Category Archives: History


Japanese defenses destroyed on Okinawa: 21 June 1945 – This Day in History

Japanese resistance on Okinawa was finally crushed this day in 1945, less than three months after U.S. troops had landed there—their last stepping-stone before the assault on Japan’s main islands in World War II.

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1982: John Hinckley, Jr., was ruled to be innocent by reason of insanity in the shooting of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

1963: Paul VI was elected pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

1919: Italian American architect Paolo Soleri was born in Turin, Italy.

1870: The Tianjin Massacre—a violent outbreak of Chinese xenophobic sentiment toward Westerners—erupted.

1834: Cyrus McCormick received a patent for his 1831 invention of a reaper.

1813: The Battle of Vitoria was fought during the Peninsular War, breaking Napoleon‘s power in Spain.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Casket Letters found: 20 June 1567 – This Day in History

The Casket Letters—which directly implicated Mary, Queen of Scots, in a plot with James Hepburn, 4th earl of Bothwell, to murder Mary’s husband, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley—were said to have been discovered this day in 1567.

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1992: A new constitution went into effect in Paraguay, signaling the end of military rule established in the 1950s by Alfredo Stroessner.

1928: American jazz musician Eric Dolphy was born in Los Angeles.

1905: American playwright and screenwriter Lillian Hellman was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

1887: German Dada artist and poet Kurt Schwitters was born in Hannover.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Rosenbergs executed for espionage: 19 June 1953 – This Day in History

After the failure of court appeals and of a worldwide campaign for mercy, husband and wife Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were put to death this day in 1953, becoming the first American civilians to be executed for espionage.

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1963: Soviet cosmonaut Valentina V. Tereshkova, the first woman to travel in space, returned to Earth in the spacecraft Vostok 6.

1961: Great Britain recognized Kuwait‘s independence.

1934: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was organized in the United States.

1867: The emperor of Mexico, Maximilian, was executed by a firing squad.

1846: Alexander Joy Cartwright arranged a baseball game between the New York Knickerbockers and the New York Nine at Hoboken, New Jersey—the first baseball game to use the set of rules on which today’s game is based.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

War of 1812 begun: 18 June 1812 – This Day in History

On this day U.S. President James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain, initiating the War of 1812, which arose chiefly from U.S. grievances over oppressive maritime practices during the Napoleonic Wars.

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1983: The first American woman to fly into outer space, Sally Ride, was launched with four other astronauts aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

1979: The SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) II treaty was signed by U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Ilich Brezhnev.

1940: Broadcasting from London after France fell to the Nazis, French General Charles de Gaulle appealed to his compatriots to continue World War II under his leadership.

1815: Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of Waterloo, ending 23 years of recurrent warfare between France and the other powers of Europe.

1429: Joan of Arc led the French army against the English at Patay, France.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Arrest of O.J. Simpson: 17 June 1994 – This Day in History

On this day in 1994, American gridiron football hero O.J. Simpson was charged with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, though after a sensational trial he was acquitted the following year.

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1972: The Watergate, an office-apartment-hotel complex in Washington, D.C., that was the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, was broken into by five men who were later arrested, prompting the Watergate scandal that upended the administration of U.S. President Richard M. Nixon.

1944: Iceland declared itself a republic.

1940: The Soviet Red Army invaded Latvia, which led to the incorporation of the country into the U.S.S.R.

1930: The United States imposed the protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff, raising the average tariff by some 20 percent and worsening an already beleaguered world economy.

1871: James Weldon Johnson—a poet, diplomat, and anthologist of African American culture—was born.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

First woman in space: 16 June 1963 – This Day in History

On this day in 1963, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina V. Tereshkova became the first woman to travel in space, having been launched into orbit aboard the spacecraft Vostok 6, which completed 48 orbits in 71 hours.

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1976: South African police fired on a group of Soweto students marching in protest against state plans to impose the Afrikaans language as a medium of instruction in black schools, igniting a massive popular uprising.

1933: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was created under authority of the Federal Reserve Act of 1933.

1932: The Lausanne Conference, held to liquidate Germany’s payment of reparations to the former Allied and Associated powers of World War I, opened.

1917: American publisher Katharine Graham, owner and publisher of The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine, was born in New York City.

1903: The Ford Motor Company was founded by Henry Ford and 11 associate investors.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Magna Carta sealed by King John: 15 June 1215 – This Day in History

Magna Carta—a charter of English liberties that occupies a unique place in the popular imagination as a symbol and a battle cry against oppression—was sealed this day, under threat of civil war, by King John in 1215.

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1944: During World War II, U.S. Marines attacked Saipan in the Mariana Islands.

1903: American automobile-racing driver Barney Oldfield accomplished the first mile-a-minute performance in a car at Indianapolis, Indiana.

1846: The United States and Britain signed the Oregon Treaty, establishing the border between Canada and the United States at latitude 49° N.

1844: Charles Goodyear received a patent for the process of rubber vulcanization.

1775: George Washington was named commander in chief of the colonies by the Continental Congress.

1752: Benjamin Franklin flew a kite during a storm in Philadelphia to demonstrate the relationship between electricity and lightning.

1389: The Battle of Kosovo, fought between the armies of the Serbian prince Lazar and the forces of the Ottoman sultan Murad I, concluded with an Ottoman victory.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

First prisoners at Auschwitz: 14 June 1940 – This Day in History

On this day in 1940, the first transport of Polish political prisoners arrived at Auschwitz, which became Nazi Germany’s largest concentration, extermination, and slave-labour camp, where more than one million people died.

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1807: Napoleon won the Battle of Friedland, leading to a treaty with Alexander I of Russia.

1800: Napoleon and his troops defeated the Austrians in the Battle of Marengo, securing his military and civilian authority in Paris.

1777: The Continental Congress approved the Stars and Stripes as the first national flag of the United States.

1658: The French and English defeated Spanish forces near Dunkirk (then in the Spanish Netherlands) in the Battle of the Dunes.

1645: The parliamentary New Model Army led by Oliver Cromwell defeated the royalists under Prince Rupert in the Battle of Naseby.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Historic meeting between North and South Korean leaders: 13 June 2000 – This Day in History

On this day in 2000, South Korean President Kim Dae Jung met North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in a summit that marked the first meeting between heads of the two countries, helping earn Kim Dae Jung the Nobel Peace Prize.

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1971: The New York Times began publishing the “Pentagon Papers”—a series of articles based on a study of the U.S. role in Indochina from World War II until May 1968.

1967: Thurgood Marshall was nominated as justice to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

1966: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favour of Ernesto Miranda in Miranda v. Arizona, affirming that constitutional guarantees against self-incrimination include restrictions on police interrogation of an arrested suspect.

1878: The Congress of Berlin met to sign the Treaty of Berlin to replace the Treaty of San Stefano, which had been signed by Russia and Turkey (March 3, 1878) at the conclusion of the last of the Russo-Turkish wars.

323 : The king of Macedonia, Alexander the Great, died in Babylon.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily

Election of Boris Yeltsin: 12 June 1991 – This Day in History

On this day in 1991, Boris Yeltsin was easily elected president of Russia (then part of the Soviet Union) in the republic’s first direct, popular elections, and he was president of independent Russia until the eve of 2000.

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1991: A series of major explosions began inside Mount Pinatubo, a volcano in western Luzon, Philippines—its first eruption in 600 years.

1941: American jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader Chick Corea was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

1776: The constitutional convention of the colony of Virginia adopted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, a model for the Bill of Rights later added to the U.S. Constitution.

1707: Bahdur Shah I won the Mughal throne of India by defeating his brother ‘Aam Shah at the Battle of Jajau.

1701: The Act of Settlement, the law that continues to regulate the succession to the throne of the United Kingdom, was passed by Parliament.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Daily