This Day in History

  • 2014 Felipe VI ascended to the Spanish throne following the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos I. His wife Letizia thus became Queen consort of Spain.
  • 2013 Died: Slim Whitman (stage name of Ottis Dewey Whitman, Jr), American singer-songwriter and musician noted for his yodeling and falsetto.
  • 2013 Died: James Gandolfini, American actor and producer who is primarily remembered for his role as Tony Soprano in the TV series The Sopranos.
  • 2012 WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange applied for political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was granted asylum on August 16 that same year.
  • 2012 Died: Richard Lynch, American film and television actor primarily remembered for portraying villains. His career spanned over 40 years.
  • 2007 A truck bomb exploded in front of the Shia al-Khilani Mosque in the city of Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 78 people and injuring another 218.
  • 2002 American adventurer Steve Fossett began his solo flight around the world in a balloon. He was the first person to fly around the world alone, nonstop.
  • 1995 Died: Peter Townsend, English pilot who served as Equerry to King George VI from 1944 to 1952 and for Queen Elizabeth II in 1952-1953.
  • 1993 Died: William Golding, English novelist, poet, and playwright who was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Literature. His best known novel is Lord of the Flies.
  • 1986 Died: Coluche (stage name of Michel Gérard Joseph Colucci), French actor and comedian famous for his irreverent sense of humor.
  • 1982 Acting President of the American University of Beirut David S. Dodge was kidnapped from the campus by pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim extremists.
  • 1978 The comic strip Garfield was launched. As of 2013, it held the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip.
  • 1978 Born: Zoe Saldana, American actress and dancer best known for her roles as Neytiri in Avatar and Nyota Uhura in J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot.
  • 1970 The Patent Cooperation Treaty was signed. The document provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions.
  • 1967 Born: Bjørn Dæhlie, Norwegian retired cross-country skier and businessman who won a total of 29 medals in the Olympics and World Championships.
  • 1964 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed the Senate. This document is considered to be a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United State.
  • 1962 Born: Paula Abdul, American-Canadian singer-songwriter, dancer, choreographer, actress and TV personality who won a Grammy Award in 1990.
  • 1954 Born: Kathleen Turner, American film and stage actress, singer, stage director and activist. She was an Al-list film star during the 1980s.
  • 1953 Died: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, American communists. They were executed for conspiracy to commit atomic espionage for the Soviet Union.
  • 1947 Born: Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist and essayist whose second novel Midnight’s Children published in 1981 won the Booker Prize.
  • 1945 Born: Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese opposition politician who was awarded the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle for democracy and human rights.
  • 1944 The Battle of the Philippine Sea began during the Second World War. It was fought between the United States and Japan, resulting in decisive American victory.
  • 1937 Died: James Matthew Barrie, Scottish novelist and playwright best known as the creator of Peter Pan, a mischievous boy who never grows up.
  • 1910 Born: Paul Flory, American chemist who was awarded the 1974 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research in the field of macromolecules.
  • 1891 Born: John Heartfield (born Helmut Herzfeld), German artist who is considered to be a pioneer in the use of art as a political weapon.
  • 1867 Died: Maximilian I of Mexico, the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire. He was a younger brother of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I.
  • 1821 The coronation of King George IV of the United Kingdom took place at Westminster Abbey. His wife Caroline was not allowed to attend.
  • 1786 Died: Nathanael Greene, major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. He was a gifted and dependable officer.
  • 1623 Born: Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and theologian. He helped create projective geometry and probability theory.
  • 1566 Born: James VI of Scotland and I of England and of Ireland, who united the Scottish and English crowns (the two kingdoms still were individual sovereign states).

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