Today in History
303 – Roman emperor Diocletian orders the destruction of the Christian church in Nicomedia, beginning eight years of Diocletianic Persecution.
532 – Byzantine emperor Justinian I orders the building of a new Orthodox Christian basilica in Constantinople – the Hagia Sophia.
1455 – Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.
1554 – Mapuche forces, under the leadership of Lautaro, score a victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Marihueñu in Chile.
1739 – Richard Palmer is identified at York Castle, by his former schoolteacher, as the outlaw Dick Turpin.
1778 – American Revolutionary War: Baron von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to help to train the Continental Army.
1820 – Cato Street Conspiracy: A plot to murder all the British cabinet ministers is exposed.
1836 – Texas Revolution: The Battle of the Alamo begins in San Antonio, Texas.
1847 – Mexican–American War: Battle of Buena Vista – In Mexico, American troops under future president General Zachary Taylor defeat Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.
1854 – The official independence of the Orange Free State is declared.
1861 – President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland.
1870 – Reconstruction Era: Post-U.S. Civil War military control of Mississippi ends and it is readmitted to the Union.
1883 – Alabama becomes the first U.S. state to enact an anti-trust law.
1885 – Sino-French War: French Army gains an important victory in the Battle of Đồng Đăng in the Tonkin region of Vietnam.
1886 – Charles Martin Hall produced the first samples of man-made aluminum, after several years of intensive work. He was assisted in this project by his older sister Julia Brainerd Hall.
1887 – The French Riviera is hit by a large earthquake, killing around 2,000.
1896 – The Tootsie Roll is invented.
1898 – Émile Zola is imprisoned in France after writing “J’accuse”, a letter accusing the French government of antisemitism and wrongfully imprisoning Captain Alfred Dreyfus.
1900 – Second Boer War: Boers and British troops fight in the Battle of Hart’s Hill.
1903 – Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the United States “in perpetuity”.
1905 – Chicago attorney Paul Harris and three other businessmen meet for lunch to form the Rotary Club, the world’s first service club.
1909 – The AEA Silver Dart makes the first powered flight in Canada and the British Empire.
1917 – First demonstrations in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The beginning of the February Revolution.
1918 – Last monarch of Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz commits suicide.
1927 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs a bill by Congress establishing the Federal Radio Commission (later replaced by the Federal Communications Commission) which was to regulate the use of radio frequencies in the United States.
1927 – German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg writes a letter to fellow physicist Wolfgang Pauli, in which he describes his uncertainty principle for the first time.
1934 – Leopold III becomes King of Belgium.
1941 – Plutonium is first produced and isolated by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg.
1942 – World War II: Japanese submarines fire artillery shells at the California coastline near Santa Barbara.
1943 – A fire breaks out at St. Joseph’s Orphanage, County Cavan, Ireland, killing 36 people (35 of whom are children).
1943 – Greek Resistance: The United Panhellenic Organization of Youth is founded is Greece.
1944 – The Soviet Union begins the forced deportation of the Chechen and Ingush people from the North Caucasus to Central Asia.
1945 – World War II: During the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of United States Marines and a U.S. Navy Corpsman, reach the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and are photographed raising the American flag.
1945 – World War II: The capital of the Philippines, Manila, is liberated by combined Filipino and American forces.
1945 – World War II: Capitulation of German garrison in Poznań. The city is liberated by Soviet and Polish forces.
1945 – World War II: The German town of Pforzheim is annihilated in a raid by 379 British bombers.
1947 – The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is founded.
1954 – The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh.
1955 – First meeting of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).
1958 – Cuban rebels kidnap 5-time world F1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio.
1966 – In Syria, Ba’ath Party member Salah Jadid leads an intra-party military coup that replaces the previous government of General Amin al-Hafiz, also a Baathist.
1974 – The Symbionese Liberation Army demands $4 million more to release kidnap victim Patty Hearst.
1980 – Iran hostage crisis: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini states that Iran’s parliament will decide the fate of the American embassy hostages.
1981 – In Spain, Antonio Tejero attempts a coup d’état by capturing the Spanish Congress of Deputies.
1983 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency announces its intent to buy out and evacuate the dioxin-contaminated community of Times Beach, Missouri.
1987 – Supernova 1987a is seen in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
1991 – Gulf War: Ground troops cross the Saudi Arabian border and enter Iraq, thus beginning the ground phase of the war.
1991 – In Thailand, General Sunthorn Kongsompong leads a bloodless coup d’état, deposing Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan.
1998 – In the United States, tornadoes in central Florida destroy or damage 2,600 structures and kill 42.
1999 – Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Öcalan is charged with treason in Ankara, Turkey.
1999 – An avalanche destroys the Austrian village of Galtür, killing 31.
2005 – The controversial French law on colonialism is passed, requiring teachers to teach the “positive values of colonialism”. After public outcry, it is repealed at the beginning of 2006.
2007 – A train derails on an evening express service near Grayrigg, Cumbria, England, killing one person and injuring 22. This results in hundreds of points being checked over the UK after a few similar accidents.
2008 – A U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber crashes on Guam. It is the first operational loss of a B-2.
2010 – Unknown criminals pour more than 2.5 million liters of diesel oil and other hydrocarbons into the river Lambro, in northern Italy, sparking an environmental disaster.
2012 – A series of attacks across Iraq leave at least 83 killed and more than 250 injured.
All above information obtained from Wikipedia.org