This Day in History

2009

President João Bernardo Vieira of Guinea-Bissau was assassinated by government soldiers, following years of unrest between Vieira and the military.

1999

British singer Dusty Springfield—who made her mark during the 1960s beat boom that resulted in the British Invasion, recording such hits as Son of a Preacher Man—died in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England.

1995

Researchers at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, announced the discovery of the top quark, the sixth and most massive quark.

1968

Daniel Craig, the sixth actor to assume the role of playboy spy James Bond, was born in Chester, England.

1965

The Sound of Music, a film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical play, premiered; the movie, which was based on the real-life story of the Trapp family of Austria, was a commercial success and won an Oscar for best picture.

1962

American basketball player Wilt Chamberlain scored a record 100 points in a National Basketball Association (NBA) game.

1941

David Satcher, who was the first African American man to serve as U.S. surgeon general (1998–2002), was born in Anniston, Alabama.

1933

The landmark monster movie King Kong had its world premiere; in addition to pioneering special effects by Willis O’Brien, it was the first significant feature film to star an animated character.

1931

Soviet official Mikhail Gorbachev, who instituted reforms that led to the end of the Cold War while serving as the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1985–91) and president of the Soviet Union, was born.

1930

English novelist D.H. Lawrence died in Vence, France (his ashes were moved in 1935 to Taos, New Mexico, where he once had lived).

1917

The Jones Act took effect, designating Puerto Rico as a territory of the United States, “organized but unincorporated,” and conferring U.S. citizenship collectively on Puerto Ricans.

1904

Theodor Seuss Geisel—who, under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, wrote and illustrated such hugely popular children’s books as How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) and Green Eggs and Ham (1960)—was born.

1900

Composer Kurt Weill, who created a revolutionary kind of opera of sharp social satire in collaboration with the writer Bertolt Brecht, was born in Germany.

1877

Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the disputed presidential election of 1876 after a special Electoral Commission awarded him all contested electoral votes; he was sworn into office the following day.

1867

Over U.S. President Andrew Johnson’s veto, Radical Republicans in Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, forbidding the president to remove civil officers without senatorial consent.

1865

Confederate forces under General Jubal A. Early suffered a decisive defeat that ended Southern resistance in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, during the American Civil War, and the Confederacy collapsed the following month.

1498

Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama and his fleet reached the Island of Mozambique on their first voyage to India.

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