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1181 A supernova is seen in Cassiopia.
1265 In the Second Barons' War in England, the Royalists under Prince Edward defeat the Barons under Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham. Simon de Montfort dies in the battle.
1526 Death: Juan Sebastian Cano, Spanish explorer.
1540 Birth: Joseph Justus Scaliger, scientific chronologist: the Julian calendar. Died in 1609.
1578 A Portuguese attempt at an invasion against the Moors of Morocco is thwarted at the Battle of Alcazar-el-Kebir. King Sebastian of Portugal, the King of Fez and the Moorish pretender to the throne of Fez are all killed.
1693 A monk named Dom Perignon invents champagne at the Benedictine Abbey of Hautvillers in the region of Champagne, northern France. He makes the first champagne by re-fermenting a certain wine in the spring and then placing it in strong, sealed bottles so that the wine would become sparkling. Dom Perignon will be the Cellar master for 47 years until his death in 1715.
1704 During the War of the Spanish Succession, a joint Anglo-Dutch force attack and capture the Spanish city of Gibraltar.
1717 A friendship treaty is signed between France and Russia.
1735 Freedom of the press is established with an acquittal of John Peter Zenger. The writer of the New York Weekly Journal had been charged with seditious libel by the royal governor of New York. Said the jury: "the truth is not libelous."
1753 George Washington becomes a Master Mason.
1789 French Revolution: The French National Assembly (Estates-General) passes a decree abolishing the ancient feudal regime and the tithe system.
1790 The Revenue Cutter Service is formed. This US naval task force is the beginning of the Coast Guard.
1805 Birth: William Rowan Hamilton, Irish scientist.
1830 The city of Chicago has its plans laid out to dry.
Knut and Adolf
1859 Birth: Knut Hamsun, in Norway, writer. (Hunger-Nobel 1920).
1864 US Civil War: Federal troops fail to capture Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, one of the Confederate forts defending Mobile Bay.
1879 A law is passed in Germany making Alsace Lorraine a territory of the empire.
1884 Birth: Isoroku Yamamoto.
1892 Andrew and Abby Borden are axed to death in their home in Fall River, MA. Lizzie, Andrew's daughter, is accused of the killings but is later acquitted.
1912 Birth: Raoul Wallenberg, architect, humanitarian, Swedish diplomat credited with saving nearly 100,000 Budapest Jews during WW2. Died in 1947.
1914 WW1: Germany invades Belgium. A specially trained task force of about 30,000 men crosses the frontier and attacks Liege, one of the strongest fortresses in Europe. Some of the fortifications are captured in a daring night attack led by General Erich Ludendorff. Germany invaded Belgium and when London's ultimatum to Berlin to withdraw expired at midnight, Britain declared war on Germany. The United States declared neutrality. Britain declared war on Germany for violating the Treaty of London, and the First World War (WWI) began. The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime - Lord Grey, on the eve of the First World War.
1914 WW1: Great Britain declares war on Germany.
1916 Denmark agrees to cede the Danish West Indies, including the Virgin Islands, to the United States for $25 million. The deal will take effect the following March 31.
1918 WW1: Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler is awarded the Iron Cross, 1st Class. Hitler will proudly wear his Iron Cross as politician and Fuehrer, and it is reasonable to assume that his rise to power would not have been possible without it. Note: The somewhat vague origins of Hitler's 1st Class Cross are due to obfuscation by Hitler himself. He was recommended for the award by a First Lieutenant Hugo Gutmann. Here is how Robert Payne, in 'The Life And Death of Adolf Hitler,' describes it: 'Gutmann...had ordered him to carry urgent dispatches to the rear commanding the artillerymen to stop shelling the forward German trenches. There had been a breakdown in communications, the artillerymen did not know that there had been a slight German advance, and many German soldiers had already been killed by German shells. The patch of ground between LT Gutmann's dugout and the base artillery was under heavy English machine gun fire, and the dispatch runner who crossed that patch of ground would have to be a very courageous man indeed. LT Gutmann promised Hitler the Iron Cross First Class if he succeeded. Hitler accomplished his almost suicidal mission, and LT Gutmann kept his promise. The citation, dated July 31, 1918, was signed by Baron von Godin, the regimental commander, and read as follows: "As a dispatch runner, he has shown cold-blooded courage and exemplary boldness both in positional warfare and in the war of movement, and he has always volunteered to carry messages in the most difficult situations and at risk of his life. Under conditions of great peril, when all the communications lines were cut, the untiring and fearless activity of Hitler made it possible for important messages to go through." 'The Iron Cross first class was well deserved. Four days later the medal was pinned on his jacket. When Hitler came to power all the circumstances leading to the award were discreetly veiled as though some dark mystery were attached to it. The mystery was very simple. First Lieutenant Hugo Gutmann was a Jew, and Hitler preferred not to let it be known that he owed his Iron Cross first class to the recommendation of a Jewish officer in the German army.'
1919 WW1: Romanian troops occupy Budapest, contrary to the wishes of the government, and after two weeks of fighting, defeat Bela Kun's Hungarian Communists.
1922 They Wouldn't Do This Today: The death of Alexander Graham Bell, two days earlier, is recognized by AT&T and the Bell Systems by shutting down all of its switchboards and switching stations. The shutdown effects 13 million phones.
1925 US marines leave Nicaragua after a 13-year occupation.
1933 The International Committee for the Protection of Academic Freedom is established in Paris.
1937 Most Jewish teachers are barred from teaching in Italian schools.
1939 The Polish government sends an ultimatum to the Danzig Senate warning it will arm its customs officers if the Senate does not stop interfering with Polish customs inspectors. Supposedly based on mistaken information, Poland's action causes great consternation among the Nazis.
1940 WW2: Italy invades British Somaliland and occupies some towns in Sudan and Kenya.
1941 Barbarossa: Hitler visits the headquarters of von Bock's Army Group Center to assess the situation on the eastern front personally. Against the advice of his generals, Hitler decides to postpone the assault on Moscow and concentrate the German forces for a massive offensive in the Ukraine. Almost daily, von Bock receives orders transferring unit after unit south for the drive on Kiev. (Duffy)
1942 Holocaust: The first deportations of Jews from Belgium begin. During the next two years, a total of 26 trainloads will make their way to Auschwitz. Of 25,631 deported, only 1,244 will survive the war. (Atlas)
1942 The British government charges that Mahatma Gandhi and his All-Indian Congress Party favor 'appeasement' with Japan.
1943 WW2: The Soviets recapture Orel.
1943 WW2: The Allies bomb Peenemunde, the German rocket laboratory and test site in the Baltic. (Silence)
1944 WW2: A daring attack by American tank forces cuts off the Germans on the Brittany Peninsula.
1944 WW2: The Germans evacuate 3,000 Jewish slave laborers by train from Warsaw to Dachau. More than 1,000 die during the five-day trip. (Atlas)
1944 The Warsaw Uprising: Warsaw insurgents appeal for Allied help. Churchill sends first air drop from Italy, but Stalin refuses aid. Five of the thirteen British planes fail to return and half the 24 containers fall into German hands.
1944 Romani Holocaust: In the early morning hours, four thousand Roma are gassed and incinerated at Auschwitz-Birkenau in one mass action, remembered by survivors as Zigeunernacht. By the end of the war, between 70% and 80% of the Romani population has been annihilated by Nazis. Note: No Roma are called to testify at the Nuremberg Trials, and no one came forth to testify on their behalf. No war crimes reparations have been paid to the Roma as a people.
1944 WW2: RAF pilot T. D. Dean becomes the first pilot to destroy a V-1 buzz bomb when he tipped the pilotless craft's wing, sending it off course.
1952 Helicopters from the US Air Force Air Rescue Service land in Germany, completing the first transatlantic flight by helicopter in 51 hours and 55 minutes of flight time.
1954 Britain's first supersonic fighter plane, the English Electric Lightning P-1, makes its maiden flight.
1958 The first potato flake plant is completed in Grand Forks, ND.
1964 The bodies of Michael H. Schwerner, James E. Chaney, and Andrew Goodman are found in an earthen dam in Mississippi. The three civil rights workers had disappeared on June 21, 1964, not long after they had been held for six hours in the Neshoba County, Mississippi jail on charges of speeding. Their burned car is discovered on 23 June, prompting a search by the FBI for the three young men.
1964 The Nam: The USS Maddox and Turner Joy exchange fire with North Vietnamese patrol boats.
1972 Arthur Bremer is found guilty of shooting George Wallace, the governor of Alabama. Bremer is sentenced to 63 years in prison.
1972 President Idi Amin declares that Uganda will expel 50,000 Asians with British passports to Britain within three months.
1977 U.S. President Carter signs the measure that establishes the Department of Energy.
1981 A US court orders striking air traffic controllers back to work and fined their union $2.4 million a day for the duration of the strike.
1981 Oliver North is assigned to White House duty.
1984 The African Republic of Upper Volta changes its named to Burkina Faso, which means 'the land of upright men'.
1987 We Can't Have That: The Fairness Doctrine is rescinded by the Federal Communications Commission. The doctrine had required that radio and TV stations present controversial issues in a balanced fashion.
1987 A new 22-cent U.S. stamp honoring noted author William Faulkner, goes on sale in Oxford, MS. Note: Faulkner had been fired as postmaster of that same post office in 1924.
1988 US Congress votes $20,000 to each surviving Japanese-American interned in World War II.
1989 Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani offers to help end the hostage crisis in Lebanon.
1990 Gulf War 1: The European Community imposes an embargo on oil from Iraq and Kuwait. This is done to protest the Iraqi invasion of the oil-rich Kuwait.
1991 The PLO agrees to attend a regional peace conference and offers to compromise with Israel on the make-up of the Palestinian delegation.
1992 Death: Wang Hongwen, of a liver ailment. Hongwen was a member of the radical "Gang of Four" that had terrorized China during the Cultural Revolution.
1992 A parole panel in Corcoran, California, denies Sirhan Sirhan, assassin of Robert F. Kennedy, parole for the eighth time.
1993 Los Angeles police officers Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell are sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating Rodney King's civil rights.
1993 Japan formally apologizes for the first time to women forced to serve its soldiers as 'comfort women' (sex slaves) during WW2.
1994 Yugoslavia withdraws its support for Bosnian Serbs as the border between Yugoslavia and Serb-held Bosnia is sealed.
1995 Croatia launchs an offensive to regain the enclave of Krajina, held by its Serb minority for four years.
1997 Death: The world's oldest person reliably documented, Jeanne Calment, aged 122 years and 164 days in Arles, France.
1997 North Korea hands over the remains of four US soldiers killed during the 1950-1953 Korean War.
2002 Air traffic controllers warn of a 'very real risk' to safety if the service's cash crisis was not solved.
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