This Day in History


  • 2010 Died: José Saramago, Portuguese journalist, author, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate. His works were translated into 25 languages, at the same time his books were criticized by the Catholic Church, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
  • 2006 Kazakhstan launched its first space satellite KazSat.
  • 1983 STS-7 space shuttle mission: astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.
  • 1979 The United States and the Soviet Union signed SALT II (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) agreement on curtail of manufacture of nuclear weapons.
  • 1974 Died: Júlio César de Mello e Souza, Brazilian mathematician and author, known for his books on recreational mathematics. He wrote 69 books of tales and 51 books on mathematics and other subjects. His most popular book is The Man Who Counted.
  • 1972 British European Airways Flight 548 en route from London to Brussels crashed two minutes after take off from London Heathrow Airport. 118 were killed.
  • 1971 Died: Paul Karrer, Swiss chemist, Nobel Prize laureate, best known for his researches on vitamins.
  • 1967 Died: Geki, racing pseudonym of Giacomo Russo, Italian race car driver. He participated in three Formula One Italian Grand Prix and was a 4-time Italian Formula Three series champion, winning from 1961 to 1964.
  • 1965 The United States used B-52 bombers to attack National Liberation Front guerrilla fighters in South Vietnam.
  • 1959 Died: Ethel Barrymore, American actress, member of the Barrymore family of actors. She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for role in film None but the Lonely Heart.
  • 1952 Born: Isabella Rossellini, Italian actress, best known for role in films Blue Velvet and Death Becomes Her. She’s been a model of Lancôme for 14 years.
  • 1949 Born: Lech Kaczyński, Polish lawyer and politician, the 4th President of Poland. During his presidency Poland strengthened ties with the USA and continued develop relations with the EU. He also worked on development of strategic partnership with Ukraine, Baltic states, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
  • 1942 Born: Paul McCartney, English singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known as the member of the Beatles. Nowadays McCartney is one of the most influential and popular figures in the history of rock music.
  • 1937 Died: Gaston Doumergue, French politician, the 13th President of France. He was widely regarded as one of the most popular presidents of France.
  • 1936 Born: Barack Obama, Sr., Kenyan economist, father of U.S. President Barack Obama. He was a central figure of his son’s memoir Dreams from My Father.
  • 1932 Born: Dudley R. Herschbach, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate for contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes. He was jointly working with Yuan T. Lee and performed the so-called crossed molecular beam experiments that enabled a detailed molecular-level understanding of many elementary reaction processes.
  • 1932 Born: Geoffrey Hill, English poet and educator. He’s considered to be among the most distinguished poets of his generation and called the greatest living poet in the English language.
  • 1928 Died: Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He was the first man to reach the South Pole. His expedition was the first one to reach the North Pole.
  • 1928 Aviator Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean. She was a passenger, while Wilmer Stultz was the pilot and Lou Gordon the mechanic.
  • 1918 Born: Jerome Karle, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate for direct analysis of crystal structures using X-ray scattering techniques.
  • 1918 Born: Franco Modigliani, Italian-American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate for his work on household savings and the dynamics of financial markets.
  • 1913 Born: Robert Mondavi, American winemaker. His technical improvements and marketing strategies made wines of Napa Valley in California known around the world. Nowadays New World wines use standard labeling, that was introduced by Mondavi.
  • 1902 Died: Samuel Butler, English author and poet, best remembered for piece Erewhon and novel The Way of All Flesh.
  • 1900 Boxer Rebellion: Empress Dowager Longyu of China ordered all foreigners in Beijing to be killed, including foreign diplomats and their families. About 100 were killed.
  • 1845 Born: Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran, French physician and parasitologist, Nobel Prize laureate for his discoveries of parasitic protozoans as causative agents of infectious diseases, like malaria and trypanosomiasis.
  • 1815 The Battle of Waterloo: Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by Duke of Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. Bonaparte was forced to abdicate the throne of France for the second and the last time.
  • 1812 The U.S. Congress declared war on Great Britain, Canada and Ireland.
  • 1767 English captain Samuel Wallis sighted Tahiti. He is considered to be the first European to reach the island.
  • 1726 Died: Michel Richard Delalande, French organist and composer, one of the most important composers of grand motets. He was in service of King Louis XIV.
  • 1464 Died: Rogier van der Weyden, Flemish painter. His surviving works consist mainly of religious triptychs, altarpieces and commissioned single and diptych portraits. He was a very successful painter during his lifetime and his works were exported or taken to Italy and Spain.
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