This Day in History


  • 2008 Died: Chinghiz Aitmatov, Kyrgyzstani author, the most influential figure in modern Kyrgyzstan literature, the first ambassador for the Soviet Union and later for Kyrgyzstan to the European Union, NATO, UNESCO and the Benelux countries.
  • 2004 Died: Ray Charles, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and actor, sometimes referred to as The Genius. He pioneered the genre of soul music by combining rhythm and blues, gospel and blues styles.
  • 2003 A robotic rover Spirit was launched to Mars in the course of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission.
  • 1982 Died: Gala Dalí, wife of first Paul Éluard and then Salvador Dalí. She inspired them and many other writers and artists.
  • 1977 One of the first personal computers, Apple II, went on sale.
  • 1976 Died: Adolph Zukor, Hungarian-American film producer, remembered as the co-founder of Paramount Pictures.
  • 1967 Died: Spencer Tracy, American actor and singer, one of the major Hollywood stars of the Golden Age, nine-time nominee for Academy Awards for Best Actor and two-times winner.
  • 1967 The Six-Day War ended, when Israel and Syria agreed to a cease-fire.
  • 1965 Born: Elizabeth Hurley, English model and actress. She is usually associated with the cosmetics company Estée Lauder, since she was its model. She played in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and Bedazzled.
  • 1964 Born: Vincent Pérez, Swiss actor and director, best known for playing the title character in The Crow: City of Angels, for starring in Queen of the Damned.
  • 1949 Died: Sigrid Undset, Norwegian author. Her work and partly her four-volume The Master of Hestviken brought her Nobel Prize in Literature in 1928.
  • 1944 German Waffen-SS company destroyed the village Oradour-sur-Glane, France. 642 men, women and children were killed. The original village is maintained as a permanent memorial and museum.
  • 1940 World War II: Italy declared war on France and the United Kingdom.
  • 1930 Born: Aranka Siegal, Czech-American author, Holocaust survivor, recipient of Newbery Honor Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. She’s best known for the book Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1930-1944. Her books are translated into several different languages and sold worldwide.
  • 1926 Died: Antoni Gaudí, Spanish architect, whose works enjoy global popularity. Most of this works are located in Barcelona, Spain, including the Sagrada Família.
  • 1922 Born: Judy Garland, American actress and singer, best known for her vocals. She’s much respected for her versatility and she received a Juvenile Academy Award and won a Golden Globe Award as well as Grammy Awards and a Special Tony Award.
  • 1915 Born: Saul Bellow, Canadian-American author, Pulitzer Prize recipient and Nobel Prize laureate, the only writer to win the National Book Award for Fiction three times.
  • 1886 153 people died due to eruption of Mount Tarawera in New Zealand. Eruption also destroyed Pink and White Terraces, natural wonders of New Zealand. It continued for 3 months, creating a 17-kilometer long fissure across the mountain peak.
  • 1864 Battle of Brice’s Crossroads, American Civil War: Confederate troops under Nathan Bedford Forrest defeated a much larger Union force led by General Samuel D. Sturgis in Mississippi.
  • 1863 Born: Louis Couperus, Dutch author and poet, considered to be one of the foremost figures in Dutch literature.
  • 1858 Died: Robert Brown, Scottish botanist and palaeobotanist. He made important contributions to botany through pioneering us of the microscope. He was the first to describe in detail the cell nucleus and cytoplasmic streaming and observe Brownian motion.
  • 1836 Died: André-Marie Ampère, French physicist and mathematician, one of the founders of the science of classical electromagnetism. The ampere, the SI unit of measurement of electric current, is named after him.
  • 1825 Born: Sondre Norheim, Norwegian skier and pioneer of modern skiing, he is known as the father of Telemark skiing.
  • 1819 Born: Gustave Courbet, French painter, leader of the Realist movement in the 19th-century France. He was one of the most important figures in the 19th-centurty French painting and he set an example important to later artist of Impressionism and Cubism.
  • 1805 Yusuf Karamanli, Pasha of Tripolitania (present-day Libya) signed a treaty ending hostilities between the United States and Tripolitania.
  • 1803 Born: Henry Darcy, French engineer, known for important contributions to hydraulics, he improved the design of the Pitot tube into the form, that is still in use today.
  • 1793 Born: Chauncey Jerome, American clockmaker, who made a fortune selling his clocks. He made historic contributions to clock industry and considered to be the most influential and creative person in the American clock business.
  • 1793 The botanical garden the Jardin des Planetes opened in Paris, a year later it became the first public zoo. Nowadays the Jardin des Planetes is the main botanical garden in France.
  • 1786 A landslide dam created on the Dadu River, Sichuan province, China, by an earthquake ten days later collapsed. 100,000 people were killed.
  • 1580 Died: Luís de Camões, considered to be the best Portuguese poet. He is best remembered for epic work Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads).
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