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September 15, 1944: The Battle of Peleliu began as the United States Marine Corps' 1st Marine Division and the United States Army's 81st Infantry Division hit White and Orange beaches under heavy fire from Japanese infantry and artillery. Major General William Rupertus, USMC—commander of 1st Marine Division—predicted the island would be secured within four days. However, due to Japan's well-crafted fortifications and stiff resistance, the battle lasted over two months. In the United States, it was a controversial battle because of the island's questionable strategic value and the high casualty rate, which was the highest for U.S. military personnel of any battle in the Pacific War.
September 16, 1920: A bomb in a horse wagon exploded in front of the J. P. Morgan building on Wall Street in New York City – 38 are killed and 400 injured. The bombing was never solved, although investigators and historians believe the Wall Street bombing was carried out by Galleanists (Italian anarchists), a group responsible for a series of bombings the previous year. The attack was related to postwar social unrest, labor struggles and anti-capitalist agitation in the United States.
September 17, 1916: Manfred von Richthofen, better known as "The Red Baron," a flying ace of the German Luftstreitkräfte credited with 80 air combat victories, won his first aerial combat near Cambrai, France. Originally a cavalryman, Richthofen transferred to the Air Service in 1915, becoming one of the first members of Jasta 2 in 1916. He quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and during 1917 became leader of Jasta 11 and then the larger unit Jagdgeschwader 1 (better known as the "Flying Circus"). By 1918, he was regarded as a national hero in Germany, and was very well known by the other side. Richthofen was shot down and killed near Amiens on 21 April 1918.
September 18, 2007: Buddhist monks joined anti-government protesters in Myanmar, starting what some called the Saffron Revolution. A series of anti-government protests originally started on 15 August 2007. The immediate cause of the protests was mainly the unannounced decision of the ruling junta to remove fuel subsidies, which caused the price of diesel and petrol to suddenly rise as much as 66%, and the price of compressed natural gas for buses to increase fivefold in less than a week. Led by students and opposition political activists, including women, the protest demonstrations took the form of a campaign of nonviolent resistance, sometimes also called civil resistance. They were at first dealt with quickly and harshly by the junta, with dozens of protesters arrested and detained. When thousands of Buddhist monks joined the protests, they were allowed to proceed until a renewed government crackdown on 26 September. During the crackdown, there were rumors of disagreement within the Burmese military, but none were confirmed.
September 19, 1692: Giles Corey was pressed to death after refusing to plead in the Salem witch trials. According to the law at the time, a person who refused to plead could not be tried. To avoid persons cheating justice, the legal remedy for refusing to plead was "peine forte et dure". In this process the prisoner is stripped naked, with a heavy board laid on his body. Then rocks or boulders are laid on the plank of wood. Samuel Sewall's diary states, under date of Monday, September 19, 1692: "About noon at Salem, Giles Cory [sic] was pressed to death for standing mute; much pains was used with him two days, one after another, by the court and Captain Gardner of Nantucket who had been of his acquaintance, but all in vain."
September 20, 1498: The 1498 Meiō Nankaidō earthquake generated a tsunami that washed away the building housing the statue of the Great Buddha at Kōtoku-in in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan; since then the Buddha has sat in the open air.
September 21, 1937: J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, or There and Back Again was published. Receiving wide critical acclaim, the book was being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction. The book remains popular and is recognized as a classic in children's literature. Encouraged by the book's critical and financial success, the publisher requested a sequel. As Tolkien's work on the successor The Lord of the Rings progressed, he made retrospective accommodations for it in The Hobbit. These few but significant changes were integrated into the second edition. Further editions followed with minor emendations, including those reflecting Tolkien's changing concept of the world into which Bilbo stumbled. The work has never been out of print.
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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 28, 1932: President Herbert Hoover orders the United States Army to forcibly evict the "Bonus Army" of World War I veterans gathered in Washington, D.C. The veterans had assembled to demand cash-payment redemption of their service certificates promised with the passage of the World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924. Although not redeemable until 1945, each service certificate issued to a qualified veteran soldier, bore a face value equal to the soldier's promised payment plus compound interest. The principal demand of the Bonus Army was the immediate cash payment of their certificates.
July 29, 1907: Sir Robert Baden-Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour on the south coast of England. The camp ran from August 1 to August 9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.
July 30, 1619: In Jamestown, Virginia, the first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convened for the first time. The House was established by the Virginia Company, who created the body as part of an effort to encourage English craftsmen to settle in North America and to make conditions in the colony more agreeable for its current inhabitants. The House's first session accomplished little, as it was cut short by an outbreak of malaria.
July 31, 1703: Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet entitled The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church. In it he ruthlessly satirized both the High church Tories and those Dissenters who hypocritically practiced so-called "occasional conformity." Though it was published anonymously, the true authorship was quickly discovered and Defoe was arrested and charged with seditious libel. Defoe was found guilty. He was fined, sentenced to public humiliation in a pillory, and to an indeterminate length of imprisonment which would only end upon the discharge of the punitive fine. According to legend, the publication of his poem Hymn to the Pillory caused his audience at the pillory to throw flowers instead of the customary harmful and noxious objects and to drink to his health.
August 1, 1960: Dahomey declared independence from France under the presidency of Hubert Maga. For the next twelve years, ethnic strife contributed to a period of turbulence, as there were several coups and regime changes. On October 26, 1972, Lt. Col. Mathieu Kérékou overthrew the ruling triumvirate to become president and stated that the country would not "burden itself by copying foreign ideology, and wants neither Capitalism, Communism, nor Socialism". Later he announced that the country was officially Marxist, nationalized the petroleum industry and banks, and renamed the country to the People's Republic of Benin.
August 2, 1923: Warren G, Harding died unexpectedly in San Francisco, California, and Vice President, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th President of the United States. Doctors issued a release stating that the cause of Harding’s death was "some brain evolvement, probably an apoplexy." Mrs. Harding refused to allow an autopsy. In retrospect, scholars speculate that Harding had shown physical signs of cardiac insufficiency with congestive heart failure in the preceding weeks. Naval medical consultants who examined the president in San Francisco concluded he had suffered a heart attack. Dr. Wilbur included in his memoirs a letter from Dr. Charles Miner Cooper in support of their cerebral apoplexy diagnosis, based on Harding's last observed condition, while acknowledging that no final determination could be made.
August 3, 1678: Robert LaSalle completed construction of the Le Griffon, the first known ship built on the Great Lakes. The explorer sought a Northwest Passage to China and Japan in order to extend France's trade. Creating a fur trade monopoly with the Native Americans would finance his quest and building Le Griffon was an "essential link in the scheme."
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June 23, 1865: Brigadier General Stand Watie of the Confederate Army signed a cease-fire agreement with Union representatives for his command, the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation. He was the last Confederate general in the field to surrender.
June 24, 1314: The Battle of Bannockburn concluded with a decisive victory by Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce, though England did not recognize Scottish independence until 1328 with the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton.
June 25, 1976: Missouri Governor Kit Bond issued an executive order rescinding the Extermination Order and formally apologized on behalf of the state of Missouri for the suffering it had caused to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the aftermath of the 1838 Mormon War.
June 26, 1918: Allied Forces under John J. Pershing and James Harbord defeated Imperial German Forces under Wilhelm, German Crown Prince at the Battle of Belleau Wood.
June 27, 1905: Sailors start a mutiny aboard the Russian Battleship Potemkin, denouncing the crimes of autocracy, demanding liberty and an end to war. The uprising later came to be viewed as an initial step towards the Russian Revolution of 1917.
June 28, 1919: The Treaty of Versailles was signed in Paris, bringing fighting to an end in between Germany and the Allies of World War I. The other Central Powers were dealt with in separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty.
June 29, 1950: The United States defeated England, 1-0, during the 1950 FIFA World Cup at Independência Stadium, in the city of Belo Horizonte. Striker Joe Gaetjens was the goal scorer. The result is considered one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports.
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May 26, 1897: Dracula, a novel by the Irish author Bram Stoker, was first published in London, England. Famous for introducing the vampire, Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to relocate from Transylvania to England, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. The novel continues to inspire numerous adaptations and Dracula remains an iconic literary figure.
May 27, 1930: The 1,046 feet Chrysler Building in New York City, the tallest man-made structure at the time, opened to the public. Designed by architect William Van Alen, the the ground breaking occurred on September 19, 1928, in the midst of an intense competition in New York City to build the world's tallest skyscraper.
May 28, 1830: The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830. The act authorized him to negotiate with the Indians in the Southern United States for their removal to federal territory west of the Mississippi River in exchange for their homelands and paved the way for the tragic event widely known as the "Trail of Tears."
May 29, 1660: After the death of Oliver Cromwell and the political unrest that followed, Charles II was restored to the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland. Charles agreed to give up feudal dues that had been revived by his father; in return, the English Parliament granted him an annual income to run the government of £1.2 million, generated largely from customs and excise duties.
May 30, 1989: Near the end of the student-led demonstrations against the Communist hardliners in China, the 33-foot high "Goddess of Democracy" statue was unveiled in Tiananmen Square by the demonstrators.The statue was constructed in only four days out of foam and papier-mâché over a metal armature.
May 31, 1902: The Treaty of Vereeniging was signed thereby ending the Second Boer War. This settlement provided for the end of hostilities and eventual self-government to the Transvaal (South African Republic) and the Orange Free State as colonies of the British Empire.
June 1, 1921: The black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, located in the Greenwood District, also known as "the Black Wall Street," was burned to the ground by white vigilantes. An estimated 10,000 black residents of the wealthiest black community in the United States were left homeless, as 35 city blocks were destroyed by fire.