240 BC – 1st recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.
1856 – Russia signs the Treaty of Paris, ending the Crimean War.
1867 – Alaska Purchase: US buys Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000 ($109 million in 2018), roughly 2 cents an acre.
1870 – 15th Amendment to the US constitution is adopted, guarantees right to vote regardless of race.
1959 – Dalai Lama flees China and is granted political asylum in India.
1972 – Northern Ireland’s Government and Parliament dissolved by the British Government and ‘direct rule’ from Westminster is introduced.
1981 – Barely two months after his inauguration as the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan was shot and seriously wounded by would-be assassin John W. Hinckley, Jr.
2003 – A law banning cigarette smoking in all places of employment, including restaurants and bars, went into effect in New York City.
Births & Deaths:
1853 – Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, one of the greatest Post-Impressionists, known for works that convey not only keen observations of nature but the anguish of a mental illness, was born.
1914 – American blues vocalist and harmonica virtuoso Sonny Boy Williamson was born in Jackson, Tennessee.
1945 – British rock musician Eric Clapton, a highly influential guitarist who performed with such groups as the Yardbirds and Cream before embarking on a successful solo career, was born.
1968 – French Canadian pop singer Céline Dion, who was known for her vocal prowess and her passionate showmanship, was born.
2002 – Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who was queen consort of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1936–52), died in her sleep at Windsor Castle at age 101.
1981 – “Chariots of Fire” directed by Hugh Hudson and starring Ben Cross and Ian Charleson premieres at a Royal Command Film Performance.
1970 –Miles Davis’s influential double album “Bitches Brew” released.
Via Britannica / On This Day