way they wanted her to.)

1966: In response to Fatah raids against Israelis near the West Bank border, Israel launches an attack on the village of As-Samu.

1969: Anti-war protesters in Washington, D.C. stage a symbolic March Against Death. (Death remains unconcerned.)

1970: The Bhola cyclone — a 150-mph tropical cyclone — hits the densely populated Ganges Delta region of East Pakistan in what will later be Bangladesh, killing an estimated 500,000 people in one night.

1974: Ronald DeFeo, Jr. murders his entire family in Amityville, Long Island in the house that will become known as The Amityville Horror.

1982: Ray Mancini defeats Duk Koo Kim in a boxing match held in Las Vegas. Kim’s subsequent death on November 17 will lead to significant changes in the sport.

Elsewhere, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C. after a march to its site by thousands of Vietnam War veterans.

1985: The Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupts and melts a glacier, causing a lahar — or volcanic mudslide — that buries Armero, Colombia and kills approximately 23,000 people.

Elsewhere, Xavier Suárez is sworn in as Miami’s first Cuban-born mayor.

1992: The High Court of Australia rules in Dietrich v The Queen that although there is no absolute right to have publicly funded counsel, in most circumstances a judge should grant any request for an adjournment or stay when an accused is unrepresented.

1994: In a referendum, voters in Sweden decide to join the European Union.

1995: A truck-bomb explodes outside of a US-operated Saudi Arabian National Guard training center in Riyadh, killing five Americans and two Indians. A group called the Islamic Movement for Change claims responsibility.

2001: In the first such act since World War II, U.S. President George W. Bush signs an executive order allowing military tribunals against foreigners suspected of connections to terrorist acts or planned acts on the United States.

2002: Iraq agrees to the terms of the UN Security Council Resolution 1441.

2012: A total solar eclipse occurs in parts of Australia and the South Pacific.

2013: Hawaii legalizes same-sex marriage.

Elsewhere, 4 World Trade Center officially opens.

2015: A set of coordinated terror attacks in Paris, including multiple shootings, explosions, and a hostage crisis in the 10th and 11th arrondissements kill 130 people, and injure 368 others, with at least 80 critically wounded.

2015: WT1190F, a temporary satellite of Earth, impacts just southeast of Sri Lanka. (WT1190F? I’m pretty sure the locals reacted: WTF.)

On November 14,

1770: James Bruce discovers what he believes to be the source of the Nile. (It turns out he’s in denial.)

1851: Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” is published in the U.S. (Future English students will mourn the day.)

1862: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln approves General Ambrose Burnside’s plan to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia; this will lead to the Battle of Fredericksburg.

1886: Friedrich Soennecken develops the hole puncher. (Back in my day, we called that a pencil.)

1889: Pioneering female journalist Nellie Bly, aka Elizabeth Cochrane, begins a successful attempt to travel around the world in less than 80 days. She will complete the trip in 72 days.

1910: Aviator Eugene Burton Ely performs the first takeoff from a ship, taking off in a Curtiss pusher from a makeshift deck on the USS Birmingham, in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

1922: The British Broadcasting Company begins radio service in the United Kingdom.

1938: The Lions Gate Bridge, connecting Vancouver to the North Shore region, opens to traffic.

1940: Coventry, England is heavily bombed by the German Luftwaffe. Coventry Cathedral is almost completely destroyed.

1941: In Slonim, Belarus, German forces murder 9000 Jews in a single day.

1952: The New Musical Express publishes the first regular UK Singles Chart.

1957: The “Apalachin Meeting” in rural Tioga County in upstate New York is raided by law enforcement; many high-level Mafia figures are arrested while trying to flee.

1960: Ruby Bridges becomes the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the Southern United States.

1965: The Battle of Ia Drang begins; it is the first major engagement between regular American and North Vietnamese forces.

1969: NASA launches Apollo 12, the second crewed mission to the surface of the Moon.

1970: Southern Airways Flight 932 crashes in the mountains near Huntington, West Virginia, killing 75 people — including almost all of the Marshall University football team.

1971: Mariner 9 enters orbit around Mars.

1973: In the United Kingdom, Princess Anne marries Captain Mark Phillips, in Westminster Abbey.

1979: U.S. President Jimmy Carter issues Executive order 12170, freezing all Iranian assets in the United States in response to the Iran hostage crisis.

1982: Lech Wałęsa, the leader of Poland’s outlawed Solidarity movement, is released after 11 months of internment near the Soviet border.

1984: Zamboanga City mayor Cesar Climaco, a prominent critic of the government of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, is assassinated.

1990: After German reunification, the Federal Republic of Germany and Poland sign a treaty confirming the Oder–Neisse line as the border between Germany and Poland.

1991: American and British authorities announce indictments against two Libyan intelligence officials in connection with the downing of Pan Am Flight 103.

1991: Cambodian Prince Norodom Sihanouk returns to Phnom Penh after 13 years of exile. (Does that mean he no longer wants my account number in order to share half of his fortune?)

1995: A budget standoff between Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress forces the federal government to temporarily close national parks and museums and to run most government offices with skeleton staffs.

2001: Afghan Northern Alliance fighters take over the capital Kabul.

2003: Astronomers Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz discover 90377 Sedna — a Trans-Neptunian object.

2008: The first G-20 economic summit opens in Washington, D.C.

2012: Israel launches a major military operation in the Gaza Strip, as hostilities with Hamas escalate.

2017: After murdering his wife at home, a gunman kills four people and injures 12 others during a shooting spree across Rancho Tehama Reserve, California.

On November 15,

1315: During the Battle of Morgarten, the Schweizer Eidgenossenschaft ambushes the army of Leopold I. (His troops tried to warn him, but by the time they could finish saying the name “Schweizer Eidgenossenschaft,” the ambush had already begun.)

1532: Commanded by Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistadors under Hernando de Soto meet Inca Empire leader Atahualpa for the first time outside Cajamarca, arranging a meeting on the city plaza the following day. (Vampires have to be invited in.)

1533: Francisco Pizarro arrives in Cuzco, the capital of the Inca Empire.

1777: After 16 months of debate, the Continental Congress approves the Articles of Confederation.

1806: Lieutenant Zebulon Pike sees a distant mountain peak while on an expedition near the Colorado foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It will later be named Pikes Peak. (Without an apostrophe — doesn’t that mean there were multiple Pikes involved?)

1864: Union General William Tecumseh Sherman begins his infamous March to the Sea.

1914: Harry Turner is the first player to die from game-related injuries in the “Ohio League” — the predecessor to the National Football League.

1920: The League of Nations holds its first assembly. It takes place in Geneva, Switzerland.

1926: The NBC radio network opens with 24 stations.

1933: Thailand has its first election.

1939: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt lays the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

1942: The Battle of Guadalcanal ends in a decisive Allied victory.

1943: German SS leader Heinrich Himmler orders that Roma — referred to as “Gypsies” — are to be put “on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps.”

1949: Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte are executed for having assassinated Mahatma Gandhi.

1959: The murders of the Clutter Family are discovered in Holcomb, Kansas, inspiring Truman Capote’s non-fiction book, “In Cold Blood.”

1966: Gemini 12 splashes down safely in the Atlantic Ocean, completing the Gemini program’s final mission.

1968: The Cleveland Transit System becomes the first transit system in the western hemisphere to provide direct rapid transit service from a city’s downtown to its major airport.

1969: The Soviet submarine K-19 collides with the American submarine USS Gato in the Barents Sea.

1971: Intel releases the world’s first commercial single-chip microprocessor, the 4004.

1979: A package from Unabomber Ted Kaczynski begins smoking in the cargo hold of a flight from Chicago to Washington, D.C., forcing the plane to make an emergency landing. (Their first mistake was accepting a package from Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.)

1985: A research assistant is injured when a package from the Unabomber explodes, intended for a University of Michigan professor.

2006: “Al Jazeera English” launches worldwide.

On November 16,

1272: While travelling during the Ninth Crusade, Prince Edward becomes King of England upon the death of Henry III. He will not return to England to assume the throne for nearly two years.

1532: Francisco Pizarro and his men capture Inca Emperor Atahualpa at the Battle of Cajamarca.

1776: British and Hessian units capture Fort Washington from the Patriots.

Elsewhere, the United Provinces recognize the independence of the United States.

1793: During the French Revolution, 90 dissident Roman Catholic priests are executed by drowning at Nantes. (Maybe they were just baptisms gone horribly wrong.)

1822: Missouri trader William Becknell arrives in Santa Fe, New Mexico; his route will become known as the Santa Fe Trail.

1849: A Russian court sentences writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky to death for anti-government activities linked to a radical intellectual group. His sentence will later be commuted to hard labor.

1852: The English astronomer John Russell Hind discovers the asteroid 22 Kalliope.

1855: David Livingstone becomes the first European to see the Victoria Falls in what is now Zambia-Zimbabwe.

1871: The National Rifle Association receives its charter from New York State. (They were probably worried that Grant was coming for their muskets.)

1904: English engineer John Ambrose Fleming receives a patent for the thermionic valve, or vacuum tube.

1907: Combining Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory, Oklahoma is admitted as the 46th U.S. state.

1914: The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States officially opens.

1920: Qantas, Australia’s national airline, is founded as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited.

1933: The United States and the Soviet Union establish formal diplomatic relations.

1938: Albert Hofmann synthesizes LSD from ergotamine at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel. (Colors begin to speak to him.)

1940: In response to the leveling of Coventry by the German Luftwaffe two days before, the Royal Air Force bombs Hamburg.

Elsewhere, in occupied Poland, the Nazis close off the Warsaw Ghetto from the outside world.

Elsewhere, New York City’s “Mad Bomber” George Metesky places his first bomb — at a Manhattan office building used by Consolidated Edison.

1945: UNESCO is founded.

1965: The Soviet Union launches the Venera 3 space probe toward Venus; it will be the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet.

1973: NASA launches Skylab 4 with a crew of three astronauts from Cape Canaveral, Florida for an 84-day mission.

1973: U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act into law, authorizing the construction of the Alaska Pipeline.

1974: The Arecibo message is broadcast from the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico. It is aimed at the location of the globular star cluster Messier 13, some 25,000 light years away. The message will reach empty space by the time it finally arrives, as the cluster will have changed position. (“Missed it by that much.”)

1988: In the first open election in more than a decade, voters in Pakistan elect populist candidate Benazir Bhutto to be Prime Minister of Pakistan. (They elected a woman as the leader of their country. This gives me hope. Perhaps one day, the United States can hope to be as progressive as Pakistan.)

1989: El Salvadoran army troops kills six Jesuit priests and two other people at Jose Simeon Canas University.

1990: Pop group Milli Vanilli are stripped of their Grammy Award in light of the revelation that the group didn’t actually sing on their “Girl You Know It’s True” album. Session musicians provided all the vocals. (I was more indignant that the songs “Girl You Know It’s True” and “Blame It On The Rain” were based on the same five-note refrain.)

On November 17,

887: Emperor Charles the Fat is deposed by the Frankish magnates in an assembly at Frankfurt. (His nickname should have been his first clue that they didn’t really respect him.)

1558: The Elizabethan era begins when Queen Mary I of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth I.

1603: English explorer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh goes on trial for treason.

1777: The U.S. Articles of Confederation are submitted to the states for ratification.

1800: The United States Congress holds its first session in Washington, D.C.

1810: Sweden declares war on its ally, the United Kingdom. This begins the Anglo-Swedish War, a war in which no fighting ever takes place.

1820: Captain Nathaniel Palmer becomes the first American to see Antarctica. The Palmer Peninsula will later be named for him.

1837: An earthquake in Valdivia, south-central Chile, causes a tsunami that leads to significant destruction along Japan’s coast.

1839: Giuseppe Verdi’s first opera — “Oberto” — opens at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy.

1863: Confederate forces under General James Longstreet place Knoxville, Tennessee under siege.

1869: Egypt’s Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is inaugurated.

1876: Tchaikovsky’s “Slavonic March” has its premiere performance in Moscow, Russia. (Not be confused with a failed earlier attempt, “Slovenly March.”)

1894: H. H. Holmes, one of the first modern serial killers, is arrested in Boston, Massachusetts. (How sad is it that we’ve had enough serial killers to divide them into eras?)

1903: The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party splits into two groups: The Bolsheviks — Russian for “majority” — and the Mensheviks — Russian for “minority.” (Wait, so the Bolshevik Revolution was enacted by a majority? Does that really count as a “revolution?”)

1911: Omega Psi Phi fraternity is founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C.

1933: The United States recognizes the Soviet Union. (“Hey, I know that country!”)

1939: Nine Czech students are executed in response to anti-Nazi demonstrations prompted by the death of Jan Opletal. All Czech universities are shut down and more than 1200 students are sent to concentration camps. International Students’ Day will later be celebrated in many countries as a remembrance of this day.

1947: The Screen Actors Guild implements an anti-Communist loyalty oath.

Elsewhere, American scientists John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain observe the basic principles of the transistor, which will usher in the electronics revolution of the 20th century.

1950: Lhamo Dondrub is officially named the 14th Dalai Lama.

1962: U.S. President John F. Kennedy dedicates Washington Dulles International Airport.

1967: Acting on optimistic reports that he received on November 13, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson tells the nation that, while much remains to be done in Vietnam, “We are inflicting greater losses than we’re taking…We are making progress.” (Narrator: “We weren’t.”)

1968: Viewers of the Raiders–Jets football game in the eastern United States are disappointed when NBC interrupts its exciting finish to broadcast “Heidi.” This will prompt changes to sports broadcasting in the U.S. (It will also crack me up to read about it in 2020. Can you imagine the reaction of a bunch of rowdy, drunken fans in their homes when the exciting game disappears, to be replaced by a little girl in pigtails and lederhosen?)

1969: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki, Finland to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.

1970: U.S. Army Lieutenant William Calley goes on trial for the My Lai Massacre, perpetrated in Vietnam.

Elsewhere, the Soviet Union lands Lunokhod 1 — released by the orbiting Luna 17 spacecraft — on Mare Imbrium, or the Sea of Rains, on the Moon. It is the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another world.

1973: In Orlando, Florida, U.S. President Richard Nixon tells 400 Associated Press managing editors, “I am not a crook.” (Narrator: “He was.”)

1978: “The Star Wars Holiday Special” airs on CBS, receiving negative reception from critics, fans, and even “Star Wars” creator George Lucas. (It was gloriously bad.)

1989: In Czechoslovakia, a student demonstration in Prague is quelled by riot police. This sparks an uprising — called the Velvet Revolution — aimed at overthrowing the communist government. It will succeed on December 29.

1993: The U.S. House of Representatives passes a resolution to establish the North American Free Trade Agreement.

1997: In Luxor, Egypt, six Islamic militants kill 62 people outside the Temple of Hatshepsut.

2013: A rare late-season tornado outbreak strikes the Midwestern U.S. Illinois and Indiana are most affected, with tornado reports as far north as lower Michigan. About 72 tornadoes touch down over approximately an 11-hour time period, including seven EF3 and two EF4 tornadoes.

2019: The first known case of Covid-19 is traced to a 55-year-old man in a seafood market in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. (Imagine being that guy. Could anyone ever have been more reviled?)

On November 18,

401: The Visigoths, led by King Alaric I, cross the Alps and invade northern Italy.

1095: Called by Pope Urban II, the Council of Clermont begins. It will lead to the First Crusade.

1210: Pope Innocent III excommunicates Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV.

1282: Pope Martin IV excommunicates King Peter III of Aragon.

1302: Pope Boniface VIII issues the Papal bull Unam sanctam, claiming spiritual supremacy for the papacy. (Apparently, November 18 is a big day for papal bull.)

1421: A seawall at the Zuiderzee dike in the Netherlands breaks, flooding 72 villages and killing about 10,000 people. The occurrence will come to be known as St Elizabeth’s flood.

1493: Christopher Columbus first sights the island that will come to be known as Puerto Rico. (Still not India, Chris.)

1865: Mark Twain’s short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is published in the “New York Saturday Press.”

1872: Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women are arrested for voting illegally in the United States presidential election.

1883: American and Canadian railroads institute five standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.

1928: Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks release the animated short “Steamboat Willie.” It is the first fully synchronized sound cartoon and the first Mickey Mouse film to be distributed, although he appeared in two test animations that were made previously. The date will come to be considered Mickey’s birthday.

1944: The Popular Socialist Youth is founded in Cuba.

1961: U.S. President John F. Kennedy sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.

1963: The first push-button telephone goes into service. (Kids, we used to have these things known as rotary dials; you actually had to rotate the dial for each digit, then wait for it to rotate back to its original position before dialing the next digit. The horror.)

1970: U.S. President Richard Nixon asks Congress for $155 million in supplemental aid for the Cambodian government.

1978: In Jonestown, Guyana, Jim Jones “leads” his Peoples Temple congregants to a mass murder–suicide. His disciples ambush and fatally shoot U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan and his party, who are attempting to help Jonestown defectors escape. Then Jones urges his congregants to drink cyanide-laced Flavor Aid in a mass suicide, with armed guards forcing it on anyone who demurs or resists. In all, Jones kills 918, including more than 270 children.

1988: U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill into law allowing the death penalty for drug traffickers.

1991: Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon release Anglican Church envoys Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland.

1993: In South Africa, 21 political parties approve a new constitution, expanding voting rights and ending white minority rule.

1999: At Texas A&M University, the Aggie Bonfire collapses, killing 12 students and injuring 27 others.

2002: United Nations weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix arrive in Iraq.

2003: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules 4–3 in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, giving the state legislature 180 days to change the law. This will make Massachusetts the first state in the U.S. to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples.

2013: NASA launches the MAVEN probe to Mars.

On November 19,

461: Libius Severus is declared emperor of the Western Roman Empire. The real power is in the hands of the magister militum Ricimer. (Why do ancient Roman names sound like Harry Potter references?)

1493: Christopher Columbus goes ashore on an island called Borinquen, which he first saw the previous day. He names it San Juan Bautista; it will later be renamed Puerto Rico.

1794: The United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain sign Jay’s Treaty, attempting to resolve some of the lingering problems left over from the American Revolutionary War. (Jay feels proud of his efforts.)

1863: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address at the dedication ceremony for a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

1881: A meteorite lands near the village of Grossliebenthal, southwest of Odessa, Ukraine.

1911: The Doom Bar in Cornwall sinks two ships, Island Maid and Angele, the latter losing its entire crew except the captain. (They should have acted like attorneys, and passed that bar.)

1916: Samuel Goldwyn and Edgar Selwyn establish Goldwyn Pictures. (It’s a wyn-wyn proposition.)

1943: Nazis liquidate Janowska concentration camp in Lemberg, western Ukraine, murdering at least 6000 Jews after a failed uprising and mass escape attempt.

1944: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces the 6th War Loan Drive, aimed at selling $14 billion in war bonds to help pay for the war effort.

1950: U.S. Army General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes Supreme Commander of NATO-Europe.

1955: “National Review” publishes its first issue. (That makes it 65 this year; maybe it should retire.)

1959: The Ford Motor Company announces the discontinuation of the Edsel.

1967: Hong Kong establishes TVB, the first wireless commercial television station.

1969: Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean land at Oceanus Procellarum — the “Ocean of Storms” — and become the third and fourth humans to walk on the Moon.

1969: Association football player Pelé scores his 1000th goal.

1979: Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini orders the release of 13 female and Black American hostages being held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

1985: In Geneva, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time.

1985: Pennzoil wins a $10.53 billion judgment against Texaco in the largest civil verdict in the history of the United States. The suit came about after Texaco executed a contract to buy Getty Oil after Pennzoil had entered into an unsigned, yet still binding, buyout contract with Getty.

1994: The first National Lottery draw is held in the UK.

1998: The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee begins impeachment hearings against President Bill Clinton.

1998: Vincent van Gogh’s “Portrait of the Artist Without Beard” sells for $71.5 million at an auction. (Just gonna point out that the title is only two letters away from being “Portrait of the Artist Without Ear.”)

1999: The People’s Republic of China launches its first Shenzhou spacecraft.

2002: The Greek oil tanker Prestige splits in half and sinks off the coast of Galicia, releasing over 20 million gallons of oil in the largest environmental disaster in Spanish and Portuguese history.

2004: The Malice at the Palace — the worst brawl in NBA history — takes place. Ron Artest will be suspended for 86 games — the rest of the season — and Stephen Jackson will be suspended for 30.

2006: Nintendo releases the Wii. (Half the world clamors to buy one. Most of the world makes fun of the name.)

2013: A double suicide bombing at the Iranian embassy in Beirut kills 23 people and injures 160.

2019: Google launches its cloud gaming service, Google Stadia.

On November 20,

1407: A truce between John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy and Louis of Valois, Duke of Orléans is agreed upon under the auspices of John, Duke of Berry. Burgundy will assassinate Orléans three days later. (Berry will ask him what part of “truce” he didn’t understand.)

1695: Zumbi, the last of the leaders of Quilombo dos Palmares in early Brazil, is executed by the forces of Portuguese bandeirante Domingos Jorge Velho. His death will be commemorated annually in Brazil as part of Black Awareness Day.

1789: New Jersey is the first U.S. state to ratify the Bill of Rights.

1805: Beethoven’s only opera — “Fidelio” — premieres in Vienna.

1820: An 80-ton sperm whale attacks and sinks the Essex — a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts — 2000 miles from the western coast of South America. The event will become part of Herman Melville’s inspiration in writing “Moby-Dick.”

1910: Francisco I. Madero issues the Plan de San Luis Potosí, denouncing Mexican President Porfirio Díaz and calling for a revolution to overthrow the government of Mexico, effectively starting the Mexican Revolution.

1945: Trials commence against 24 Nazi war criminals at the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg.

1959: The United Nations adopts the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. (The Mandalorian approves.)

1962: In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ends the Cuba quarantine.

1969: “The Plain Dealer” in Cleveland, Ohio publishes explicit photographs of dead villagers from the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam.

Elsewhere, Native American activists seize control of Alcatraz Island, where they will remain entrenched until ousted by the U.S. Government on June 11, 1971.

1974: The U.S. Department of Justice files its final anti-trust suit against AT&T Corporation. The suit will lead to the breakup of AT&T and its Bell System.

Elsewhere, the first fatal crash of a Boeing 747 occurs when Lufthansa Flight 540 crashes while attempting to take off from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, killing 59 out of the 157 people on board.

1977: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat becomes the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel, when he meets Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and speaks before the Knesset in Jerusalem, seeking a permanent peace settlement. (Narrator: “He won’t find it.”)

1985: Microsoft releases Windows 1.0.

1989: The number of “Velvet Revolution” protesters assembled in Prague, Czechoslovakia swells from 200,000 the previous day to about half a million.

1990: Andrei Chikatilo, one of the Soviet Union’s most prolific serial killers, is arrested. He will eventually confess to 56 killings.

1992: A fire breaks out in Windsor Castle, causing over £50 million worth of damage.

1998: A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declares accused terrorist Osama bin Laden “a man without a sin” in regard to the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Elsewhere, the first space station module component for the International Space Station is launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Borat is ecstatic.)

On November 21,

164 BC: Judah Maccabee restores and purifies the Temple in Jerusalem. This event will be commemorated annually by the festival of Hanukkah.

1620: Plymouth Colony settlers sign the Mayflower Compact, a set of rules for self-governance.

1676: The Danish astronomer Ole Rømer presents the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light.

1783: In Paris, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes make the first untethered hot air balloon flight.

1789: North Carolina ratifies the United States Constitution and is admitted as the 12th U.S. state.

1861: Confederate President Jefferson Davis appoints Judah Benjamin Secretary of War. (I’m betting Benjamin didn’t keep that one on his resume afterward.)

1877: Thomas Edison announces his invention of the phonograph, a machine that can record and play sound.

1902: The first professional American football night game takes place as the Philadelphia Football Athletics defeat the Kanaweola Athletic Club of Elmira, New York, 39–0.

1905: The journal “Annalen der Physik” publishes Albert Einstein’s paper that leads to the mass–energy equivalence formula, E = mc².

1916: Mines from SM U-73 sink the HMHS Britannic, the largest ship lost in the First World War.

1918: The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 is passed, allowing women to stand for Parliament in the UK.

1922: Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia takes the oath of office to become the first woman to serve as a U.S. Senator.

1927: Striking coal miners in Columbine are allegedly attacked with machine guns by a detachment of state police dressed in civilian clothes.

1953: The Natural History Museum in London announces that the “Piltdown Man” skull, initially believed to be one of the most important fossilized hominid skulls ever found, is a hoax. (Bummer.)

1959: American disc jockey Alan Freed, who popularized the term “rock and roll” as well as music of that style, is fired from WABC-AM radio over allegations he participated in the payola scandal.

1961: The “La Ronde” opens in Honolulu; it is the first revolving restaurant in the United States.

1967: American General William Westmoreland says of the Vietnam War to news reporters, “I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing.” (Narrator: “He wasn’t.”)

1969: U.S. President Richard Nixon and Japanese Premier Eisaku Satō agree on the return of Okinawa to Japanese control in 1972. The U.S. retains rights to bases on the island, but they are to be nuclear-free.

1969: The first permanent ARPANET link is established between UCLA and SRI.

1979: The United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, is attacked by a mob and set on fire, killing four.

1980: A deadly fire breaks out at the MGM Grand Hotel in Paradise, Nevada. Eighty-seven people are killed and more than 650 are injured in the worst disaster in Nevada history.

1985: United States Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard is arrested for spying after being caught giving Israel classified information on Arab nations. He is subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

1986: National Security Council member Oliver North and his secretary begin shredding documents allegedly implicating them in the Iran–Contra affair.

1992: A major tornado strikes Houston, Texas, starting a two-day outbreak. It is the largest tornado outbreak ever to occur in the U.S. during November, spawning more than 100 tornadoes.

1995: The Dayton Agreement is initialed at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, ending three and a half years of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

2004: The second round of the Ukrainian presidential election is held, giving rise to massive protests and controversy over the election’s integrity. (U.S.: “Hold my beer.”)

Elsewhere, the Paris Club agrees to write off 80% — up to $100 billion — of Iraq’s external debt.

2012: At least 28 are wounded after a bomb is thrown onto a bus in Tel Aviv.

2013: Massive protests start in Ukraine after President Viktor Yanukovych suspends signing the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement.

2014: Police firing tear gas cause a stampede in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe that kills at least 11 people and injures 40 others.

2015: The government of Belgium imposes a security lockdown on Brussels — including the closure of shops, schools, and public transportation — due to potential terrorist attacks.

2017: Robert Mugabe formally resigns as President of Zimbabwe, after 37 years in office. (I’m pretty sure 37 years is more than enough.)

2019: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

On November 22,

1718: Off the coast of North Carolina, British pirate Edward Teach — aka Blackbeard — is killed in battle with a boarding party led by Royal Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard.

1837: Canadian journalist and politician William Lyon Mackenzie calls for a rebellion against the United Kingdom in his essay “To the People of Upper Canada,” published in his newspaper “The Constitution.”

1869: In Dumbarton, Scotland, the clipper Cutty Sark is launched.

1873: The French steamer SS Ville du Havre sinks in 12 minutes after colliding with the Scottish iron clipper Loch Earn in the Atlantic, killing 226.

1928: Ravel’s “Boléro” is performed for the first time, in Paris. (Audience members have an overwhelming desire to smoke a cigarette after its conclusion.)

1935: The China Clipper inaugurates the first commercial transpacific air service, connecting Alameda, California with Manila.

1940: Following the initial Italian invasion, Greek troops counterattack into Italian-occupied Albania and capture Korytsa.

1942: General Friedrich Paulus sends Hitler a telegram saying that the German 6th Army is surrounded during the Battle of Stalingrad. (Wait, was Paulus actually involved in the battle? How did he find a telegram office amidst all that?)

1943: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Chinese Premier Chiang Kai-shek meet in Cairo, Egypt to discuss ways to defeat Japan.

1954: The Humane Society of the United States is founded.

1956: The Summer Olympics, officially known as the games of the XVI Olympiad, are opened in Melbourne, Australia.

1963: U.S. President John F. Kennedy is assassinated and Texas Governor John Connally is seriously wounded by Lee Harvey Oswald, who then kills Dallas Police officer J. D. Tippit after fleeing the scene. U.S Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as the 36th President.

Elsewhere, The Beatles release their “With the Beatles” album in the UK.

1968: The Beatles release “The BEATLES” — which will become known more commonly as “The White Album.” (Seeds begin to gather in the fold of the double album’s cover everywhere.)

1971: In Britain’s worst mountaineering tragedy, the Cairngorm Plateau Disaster, five children and one of their leaders are found dead from exposure in the Scottish mountains.

1973: The Italian Fascist organization Ordine Nuovo is disbanded.

1974: The United Nations General Assembly grants the Palestine Liberation Organization observer status.

1975: Juan Carlos is declared King of Spain following the death of Francisco Franco.

1977: British Airways inaugurates a regular supersonic Concorde service from London to New York City.

1986: Mike Tyson becomes the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history, at age 20.

1987: Two Chicago television stations are hijacked by an unknown pirate dressed as Max Headroom. (I can’t possibly explain why this is funny to me, but it is.)

1988: In Palmdale, California, the first prototype B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is revealed.

1990: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher withdraws from the Conservative Party leadership election.

1994: The Sega Saturn is released in Japan.

1995: “Toy Story” is released as the first feature-length film created completely using computer-generated imagery.

2002: In Nigeria, more than 100 people are killed during an attack aimed at the contestants of the Miss World contest.

2003: England defeats Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final, becoming the first team from the Northern Hemisphere to win the tournament.

2005: Angela Merkel is the first woman to become Chancellor of Germany.

2012: After eight days of violence and 150 deaths, a ceasefire begins between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

On November 23,

534 BC: Thespis of Icaria is the first recorded actor to portray a character on stage. (I’ve never seen that recording.)

1499: Perkin Warbeck is hanged for having reportedly attempted to escape from the Tower of London. He was imprisoned for having invaded England in 1497, claiming to be the lost son of King Edward IV of England. (So, he wasn’t hanged for being a pretender to the throne, but for trying to escape? That’s…weird, to say the least.)

1644: John Milton publishes “Areopagitica” — a pamphlet decrying censorship. (After it is censored, he publishes a sequel that says only, “See?”)

1733: A slave insurrection begins on St. John in the Danish West Indies.

1867: The Manchester Martyrs are hanged in Manchester, England for having killed a police officer while freeing two Irish Republican Brotherhood members from custody.

1889: The first jukebox goes into operation, at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.

1890: King William III of the Netherlands dies without a male heir; a special law is passed to allow his daughter, Princess Wilhelmina, to succeed him. (Wait, a law was passed by humans to create a monarch? I thought monarchs are supposed to get their authority from God.)

1910: Johan Alfred Ander is the last person to be executed in Sweden.

1924: Edwin Hubble’s discovery — that the Andromeda “nebula” is actually another island galaxy far outside of our own Milky Way — is published in “The New York Times.”

1936: “Life” magazine is reborn as a photo magazine, bringing it instant success.

1946: French naval bombardment of Hai Phong, Vietnam kills thousands of civilians.

1953: USAF Lieutenants Felix Moncla and Robert Wilson disappear with their F-89C Scorpion jet while pursuing a mysterious craft over Lake Superior. The two blips on the ground radar appear to merge into a single blip, which continues on the unidentified craft’s original course. A search-and-rescue mission will find no trace of the jet that Moncla had been piloting when they disappeared. The other craft will never be identified.

1963: The BBC broadcasts “An Unearthly Child.” It is the first episode of the first story from the first series of “Doctor Who,” which will become the world’s longest-running science fiction drama.

1971: Representatives of the People’s Republic of China attend the United Nations, including the Security Council, for the first time.

1974: Sixty Ethiopian politicians, aristocrats, military officers, and other persons are executed by the provisional military government.

1976: Apneist Jacques Mayol is the first man to reach a depth of 100 meters undersea without breathing equipment.

1981: U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs the top-secret National Security Decision Directive 17, giving the Central Intelligence Agency the authority to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

1992: The first smartphone — the IBM Simon — is introduced at COMDEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. (All it does is play random series of four colors and beeps.)

1993: Rachel Whiteread wins both the £20,000 Turner Prize award for best British modern artist and the £40,000 K Foundation art award for the worst artist of the year.

2005: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is elected president of Liberia, becoming the first woman to lead an African country.

2007: MS Explorer — a cruise liner carrying 154 people — sinks in the Antarctic Ocean south of Argentina after hitting an iceberg near the South Shetland Islands. There are no fatalities. (Irony: I found this information online using, you guessed it, MS Explorer….)

2011: After 11 months of protests in Yemen, Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh signs a deal to transfer power to the vice president in exchange for legal immunity.

2015: Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle became the first rocket to successfully fly to space and then return to Earth for a controlled, vertical landing.

On November 24,

1248: An overnight landslide on the north side of Mont Granier, one of the largest historical rockslope failures ever recorded in Europe, destroys five villages.

1642: Abel Tasman is the first European to discover the island Van Diemen’s Land, which will later be renamed Tasmania. (That devil.)

1832: South Carolina passes the Ordinance of Nullification, declaring that the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 are null and void in the state. This starts the Nullification Crisis.

1835: The Texas Provincial Government authorizes the creation of a horse-mounted police force called the Texas Rangers. (Nolan Ryan starts on the mound.)

1859: Charles Darwin publishes “On the Origin of Species.”

1863: Near Chattanooga, Tennessee, Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant capture Lookout Mountain and begin to break the Confederate siege of the city led by General Braxton Bragg.

1877: Anna Sewell’s animal welfare novel “Black Beauty” is published.

1906: The Massillon Tigers defeat the Canton Bulldogs 13-6 for the Ohio League Championship. The win will lead to accusations that the championship series was fixed, resulting in the first major scandal in professional American football.

1917: Nine members of the Milwaukee Police Department are killed by a bomb, the most deaths in a single event in U.S. police history until the September 11 attacks in 2001.

1922: Nine Irish Republican Army members are executed by an Irish Free State firing squad. Among them is author Erskine Childers, who had been arrested for illegally carrying a revolver.

1932: In Washington, D.C., the FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory officially opens.

1941: The United States grants Lend-Lease to the Free French Forces.

1962: The influential British satirical television programme “That Was the Week That Was” makes its broadcast debut.

1963: Jack Ruby kills Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, as Oswald is being escorted by Dallas police for transport between jails.

1965: Joseph-Désiré Mobutu seizes power in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — which he will rename Zaire in 1971 — and becomes President. He will rule the country until he is overthrown by rebels in 1997.

1969: The Apollo 12 command module splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean, ending the second manned mission to land on the Moon.

1971: During a severe thunderstorm over Washington state, a hijacker calling himself Dan Cooper — aka D. B. Cooper — parachutes from a Northwest Orient Airlines plane with $200,000 in ransom money. He will never be found.

1973: Germany imposes a national speed limit on the Autobahn due to the oil crisis. It will last for only four months.

1974: Donald Johanson and Tom Gray discover the 40-percent-complete Australopithecus afarensis skeleton — which will be nicknamed “Lucy” after The Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” — in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia’s Afar Depression.

2013: Iran signs an interim agreement with the P5+1 countries, limiting its nuclear program in exchange for reduced sanctions.

On November 25,

1343: A tsunami, caused by an earthquake in the Tyrrhenian Sea, devastates Naples, the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, and other locations.

1487: Elizabeth of York is crowned Queen of England. (She celebrates with a Peppermint Patty.)

1758: During the French and Indian War, British forces capture Fort Duquesne from French control. Later, Fort Pitt will be built nearby and grow into the city of Pittsburgh. (Yinz should read more about that. Redd up, in fact.)

1759: An earthquake hits the Mediterranean, destroying Beirut and Damascus and killing 30,000-40,000.

1783: The last British troops leave New York City, three months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

1833: A massive undersea earthquake, estimated at 8.7-9.2 magnitude, rocks Sumatra and produces a massive tsunami all along the Indonesian coast.

1864: A group of Confederate operatives calling themselves the Confederate Army of Manhattan start fires in more than 20 locations in an unsuccessful attempt to burn down New York City.

1874: The United States Greenback Party is established; it is a political party consisting mostly of farmers affected by the Panic of 1873.

1876: In retaliation for the American defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, United States Army troops sack the sleeping village of Cheyenne Chief Dull Knife at the headwaters of the Powder River.

1915: Albert Einstein presents the field equations of general relativity to the Prussian Academy of Sciences.

1926: The deadliest November tornado outbreak in U.S. history kills 76 people and injures more than 400.

1936: Germany and Japan sign the Anti-Comintern Pact, agreeing to consult on measures “to safeguard their common interests” in the case of an unprovoked attack by the Soviet Union against either nation.

1940: The de Havilland Mosquito and Martin B-26 Marauder have their inaugural flights.

1941: The Anti-Comintern Pact is renewed five years after its original signing, with additional signatories.

1947: The “Hollywood Ten” — members of the film industry who publicly denounced tactics of the House Un-American Activities Committee during its probe of alleged communist influence in the industry — are blacklisted by Hollywood movie studios.

Elsewhere, New Zealand ratifies the Statute of Westminster, becoming independent of legislative control by the United Kingdom.

1950: The Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950 impacts 22 American states, killing 353 people, injuring more than 160, and causing $66.7 million in damages.

1952: Agatha Christie’s murder-mystery play “The Mousetrap” opens at the Ambassadors Theatre in London. It will become the longest continuously running play in history.

1963: U.S. President John F. Kennedy is buried at Arlington National Cemetery; his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, is buried on the same day in Fort Worth, Texas.

1977: Former Philippines Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. is found guilty by the Philippine Military Commission No. 2 and is sentenced to death by firing squad. President Ferdinand Marcos will spare him, but when Aquino returns from self-imposed exile to attempt to unseat Marcos in 1983, he will be assassinated at the airport. This will prompt Aquino’s widow, Corazon, to successfully run against Marcos in 1986.

1984: Thirty-six musicians gather in a Notting Hill studio and record Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. (Then they spend a ton of money on drugs, alcohol, and catering for themselves.)

1986: U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese announces that profits from covert weapons sales to Iran were illegally diverted to the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

1987: Typhoon Nina hits the Philippines with category 5 winds of 165 mph and a surge that destroys entire villages and kills at least 1036 people.

1996: An ice storm strikes the central U.S., killing 26 people. A powerful windstorm affects Florida and winds gust over 90 mph, toppling trees and flipping trailers.

1999: A 5-year-old Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, is rescued by fishermen while floating in an inner tube off the Florida coast.

2008: Cyclone Nisha strikes northern Sri Lanka, killing 15 people and displacing 90,000 others while bringing the highest rainfall to the region in nine decades.

On November 26,

1476: Vlad the Impaler defeats Basarab Laiota with the help of Stephen the Great and Stephen V Báthory, becoming the ruler of Wallachia for the third time. (A vampire. They helped a vampire. Thanks a lot, Stephens.)

1778: Captain James Cook becomes the first European to visit Maui.

1789: A one-time national Thanksgiving Day is observed in the United States, as proclaimed by President George Washington at the request of Congress.

1825: At Union College in Schenectady, New York, a group of college students form the Kappa Alpha Society — the first college social fraternity. (In related news, the word “Wooooo!” is shouted for the first time.)

1842: The University of Notre Dame is founded.

1863: United States President Abraham Lincoln proclaims that year’s November 26 as a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated annually on the final Thursday of November.

1917: The National Hockey League is formed, with the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, and Toronto Arenas as its first teams.

1922: Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon become the first people to enter the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in over 3000 years.

Elsewhere, “The Toll of the Sea” debuts as the first general-release film to use two-tone Technicolor. “The Gulf Between” was the first film to do so, but it was not widely distributed. (Both of them had oceanic titles; two-tone Technicolor must have been something to sea.)

1939: The Soviet Army shells the Soviet village of Mainila as a false flag operation to justify war with Finland; the Winter War will start four days later.

1941: Japan’s 1st Air Fleet departs the Kuril Islands en route to its strike on Pearl Harbor.

1942: “Casablanca” premieres in New York City.

1944: A German V-2 rocket hits a Woolworth’s shop in London, killing 168 people.

1950: Troops from the People’s Republic of China launch a massive counterattack in North Korea against South Korean and United Nations forces, ending any hopes of a quick end to the Korean War.

1968: United States Air Force helicopter pilot James P. Fleming rescues an Army Special Forces unit pinned down by Viet Cong fire. He will receive the Medal of Honor.

1970: In Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, 1.5 inches of rain fall in a minute — the heaviest rainfall ever recorded.

1976: The Sex Pistols release “Anarchy in the U.K.,” heralding the arrival of punk rock.

1977: An unidentified hijacker named Vrillon, claiming to be the representative of the “Ashtar Galactic Command,” takes over Britain’s Southern Television for six minutes at 5:12 p.m.

1983: In London, 6800 gold bars — worth nearly £26 million — are stolen from the Brink’s-Mat vault at Heathrow Airport.

1986: U.S. President Ronald Reagan announces the members of what will become known as the Tower Commission.

1986: The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of committing war crimes as a guard at the Nazi Treblinka extermination camp, starts in Jerusalem.

1998: Tony Blair is the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to address the Oireachtas, the parliament of the Republic of Ireland.

2000: George W. Bush is certified the winner of Florida’s electoral votes by Katherine Harris, allowing him to win the United States presidential election despite having lost in the national popular vote.

2003: The Concorde makes its final flight — over Bristol, England.

2004: A man stabs and kills eight people and seriously wounds another four in a school dormitory in Ruzhou, China.

2011: NATO forces in Afghanistan attack a Pakistani check post in a friendly-fire incident, killing 24 soldiers and wounding 13 others.

Elsewhere, the Mars Science Laboratory launches to Mars with the Curiosity Rover.

2018: The robotic probe Insight lands on Elysium Planitia, Mars.

On November 27,

1727: The foundation stone is laid for the Jerusalem Church in Berlin.

1809: Theodore Hook perpetrates the Berners Street hoax in Westminster, London. Having bet a friend that he could transform any house in London into the most talked-about address in a week, Hook sent thousands of letters in the name of Mrs. Tottenham at 54 Berners Street, requesting various appointments and deliveries on this date. The day begins with 12 chimney sweeps arriving at Mrs. Tottenham’s home in succession, only to be dismissed by a confused maid. Next, a fleet of carts show up to deliver coal, followed by cakemakers delivering large wedding cakes, doctors, lawyers, priests, fishmongers, cobblers, dignitaries, piano deliveries, and more. The streets become congested with tradesmen and onlookers as deliveries and visits continue through the day, bringing much of London to a standstill. Hook and his friend spend the day watching from the house across the street. Many will come to suspect Hook’s role in the chaos, but he will evade detection by claiming to be sick for a week before embarking on a convalescent tour of the country. (Sorta makes the “Have a pizza delivered” prank seem tame.)

1830: Saint Catherine Labouré experiences a Marian apparition.

1835: James Pratt and John Smith are hanged in London; they are the last two people to be executed for sodomy in England.

1839: The American Statistical Association is founded in Boston. (What were the odds of that happening?)

1856: The Coup of 1856 leads to Luxembourg’s unilateral adoption of a new, reactionary constitution.

1863: Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and several of his men escape the Ohio Penitentiary and return safely to the South.

1868: The Battle of Washita River takes place as United States Army Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer leads an attack on Cheyenne living on reservation land. (Is it just me, or is calling it a “battle” sort of romanticizing what really was an invasion?)

1895: At the Swedish–Norwegian Club in Paris, Alfred Nobel signs his last will and testament, setting aside his estate to establish the Nobel Prize after he dies.

1901: The U.S. Army War College is established.

1924: The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held in New York City.

1942: At Toulon, the French navy scuttles its ships and submarines to keep them out of Nazi hands.

1945: CARE — the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe — is founded to a send packages of food relief to Europe after World War II. The phrase “CARE Package” enters the common lexicon.

1954: Alger Hiss — an American government official who was accused of spying for the Soviets — is released from prison after having served 44 months for perjury.

1965: The Pentagon tells U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson that if planned operations are to succeed, the number of American troops in Vietnam has to be increased from 120,000 to 400,000. (Spoiler: Planned operations did not, in fact, succeed.)

1968: Penny Ann Early, a jockey, is the first woman to play professional basketball. Amidst the controversy of male jockeys complaining about her being allowed to compete at the Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association signed her to their team. Never having played basketball at any level, the 5’3″, 112-pound jockey was also the smallest pro basketball player ever. The team owners ordered the coach to play her in a game; on this date, he reluctantly lets her inbound the ball against the Los Angeles Stars before calling a timeout and removing her from the game to a standing ovation.

1971: The Soviet space program’s Mars 2 orbiter releases a descent module. It malfunctions and crashes, but it is the first man-made object to reach the surface of Mars.

1973: The U.S. Senate votes 92–3 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States. The House will confirm him, 387–35, nine days later.

1975: The Provisional IRA assassinates Ross McWhirter after a press conference in which McWhirter announced a reward for the capture of those responsible for multiple bombings and shootings across England.

1978: In San Francisco, city mayor George Moscone and openly gay city supervisor Harvey Milk are assassinated by former city supervisor Dan White.

1989: Avianca Flight 203 explodes in mid-air over Colombia, killing all 107 people onboard and three people on the ground. The Medellín Cartel will claim responsibility for the attack.

1992: For the second time in a year, military forces try to overthrow president Carlos Andrés Pérez in Venezuela.

2001: The Hubble Space Telescope discovers a hydrogen atmosphere on the extrasolar planet Osiris; it is the first atmosphere detected on an extrasolar planet.

2004: Pope John Paul II returns the relics of Saint John Chrysostom to the Eastern Orthodox Church. (How did he have them to begin with if thou shalt not steal?)

2006: The House of Commons of Canada approves a motion introduced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper recognizing the Québécois as a nation within Canada.

2015: An active shooter inside a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado, shoots at least four police officers — one of whom will later die — and eight civilians, killing two. (Because the shooter believed in the sanctity of life.)

On November 28,

1582: In Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway pay a £40 bond for their marriage licence. (This was well before she filmed “The Princess Diaries.”)

1811: Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 5” has its public premiere, at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. It will become his final completed concerto.

1814: “The Times of London” is the first newspaper to be produced on a steam-powered printing press.

1843: The Kingdom of Hawaii is officially recognized by the United Kingdom and France as an independent nation.

1895: The first American automobile race takes place, on a 54-mile stretch from Chicago’s Jackson Park to Evanston, Illinois. Frank Duryea wins in approximately 10 hours. (At the breakneck speed of about 5.4 mph.)

1905: Irish nationalist Arthur Griffith founds Sinn Féin as a political party with the main aim of establishing a dual monarchy in Ireland.

1914: Following a war-induced closure in July, the New York Stock Exchange re-opens for bond trading.

1919: Lady Astor is elected as a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. She is the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. Countess Markievicz was actually the first to be elected, but refused to sit.

1925: The Grand Ole Opry begins broadcasting in Nashville, Tennessee as the WSM Barn Dance.

1942: In Boston, Massachusetts, a fire in the Cocoanut Grove nightclub kills 492 people.

1943: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin meet in Tehran to discuss war strategy.

1958: The SM-65 Atlas — the first operational intercontinental ballistic missile developed by the United States and the first member of the Atlas rocket family — has its first successful flight.

1964: NASA launches the Mariner 4 probe toward Mars.

1964: Elsewhere, National Security Council members agree to recommend that U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson adopt a plan for a two-stage escalation of bombing in North Vietnam.

1965: In response to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s call for “more flags” in Vietnam, Philippine President-elect Ferdinand Marcos announces he will send troops to help fight in South Vietnam.

1967: Astronomers Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish discover the first pulsar — PSR B1919+21, in the constellation of Vulpecula.

1971: Wasfi al-Tal, Prime Minister of Jordan, is assassinated by the Black September unit of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

1972: Claude Buffet and Roger Bontems are guillotined at La Santé Prison in Paris. (Yes, that date is 1972, not 1772.)

1989: In the face of Velvet Revolution protests, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announces it will give up its monopoly on political power.

1990: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher resigns as leader of the Conservative Party and therefore as Prime Minister. She is succeeded in both positions by John Major.

On November 29,

1729: Natchez Indians massacre 138 Frenchmen, 35 French women, and 56 children at Fort Rosalie, near the site of modern-day Natchez, Mississippi.

1777: José Joaquín Moraga founds San Jose, California as Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe. It is the first civilian settlement, or pueblo, in Alta California.

1781: The crew of the British slave ship Zong murders 133 Africans by dumping them into the sea, to claim insurance.

1783: A 5.3 magnitude earthquake strikes New Jersey. (New Jersey retaliates by spitting on it.)

1847: Cayuse and Umatilla Indians massacre missionaries Dr. Marcus Whitman, his wife Narcissa, and 15 others, starting the eight-year Cayuse War in the northwestern U.S.

1864: Colorado volunteers led by Colonel John Chivington massacre at least 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants in Colorado Territory.

1877: Thomas Edison demonstrates his phonograph for the first time. (Then he plays it backward to deliver a satanic message.)

1902: The Pittsburgh Stars defeat the Philadelphia Athletics 11–0 to win the first championship associated with a professional American football league.

1929: U.S. Admiral Richard E. Byrd leads the first expedition to fly over the South Pole.

1947: The United Nations General Assembly approves a plan for the partition of Palestine.

Elsewhere, French forces carry out a massacre at Mỹ Trạch, Vietnam.

1952: U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfills a campaign promise by traveling to Korea to find out what can be done to end the conflict. (You’d think a five-star general would have his own ideas on that, but I guess it never hurts to ask.)

1961: NASA launches Enos, a chimpanzee, into space on the Mercury Atlas 5. The spacecraft orbits the Earth twice, but NASA aborts its planned third orbit due to the capsule overheating and a malfunctioning “avoidance conditioning” test giving Enos 76 electrical shocks. (And we still believe the events in “The Planet of the Apes” could never really happen.)

1963: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson establishes the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

1963: The Beatles release “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the UK.

1967: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announces his resignation.

1972: Atari releases Pong, which will become the first commercially successful video game. (It got a lot of those quarters from me.)

1986: The Surinamese military attacks the village of Moiwana during the Suriname Guerrilla War, killing at least 39 civilians — mostly women and children.

1987: North Korean agents plant a bomb on Korean Air Flight 858, killing all 115 passengers and crew.

2007: The Armed Forces of the Philippines lay siege to the Peninsula Manila after soldiers led by Senator Antonio Trillanes stage a mutiny.

2009: Maurice Clemmons shoots and kills four police officers inside a coffee shop in Lakewood, Washington.

On November 30,

1782: In Paris, representatives from the United States and Great Britain sign preliminary peace articles, which will later be formalized as the 1783 Treaty of Paris.

1786: The Grand Duchy of Tuscany, under Pietro Leopoldo I, is the first modern state to abolish the death penalty. The date will later be commemorated as Cities for Life Day.

1803: The Balmis Expedition starts in Spain with the aim of vaccinating millions against smallpox in Spanish America and Philippines. (I wonder how they felt about masks.)

1803: In New Orleans, Spanish representatives officially transfer the Louisiana Territory to a French representative. Twenty days later, France will transfer the same land to the United States as the Louisiana Purchase. (Buyer’s remorse, France?)

1804: The Democratic-Republican-controlled United States Senate begins an impeachment trial of Federalist Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase. (Whose idea was it to have a political party called “Democratic-Republican?”)

1872: The first-ever international football match takes place at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow — between Scotland and England. (And by “football,” I meant “soccer.”)

1886: The Folies Bergère stages its first revue.

1936: In London, the Crystal Palace is destroyed by fire.

1939: Soviet forces cross the Finnish border in several places to bomb Helsinki and other Finnish cities, starting the Winter War.

1947: Civil war begins in Mandatory Palestine, which will lead to the creation of the state of Israel.

1954: In Sylacauga, Alabama, a softball-sized chunk of a meteorite breaks through a roof, bounces, and strikes renter Ann Hodges in the hip as she is taking a nap on her couch. Hodges sustains a large bruise, but is otherwise undamaged. This is the only documented case in the Western Hemisphere of a human getting struck by a rock from space.

1966: Barbados becomes independent from the United Kingdom.

1967: South Yemen becomes independent from the United Kingdom.

1972: White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler t