Photo: Queen Elizabeth II At Her Coronation, 1957
455: Geiseric, King of the Vandals, began a two week sack of Rome. The damage wrought by Geiseric's people saw the name of the Vandals enter the common tongue as a word to describe people who cause wanton destruction.
1098 – First Crusade: The first Siege of Antioch ends as Crusader forces take the city. The First Crusade was called by the Pope in response to, one, Islam's massive wars of conquest waged against Christendom for 400 years, and two, the decision of the Fatimid Caliph in 1009 to destroy the holiest Church in Christendom, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The First Crusade ended three years later with the capture of Jerusalem.
1692 – Bridget Bishop is the first person to go to trial in the Salem witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. She is found guilty and hung several days later. She was the first of nineteen who would be hung for witchcraft. Five others died in captivity and one was crushed to death.
1763 – Pontiac's Rebellion begins at what is now Mackinaw City, Michigan. Chippewas Indians captured Fort Michilimackinac by diverting the garrison's attention with a game of lacrosse, then chasing a ball into the fort. Once inside, they began a slaughter of most of the British inhabitants of the fort.
1774 – The Quartering Act, one of a series of laws known collectively as the Intolerable Acts and adopted in the wake of the Boston Tea Party, was enacted, allowing a governor in colonial America to house British soldiers in uninhabited houses, outhouses, barns, or other buildings if suitable quarters were not provided.
1793 – Jean-Paul Marat recites the names of 29 people to the French National Convention. Almost all of these people are guillotined, followed by 17,000 more over the course of the next year during the Reign of Terror - an appropriate event to commemorate the birth of modern socialism. Marat was famously murdered in his bathtub by a royalist woman.
1835 – P. T. Barnum and his circus start their first tour of the United States. As he most famously said, there is a sucker born every minute.
1924 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act into law, granting citizenship to all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States.
1925 – Lou Gehrig starts at first base for the New York Yankees, beginning a streak of 2,130 consecutive games played, topped only by the Orioles' Cal Ripken, Jr. in 1995. Exactly 16 years to the day, in 1941, Gehrig passes away from Amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
1946 – Today is the birth of the Italian Republic. In a referendum, Italians decide to turn Italy from a monarchy into a Republic. After this referendum the king of Italy Umberto II di Savoia is exiled.
1953 – Elizabeth II, is crowned queen of England in a ceremony televised from Westminster Abbey, London.
1967 – Protests in West Berlin turn into riots, during which Benno Ohnesorg is killed by a police officer. His death became a rallying cry for German's leftists and contributed greatly to their radicalization. Within the past week, it has come to light that the officer who killed Ohnesorg was actually an East German agent.
1979 – Pope John Paul II visits his native Poland, becoming the first Pope to visit a Communist country. John Paul II is credited with being one of the keys to the downfall of communism in Eastern Europe.
1997 – Timothy McVeigh is convicted on 15 counts of murder and conspiracy for the 1995 terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
2004 – Question - On this day in 2004, he began his 74-game winning streak on the syndicated game show Jeopardy? Answer - who is Ken Jennings.
926 – Murakami, the 62nd Emperor of Japan (d. 967)
1535 – Pope Leo XI was born in Italy. He would eventually be voted Pope, but only served in the position for a month before dying.
1740 – Marquis de Sade, French author whose extreme sexual proclivities gave us the word, sadism, for a person who gets sexually excited by inflicting pain on others.
1835 – Pope Pius X. He ascended to the papacy in 1903, during a period when socialism and science were posing new challenges to the Church. Pius opposed the theological school of thought known as modernism, which claimed that Catholic dogma itself should be modernized and blended with nineteenth century philosophies.
1840 – Thomas Hardy, English writer (d. 1928)
1716 – Ogata Korin, Japanese painter (b. 1658)
1806 – William Tate, English painter (b. 1747)
1990 – Rex Harrison, English actor (b. 1908)
2005 – Melita Norwood, British spy (b. 1912)
Holidays and observances
Today is the Festa della Repubblica (Republic Day), in Italy, and the Feast of Saint Elmo