|(1170) Archbishop Thomas Becket is murdered after king’s comment|
|When four knights hear King Henry II utter something like, “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?,” they take it as a request to kill Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The knights confront and kill Becket at Canterbury Cathedral, shocking Christians, who canonize Becket just three years later.|
|(1890) US troops massacre Indians at Wounded Knee|
|When a detachment of the US 7th Cavalry tries to disarm a band of Lakota Sioux, led by peace-seeking Spotted Elk, near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, a gun goes off in a scuffle and the cavalry opens fire. More than 200 Lakota men, women, and children will be killed.|
|(1940) The Blitz delivers the Second Great Fire of London|
|Germany firebombs London with more than 24,000 high explosive bombs and 100,000 incendiary bombs in one of its most aggressive attacks on the city, setting London afire. Firefighters work amid the dropping bombs and are able to save some of the city’s landmarks, such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, from total destruction.|
|(1998) Khmer Rouge leaders apologize for Cambodia genocide|
|At a news conference, a Khmer Rouge leader whispers he is “sorry, very sorry” for the group’s murderous campaign to cleanse Cambodia of undesirables, including intellectuals and capitalists. The Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, ruled Cambodia from 1975-’79 and sought to create an agrarian society.|
|(1846) A pair of poets elope|
|The lauded poet Elizabeth Barrett joins her beau, the up-and-coming poet Robert Browning, to marry in secret at a London church. They will then move to Italy, cultivate a circle of literary friends, have a son, and craft words for the ages. .|
Girls blush, sometimes, because they are alive, half wishing they were dead to save the shame. The sudden blush devours them, neck and brow; They have drawn too near the fire of life, like gnats, and flare up bodily, wings and all. What then? Who’s sorry for a gnat or girl?
|(1933) Szilárd’s stroll sets off a nuclear chain reaction|
|Hungarian physicist Leó Szilárd has been puzzling over using atoms as a form of energy, and as he strolls London’s streets, he suddenly conceives the idea of a nuclear chain reaction, which will lead to his work in the atom bomb’s formation and the harnessing of nuclear energy..|
We turned the switch, saw the flashes, watched for ten minutes, then switched everything off and went home. That night I knew the world was headed for sorrow.
|(1940) A world sealed away from time is found under French soil|
|Marcel Ravidat, 18, finds a narrow entrance into a series of caves beneath the fields of Dordogne, France, and comes back with three friends to explore the subterranean world. There they gaze upon the vivid Lascaux cave paintings that experts will later date to over 17,000 years old..|
Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne. They contain some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic art. These paintings are estimated to be circa 17,300 years old. They primarily consist of images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list along with other prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley.
|(1977) Anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko dies in police custody|
|After almost a month in South African police custody, Steve Biko, the leader of an anti-apartheid black student movement, has died in a Pretoria hospital. The 30-year-old’s autopsy will show that death was caused by severe brain injury, and 15,000 supporters will attend his funeral..|
Stephen Bantu Biko was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. A student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilize much of the urban black population. Since his death in police custody, he has been called a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement. While living, his writings and activism attempted to empower black people, and he was famous for his slogan “black is beautiful”, which he described as meaning: “man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being”.
|(1776) The Turtle submerges in Revolutionary warfare|
|American patriots release a new weapon into New York Harbor to rendezvous with the HMS Eagle. A 6-foot by 3-foot single-person submersible craft, the ‘Turtle’ makes its way to the British ship, where the pilot unsuccessfully attempts to plant a bomb on the hull in history’s first submarine attack..|
Turtle was the world’s first submersible with a documented record of use in combat. She was built in Old Saybrook, Connecticut in 1775 by American David Bushnell as a means of attaching explosive charges to ships in a harbor. Bushnell designed her for use against British Royal Navy vessels occupying North American harbors during the American Revolutionary War. Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull recommended the invention to George Washington; although the commander-in-chief had doubts, he provided funds and support for the development and testing of the machine.
|(1927) Philo T. Farnsworth turns on the television|
|There you are, electronic television! And with that, Philo T. Farnsworth announces his new “image dissector” is working properly as a camera transmits the image of a simple straight line to a receiver in another room. A year later Farnsworth will demonstrate his strange new invention to the public..|
Philo Taylor Farnsworth was an American inventor and television pioneer. He made many contributions that were crucial to the early development of all-electronic television. He is perhaps best known for his 1927 invention of the first fully functional all-electronic image pickup device, the “image dissector”, as well as the first fully functional and complete all-electronic television system. He was also the first person to demonstrate such a system to the public. Farnsworth developed a television system complete with receiver and camera, which he produced commercially in the form of the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation, from 1938 to 1951, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
|(1940) Nazi Germany unleashes a blitzkrieg on London|
|Bombs rain down on the British capital in a ‘lightning war,’ or ‘blitzkrieg,’ a favored tactic for the intimidation of Germany’s enemies. And while Hitler’s Luftwaffe will keep up the relentless attack for more than eight months, London’s populace will rise to the challenge of the Blitz..|
The Blitz, from the German word ‘Blitzkrieg’ meaning ‘lightning war’, was the name borrowed by the British press and applied to the heavy and frequent bombing raids carried out over Britain in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War. This concentrated, direct bombing of industrial targets and civilian centres began with heavy raids on London on 7 September 1940, during what became known as the Battle of Britain. Adolf Hitler’s and Hermann Goering’s plans to destroy the Royal Air Force to allow an invasion of Britain were failing, and in response to an RAF raid on Berlin, which itself was prompted by an accidental German bombing of London, they changed their tactics to the sustained bombing of civilian targets.
|(1963) Football gets into the fame game|
|Canton, Ohio, birthplace of the National Football League, opens the Pro Football Hall of Fame in homage to a sport that’s really catching on with the American public. Seventeen of the best players are inducted in the first ceremony, including Red Grange, Curly Lambeau, and Jim Thorpe. .|
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame for professional American football with a Mission to “Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values & Celebrate Excellence. The Hall’s five core values that are learned from the game are commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence. The vision of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “It’s not just the past, it’s the future; It’s not just about Canton, it’s the world; It’s not just a great museum for football but a message of excellence.” The hall opened in Canton, Ohio, on September 7, 1963, with 17 charter enshrinees. As of 2016, there are a total of 303 members of the Hall of Fame.
|(636 BCE) Decisive Arab victory banishes the Byzantines from Syria|
|The seesawing power grabs between Arabs and the Byzantine Empire in the Levant comes to a close as Khālid ibn al-Walīd and his 40,000 troops take on Emperor Heraclius’ 150,000-strong force and decisively defeat them. The win will be a springboard for Arab expansion in the region. .|
|(1882) Napoleon’s Russian loss inspires a sonic boom|
|Listeners gather under a Moscow tent to get the first public earful of Tchaikovsky’s new ‘Festival overture.’ Blasts of cannon fire finish this feisty 70th anniversary tribute to Russia’s rout of Napoleon, and the ‘1812 Overture’ will survive down the ages as everyone’s favorite fireworks soundtrack. .|
|(1940) Former Bolshevist hero gets on the wrong side of Stalin|
|Twice exiled to Siberia for revolutionary acts, then a key player in the Bolshevik Revolution, Leon Trotsky has fallen out of favor with the new Soviet premier, Joseph Stalin, and is living in Mexico City when an assassin’s ice-axe attack fatally wounds him, killing him the next day. .|
|(1988) Massive fires consume 150,000 acres of Yellowstone|
|Drought, winds, lightning, and nearly 250 small blazes in just two months all combine to create the largest conflagration in Yellowstone National Park’s recorded history, hitting a peak today on ‘Black Saturday’ with firestorms burning 150,000 acres and smoke so dense that day turns to night..|
The Yellowstone fires of 1988 together formed the largest wildfire in the recorded history of Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Starting as many smaller individual fires, the flames quickly spread out of control with increasing winds and drought and combined into one large conflagration, which burned for several months. The fires almost destroyed two major visitor destinations and, on September 8, 1988, the entire park was closed to all non-emergency personnel for the first time in its history. Only the arrival of cool and moist weather in the late autumn brought the fires to an end. A total of 793,880 acres, or 36 percent of the park was affected by the wildfires.
|(1794) ‘Incorruptible’ Robespierre arrested in Paris|
|It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times, and few figures from the French Revolution embody this contradiction better than Maximilien Robespierre, a fervent believer in Enlightenment ideals whose involvement in ‘the Terror’ leads to his arrest. He will be guillotined the following day. .|
|(1890) Brilliant and tortured artist turns gun on himself|
|Vincent van Gogh, 37, a Dutch-born artist living in France, shoots himself once in the chest. He’ll live for two days before dying in the company of his beloved brother Theo. He dies broke and unknown, but will later come to be considered one of history’s greatest artists. .|
|(1940) Brazen bunny saunters onto the screen|
|Huntsman Elmer J. Fudd meets “that pesky wabbit” for the first time in ‘A Wild Hare,’ an animated short subject from Warner Bros. What’s up, Doc? For Bugs Bunny, it’ll be crazy popularity, decades of movie releases, an Oscar win, and a TV compilation show that runs for 40 years. .|
|(1996) Centennial Olympic Park celebrations shattered by pipe bomb|
|A pipe bomb detonates after midnight at an outdoor music venue in Atlanta during the Summer Olympic Games, and although crowds had been mostly evacuated from the area, the explosion kills two and injures 111 others. A religious extremist, Eric Rudolph, will be convicted of committing the attack. .|