This Day in History

  • 2014 Two car bombs exploded in the city of Jos, Nigeria, killing at least 118 peoples. The terrorist attacks have been attributed to Islamist movement Boko Haram.
  • 2012 A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck in Emilia-Romania, Italy, killing 7 people. It destroyed all the churches and many of the factories in the area.
  • 2012 Died: Eugene Polley, American engineer and engineering manager primarily known as the inventor of the first wireless television remote control.
  • 2012 Died: Robin Gibb, English singer-songwriter and record producer best known as a member of the group Bee Gees, which he co-founded with his brothers.
  • 2002 Died: Stephen Jay Gould, American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, historian of science, and widely read author of popular science.
  • 1989 Died: John Hicks, British economist who was awarded the 1972 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, sharing it with Kenneth Arrow.
  • 1965 Pakistan International Airlines Flight 705 (PK705) crashed during approach to Cairo International Airport, killing 121 of 127 people on board.
  • 1954 Rock and roll song “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets was first released as a single. It was re-released in May 1955.
  • 1948 Died: George Beurling, the most successful Canadian fighter pilot of the Second World War. He shot down 27 Axis aircraft in two weeks.
  • 1947 Died: Philipp Eduard Anton von Lenard, German physicist who was awarded the 1905 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on cathode rays.
  • 1946 Born: Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian), American singer, songwriter, actress, record producer whose career in entertainment spans more than 50 years.
  • 1944 Born: Joe Cocker, English rock and blues singer and musician, Grammy Award winner. He was ranked number 97 on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest singers list.
  • 1940 Died: Verner von Heidenstam, Swedish poet and novelist, member of the Swedish Academy. He was awarded the 1916 Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • 1932 American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to begin the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic by a woman.
  • 1918 Born: Edward B. Lewis, American geneticist who was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, sharing it with two other scientists.
  • 1913 Born: William Redington Hewlett, American engineer and entrepreneur primarily remembered as co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard Company.
  • 1899 Died: Carlotta Grisi, Italian ballet dancer who is primarily remembered as the first ballerina to dance the title role in Adolphe Adam’s Giselle.
  • 1895 Born: Reginald Joseph Mitchell, British aeronautical engineer who created the Supermarine Spitfire, iconic Second World War fighter.
  • 1882 Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy formed the Triple Alliance. They promised each other mutual support in the event of an attack by any other great power.
  • 1880 Died: Ana Néri, Brazilian nurse, considered the first in her country. She is best known for her volunteer work during the Paraguayan war.
  • 1875 In Paris, representatives of 17 nations signed Metre Convention, which set up in institute for coordinating the development of the metric system.
  • 1873 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a United States patent for blue jeans with copper rivets. The copper rivets were to reinforce the points of stress.
  • 1860 Born: Eduard Buchner, German chemist and zymologist who was awarded the 1907 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on fermentation.
  • 1830 Born: Hector Malot, French writer whose most famous book is Sans Famille (English title: Nobody’s Boy or Alone in the World) published in 1878.
  • 1822 Born: Frédéric Passy, French economist, political activist and peacemaker who was awarded the 1901 Nobel Peace prize, sharing it with Henry Dunant.
  • 1806 Born: John Stuart Mill, British philosopher and political economist who made contributions to political economy, political theory and social theory.
  • 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte passed the law that reinstated slavery in the French colonies. However, many of the colonies refused to implement it.
  • 1799 Born: Honoré de Balzac, French novelist and playwright best known for his magnum opus La Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy), a sequence of novels and short stories.
  • 1609 Shakespeare’s sonnets were first published by Thomas Thorpe. This publication is considered the most important work of Thorpe’s career.
  • 1506 Died: Christopher Columbus, Italian navigator and explorer who is credited with the discovery of the Americas. He made four voyages to the New World.

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