This Day in History


  • 2013 Died: Kenneth G. Wilson, American theoretical physicist who was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on phase transitions.
  • 2012 American acrobat, aerialist, daredevil and high wire artist Nik Wallenda became the first person to successfully tightrope walk over Niagara Falls.
  • 2003 Died: Hume Cronyn, Canadian-American actor of stage and screen whose career spanned over 50 years. He won a Tony Award in 1964.
  • 2001 Leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan signed the Declaration of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
  • 1996 Died: Ella Fitzgerald, American jazz vocalist who was noted for her impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, purity of tone and extraordinary improvisational ability.
  • 1991 Died: W. Arthur Lewis, Saint Lucian economist who was awarded the 1979 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, sharing it with Theodore Schultz.
  • 1985 Rembrandt’s painting Danaë was attacked by a man who threw sulfuric acid on the canvas and cut it with a knife. The man was later judged insane.
  • 1984 Died: Meredith Willson, American composer, conductor, songwriter, flutist and playwright. He is best known as the creator of the musical The Music Man.
  • 1973 Born: Neil Patrick Harris, American actor, singer, comedian, director, producer, writer and magician. He is known for his role as Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother.
  • 1971 Died: Wendell Meredith Stanley, American biochemist and virologist who was awarded the 1946 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sharing it with two scientists.
  • 1970 A group of Soviet refuseniks made an unsuccessful attempt to steal a civilian aircraft in order to fly to Sweden. Their final goal was to arrive in Israel.
  • 1969 Born: Ice Cube (stage name of O’Shea Jackson, Sr.), American rapper known for his brutal honesty, actor, record producer, and filmmaker.
  • 1964 Born: Courteney Cox, American actress, director and producer best known for her roles as Monica Geller in Friends and Jules Cobb in Cougar Town.
  • 1954 UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations) was founded in Basel, Switzerland. Initially, in consisted of 25 member associations.
  • 1954 Born: Jim Belushi, American actor, comedian, and musician. He is best known for playing the title role on the sitcom According to Jim.
  • 1946 Born: Demis Roussos, Greek singer who sold over 60 million albums worldwide. His best known song is From Souvenirs to Souvenirs.
  • 1938 Died: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, German expressionist painter known as one of the founders of the artists group Die Brücke (The Bridge).
  • 1921 Born: Erroll Garner, American jazz pianist and composer. His best known composition is the ballad Misty, which has become a jazz standard.
  • 1920 Three African American circus workers were attacked and lynched by a mob in the city of Duluth, Minnesota. No one was ever convicted for the murder.
  • 1902 Born: Erik Erikson, German-born american psychologist and psychoanalyst primarily known for his theory on psychosocial development.
  • 1896 One of the most destructive seismic event in the history of Japan, the 1896 Sanriku earthquake, occurred. It caused more than 22,000 deaths.
  • 1889 Died: Mihai Eminescu, Romanian poet, novelist and journalist who is considered to be the most famous and influential Romanian poet.
  • 1849 Died: James K. Polk, American lawyer and politician who served as the 11th President of the USA. He is noted for his foreign policy successes.
  • 1844 Died: Thomas Campbell, Scottish poet primarily remembered for his sentimental poetry. He is known for the didactic poem The Pleasures of Hope.
  • 1843 Born: Edvard Grieg, Norwegian Romantic composer and pianist. One of his best known works is Peer Gynt, incidental music to Henrik Ibsen’s play of the same name.
  • 1785 French aviation pioneer Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier became the first known fatality in an air crash when his Montgolfier balloon exploded during an attempt to cross the English channel.
  • 1763 Born: Kobayashi Issa, Japanese poet known for his haiku poems. He is regarded as one of the four greatest haiku masters in Japan.
  • 1667 French physician Jean-Baptiste Denys administered the first fully documented human blood transfusion. He transfused sheep blood into a 15-year old boy.
  • 1479 Born: Lisa del Giocondo, Italian noblewoman who is believed to be the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous painting Mona Lisa.
  • 1215 King John of England put his seal to the Magna Carta, a charter that became part of English political life and was typically renewed by each monarch in turn.
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