A Historical Day

(1681) William Penn is granted a charter from King Charles II
1681 Britain’s King Charles II grants English Quaker and real estate developer William Penn a large charter of North American land in payment for a debt. Penn will call the land “Sylvania.”.
(1917) Rankin becomes first female elected to US Congress
Jeannette Rankin takes her seat in the House of Representatives as the first woman elected to serve in Congress. The Montana Republican will vote against entry into World War I, and for women’s voting rights.. 1917
(1966) Beatles “more popular than Jesus”
1966 In an interview with the London Evening Standard, the Beatles’ John Lennon says that his band tops Jesus Christ in popularity. Meant as a comment on religion’s general decline, the quote sparks outrage..
(1969) The Kray twins convicted of murder
London’s Old Bailey court renders a guilty verdict in the murder trial of Ronnie and Reggie Kray, twin brothers infamous for the brutal swathe they’ve cut through the criminal underworld in London’s East End. . 1969

A Historical Day

(1887) Teacher Anne Sullivan meets student Helen Keller
1887 Anne Sullivan arrives in Alabama hoping to break through to a young girl who’d lost the ability to see, hear, or speak in infancy. Her pupil, Helen Keller, will respond and flourish beyond all expectations..
(1913) First women’s suffrage march in Washington
Pennsylvania Avenue sees up to 8,000 women’s suffrage supporters seeking to redress gender inequality, including gaining the right to vote. The march will become a milestone in the history of women’s rights in the United States.. 1913
(1938) First major oil well struck in Saudi Arabia
1938 Following many unsuccessful tries, drillers on the Dammam No. 7 oil well in al-Hasa, Saudi Arabia finally strike oil. The vast desert kingdom will turn out to be the richest known source of crude oil anywhere. .
(1991) Rodney King beaten by L.A. police
At 12:30 AM, police begin high-speed pursuit of a vehicle on Los Angeles’ Foothill Freeway. After the car is pulled over, what happens next to King will be caught on amateur video and enflame a city and a nation. . 1991

A Historical Day

(1791) The semaphore machine boosts long-distance messaging
1791 The Chappe brothers demonstrate their new communications machine by sending a coded message via pivoting metal shutters set atop tall towers. This will be the precursor of the electric telegraph. .
(1933) ‘King Kong’ debuts on silver screen
An epic take on the tale of beauty and the beast, and a special effects extravaganza, ‘King Kong’ premieres at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. Box office and critical reception will both be boffo. . 1933
(1972) NASA launches first manmade object to leave solar system
1972 The Pioneer 10 space probe lifts off from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, heading for a rendezvous with Jupiter and other outer planets, then onward past the farthest reaches of our galaxy..
(1983) Digital audio revolution hits the US and Europe
The first compact discs go on sale in the US, Europe, and other locales. The format will eclipse vinyl before being eclipsed itself less than two decades later by solid-state digital audio players. . 1983

A Historical Day

(1565) Rio de Janeiro is founded
1565 Sixty-five years after the Portuguese first explored the area, a city is founded on Guanabara Bay in the southeast Captaincy Colonies of Brazil. It will go on to be one of the most populated cities in the Americas. .
(1692) First suspects accused in Salem witch hunt
Magistrates in the colonial Massachusetts village of Salem charge Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba with witchcraft. Before the hysteria ends, more than 150 will be accused and 19 executed.. 1692
(1950) Atomic spy Klaus Fuchs convicted in Britain
1950 One of Britain’s top nuclear scientists is found guilty of spying for the Soviet Union, including passing them atomic bomb secrets from his time with the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico. .
(1961) President Kennedy establishes Peace Corps
US President John F. Kennedy sends out a call to young Americans to travel to foreign lands, especially poor and developing nations, to offer humanitarian assistance. By the early 21st century, more than 200,000 will have volunteered for the Peace Corps and served in 140 countries.. 1961

A Historical Day

(1940) McDaniel is the first African American Oscar winner
1940 Hattie McDaniel wins the Best Supporting Actress trophy for her portrayal of Mammy in ‘Gone with the Wind,’ becoming the first African American Academy Award winner. .
(1968) Jocelyn Bell Burnell announces discovery of pulsar
Cambridge postgraduate astrophysics student, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, reports that she’s discovered the first pulsating star, or ‘pulsar.’ The 1974 Nobel Prize for this discovery will go to her thesis supervisor, Antony Hewish, and his colleague Martin Ryle.. 1968
(1984) Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau resigns
1984 Pierre Trudeau tells the Canadian House of Commons he’s stepping down after 15 years as PM, leaving behind a legacy of personal charisma, political liberalism, and a push for national unity..
(1996) Bosnian War’s siege of Sarajevo is over
After four years of assaults from artillery, tanks, and snipers, the longest modern-day siege of a capital city comes to an end. The siege of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, cost the lives of nearly 14,000 people, including 5,434 civilians. . 1996