Today in History
1197 Emperor Henry VI dies in Messina, Sicily.
1399 Richard II of England is deposed. His cousin, Henry of Lancaster, declares himself king under the name Henry IV.
1493 Christopher Columbus leaves Cadiz, Spain, on his second voyage to the new world.
1513 Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean.
1789 Congress votes to create a U.S. army.
1833 A civil war breaks out in Spain between Carlists, who believe Don Carlos deserves the throne, and supporters of Queen Isabella.
1850 Mormon leader Brigham Young is named the first governor of the Utah Territory.
1864 Union troops capture the Confederate Fort Harrison, outside Petersburg, Virginia.
1879 Dissatisfied Ute Indians kill Agent Nathan Meeker and nine others in the “Meeker Massacre.”
1932 A five-day work week is established for General Motors workers.
1939 Germany and the Soviet Union reach an agreement on the division of Poland.
1941 30,000 Jews are gunned down in Kiev when Heinrich Himmler sends four strike squads to exterminate Soviet Jewish civilians and other “undesirables.”
1943 Adolf Hitler‘s book Mein Kampf is published in the United States.
1950 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev repeatedly disrupts a UN General Assembly meeting with his violent outbursts over intervention in the Belgian Congo, US U2 spy planes, and arms control.
1960 General Douglas MacArthur officially returns Seoul, South Korea, to President Syngman Rhee.
1962 Canada launches its first satellite, Alouette 1.
1962 The popular Argentinian comic strip Mafalda beings publication, in the weekly Primera Plana; focusing on a six-year-old girl (Mafalda) and her friends, it has been called the Argentinian Peanuts.
1966 Chevrolet introduces the Camaro, which will become an iconic car.
1971 Oman joins the Arab League.
1979 John Paul II becomes the first pope ever to visit Ireland.
1990 The YF-22, later named F-22 Raptor, flies for the first time.
1992 Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello impeached for corruptions; he was the youngest president in the nation’s history, taking office at age 40 in 1990.
2008 Dow Jones Industrial Average plummets 777.68 points in the wake of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual bankruptcies, the largest single-day point loss in Wall Street history.
2009 An 8.1 earthquake causes a tidal wave that claims 189 lives in Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga.
Born 1547 Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish novelist best known for his book The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha.
1758 Horatio Nelson, British naval commander who defeated the French and her allies on numerous occasions during the age of Napoleon.
1901 Enrico Fermi, Italian-born U.S. physicist who led the group which created the first man-made nuclear chain reaction.
1907 Gene Autry, actor, singer, star of radio, film and TV; known for his film roles as a “singing cowboy” (Oh, Susanna!, Back in the Saddle), he was influential in country music with songs that included “Back in the Saddle,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Frosty the Snowman.”
1935 Jerry Lee Lewis, singer, songwriter, musician; influential figure in early rock ‘n’ roll (“Great Balls of Fire”).
1942 Madeline Kahn, actress, comedian, singer, best known for comedic film roles, especially Mel Brooks’ films Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.
1943 Lech Walesa, president of Poland (1990-95); co-founder of Solidarity, the first independent trade union in the Soviet bloc; won the Nobel Peace Prize, 1983.
1947 Gary Wetzel, US Army soldier awarded the Medal of Honor for actions near Ap Dong An during the Vietnam War.
1948 Bryant Gumbel, broadcast journalist; co-host of NBC’s Today (1982-97), for which he won several Emmy Awards.
1951 Michelle Bachelet, first woman president of Chile (2006-
1955 Ann Bancroft, explorer, author; the first woman to reach the North Pole on foot and by sled and the first woman to cross both polar ice caps.
1968 Samir Soni, Indian actor, model; in 2012 won the Indian Telly Award, the Boroplus Gold Award and the ITA Award for Best Actor, as well the Favorite Drama Actor in India’s People’s Choice Awards.