On This Day…

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1492 – Christopher Columbus 1st learns about growing and harvesting maize (corn) from Cuba’s indigenous population

1556 – Second Battle of Panipat: Hindu Emperor of north India Hem Chandra Vikramaditya defeated by forces of Mughal Emperor Akbar, who captures and later beheads Hem Chandra

1605 Gunpowder Plot: Catholic conspirator Guy Fawkes attempts to blow up King James I and the British Parliament. Plot discovered, Guy Fawkes caught, tortured and later executed along with seven others. Celebrated ever since as Guy Fawkes Day, where his effigy is traditionally burned on a bonfire, accompanied by fireworks.

1872 – Susan B. Anthony, a leader in the American women’s suffrage movement, cast a ballot in the presidential election, and she was later arrested for voting illegally and convicted in a trial she called “the greatest outrage history ever witnessed.”

1937 – Adolf Hitler informs his military leaders in a secret meeting of his intentions of going to war

1940 – Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented third term as president of the United States.

1956 – Britain and France land airborne forces at Port Said in Egypt, escalating the Suez Crisis

1979 – Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khomeini describes the United States as “The Great Satan” amid accusations of imperialism and the sponsoring of corruption

1988 – France performs nuclear test

1998 – The journal Nature published a report that DNA testing had confirmed (still disputed by some) that a member of Thomas Jefferson’s family had fathered a child with the slave Sally Hemings; the testing, however, was unable to definitively prove that Jefferson was the father.

2000 – Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie is laid to rest 25 years after his death after a funeral procession through Addis Ababa

2006 – Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq, and his co-defendants Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar are sentenced to death in the al-Dujail trial for the role in the massacre of the 148 Shi’as in 1982.

2013 – India launched its first interplanetary spacecraft, the Mars Orbiter Mission, which was unmanned.

2017 – Bodies of 26 migrant teenage girls recovered from the Mediterranean, another 400 migrants rescued

2020 – Geoffrey Palmer, British actor (The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, The Madness of King George, Butterflies), dies at 93

Births & Deaths:

1911 – American cowboy actor and singer Roy Rogers—who starred in films and television shows, often alongside his wife, Dale Evans—was born.

1913 – British actress Vivien Leigh—who achieved motion picture immortality by playing two of American literature’s most-celebrated Southern belles, Scarlett O’Hara and Blanche DuBois—was born in India.

Film & TV:

1956 – The Nat King Cole Show debuts on NBC, the first variety program to be hosted by an African-American


1955 – The rebuilt Vienna State Opera reopens with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fidelio after it was destroyed in World War II


1992 – “Revenge Match of the 20th century” American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer defeats Russian Boris Spassky to win an unofficial match in Belgrade

Via Britannica / On This Day

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