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September 1, 1952: The Old Man and the Sea, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Ernest Hemingway, was first published. The book was the last major work of fiction to be produced by Hemingway and published in his lifetime. One of his most famous works, it focuses upon the character of Santiago, an aging fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. The Old Man and the Sea was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and was cited by the Nobel Committee as contributing to the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Hemingway in 1954.
September 2, 1901: Vice President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt uttered the famous phrase, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" at the Minnesota State Fair. Roosevelt attributed the term to a West African proverb, "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far," but the claim that it originated in West Africa has been disputed. The idea of negotiating peacefully, simultaneously threatening with the "big stick", or the military, ties in heavily with the idea of Realpolitik, which implies a pursuit of political power that resembles Machiavellian ideals.
September 3, 1260: The Mamluks defeated the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in Palestine, marking their first decisive defeat and the point of maximum expansion of the Mongol Empire, as it was the first time a Mongol advance had ever been permanently beaten back in direct combat on the battlefield. After previous battlefield defeats, the Mongols had always returned and avenged their loss, ultimately defeating their enemies. The Battle of Ain Jalut marked the first time they were unable to do so. By the end of the thirteenth century, the Mongol Empire fractured into four separate khanates or empires, each pursuing its own separate interests and objectives.
September 4, 1886: After almost 30 years of fighting, Apache leader Geronimo, with his remaining warriors, surrendered to General Nelson Miles in Arizona. Following an attack by Mexican soldiers, which killed his mother, wife and three children in 1858, Geronimo joined insurgent attacks on the Mexicans. During his career as a war chief, he was notorious for consistently urging raids upon Mexican Provinces and their towns, and later against American locations across Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas. Geronimo's surrendered come only after a lengthy pursuit by U.S. forces. As a prisoner of war in old age he became a celebrity and appeared in fairs but was never allowed to return to the land of his birth. He later regretted his surrender and claimed the conditions he made had been ignored. Geronimo died in 1909 from complications of pneumonia at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
September 5, 1882: The first United States Labor Day parade was held in New York City. The day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the parade. After the Haymarket Massacre in 1886, US President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.
September 6, 1995: Cal Ripken Jr of the Baltimore Orioles played in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking a record that stood for 56 years. The game, between the Orioles and the California Angels, still ranks as one of the ESPN's most watched baseball games. Ripken's children, Rachel and Ryan, threw out the ceremonial first balls. Both President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were at the game. Clinton was in the WBAL local radio broadcast booth when Ripken hit a home run in the fourth inning, and called the home run over the air. When the game became official after the Angels' half of the fifth inning, the numerical banners that displayed Ripken's streak on the wall of the B&O Warehouse outside the stadium's right field wall changed from 2130 to 2131.
September 7, 1986: Desmond Tutu became the first black man to lead the Anglican Church in South Africa. He rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.Tutu's admirers see him as a man who since the demise of apartheid has been active in the defence of human rights and uses his high profile to campaign for the oppressed, though his consistent opposition to Israel and the United States has made him controversial. He has campaigned to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, sexism, the imprisonment of Bradley Manning, homophobia and transphobia. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984; the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986; the Pacem in Terris Award in 1987; the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999; the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
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July 21, 1865: The Hickok – Tutt shootout occurred in the town square of Springfield, Missouri between Wild Bill Hickok, and cowboy, Davis Tutt. The first story of the shootout was detailed in an article in Harper's Magazine in 1867, making Hickok a household name and folk hero.
July 22, 1793: The Scottish explorer, Alexander Mackenzie, reached the Pacific Ocean becoming the first European to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada. This was the first east to west crossing of North America north of Mexico and predated the Lewis and Clark expedition by 10 years.
July 23, 1914: Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia demanding that Serbia to allow the Austrians to investigate the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Serbia would reject the demand and Austria declared war on July 28.
July 24, 1983: George Brett batting for the Kansas City Royals against the New York Yankees, had a game-winning home run nullified in the what would become known as the "Pine Tar Incident." Yankees manager Billy Martin, had noticed a large amount of pine tar on Brett's bat and requested that the umpires inspect his bat. The umpires ruled that the amount of pine tar on the bat exceeded the amount allowed by rule, nullified Brett's home run, and called him out. As Brett was the third out in the ninth inning with the home team in the lead, the game ended with a Yankees win.
July 25, 1894: The First Sino-Japanese War began when the Battle of Pungdo took place offshore of Asan, Chungcheongnam-do Korea between cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy of Meiji Japan and components of the Beiyang Fleet of the Empire of China. The war was fought over the issue of control of Korea, and ended when China sued for peace in February 1895.
July 26, 1948: President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States. The order also established a committee to investigate and make recommendations to the civilian leadership of the military to implement the policy. The order eliminated Montford Point as a segregated Marine boot camp. It became a satellite facility of Camp Lejeune. The last of the all-black units in the United States military would not finally be abolished until September 1954.
July 27, 1794: Maximilien Robespierre was arrested after encouraging the execution of more than 17,000 "enemies of the Revolution." His goal had been to use the guillotine to create what he called a "republic of virtue." Robespierre argued, "Terror is nothing more than speedy, severe and inflexible justice; it is thus an emanation of virtue; it is less a principle in itself, than a consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing needs of the patrie." Terror was thus a tool to accomplish his overarching goals for democracy.
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July 14, 1881: Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Pat Garrett outside Fort Sumner. Rumors persist that Billy the Kid was not killed that night, but that Garrett, a known friend of the Kid's, may have staged it all so the Kid could escape the law.
July 15, 1799: The Rosetta Stone was found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign. Because it presents essentially the same text in all three different scripts (with some minor differences among them), it provided the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
July 16, 1941: Joe DiMaggio hit safely for the 56th consecutive game, a streak that still stands as a Major League Baseball record. DiMaggio batted .408 during the streak, with 15 home runs and 55 RBI. The day after the streak ended, DiMaggio started another streak that lasted 17 games. The distinction of hitting safely in 73 of 74 games is also a record.
July 17, 1762: Catherine II became tsar of Russia upon the murder of Peter III of Russia. She was longest-ruling female leader of Russia, reigning from July 1762 until her death at the age of sixty-seven. Russia was revitalized under her reign, growing larger and stronger than ever and becoming recognized as one of the great powers of Europe.
July 18, 1976: Nadia Comăneci became the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal, Canada. Comăneci was the first Romanian gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title. She also holds the record for being the youngest Olympic gymnastics all-around champion ever.
July 19, 1848: The two-day Women's Rights Convention opened in Seneca Falls, New York. Female Quakers local to the area organized the meeting along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a skeptical non-Quaker. The meeting had six sessions, included a lecture on law, a humorous presentation, and multiple discussions about the role of women in society.
July 20, 1969: Apollo 11 successfully maked the first manned landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility. Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon almost 7 hours later.
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June 30, 1520: Hernán Cortés and his army of Spanish conquistadors and native allies fought their way out of Tenochtitlan following the death of the Aztec king Moctezuma II, whom the Spaniards had been holding as a hostage. The event is often referred to as La Noche Triste account of the sorrow that Cortés and his surviving followers expressed at the loss of life and treasure incurred in the escape from Tenochtitlan.
July 1, 1898: The Battle of San Juan Hill was fought in Santiago de Cuba. The fight for the heights was the bloodiest and most famous battle of the Warm as it was the scene of the greatest victory for the Rough Riders and their commander, the future Vice-President and later President, Theodore Roosevelt, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2001 for his actions,
July 2, 1776: The Continental Congress adopted a resolution severing ties with the Kingdom of Great Britain although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence was not approved until July 4th.
July 3, 1940: the French fleet of the Atlantic based at Mers el Kébir, was bombarded by the British fleet, coming from Gibraltar, causing the loss of three battleships: Dunkerque, Provence and Bretagne. One thousand two hundred sailors perished.
July 4, 1939: Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, told a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considered himself "The luckiest man on the face of the earth" as he announced his retirement from major league
July 5, 1937: Spam, the luncheon meat, was introduced into the market by the Hormel Foods Corporation. During World War II, more than 100 million pounds of the product were shipped overseas to feed Allied troops. After the war, Hormel aggressively market the product, increasing its popularity. Today, over seven billion cans of Spam have been sold worldwide.
July 6, 1885: Louis Pasteur successfully tested his vaccine against rabies. The patient was Joseph Meister, a boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog. Despite facing possible prosecution for practicing medicine without a license, Pasteur decided to treat the boy with an experimental vaccine he had only tested on dogs.
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May 12, 1926: The Italian-built airship Norge became the first vessel to fly over the North Pole. The expedition was the brainchild of polar explorer and expedition leader Roald Amundsen, the airship's designer and pilot Umberto Nobile and American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth, who along with the Aero Club of Norway financed the trip.
May 13, 1846: The United States declared war on Mexico, following the April 25th, Thornton Affair in which a 2,000-strong Mexican cavalry detachment attacked a U.S. patrol in the contested territory north of the Rio Grande and south of the Nueces River. The attack resulted in the death of 16 American soldiers
May 14, 1607: Jamestown became the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Established by the Virginia Company of London as “James Fort,” it followed several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Jamestown served as the capital of the Colony of Virginia for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.
May 15, 1886: The American poet, Emily Dickinson, died at the age of 55. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890, but was heavily edited. A complete and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry became available for the first time in 1955. She is considered to be one of the most important American poets.
May 16, 1770: 14-year old Marie Antoinette married 15-year-old Louis-Auguste, who later became the king of France. The ceremonial wedding of the Dauphin and Dauphine took place in the Palace of Versailles.
May 17, 1939: The Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers played in the United States' first televised sporting event, a collegiate baseball game in New York City.
May 18, 1953: Jackie Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier at Rogers Dry Lake, California. Encouraged by her lifelong friend Chuck Yeager, Cochran flew a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet borrowed from the Royal Canadian Air Force at an average speed of 652.337 mph.
October 7, 1949: Following the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany in Western Germany, the soviet-occupied zone in East Germany is reorganized as the Democratic Republic of Germany. The nation's first president was Wilhelm Pieck.
October 8, 1871: The Great Chicago Fire began. The fire lasted two days and killed between 200 and 300 people. Over 17,000 buildings were destroyed, costing $200 million dollars in damage, an equivalent of $3 billion today.
October 9, 1934: The Gashouse Gang wone the World Series. This St. Louis Cardinals team, led by Ozark native Dizzy Dean, defeated the Detroit Tigers in the seventh game of the series.
October 10, 1935: Porgy and Bess premiered on Broadway. George Gershwin, partnered with novelist DuBose Heyward, created what many people consider to be the first great American opera.
October 11, 1968: Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission, launched on an 11-day orbit of earth. Astronauts Walter Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walter Cunningham were aboard.
October 12, 1870: Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, died at the age of 63. Following the war, Lee served as president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, where his body was interred.
October 13, 1775: The Continental Congress authorized the construction and administration of the first American Naval force.