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1960–Russian Poet, Boris Pasternak, dies of lung cancer in Peredelkino, USSR, at age 70. His most famous novel is Doctor Zhivago, which was smuggled to Milan, Italy, and published in 1957. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1958, but the Soviet regime forced him to decline it.



70–Titus and his Roman legions breach the Second Wall of Jerusalem. Jewish defenders retreat to the First Wall. The Romans build a circumvallation, cutting down all trees within 15 kilometers.

1010–Emperor Renzong of China is born.

1381–The Peasants' Revolt begins in England.

1416–The Council of Constance, called by Emperor Sigismund, a supporter of Antipope John XXIII, burns Jerome of Prague following a trial for heresy.

1431–Condemned heretic, Joan of Arc, is burned at the stake in Rouen, France.

1510–During the reign of the Zhengde Emperor, Ming dynasty rebel leader, Zhu Zhifan, is defeated by commander Qiu Yue, ending the Prince of Anhua rebellion.

1536–King Henry VIII of England marries Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting for his first two wives.

1539–Hernando de Soto and 600 soldiers land at Tampa Bay, Florida, with the goal of finding gold.

1574–Charles IX, King of France (1560-1574), dies of tuberculosis at the Château de Vincennes in Vincennes, France, at age 23. Henry III ascends to the throne.

1588–The last ship of the Spanish Armada sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal, heading for the English Channel.

1593–Dramatist and government agent, Christopher Marlowe, is fatally stabbed with his own dagger during an argument over a tavern bill in Deptford, Kent, England, at age 29. Some believe that Marlowe actually was William Shakespeare.

1631–Gazette de France, the first French newspaper, begins publication.

1640–Flemish baroque painter, Peter Paul Rubens, dies of heart failure in Antwerp, Spanish Netherlands (present-day Belgium), at age 62. He was known for his “Descent from the Cross” and his mastery in oil paints. Rubens was recognized for his Counter-Reformation style.

1713–Princess Caroline Elizabeth of Great Britain is born.

1744–Poet and satirist, Alexander Pope, dies from eating poisoned potted eels in London, England, at age 56. Pope was best known for his mock epic “Rape of the Lock,” and was thought to be the greatest writer of the 18th century.

1778–Author, Voltaire, dies at age 42. He was considered the greatest French writer of Neoclassicism. He had come back to Paris from his estate in the East of France for a visit, and the fatigue of the journey weakened him.

1783–America's first daily newspaper, The Pennsylvania Evening Post and Daily Advertiser, begins publication. It was composed and printed by Benjamin Towne, who also hawked the paper on the street himself, shouting, “All the news for two coppers.”

1806–Future U.S. President, Andrew Jackson, kills Charles Dickinson in a duel.

1815–The East Indiaman Arniston is wrecked during a storm at Waenhuiskrans, near Cape Agulhas, in present-day South Africa, killing 372 people.

1820–Politician, Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau, is born in Charlesbourg, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. He was the first Premier of Quebec, Canada.

1832–The Rideau Canal is opened in eastern Ontario.

1834–Minister of Justice, Joaquim António de Aguiar, issues a law seizing "all convents, monasteries, colleges, hospices, and any other houses" from the Catholic religious orders in Portugal, earning him the nickname of "The Friar-Killer."

1842–John Francis attempts to murder Queen Victoria as she drives down Constitution Hill with Prince Albert in London, England.

1845–The Fatel Razack lands in the Gulf of Paria in Trinidad and Tobago, carrying the first East Indians to the country.

1846–Goldsmith and jeweler, Peter Carl Fabergé, is born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He is best known for his jewelry fantasy pieces made in the style of Easter Eggs. The eggs were fashioned of enamels, precious metals, and gemstones. One egg was first commissioned by the Czar each year. After several years of stunning results, the Czar gave Fabergé free reign in design, decoration, and eventually, sales of the eggs.

1848–Mexico ratifies a treaty giving the U.S. New Mexico, California, and parts of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado for $15 million.

1848–William G. Young patents the ice cream freezer.

1854–The U.S. territories of Nebraska and Kansas are established.

1868–Decoration Day (the predecessor of Memorial Day) is observed in the U.S. for the first time.

1872–Mahlon Loomis patents wireless telegraphy.

1876–Ottoman sultan, Abdulaziz, is deposed and succeeded by his nephew, Murad V.

1879–William Vanderbilt renames New York City's Gilmore's Garden, “Madison Square Garden.”

1883–A rumor that the recently opened Brooklyn Bridge is in danger of collapsing, triggers a stampede that kills 12 people.

1889–The brassiere is invented.

1896–Film director, Howard Hawks, is born in Goshen, Indiana. He started out in Hollywood as a prop man, then a story editor, and then began directing gangster movies, westerns, film noir, and screwball comedies.

899–Pearl Hart, a female outlaw of the Old West, robs a stage coach 30 miles southeast of Globe, Arizona.

1899–Irving Thalberg, film producer at MGM Studios, is born.

1903–Poet and novelist, Countee Cullen, is born in Louisville, Kentucky. He was a major voice of the Harlem Renaissance. His first three volumes came out in the late 1920s: Color, Copper Sun, and The Ballad of the Brown Girl. He was the most popular black poet in America at that time, and then he published his longest and most complex poem, The Black Christ, and received less-than-favorable reviews. He was bitterly disappointed, and after that he wrote a great deal less. He spent the rest of his life teaching French at Frederick Douglass Junior High School in Harlem, New York.

1905–Oaks Amusement Park opens south of downtown Portland, Oregon. Conceived as an attraction timed to accompany the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, it was built by the Oregon Water Power and Railway Company. It attracted 300,000 visitors during its first season.

1907–Golden City Park opens in Canarsie, New York. Along the front of the park facing the bay, is a promenade 25 feet wide and 300 feet long. The buildings are Grecian architectural style and brilliantly illuminated at night by 145,000 lights. At the opening the attractions include: the Coliseum Roller Coaster, a carved Carousel, a Traver Giant Circle Swing, the Flying Lady illusion show, the Double Whirl, and a small Ferris Wheel. But perhaps the oddest is the Human Laundry: a novel attraction where patrons are washed in a giant tub, spun dry, thoroughly dried by wind, pressed between upright rollers, and sent down a laundry chute slide to the street. Golden City was condemned in 1939, and the park was razed so that the Belt Parkway could run through the site along the edge of Jamaica Bay.

1908–U.S. Assay Office is authorized in Salt Lake City, Utah.

1908–Voice actor, Mel Blanc, is born. He provided the voices for the cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig.

1909–Bandleader, Benny Goodman, is born in Chicago, Illinois. When he was 10 years old, the local synagogue offered him music lessons and a free loaner clarinet on which to practice. At the age of 16, he joined Ben Pollack's band, along with Glenn Miller, Jack Teagarden, and Jimmy McPartland. Goodman was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for launching the Big Band era, encouraging future jazz stars, and dissolving racial barriers by featuring black musicians in his band. One of his biggest hits was Swing, Swing, Swing.

1911–The first Indianapolis 500 takes place at the Indianapolis Moter Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ray Harroun is the winner.

1912–The Indianapolis 500: Joe Dawson wins in 6:21:06.

1912–Aircraft inventor, Wilbur Wright, dies of typhoid fever in Dayton, Ohio, at age 45. He and his brother, Orville, are credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane, and making the first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903, four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.

1913–The Treaty of London is signed, ending the First Balkan War. Albania becomes an independent nation.

1913–The Indianapolis 500: Jules Goux wins in 6:35:05.

1914–The new and largest Cunard oceanliner, RMS Aquitania, sets sails on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England, to New York City.

1914–The Indianapolis 500: René Thomas wins in 6:03:45.

1916–The Indianapolis 500: Dario Resta wins in 3:34:16.

1917–Alexander I becomes King of Greece.

1919–The Brooklyn Eagle reports that Bergen Beach is no longer an amusement resort. Opened in 1896, as the Percy Williams Amusement Park, in Brooklyn, New York, it was a high class attraction meant to rival Coney Island. Rides included a 20-foot-high Ferris Wheel, a Merry-Go-Round, and a Bicycle Carousel. It was described in The New York Herald: “All the gayety and frivolity is concentrated along the boardwalk which extends a half mile. The boardwalk echoes with the tread of Egyptian dancing girls, Irish villagers, knights in armor, girls in clinging lace costumes, young men in white duck trousers, soubrettes adorned with yellow tresses, jugglers, mountebanks, opera singers, and Frankfurter sausage venders.”

1921–The Indianapolis 500: Tommy Milton wins in 5:34:44.

1922–The Lincoln Memorial is dedicated by Chief Justice, William Howard Taft, in Washington, D.C.

1922–The Indianapolis 500: Jimmy Murphy wins in 5:17:30.

1923–The Indianapolis 500: Tommy Milton wins in 5:31:19.

1924–The Indianapolis 500: Lora L. Corum/Joe Boyer wins in 5:05:23.

1925–The Shanghai Municipal Police Force shoot and kill 13 protesting workers.

1925–The Indianapolis 500: Peter DePaolo wins in 4:56:39.

1926–Christine Jorgensen is born George William Jorgensen, Jr. He would become the first transsexual, going from male to female. He traveled to Europe, and in Copenhagen, Denmark, obtained special permission to undergo a series of sex reassignment operations, starting in 1951. She returned to the United States in the early 1950s, and her transformation was the subject of a New York Daily News front page story. She became an instant celebrity, using the platform to advocate for transgender people, known for her directness and polished wit.

1926–James McLamore is born. He is the co-founder, with David Edgerton, of the Burger King franchise of fast-food restaurants.

1927–The Indianapolis 500: George Souders wins in 5:07:33.

1927–Actor, Clint Walker, is born in Hartford, Illinois. He starred in the TV Western series Cheyenne, and appeared in the films The Dirty Dozen and Lover, Come Back.

1928–The Indianapolis 500: Louis Meyer wins in 5:01:33.

1929–The Indianapolis 500: Ray Keech wins in 5:07:25.

1930–The Indianapolis 500: Bill Arnold wins

1931–The Indianapolis 500: Louis Schneider wins in 5:10:27.

1932–The National Theatre of Greece is founded.

1932–The Indianapolis 500: Fred Frame wins in 4:48:03.

1933–The 9th National Spelling Bee: Alma Roach wins, spelling torsion.

1933–The Indianapolis 500: Louis Meyer wins in 4:48:00.

1934–The Indianapolis 500: Bill Cummings wins in 4:46:05.

1935–The Indianapolis 500: Kelly Petillo wins in 4:42:22.

1936–The Indianapolis 500: Louis Meyer wins in 4:35:03.

1936–Actor, Keir Dullea, is born in Cleveland, Ohio. He appeared in the films Madame X, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010, and David & Lisa.

1936–Actress, Ruta Lee, is born.

1937–In the Memorial Day Massacre, police shoot and kill 10 labor demonstrators in Chicago, Illinois

1938–The Indianapolis 500: Floyd Roberts wins in 4:15:58.

1939–The Indianapolis 500: Wilbur Shaw wins in 4:20:47.

1939–Auto racer, Floyd Roberts, is killed during the Indianapolis 500, at age 35.

1940–The Indianapolis 500: Wilbur Shaw wins in 4:22:31.

1941–The Indianapolis 500: Floyd Davis/Mauri Rose wins in 4:20:36.

1942–In World War II, 1,000 British bombers launch a 90-minute attack on Cologne, Germany.

1943–Josef Mengele becomes chief medical officer of the Zigeunerfamilienlager (Romani family camp) at Auschwitz concentration camp.

1943–Football player, Gale Sayers, is born.

1944–Lenny Davidson, of The Dave Clark Five, is born.

1945–Actress, Meredith MacRae, is born in Houston, Texas. She is the daughter of Sheila and Gordon MacRae.

1946–United flight 521 crashes on takeoff at LaGuardia Airport in New York, killing 42 people.

1946–The Indianapolis 500: George Robson wins in 4:21:16.

1946–Political activist, Candy Lightner, founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), is born.

1947–The Indianapolis 500: Mauri Rose wins in 4:17:52.

1947–Georg Johannes Ritter von Trapp, World War I Austrian submarine commander, dies at age 67. He was the inspiration for The Sound of Music.

1948–A railroad bed acting as a dam gives way during a flood along the Columbia River, destroying the town of Vanport, Oregon. Nearly 19,000 residents escape with little more than the clothes on their backs.

1949–The Indianapolis 500: Bill Holland wins in 4:07:15.

1951–The Indianapolis 500: Lee Wallard wins in 3:57:38.

1951–Actor, Stephen Tobolowsky, is born in Texas. He appeared in the films Single White Female and Thelma & Louise.

1952–The Indianapolis 500: Troy Ruttman wins in 3:52:41.

1953–The Auckland Harbour Bridge is officially opened in Auckland, New Zealand.

1953–The Indianapolis 500: Bill Vukovich wins in 3:53:01.

1953–Actor, Colm Meany, is born in Ireland.

1955–Nicky "Topper" Headon, drummer for The Clash, is born in England.

1956–The U.S. conducts an atmospheric nuclear test at Enwetak.

1956–Time magazine runs an article entitled "Teener's Hero," which explains Elvis Presley's mystique. After a drawn-out description of his singing style, the writer keys in on Presley's appeal: "his movements suggest, in a word, sex."

1956–The Indianapolis 500: Pat Flaherty wins in 3:53:28.

1957–the Indianapolis 500: Sam Hanks wins in 3:41:14.

1958–The remains of two unidentified American servicemen, killed in action during World War II and the Korean War, are buried at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.

1958–The U.S. conducts an atmospheric nuclear test at Enwetak.

1958–The Indianapolis 500: Jimmy Bryan wins in 3:44:21.

1958–Actor, Ted McGinley, is born in Newport Beach, California. He appeared on the TV shows The Love Boat, Dynasty and Happy Days.

1959–The world's first hovercraft is tested at Cowes, England.

1959–The Auckland Harbour Bridge, crossing the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand, is officially opened by Governor-General Charles Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham.

1959–The Indianapolis 500: Rodger Ward wins in 3:40:47.

1960–The Indianapolis 500: Jim Rathmann wins in 3:36:11.

1960–Russian Poet, Boris Pasternak, dies of lung cancer in Peredelkino, USSR, at age 70. His most famous novel is Doctor Zhivago, which was smuggled to Milan, Italy, and published in 1957. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1958, but the Soviet regime forced him to decline it.

1961–The long-time Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo, is assassinated in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

1961–The Indianapolis 500: A.J. Foyt wins in 3:35:37.

1961–Child actor, Ralph Carter, is born in New York, New York. He is best known for the role of Michael Evans in the TV sitcom Good Times.

1962–The Indianapolis 500: Rodger Ward wins in 3:33:50.

1963–A protest against pro-Catholic discrimination during the Buddhist crisis. is held outside South Vietnam's National Assembly, the first open demonstration during the eight-year rule of Ngo Dinh Diem.

1963–The Indianapolis 500: Parnelli Jones wins in 3:29:35.

1964–A chart topper: Love Me Do by The Beatles.

1964–The Beatles single, Cry For a Shadow (an instrumental recorded in 1961 that would later come to define the Liverpool “beat” sound), is #1 on the charts in Australia.

1964–The Dave Clark Five perform their first concert in the U.S. at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

1964–The Indianapolis 500: A.J. Foyt wins in 3:23:35.

1964–Actor, Mark Sheppard, is born.

1964–Country singer, Wynonna, is born Christina Judd in Ashland, Kentucky. Before going solo, she was part of the duo The Judds. She is the daughter of Naomi Judd.

1965–France conducts an underground nuclear test at Ecker, Algeria.

1966–Three hundred U.S. airplanes bomb North Vietnam.

1966–The former Congolese Prime Minister, Évariste Kimba, and several other politicians, are publicly executed in Kinshas,a on the orders of President Joseph Mobutu.

1966–Surveyor 1 becomes the first U.S. spacecraft to land on an extraterrestrial body.

1966-The Beatles release Paperback Writer and Rain as their latest single. This new, pre-psychedelic sound proves that The Beatles have stepped beyond the British beat scene.

1966–The Indianapolis 500: Graham Hill wins in 3:27:52.

1967–The Nigerian Eastern Region declares independence as the Republic of Biafra, sparking a civil war.

1966–The Indianapolis 500: Graham Hill wins.

1967–At Ascot Park in Gardena, California, daredevil, Evel Knievel, jumps his motorcycle over 16 cars lined-up in a row.

1967–Actor, Claude Rains, dies at age 77. He is best known for the role of The Invisible Man. He also appeared in the films Casablanca and Notorious.

1968–Charles de Gaulle reappears publicly after his flight to Baden-Baden, Germany, and dissolves the French National Assembly by a radio appeal. Immediately after, one million of his supporters march on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France.

1968–The Indianapolis 500: Bobby Unser wins in 3:16:13.

1969–The Indianapolis 500: Mario Andretti wins in 3:11:14.

1970–The Indianapolis 500: Al Unser wins in 3:12:37.

1971–Mariner 9 is launched to map 70% of the surface of Mars, and to study temporal changes in its atmosphere.

1972–The Angry Brigade goes on trial over a series of 25 bombings throughout the United Kingdom.

1972–In Tel Aviv, Israel, members of the Japanese Red Army carry out the Lod Airport massacre, killing 24 people and injuring 78 others.

1974–Singer, CeeLo Green, is born Thomas DeCarlo Callaway in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a songwriter, record producer, actor, and businessman. his most popular was Crazy, which became an internation hit. He became one of the original “coaches” on the hit TV singing competition show The Voice.

1975–The European Space Agency (ESA) is established.

1975–Olympic runner, Steve Prefontaine, dies in an auto accident in Eugene, Oregon, at age 24. He was an American middle- and long-distance runner who competed in the 1972 Olympics.

1976–The Indianapolis 500: Johnny Rutherford wins in 1:42:52.

1976–Auto racer, Bobby Unser, sets a world record for the fastest pit stop (4 seconds).

1977–Jazz saxophonist, Paul Desmond, dies at age 52. He played for many years in the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Their biggest crossover hit was Take Five.

1980–Carl Radle, of Derek & the Dominos, dies from a kidney ailment at age 37.

1981–Ziaur Rahmen, President of Bangladesh, is assassinated.

1982–The Indianapolis 500: Gordon Johncock wins in 3:05:09.

1985–The Stanley Cup: The Edmonton Oilers beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 4 games to 1.

1986–France conducts a nuclear test.

1986–Fashion designer, Perry Ellis, dies of viral encephalitis in New York, New York, at age 46. Ellis founded his own fashion house, Perry Ellis International, in 1978.

1987–The Philips Company unveils its compact disc video.

1987–Mike Tyson defeats Pinklon Thomas in Round 6 for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship.

1989–The 33-foot high "Goddess of Democracy" statue is unveiled in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.

1990–A 6.4 earthquake shakes Peru, killing 135 people.

1991–The 64th National Spelling Bee: Joanne Lagatta wins, spelling antipyretic.

1993–The Indianapolis 500: Emerson Fittipaldi wins in 3:10:49.

1993–Jazz musician, Sun Ra, dies from a stroke in Birmingham, Alabama, at age 79.

1994–Italian-French baron, Marcel Bich, manufacturer of Bic pens, dies at age 79.

1994–Religious leader, Ezra Taft Benson, dies of congestive heart failure in Salt Lake City, Utah, at age 94. He was the 13th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture during both presidential terms of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1996–The 69th National Spelling Bee: Wendy Guey wins, spelling vivisepulture.

1997–Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X, is set afire by her 12-year-old grandson.

1998–Pakistan conducts an underground test in the Kharan Desert. It is reported to be a plutonium device with a yield of 20kt TNT equivalent.

1998–A 6.6 earthquake hits northern Afghanistan, killing nearly 5,000 people.

1999–The Indianapolis 500: Kenny Bräck wins in 3:15:51.

2000–Saxophonist, Tex Beneke, dies of respiratory failure at a nursing home in Costa Mesa, California, at age 86.

2002–The 75th National Spelling Bee: Pratyush Buddiga wins, spelling prospicience.

2003–At least 70 people associated with the National League for Democracy are killed by a government-sponsored mob in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi flees the scene, but is arrested soon afterwards.

2003–English record producer, Mickie Most, dies of peritoneal mesothelioma in London, England, at age 65. He had a string of hit singles with The Animals, Herman's Hermits, The Nashville Teens, Donovan, Lulu, Suzi Quatro, Hot Chocolate, and The Jeff Beck Group, often issued on his own RAK Records label. In 1995, Most's fortune was estimated at £50 million and he appeared in The Sunday Times annual “Rich List” among the Top 500 in England. His house, on Totteridge Lane in London, was claimed to be the largest private home in the U.K., worth an estimated £4 million.

2004–The Indianapolis 500: Buddy Rice wins in 3:14:55.

2007–The 80th National Spelling Bee: Evan O'Dorney wins, spelling serrefine.

2008–81st National Spelling Bee: Sameer Mishra wins, spelling guerdon.

2009–Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and B.B. King gather for a benefit concert to raise money for New Orleans public schools that ate struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Although he is too ill to perform, Katrina survivor, Fats Domino, attends as a special guest. His home was badly damaged in the hurricane.

2009–Biophysicist and politician, Ephraim Katzir, dies at his home in Rehovot, Israel, at age 93. He was the fourth President of Israel.

2010–The Indianapolis 500: Dario Franchitti wins in 3:05:37.

2012–Former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, is sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in atrocities committed during the Sierra Leone Civil War.

2013–Nigeria passes a law banning same-sex marriage.

2013–86th National Spelling Bee: Arvind Mahankali wins, spelling knaidel.

2015–Costume designer, Julie Harris, dies after a brief illness from a chest infection at age 94. Harris played a major role in capturing the look of “Swinging London” on film in the 1960s. She dressed The Beatles for both A Hard Day’s Night and Help! (She later said, “I must be one of the few people who can claim they have seen John, Paul, George and Ringo naked.”) Dhe aslso she worked with actresses Jayne Mansfield, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, and Lauren Bacall.


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