1215 – Beijing was captured by the Mongols under Genghis Khan, ending the Battle of Beijing. Ghengis Khan was the greatest conqueror of the Medieval Era - and he lived by his famous dictum, "the greatest thing in life is to scatter your enemy before you and bring to your bosom their wives and daughters." That was no idle chit chat. According to a recent DNA study, it is estimated that 16,000,000 people alive today are descended from the the great Khan. As one commentor so dryly put it: "If you feel an irrational urge to torch your neighbour's yurt and carry off his daughters, now you'll know why."
1495 – Friar John Cor records the first known batch of scotch whisky, or as it was known then, aqua vitae, the water of life. May God bless this man, and why has he not been beatified yet?
1533 – Anne Boleyn is crowned Queen of England. She was Henry VIII's second wife, the sister of one of Henry's consorts, and the mother of the future great Queen, Elizabeth I. Henry tired of Anne after a few years when she did not produce a male heir, and had his divorce from Anne performed by the executioner's axe.
1660 – Mary Dyer was hunged for repeatedly defying a law banning Quakers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1779 – His plot to surrender West Point to the British exposed, the gifted General Benedict Arnold was court-martialed for treason, though never convicted of it. He was convicted instead of several lesser counts. U.S. military courts have never been kangaroo courts.
1812 – President James Madison asks the Congress to declare war on the Britain.
1813 – James Lawrence, the mortally-wounded commander of the USS Chesapeake, cries out "Don't give up the ship!"
1855 – American adventurer William Walker conquers Nicaragua.
1879 – Napoleon Eugene, the last dynastic Bonaparte, is killed fighting for Britain in the Zulu War.
1918 – Allied Forces under Gen. John J. Pershing and James Harbord engage Imperial German Forces in the Battle for Belleau Wood, one of the bloodiest battles of the war for U.S. forces. The Germans had gone on the attack and were advancing through Belleau Wood. The battle is famous for the heroism of the newly arrived American forces. In one of the more notable moments, the Germans had pushed back a French unit that was in full retreat as they passed a column of advancing Marines. The French commander advised the Marines to fall back, to which Marine Captain Lloyd W. Williams of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines uttered the now-famous retort "Retreat? Hell, we just got here."
1941 – Battle of Crete ends as Crete capitulates to Germany.
1941 – Following years of Nazi provocation, the Farhud, a pogrom in Iraqi Jews, takes place in Baghdad.
1967 – The groundbreaking Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album by The Beatles is released. It was their 8th albumn and, in 2003, was ranked as the greatest rock albumn of all time.
1974 – The Heimlich maneuver for rescuing choking victims is published in the journal Emergency Medicine.
2001 – A Hamas suicide bomber kills 21 at a disco in Tel Aviv in the Dolphinarium Massacre.
2005 – The Dutch referendum on the European Constitution results in its rejection. That did not slow down the EU. In one of the most cynical end runs around democracy in world history, the EU took the Constitution, renamed it the Lisbon Treaty so that none of the electorate in any country had to vote on it for it to be approved, then reintroduced it. Under this guise, it has now been imposed across virtually all of Europe but for Ireland.
1563 – Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, English statesman and spymaster to James I.
1637 – Jacques Marquette, French Jesuit missionary and explorer wh founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan. Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first non-Native Americans to see and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River.
1762 – Edmund Ignatius Rice, Irish founder of the Christian Brothers, an order that today runs schools around the world.
1907 – Frank Whittle, English inventor of the jet engine. (d. 1996)
1926 – Andy Griffith, American actor
1926 – Marilyn Monroe. She was the great sex symbol of the 1950's, in addition to being Joe Dimagio's wife and, later, JFK's Monica. She committed suicide in 1962.
1616 – Tokugawa Ieyasu, was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but remained in power until his death in 1616. He is immortalized in one of the greatest novels ever written, Shogun, by James Clavell.
1968 – Helen Keller, She was the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of how Keller's teacher, Annie Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become known worldwide through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker.
In Canada, today is the National Day Against Homophobia. No further comment on that one. In Mongolia its Mothers' and Children's Day.
In Ancient Rome, today marked the festival in honour of Carna, a nymph who lived where Rome would eventually be built. She was worshiped as the Roman's ‘goddess of the hinge,’ whose power is to open what is closed and to close what is open. . . . She favors domestic concerns and can be petitioned to open new opportunities and to close the door against things unwanted. She also has authority over the physical body, ruling the heart, lungs and liver; which is why Offerings of beans and bacon fat (once considered by Roman’s to promote health in those organs) are her traditional offerings.