This Day in History


  • 2013 American highwire artist Nik Wallenda became the first person to successfully walk across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope. He also walked across Niagara Falls a year earlier.
  • 2013 Died: Richard Matheson, American novelist, short story writer and screenwriter. His best known work is the horror novel I Am Legend.
  • 2011 Died: Peter Falk, American actor best known for his role as Lt. Columbo in the TV series Columbo. He also appeared in numerous films.
  • 2008 Died: Arthur Chung, Guyanese politician and statesman who served as the first President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana from 1970 to 1980.
  • 2006 Died: Aaron Spelling, American film and television producer who created Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty, Beverly Hills 90210, Charmed, Sunset Beach etc.
  • 1998 Died: Maureen O’Sullivan, Irish actress best known for playing the character of Jane Porter in the Tarzan films starring Johnny Weissmuller.
  • 1995 Died: Anatoli Tarasov, renowned Soviet and later Russian ice hockey player and coach who is considered to be “the father of Russian hockey”.
  • 1985 A terrorist bomb aboard Air India Flight 182 destroyed the Boeing 747-237B, killing all 328 people on board. The aircraft crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 1972 Born: Selma Blair, American film, television and theater actress known for her roles in films Cruel Intentions, Hellboy, Legally Blonde and others.
  • 1972 Born: Zinedine Zidane, French footballer and football coach. He played for the French national team, Juventus and Real Madrid until 2006.
  • 1970 Died: Roscoe Turner, American aviator who set several records and was a three-time winner of the Thompson Trophy air race (in 1934, 1938, 1939).
  • 1970 Born: Yann Tiersen, French musician (multiinstrumentalist) and songwriter. His is best known for writing the soundtrack for the film Amélie.
  • 1964 Born: Joss Whedon, American screenwriter, director, producer and composer. He created many TV series and directed The Avengers and its sequel.
  • 1961 The Antarctic Treaty officially came into force. The treaty regulates international relations with respect to Antarctica. It was originally signed by 12 states.
  • 1960 The FDA declared Enovid (mestranol/norethynodrel) to be the world’s first officially approved combined oral contraceptive pill. The drug was discontinued in 1988.
  • 1959 British atomic spy Klaus Fuchs was released after spending 9 years and 4 months in prison for supplying information from Manhattan Project to the USSR.
  • 1959 Died: Boris Vian, French writer, dramatist, poet, journalist, translator, engineer, inventor, musician, singer, and actor. He is best known for his novels.
  • 1946 A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Although destructive, it caused only two casualties.
  • 1940 Born: Stuart Sutcliffe, Scottish artist and musician best known as the original bassist for the Beatles. He died of aneurysm at the age of 21.
  • 1927 Born: Bob Fosse, American dancer, choreographer, theater and film director, screenwriter and actor. In 2007, he was inducted into the National Museum of Dance.
  • 1912 Born: Alan Turing, British mathematician, logician, cryptanalist, pioneering computers scientist. He is best known for the invention of the Turing machine and the Turing test.
  • 1894 Born: Edward VIII, King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India from January 20 to December 11, 1936.
  • 1894 Born: Alfred Kinsey, American biologist and sexologist best known for writing the Kinsey Reports and developing the famous Kinsey scale.
  • 1881 Died: Matthias Jakob Schleiden, German botanist who is primarily remembered for his contributions to the development of cell theory.
  • 1868 Christopher Latham Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule received a patent for a typewriter. This typewriter was only one among many similar inventions.
  • 1848 The June Days Uprising began in Paris. French workers protested against the closure of National Workshops that provide work for the unemployed.
  • 1836 Died: James Mill, Scottish economist, historian, philosopher and political theorist who is regarded as one of the founders of classical economics.
  • 1780 The Battle of Springfield was fought during the American Revolutionary War. It resulted in a Continental victory. It was one of the last major battles of the war.
  • 1763 Born: Joséphine de Beauharnais, the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. She was the Empress consort of the French from 1804 to 1810.
  • 1757 British troops defeated Indian army and its French allies in the Battle of Plassey. This victory established the rule of the British East India Company in Bengal.
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