This Day in History


  • 2012 Died: Nora Ephron, American director, producer, and screenwriter, best remembered for her romantic comedies. She was nominated 3 times for the Academy Award for Best Writing and won a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay and a Tony Award for Best Play (posthumously).
  • 2007 Pope Benedict XVI reinstated the traditional laws of papal election. According to new laws, a successful candidate must receive 2/3 of the votes
  • 2004 Died: Naomi Shemer, Israeli singer-songwriter, often called as the first lady of Israeli song and poetry. Her song Yerushlayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold) became an unofficial second anthem of Israel.
  • 1997 Died: Don Hutson, American football player, the first star split end in National Football League history. By the moment of retirement Hutson held almost all important records of NFL and today he is considered as the best receiver ever.
  • 1995 President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak survived an assassination attempt in Addis Ababa.
  • 1977 Elvis Presley performed the final concern in his life in Indianapolis, Indiana. He died in August of the same year, before he could begin a new tour.
  • 1973 A Cosmos 3-M rocket exploded at Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. 9 people were killed.
  • 1972 Born: Pierre Garand, Canadian singer, best known under his stage name Garou. He is best known for his work in the musical Notre-Dame de Paris, and the #1 hits Belle, Seul, Sous le vent and La Rivière de notre enfance.
  • 1970 Born: Chris O’Donnell, American actor and producer, best remembered for role as Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. He also starred in Grey’s Anatomy, Vertical Limit, The Company and in Scent of a Woman.
  • 1948 William Shockeley patented the grown-junction transistor, the first type of the bipolar junction transistor.
  • 1944 One of the largest battles between Nazi Germany and Polish resistance forces, the Battle of Osuchy, took place. The battle ended with the defeat of the Polish forces.
  • 1943 Died: Karl Landsteiner, Austrian biologist and physician, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine laureate for investigations on blood transfusions, that resulted in discovery of blood groups.
  • 1939 Died: Ford Madox Ford, English author, poet, and critic. He is best remembered as an editor of journals The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, that became instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature.
  • 1937 Born: Robert Coleman Richardson, American physicist and academic, 1972 Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for discovery of the property of superfluidity in helium-3 atoms.
  • 1925 Born: Wolfgang Unzicker, German Chess Grandmaster, often called the world’s strongest amateur chess player. He was one of the strongest German chess grandmasters from 1954 to 1970 and chose law instead of chess career.
  • 1922 Born: Eleanor Parker, American actress and singer. She appeared in more than 80 film during her career, was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Actress. One of her most memorable role was of Elsa von Schraeder in The Sound of Music (1965).
  • 1906 The first Grand Prix motor racing event was held outside the city of Le Mans, France.
  • 1898 Born: Willy Messerschmitt, German engineer and businessman, best known for designing the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the most important fighter in the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) of Germany before World War II.
  • 1892 Born: Pearl S. Buck, American author and educator, Nobel Prize laureate for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces.
  • 1870 The United States of America declared the Christian holiday of Christmas to be a federal holiday.
  • 1843 Treaty of Nanking, signed by Britain and China, came into force. The treaty ended the First Opium War and ceded Hong Kong Island to the British “in perpretuity”.
  • 1836 Died: Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, French soldier and composer. His most notable work was the words and music for the Chant de guerre pour l’armée du Rhin, which later became known as La Marseillaise and French national anthem.
  • 1824 Born: William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, Irish physicist and engineer, best known for his important contributions in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics.
  • 1810 Died: Joseph-Michel Montgolfier, French inventor. Together with his brother he co-invented the hot air balloon.
  • 1752 Died: Giulio Alberoni, Spanish cardinal and statesman in the service of Philip V of Spain. Alberoni is known for being a remarkable soldier and a great gourmet. He advised the Spanish court on table manners and menus.
  • 1730 Born: Charles Messier, French astronomer, notable for publishing of a catalog consisting of nebulae and star clusters, now known as 110 Messier objects.
  • 1699 Born: Marie Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin, leading female figure in the French Enlightenment. She hosted popular French salon for most influential philosophers and encyclopédistes of her time and her qualities of politeness and civility helped stimulate and regulate intellectual discussions.
  • 1541 Died: Francisco Pizarro, Spanish explorer and politician, remembered today as a conqueror of the Incan Empire.
  • 1483 Richard III became the King of England. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty.
  • 363 Died: Julian the Apostate, Roman Emperor, notable philosopher and author in Greek. He was the last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire.
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