This Day In History

* 326 – The old St. Peter’s Basilica is consecrated.

* 1095 – The Council of Clermont, called by Pope Urban II to discuss sending the First Crusade to the Holy Land, begins.

* 1307 – According to legend, William Tell shoots an apple off his son’s head.

* 1421 – A seawall at the Zuider Zee dike breaks, flooding 72 villages and killing about 10,000 people in the Netherlands.

* 1493 – Christopher Columbus first sights what is now Puerto Rico.

* 1626 – St. Peter’s Basilica is consecrated.

* 1686 – Charles Francois Felix operates on King Louis XIV’s anal fistula after practicing the surgery on several peasants.

* 1803 – the Battle of Vertières, the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution, is fought, leading to the establishment of the Republic of Haiti, the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere.

* 1883 – American and Canadian railroads institute five standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.

* 1903 – The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty is signed by the United States and Panama, giving the Americans exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.

* 1905 – Prince Carl of Denmark becomes King Haakon VII of Norway.

* 1916 – World War I: First Battle of the Somme ends – In France, British Expeditionary Force commander Douglas Haig calls off the battle which started on July 1, 1916.

* 1918 – Latvia declares its independence from Russia.

* 1926 – George Bernard Shaw refuses to accept the money for his Nobel Prize, saying, “I can forgive Alfred Nobel for inventing dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.”

* 1928 – Release of the animated short Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, featuring the second appearances of cartoon stars Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

* 1940 – World War II: German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano meet to discuss Benito Mussolini’s disastrous invasion of Greece.

* 1977 – Mum gave birth to Joseph Kieran, Dad’s and her second child and first son, at the Ceduna Memorial Hospital.

* 1978 – Jonestown incident: In Guyana, Jim Jones leads his Peoples Temple cult in a mass murder-suicide that claims 918 lives in all, 909 of them at Jonestown itself, including over 270 children.

* 1985 – Calvin and Hobbes, a comic strip by Bill Watterson, is first published.

* 1987 – King’s Cross fire: In London, 31 people die in a fire at the city’s busiest underground station at King’s Cross St Pancras.

* 1991 – Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon set Anglican Church envoys Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland free.

* 1991 – After the 3-month siege, the Croatian city of Vukovar is invaded by Serbians

* 1993 – In South Africa, 21 political parties approve a new constitution.

* 1997 – Gary Glitter is arrested in the United Kingdom on child pornography charges.

* 2004 – Russia officially ratifies the Kyoto Protocol.

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