Author Archives: John

Jimmy Carter elected 39th U.S. president: 2 November 1976 – This Day in History

Jimmy Carter, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2002 and Democratic former governor of Georgia, was elected 39th president of the United States this day in 1976, narrowly defeating Republican Gerald R. Ford.

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1983: U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill designating the third Monday in January a national holiday in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.

1963: South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem was killed in a coup.

1950: Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw died at age 94.

1949: The Netherlands and the Republic of Indonesia signed the Hague Agreement, an attempt to end conflict over Indonesia’s proclaimed independence.

1930: Tafari Makonnen was crowned emperor of Ethiopia, taking the name Haile Selassie.

1917: The British issued the Balfour Declaration, a statement of support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”; it was made in a letter from Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary.

1889: North Dakota was admitted to the union as the 39th U.S. state and South Dakota as the 40th.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

First thermonuclear bomb tested by the United States: 1 November 1952 – This Day in History

On this day in 1952 on an atoll of the Marshall Islands, Edward Teller and other American scientists tested the first thermonuclear bomb, its power resulting from an uncontrolled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

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1994: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched its Wind spacecraft on a mission that would include a “halo orbit” between the Sun and Earth to explore the space environment there.

1981: Antigua and Barbuda achieved independence from the United Kingdom, with Vere Bird serving as the first prime minister.

1950: Puerto Rican nationalists, members of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), attempted to assassinate U.S. President Harry S. Truman.

1922: The Grand National Assembly, at the behest of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), voted to abolish the sultanate of Turkey.

1765: The Stamp Act went into effect, marking the first British parliamentary attempt to raise revenue through direct taxation of all colonial commercial and legal papers.

1755: Lisbon was heavily damaged by an earthquake that demolished more than 9,000 buildings and killed as many as 30,000 people.

996: Holy Roman Emperor Otto III granted the Bavarian bishopric of Freising 30 “royal hides,” or about 8 square km (2,000 acres), of land in a deed that contained the first recorded use of the name Ostarrîchi, from which the name Austria is derived.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Luther's Ninety-five Theses posted: 31 October 1517 – This Day in History

According to tradition, Martin Luther this day in 1517 posted on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, his Ninety-five Theses, a manifesto that turned a protest about an indulgence scandal into the Protestant Reformation.

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1968: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered an end to American bombing in North Vietnam.

1926: Harry Houdini, the magician and escape artist, died of peritonitis stemming from a stomach injury.

1864: Nevada became the 36th state of the United States.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Henry Tudor crowned king of England: 30 October 1485 – This Day in History

Henry Tudor, who was crowned Henry VII on this day in 1485, founded the Tudor dynasty, ended the Wars of the Roses, used his children’s marriages to build alliances, and signed treaties that increased England‘s power.

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1974: Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle,” regaining the world heavyweight boxing title.

1938: Orson Welles‘s radio dramatization of H.G. Wells‘s War of the Worlds caused a national panic as thousands of listeners feared a genuine invasion from Mars.

1905: Emperor Nicholas II issued the October Manifesto, bringing the end of unlimited autocracy in Russia and ushering in an era of constitutional monarchy.

1340: An allied force of Castilian and Portuguese Christians defeated the Muslim Marnids of North Africa at the Battle of Río Salado.

130: The Roman emperor Hadrian officially founded the city of Antinoöpolis in ancient Egypt.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Collapse of U.S. stock market prices: 29 October 1929 – This Day in History

Just five days after nearly 13 million shares of U.S. stock were sold in one day in 1929, an additional 16 million shares were sold this day, called “Black Tuesday,” further fueling the crisis known as the Great Depression.

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1995: Terry Southern, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter for Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider, died in New York City.

1956: Israel‘s army attacked Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula in a fight for control of the Suez Canal area.

1950: King Gustav V of Sweden, a strong proponent of Swedish neutrality during World War II, died in Stockholm.

1901: Anarchist Leon Czolgosz was executed for the assassination of U.S. President William McKinley.

1709: The community of Cistercian nuns at Port-Royal, an abbey in France, was dispersed and exiled to other convents because of their involvement with Jansenism.

1618: British adventurer and writer Sir Walter Raleigh was executed for treason.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Statue of Liberty dedicated: 28 October 1886 – This Day in History

On this day in 1886 U.S. President Grover Cleveland officially dedicated the Statue of Liberty—a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States—on Bedloe’s (later Liberty) Island in Upper New York Bay.

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1971: Great Britain launched Prospero, the first of four X-3 satellites.

1965: The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, designed by Finnish-born American architect Eero Saarinen to commemorate St. Louis’s historic role as “Gateway to the West,” was completed.

1962: Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev capitulated to U.S. demands to halt delivery of nuclear-armed missiles to Cuba, bringing to an end the Cuban missile crisis.

1919: The U.S. Congress overrode President Woodrow Wilson‘s veto and passed the Volstead Act, providing enforcement guidelines for Prohibition.

1918: Tomáš Masaryk, Edvard Beneš, and other leaders issued a proclamation announcing the formation of an independent Czechoslovakian state.

1790: Spain, yielding to British demands, signed the convention that resolved the Nootka Sound controversy.

1636: Harvard University, the oldest institute of higher learning in the United States, was founded by the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Anwar el-Sdt and Menachem Begin awarded Nobel Peace Prize: 27 October 1978 – This Day in History

On this day in 1978, Anwar el-Sdt of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel were awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for negotiations that resulted first in the Camp David Accords, then in a peace treaty between their countries.

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1968: Physicist Lise Meitner, whose research (along with that of Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann) led to the discovery of nuclear fission, died in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.

1961: The first Saturn rocket was successfully launched, and years later the Saturn V was the launch vehicle used in the Apollo Moon-landing flights.

1795: Pinckney’s Treaty, an agreement between the United States and Spain, was signed, giving the United States navigation rights on the Mississippi River.

1492: Christopher Columbus sailed to Cuba and claimed the island for Spain.

939: Athelstan, the first king to rule over all of England, died.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Park Chung Hee assassinated: 26 October 1979 – This Day in History

On this day in 1979, South Korean President Park Chung Hee was assassinated by his lifelong friend Kim Jae Kyu, the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, who was sentenced to death for his actions.

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1958: America’s first jet airliner, the Boeing 707, entered service for Pan American World Airways.

1955: A constitutional law of perpetual neutrality in Austria was promulgated.

1918: Prussian General Erich Ludendorff was forced to resign by Emperor William II on Prince Maximilian‘s advice, in an effort to establish an armistice agreement.

1905: The St. Petersburg soviet (workers’ council) was formed during the Russian Revolution of 1905.

1813: British and U.S. troops clashed in the Battle of Châteauguay during the War of 1812.

1795: The National Convention, the assembly that governed France during a pivotal period of the Revolution, was dispersed.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Cardinal Wolsey dismissed by Henry VIII: 25 October 1529 – This Day in History

Henry VIII of England dismissed Thomas Cardinal Wolsey on this day in 1529 for his failure to legitimize Henry’s affair with Anne Boleyn and one day later designated Sir Thomas More as lord chancellor in his place.

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1983: The U.S. military, under President Ronald Reagan, invaded the tiny island country of Grenada.

1950: China entered the Korean War on the side of North Korea against South Korea and the United Nations (UN), the United States being the UN’s principal participant.

1936: Germany and Italy established the Rome-Berlin Axis.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

U.S. and French troops attacked in Beirut: 23 October 1983 – This Day in History

On this day in 1983, suicide bombers drove truckloads of high explosives into the barracks of U.S. Marines and French paratroopers in Beirut, killing 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 French troops.

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1956: The Hungarian Revolution began with a massive demonstration in Budapest.

1956: The International Atomic Energy Agency was created with the purpose of increasing the contribution of atomic energy to world peace.

1942: The British, led by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, launched a successful infantry attack against the Germans at El-Alamein, Egypt, during World War II.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily