This Day in History


  • 2010 Died: Paul Gray, American musician best known as one of the founding members and the bassist of the heavy metal band Slipknot.
  • 2008 Died: Rob Knox, English actor who played Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. He was stabbed to death at age 18.
  • 2008 Died: Dick Martin, American comedian and director best known for co-hosting the sketch comedy program Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.
  • 2006 Two Russian Internet entrepreneurs, Alexandre Koriakine and Evgeniy Saveliev, launched Wikimapia, an open-content collaborative mapping project.
  • 2001 During a wedding at the Versailles wedding hall in Jerusalem, a large portion of the third floor of the building collapsed, killing 23 people.
  • 1999 Former President of Serbia and Yugoslavia Slobodan Milošević and four others were indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo.
  • 1995 Died: Harold Wilson, British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976.
  • 1991 Israel carried out a covert military operation known as Operation Solomon, evacuating more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 36 hours.
  • 1982 Iranian troops recaptured the port city of Khorramshahr from the Iraqis during the Iran–Iraq War, pushing Iraqi forces back to border.
  • 1974 Died: Duke Ellington, American pianist, composer, and bandleader of jazz orchestras. In 1999, he was posthumously awarded a special Pulitzer Prize.
  • 1973 Born: Dermot O’Leary, British television and radio presenter DJ and comedian best known for being the presenter of The X Factor on ITV.
  • 1960 Born: Guy Fletcher, English multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and record producer best known as the keyboardist in the rock band Dire Straits.
  • 1956 The first Eurovision song contest was held in the town of Lugano, Switzerland. It is organized by the European Broadcasting Union.
  • 1953 Born: Alfred Molina, English actor known for his roles in such films as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Boogie Nights, The Da Vinci Code, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
  • 1949 Died: Alexey Shchusev, Soviet architect who is primarily remembered for having created Lenin’s Mausoleum situated in Red Square in Moscow.
  • 1945 Died: Robert Ritter von Greim, German pilot and Field Marshal, the last commander of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) during World War II.
  • 1943 Born: Gary Burghoff, American stage, television and film actor best known for his role as Radar O’Reilly on the acclaimed TV series M*A*S*H.
  • 1941 The last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy HMS Hood was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck during the Battle of the Denmark Strait.
  • 1941 Born: Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman), American singer-songwriter, record producer, artist, and author whose career spans more than 50 years.
  • 1940 Born: Joseph Brodsky, Russian and American poet, essayist, translator, and professor who was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • 1938 Born: Tommy Chong, Canadian comedian, actor, musician, and author best known for his participation in the comedy duo Cheech & Chong.
  • 1905 Born: Mikhail Sholokhov, Soviet novelist who was awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature. His best known work is And Quiet Flows the Don.
  • 1901 Born: Victoria, Queen of of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 until her death in 1901. Her reign is referred to as the Victorian era.
  • 1856 John Brown and a band of abolitionist settlers killed five slavery supporters at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas (the Pottawatomie massacre).
  • 1844 Samuel Morse sent the first telegram ever from the Supreme Court chamber in Washington, D.C., to the B&O’s Mount Clare Station in Baltimore.
  • 1743 Born: Jean-Paul Marat, French physician, political theorist, and scientist best known for his career as a radical journalist during the French Revolution.
  • 1734 Died: Georg Ernst Stahl, German physician, chemist, and philosopher best known for his works on the hypothetical element phlogiston.
  • 1689 The English Parliament passed the Act of Toleration, allowing freedom of worship to Protestants. It purposely did not apply to Catholics, nontrinitarians and atheists.
  • 1632 Died: Robert Hues, English geographer and mathematician whose best known work is Tractatus de globis et eorum usu published in 1594.
  • 1543 Died: Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish mathematician and astronomer who is most famous for having formulated the heliocentric model of the Universe.
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