A Brief History
This article presents a video timeline for students of Western Civilization (History 113) at Ashland University.
For each date below, please click on the date to be taken to a video covering that date’s event. After watching that video, please write a one or two sentence comment that demonstrates that you watched the video.
These comments or “thesis statements” are 1-2 sentence summaries of the video. They should include the most important aspects of each video. In other words, the thesis statement should include the individuals involved, the time period, and significance of the event.
For example, if you watched a video on the Declaration of Independence, your comment could be something like the following: “The Declaration of Independence of 1776, originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson, formally declared the American colonies independent from Great Britain. The Declaration also argued that all men are created equal with natural-born rights and that the government exists to secure said rights.”
I prefer that you turn in a list of your comments. For each comment, please be sure to include a footnote indicating what video your comment corresponds with. To cite a YouTube video in a footnote, you should follow the following format:
AuthorFirstName AuthorLastName, “Title of Video,” YouTube video, running time, publication date, URL.
Here is an example:
Matthew Zarzeczny, “July 3, 1863: 5 Valiant but Failed Attacks (Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg),” YouTube Video, 8:22, July 6, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-x3gb11YlE.
Your comments on each unit’s videos should be completed by the date on the syllabus for when we finish that unit, although you only need to turn in a single file containing all of your comments from the entire semester at the end of the semester.
- In the mid-2010s, Dr. Zar and his students gave a public presentation on the history of various sites in Ohio.
- On March 29, 2019, Dr. Zar and a group of his students visited the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio.
- On December 24, 2018, a cute dachshund got, played with, and defended her 2018 Christmas present!
- On February 7, 1497, the followers of Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola of Florence, Italy, gathered and burned a large quantity of objects they referred to as “vanities,” objects such as cosmetics, books, artwork, mirrors, fancy clothes, playing cards, and musical instruments, any objects these religious zealots thought could lead people to sin.
- On November 8, 1520, the Stockholm Bloodbath began in which a successful invasion of Sweden by Danish forces resulted in the execution of around 100 people.
II. The Spanish Golden Age
- On March 5, 1496, in the wake of the tremendous news about the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World, King Henry VII of England granted “letters patent” to John Cabot, an Italian sailor and adventurer, along with his sons, to explore the world on behalf of the English Crown.
- On April 28, 1503, the armies of Spain and France fought in Southern Italy at a place called Cerignola (near Bari), a battle decided by the small arms fire of muskets and arquebuses, one of the first European battles where small arms fire from firearms decided the battle.
- On January 3, 1521, Roman Catholic (Augustinian) priest and reformer Martin Luther was ex-communicated from the church by Pope Leo X.
- On June 9, 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier became the first European (White) man to discover the mighty St. Lawrence River, the gateway into North America for European explorers.
- On July 7, 1550, chocolate is thought to have been introduced to Europe from the Americas.
- On June 16, 1586, Mary, Queen of Scots, named her heir and successor, Phillip II of Spain.
- On December 21, 2012, people across the globe waited for the end of the world!
III. The Experiences of Life in Early Modern Europe and North America
- On April 11, 2019, Dr. Zar took a group of students taking his course on the Supernatural in Western History to The Cleveland Museum of Art to examine some examples of the supernatural in art.
IV. The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century
- On June 23, 1611, the ship appropriately named Discovery, captained by explorer Henry Hudson, was in what is now called Hudson Bay and was the scene of a mutiny.
V. The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment
- On January 31, 1747, the London Lock Hospital opened, the first clinic specifically for the treatment of venereal diseases!
- On July 14, 1789, Scottish explorer Sir Alexander Mackenzie finally reached the mouth of the river named after him, a failed attempt to find a route to the Pacific Ocean.
VI. Constitutionalism versus Absolutism
- On June 23, 1534, Oda Nobunaga drew his first breath in a culture overflowing with violence.
- On May 23, 1701, Scottish Captain William Kidd was hanged in London for piracy and murder.
- On January 30, 1703, 47 Japanese samurai avenged the forced suicide of their feudal lord.
- The 22nd of November is indelibly etched in the public’s mind with the death of a revered hero! (And John F. Kennedy also died on November 22nd.) Yes, pirate aficionados everywhere mourn the 1718 loss of one of the most colorful pirates of all time, Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.
VII. The American and French Revolutions
- March 14, 1757, was a sad, black day in the annals of the Royal Navy for on that day, Admiral Sir John Byng was executed by firing squad on the deck of HMS Monarch.
- On June 2, 1763, as part of a general Indian (as in Native American) uprising known as Pontiac’s Rebellion, Chippewa warriors captured Fort Michiimackinac what is now present day Mackinaw City, by storming the fort.
- On March 5, 1770, British soldiers opened fire on a group of unarmed American protesters, killing 5 (either 3 or 4 immediately, one dying later), an event referred to as The Boston Massacre, sometimes called the first shots fired in the American Revolutionary War.
- On April 14, 1772, the building tension toward open rebellion of Americans against the British erupted in New Hampshire in an incident known as The Pine Tree Riot.
- On July 2, 1777, Vermont became the first territory in what had just (kind of) become the United States to abolish slavery.
- On November 3, 1783, highwayman John Austin became the last person to be publicly hanged at London’s Tyburn gallows.
- On October 5, 1789, the women of Paris marched to Versailles to confront King Louis XVI about his refusal to abolish feudalism, to demand bread, and to force the King and his court to move to Paris.
- On January 7, 1797, the first use of the Green, White, and Red tricolor Italian flag was seen in use by the Cisalpine Republic (formerly Milan) after Napoleon Bonaparte’s conquering of that region in 1796.
- On September 5, 1798, France instituted the Jourdan Law making military conscription the law of the land.
- On March 23, 1801, some of the Russian nobility and military officers that had been fired expressed their discontent in the time honored tradition of killing the monarch!
- On May 20, 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul (later Emperor) of France, made a mistake he later regretted the rest of his life when he reinstated slavery in the French colonies.
- On October 20, 1803, Ludwig van Beethoven, one of history’s greatest composers (and a favorite here at History and Headlines!) was hard at work on his vastly important “Symphony No. 3 in E Flat Major,” better known as “Sinfonia Eroica” (“Heroic Symphony”).
- On October 30, 1806, 5300 Prussian soldiers defending the city of Stettin surrendered to only 800 French soldiers commanded by General Lassalle, falling for the ruse that the French force was much larger.
- On November 17, 1810, Sweden declared war on its ally the United Kingdom to begin the Anglo-Swedish War, although no fighting ever took place and there were no casualties!
- On June 1, 1813, the commander of the USS Chesapeake, James Lawrence, lay dying, and uttered the immortal words, “Don’t give up the ship!”
- On October 17, 1814, a bizarre incident occurred involving our favorite potable, the noble brewski.
- On July 15, 1815, Emperor Napoleon I of France surrendered to the British aboard the HMS Bellerophon.
- On November 10, 2017, the audio-book version of Simply Napoleon was published.
IX. An Age of Industry
- On May 15, 1718, James Puckle of England patented the first machine gun.
- On May 5, 1809, Mary Kies became the first woman granted a US patent.
- On July 19, 1814, Samuel Colt was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and though he lived only to the age of 47 became rich and famous as the man that made the repeating firearm a practical reality.
- On August 4, 1821, little Louis Vuitton was born in Anchay (Jura region), France, to a family of tradesmen and farmers.
- On February 9, 1825, the United States of America had the only incident (so far) of no presidential candidate winning a majority of the Electoral votes in a presidential election, forcing the House of Representatives to elect our next president.
- On April 20, 1828, French explorer René Caillié became the first European to return alive from a visit to the ancient African city of Timbuktu.
- On June 5, 1829, the British ship, HMS Pickle, a 5 gun schooner, captured an armed slave ship, the Voladora, off the coast of Cuba.
- On September 20, 1835, Brazilian rebels captured Porto Alegre, starting a rebellion that lasted almost 10 years called The Ragamuffin War.
- On December 16, 1838, one of the greatest defeats of a large military force by a much smaller force took place with incredibly lopsided results when the Boers (also known as Voortrekkers or Afrikaners) of South Africa fought the Zulu warriors at ‘Blood River’ (also known as Ncome River) in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.
- On January 13, 1842, the lone survivor of a British army in Afghanistan staggered into Jalalabad!
- This video briefly summarizes the history of Afghanistan from 1842 to 2012.
- On June 4, 1855, Major Henry C. Wayne got on board the USS Supply in New York Harbor and headed to the Mediterranean Sea to procure camels (29 of the Dromedary or one-hump variety and 2 of the Bactrian or two-hump kind) for use by the US Army in the Western United States.
- On March 3, 1859, the largest sale of African slaves in the United States came to a sad conclusion near Savannah, Georgia when the last slaves formerly owned by plantation owner Pierce Mease Butler (1807/10-1867) were sold in order for Butler to satisfy his considerable debts.
- On April 1, 1861, the municipality called East St. Louis was established.
- On June 3, 1861, in the first organized land battle (barely a battle in reality) of the American Civil War, the Union Army with 3000 men routed an untrained force of 800 Confederate volunteers in what it now West Virginia at Philippi, a small town that today has only about 3000 residents.
- On July 26, 1861, Major General George McClellan was appointed the commander of the Army of the Potomac, a move President Lincoln hoped would instill professionalism and competence to that Army.
- On October 23, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln, defender of the Union of the United States, illegally suspended the rule of Habeas Corpus, the Constitutional protection of Americans against being held in confinement without charges and due process.
- On March 8, 1862, during the American Civil War, perhaps the most important naval battle of the war began, a battle that would see the first clash of ironclad or armored warships.
- On July 16, 1862 and July 16, 1882, we commemorate the birthdays of 2 significant African-American women, Ida B. Wells (who first developed statistics on lynching in the US) and Violette Neatley Anderson (the first African-American woman to practice law before the United States Supreme Court).
- On July 23, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln finally found a replacement for General George B. McClellan as General-in-Chief of the Union Army when he appointed General Henry W. Halleck.
- On July 1, 1863, the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania began, perhaps the most important battle of the US Civil War.
- On July 3, 1863, the Army of the Potomac fought a defensive battle against the Army of Northern Virginia at the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg.
- On July 30, 1864, Union forces exploded 8,000 pounds of black powder in a tunnel underneath Confederate trenches at Petersburg, Virginia, creating a crater 170 feet long and 120 feet wide, and 30 feet deep.
- On November 30, 1864, Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood set what has to be a record for an American general for getting his subordinate generals killed and wounded after ordering an epic fail charge against Union forces led by Major General John M. Schofield at the Battle of Franklin in Tennessee during the American Civil War.
- On May 31, 1866, Irish nationalists known as Fenian Brotherhood invaded Canada in an attempt to force Britain into granting Ireland independence.
- On December 25, 1868, much maligned and embattled President of the United States Andrew Johnson issued a blanket pardon for all Confederate veterans of the US Civil War.
- On February 5, 1869, prospectors Richard Oates and John Deason of Australia found the incredibly large alluvial gold nugget known as “Welcome Stranger,” a rock weighing almost 300 pounds!
- On January 9, 1873, Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, died after ruling France for a longer reign than any other leader since the French Revolution.
- On January 22, 1879, the British Army got a taste of colonial medicine when it suffered its worst defeat in its history against a native force armed mostly with archaic weapons.
- On July 14, 1881, the outlaw known as Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garret in New Mexico.
- On April 3, 1882, notorious Wild West train and bank robber Jesse James was gunned down in his own house by a new member of his reconstituted gang, Bob Ford.
- On January 20, 1885, LaMarcus A. Thompson patented his version of the modern roller coaster, and Coney Island, New York became ground zero for it!
- On September 4, 1886, after almost 30 years of raiding Mexican and white settlers and battling the U.S. Army, Apache war leader Geronimo finally surrendered in Arizona to U.S. Army General Nelson Miles.
- On February 23, 1896, dentists all over the world must have felt the Earth shake, for on that day the Tootsie Roll was introduced.
- On August 21, 1897, Ransom Eli Olds founded the car company that became the first assembly line producer of automobiles in the world.
X. World War I
- On June 22, 1893, the British battleship HMS Camperdown accidentally collided with the British battleship HMS Victoria off the coast of Lebanon.
- On January 5, 1895, French Army officer Alfred Dreyfus was falsely convicted of treason for allegedly having passed along secret information to the Germans in what famously became known as the Dreyfus Affair and was sentenced to live at the dreaded Devil’s Island prison in French Guiana.
- On July 8, 1898, gangster and con artist Jefferson R. “Soapy” Smith was killed in a shootout with a vigilance committee on the Juneau, Alaska wharves.
- On June 18, 1900, the Dowager Empress Cixi of China proclaimed war against the colonizing powers in China, including diplomats and their families.
- On May 23, 1901, the Attorney General of Paris, France, received an anonymous note that a woman was being kept prisoner by her own mother.
- On August 10, 1901, Charlotte Anne Moberly (1846–1937) and Eleanor Jourdain (1863–1924) traveled by train to Versailles to visit the Royal Palace and grounds located there about 12 miles from the city center of Paris.
- On February 27, 1902, a British firing squad carried out the execution of convicted war criminal, Australian Lt. Harry “Breaker” Morant.
- On May 27, 1907, in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the city by the bay came down with an epidemic of Bubonic Plague, the same plague responsible for the infamous “Black Death” in earlier centuries.
- On March 29, 1911, the US Army made the Colt M1911 .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol its official sidearm.
- On January 19, 1913, the Holly Hotel in Holly, Michigan burned for the first time!
- On May 30, 1914, the British ocean liner RMS Aquitania made her maiden voyage.
- On July 11, 1914, the major league career of George Herman Ruth began, with Ruth pitching for the victory of the Red Sox over the Cleveland Naps.
- On March 27, 1915, the woman history has come to know as Typhoid Mary was placed into involuntary quarantine for the rest of her life!
- On August 2, 1916, Austrian saboteurs managed to sink the Italian battleship, Leonardo da Vinci as the great ship lay in Taranto harbor.
- On November 20, 1917, a combined Allied offensive (British and French) stepped off against the Germans at Cambrai, France (Nord Department).
- On July 12, 1918, the Japanese battleship, Kawachi, suffered a giant explosion in a main powder magazine and sank.
- On August 13, 1918, Opha Mae Johnson became the first of 305 women to enlist in the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, proving that women can do and be just about anything!
- On June 1, 1918, the Battle of Belleau Wood began in France near the River Marne.
- On July 19, 1919, England celebrated Peace Day in honor of winning World War I.
- On August 18, 1920, the United States ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
XI. The Russian Revolution
- On July 9, 1903, the future leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, was exiled to Siberia for 3 years.
- On October 9, 1911, an accidental bomb explosion in China lead to the ultimate fall of China’s last imperial dynasty.
- On December 29, 1916, possibly the most cracked clergyman of all time finally met his doom, having been poisoned, shot, and drowned, thereby rivaling Blackbeard for the claim of bearded bad-ass who most went out “like a boss”!
XII. Fascism and Nazism
- On May 21, 1924, a pair of well to do college students from the University of Chicago kidnapped and murdered a random 14-year-old boy, just for the thrill of committing murder and getting away with it.
- On August 16, 1927, the Dole Air Race began, with 8 airplanes taking off from Oakland, California and heading to Honolulu, Hawaii.
- On July 7, 1928, bread that was presliced, wrapped in paper or cellophane, and sold like that to the consumer in bakeries and grocery stores first made its debut.
- On August 27, 1928, countries that were bitter enemies in World War I signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact to renounce war as a means to resolve disputes and conflicts between nations.
- On June 17, 1932, 17,000 United States military veterans of World War I and 25,000 of their friends and family gathered in Washington, D.C. to demand early payment of their service certificate war bonuses.
- On February 10, 1933, Primo Carnera, a heavyweight boxer called “The Monster” by Time Magazine, dealt Ernie Schaaf fatal blows during a boxing match in New York City.
- On May 23, 1934, bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down by law enforcement officers.
- On May 28, 1934, outside the village of Corbeil, Ontario, the first human quintuplets known to have survived past infancy were born.
- On August 3, 1936, James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens won the 100-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics and blazed into the record books.
- On October 3, 1936, the Director of the Downtown Athletic Club, John Heisman, died at the age of 66, spurring his fellow board members to rename their annual award to the best college football player East of the Mississippi the “Heisman Trophy.”
XIII. World War II and the Holocaust
- On December 27, 1922, the Imperial Japanese Navy commissioned the first aircraft carrier in the world that was designed and built as an aircraft carrier, the Hōshō.
- On June 15, 1936, the Vickers Wellington twin engine bomber made its maiden flight.
- On June 26, 1936, the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 made its first flight as the world’s first practical helicopter. Introduced into service with the Luftwaffe soon afterwards, the Fw 61 only had 2 copies built, but was a harbinger of things to come.
- On April 9, 1937, a Japanese aircraft made the first ever flight by a Japanese built airplane to London, England, when the Mitsubishi Ki-15 Karigane nick named “Kamikaze” made the nearly 4 day flight.
- On January 27, 1939, one of the great American fighter planes of World War II, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, made its first flight.
- On February 11, 1939, a prototype Lockheed P-38 Lighting twin engine fighter plane flew from California to New York in a then record 7 hours and 2 minutes.
- On March 30, 1939, the Heinkel 100 single engine piston powered fighter prototype set a new World Speed Record at 463 mph (745 kph).
- On June 1, 1939, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, a plane designed by the German aeronautical engineer Kurt Tank, made its first flight and would go on to bedevil the Allies throughout the rest of World War II.
- On March 12, 1940, an epic battle of a David against a Goliath ended in a draw!
- On May 10, 1940, the United Kingdom invaded Iceland without the permission of the government of Iceland.
- On May 29, 1940, the F-4U Corsair made its first flight.
- On January 9, 1941, the premier British bomber of World War II, the Avro Lancaster, made its maiden flight.
- On January 17, 1941, French colonial naval forces engaged the naval forces of Siam (Thailand after 1948) during the Franco-Thai War, a smaller war within the larger conflagration that was World War II.
- On March 19, 1941, the U.S. Army Air Corps activated the famed African-American aviation unit known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
- On April 6, 1941, German forces commenced the invasions of Greece and Yugoslavia.
- On May 10, 1941, Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess, third in command of Nazi Germany to Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring, some of history’s most evil people, parachuted into Scotland in an attempt to get Britain to make peace with Germany.
- On December 20, 1941, the American Volunteer Group (AVG), better known by its nickname, the Flying Tigers, engaged in its first round of air-to-air combat when its fighters encountered Japanese “Sally” bombers.
- On June 23, 1942, Oberleutnant Armin Faber of the German Luftwaffe made an historic blunder when he landed his state of the art Focke-Wulf 190 fighter plane at a Welsh airfield at RAF Pembrey, handing the British Germany’s latest and best fighter aircraft complete and in flyable condition.
- On July 18, 1942, the Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (Swallow in English) made its first test flight using its jet engines.
- On May 17, 1943, RAF Squadron 617, later known as The Dambusters, embarked on Operation Chastise, a plan to bomb and destroy 2 dams to flood the Ruhr Valley in Germany.
- On June 3, 1943, US Navy sailors and US Marines tangle with Latino young men in what is known as The Zoot Suit Riots.
- On August 17, 1943, the U.S. 8th Air Force, the main American unit of heavy bombers stationed in England, launched 376 B-17 bombers against Schweinfurt and Regensburg in Germany, a raid that came to symbolize the dangers of unescorted bombing.
- On June 13, 1944, during the Battle of Villers-Bocage, German tank ace Obersturmführer Michael Wittmann proved what could be accomplished by proper use of a superior weapon system when he directed his Tiger I tank against British armor (armour for you Brits), destroying an amazing 2 anti-tank guns, 15 armored personnel carriers, and 14 tanks!
- On August 12, 1944, German Nazi troops finished off a massacre of between 40,000 and 50,000 Poles, many of them Jewish.
- On February 13, 1945, bombers from the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the American Air Force (USAAF) struck the eastern German city of Dresden, a city so beautiful it was once known as the “Florence on the Elbe,” incinerating tens of thousands of people.
- On March 9, 1945, 324 B-29 bombers of the United States Army Air Force inflicted the deadliest and most destructive single bombing raid in history.
- On March 14, 1945, a British Lancaster heavy bomber dropped a bomb known as the “Grand Slam,” a 22,000 lb behemoth that was the largest and most powerful bomb ever used up to that time.
- On March 16, 1945, less than a month before Allied armies captured the city, British Lancaster bombers dropped 1207 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs on the German city of Würzburg, killing 5000 people and destroying about 90% of the buildings, including many historic Medieval structures.
- On April 27, 1945, Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini was captured by Italian partisans and shot the next day, his body hung up in public and pelted with stones, spat upon, and generally scorned, an inglorious end to a strutting peacock of an egomaniac.
- On May 11, 1945, the Essex Class U.S. aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill was struck by 2 Japanese Kamikaze (suicide) aircraft during the battle for Okinawa.
- On July 16, 1945, Manhattan Project scientists held their breath as the clock ticked down to the first man-made nuclear blast in history.
- On August 6, 1945, near end of World War II, a modified Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber dropped a uranium gun-type (“Little Boy”) bomb on Hiroshima.
- On March 24, 1976, Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount of Alamein, hero of World War II, died at home in England.
XIV. Consequences of World War II
- On August 6, 1945, the American Boeing B-29 Superfortress named Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing about 70,000 people right away and perhaps a few tens of thousands later from wounds, burns, and radiation.
- On August 8, 1946, the Convair B-36 Peacemaker nuclear bomber made its first flight.
- On July 6, 1947, the aptly named AK-47 assault rifle went into production.
- On July 7, 1947, a mysterious object fell from the sky near Roswell, New Mexico, and was reported the next day in the local newspaper as a “Flying Saucer” captured by RAAF (Roswell Army Airfield) personnel.
- On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz, Israel, to be known as the State of Israel, a state independent upon the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine on May 15, 1948.
- On July 31, 1948, the battleship USS Nevada BB-36 was sunk by a torpedo from a Navy bomber, ending the career of possibly the most battered ship in history.
- On January 1, 1950, a new method of designating what year it is (or was) went into effect with the BP system, meaning “Before Present.”
- On January 14, 1950, the MiG-17 Soviet jet fighter made its first flight, a plane that would go on to become the 3rd most produced jet fighter in aviation history.
- On September 12, 1952, stunned citizens of Flatwoods, West Virginia in Braxton County met up with a monster that may have been a close encounter with an alien life form.
- On March 1, 1953, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin suffered an alleged stroke that led to his death on March 5, 1953 at the age of 74.
- On April 13, 1953, Director of the CIA, Allen Dulles signed the order authorizing Project MKUltra, research into how to use mind control drugs against Soviet and Chinese targets during the Cold War.
- On August 19, 1953, United States and British covert spy agencies CIA and MI-6 overthrew the government of Iran led by democratically elected Mohammad Mossaddegh and reinstated the Shah (King), Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
- On May 27, 1958, the McDonnell Aircraft (later McDonnell Douglas) F-4 Phantom II naval interceptor made its first flight.
- February 9, 1959 opened a new a scary chapter in the atomic age when the U.S.S.R. fielded the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) armed with a nuclear warhead, the R-7 Semyorka.
- On January 7, 1960, the United States first successfully test launched the Polaris Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) from their launching facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
- On August 31, 1965, fans of super-different airplanes could add another oddity to their list when the Aero Spacelines Super Guppy made its first flight.
- On June 8, 1966, while test flying the monstrously expensive XB-70 Valkyrie, the U.S. Air Force managed to knock the Mach 3 bomber from the sky when an F-104 “chase” plane got a little too close and bumped into it, resulting in the crash of both aircraft and the death of 2 pilots and severe injury to another.
- On July 3, 1969, the Soviet Union’s dreams of a moon rocket went up in smoke and fire on the launch pad as the largest explosion of any rocket in history.
- On February 21, 1973, the Israeli Defense Force sent American-built F-4 Phantoms to shoot down a Boeing 727 operated by Libyan Arab Airlines.
- On May 18, 1974, India’s Operation Smiling Buddha resulted in the successful detonation of a nuclear weapon, becoming the sixth nation to explode a nuclear device.
- On September 22, 1979, a huge, unidentified double flash of light was seen by a US reconnaissance satellite near the Prince Edward Islands near Antarctica.
- On July 21, 1904, Frenchman Louis Rigolly became the first person to speed past the 100 mph “barrier” when he accomplished the feat in his Gobron-Brillie race car at Ostende in Belgium.
- On August 25, 1904, our greatest ice cream sundae was born, the invention of pharmacist apprentice David Strickler in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
- On March 2, 1949, The Old Lamplighter became a memory and a song, but not an occupation, as automatic street lights start to shine, adding to the list of famous inventions by Ohioans!
- On May 4, 1959, the first ever Grammy music awards were held, with no category for rock and roll despite the fact that this new type of music had already long taken the country by storm.
- On September 1, 1985, after 73 years sleeping on the deep dark ocean floor, the wreck of the fabled ocean liner, RMS Titanic, was discovered by a joint American-French salvage team led by Robert Ballard, sponsored by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
- On July 8, 1994, Kim Jong-Il assumed control of North Korea upon the death of his father, Kim Il-Sung.
- On August 14, 1994, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, Venezuelan terrorist and one of the most wanted men in the world, was finally arrested by authorities in the Sudan and turned over to French law enforcement.
- On February 3, 1995, Space Shuttle mission STS-63 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral Florida for space with a woman pilot for the first time.
- On January 12, 1998, 19 European nations agreed to prohibit the cloning of humans.
- On May 13, 1998, Jakarta (or Djakarta) Indonesia experienced race riots directed against the ethnic Chinese minority.
- On November 20, 1998, a huge step in the history of space exploration took place when the Zarya segment of the International Space Station (ISS) was launched, the first part of the largest man-made object to orbit the Earth.
- On December 22, 2001, Richard Colvin Reid, age 28, of London, England, attempted to destroy an airliner in flight on its way to Miami, Florida by the use of explosives hidden in his shoe.
- On January 24, 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began its operations.
- On February 1, 2003, the United States suffered the second loss of a space shuttle, this time the Columbia.
- On January 12, 2004, the RMS Queen Mary 2, flagship of the Cunard Line, left port on its maiden voyage after having been christened 4 days earlier by Queen Elizabeth II.
- On May 29, 2004, President George W. Bush dedicated the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C..
- On January 5, 2005, American astronomer Michael E. Brown (of CalTech, Princeton, and Berkeley) with fellow astronomers David L. Rabinowitz (Yale University and University of Arizona) and Chad Trujillo (University of Hawaii, Gemini Observatory and Northern Arizona University) were given credit for their discovery of a planetoid they called Eris, at the time, the largest dwarf planet known in the Solar System.
- On April 27, 2005, Airbus, the multi-national European jetliner manufacturer, announced the first flight of its “Super Jumbo” passenger jet, the A380.
- On February 16, 2006, the United States Army decommissioned the last of the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals, or MASH as they were called.
- On June 29, 2007, Apple Inc. sold the first of 500 million iPhones, the company’s first mobile phone.
- On August 1, 2007, the Interstate -35 westbound bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis came tumbling down during the evening rush hour, killing 13 and injuring 145.
- On June 19, 2009, during the Shishou Riot, Chinese authorities reminded their people that China is not a democracy.
- On March 11, 2012, a single US Army sergeant did more to hurt the US war effort in Afghanistan than all the politicians and generals combined! Robert Bales killed 16 or 17 Afghan civilians in the incident known as the Kandahar Massacre.
- This video briefly summarizes the history of Afghanistan from 2012 to 2017.
- On May 23, 2013, the Interstate-5 bridge over the Skagit River collapsed suddenly, dumping 2 occupied cars into the river. Incredibly, not only did the occupants survive, they did not suffer any severe injuries.
- On May 11, 2014, 69 countries and territories celebrate Mother’s Day, including the United States.
- On May 22, 2015, voters in Ireland passed a referendum legalizing same sex marriage.
- Named by President Obama as his nominee for Secretary of the Army in November 2015, Eric Fanning, a 47 year old graduate of Dartmouth and a Defense Department employee, was confirmed for the job by the US Senate on May 17, 2016, making him the first openly gay Secretary of a US Military branch.
- On April 13, 2017, a United States Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo plane dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat.
- On this day, June 21, 2017, two films featuring titular supernatural females are battling for box office supremacy at the global box office.
- On January 1, 2018, we take a fond look back at the tumultuous year of 2017, a year in which a remarkable number of prominent people got fired.
- On June 10, 2018, Dr. Zar visited Waldameer Park in Pennsylvania as part of the Dark Attraction & Funhouse Enthusiasts’ 50 Years of Devilish Fun event. The following video is from Dr. Zar’s behind-the-scenes tour and subsequent ride on the Whacky Shack, an award-winning dark ride built by Bill Tracy in 1970!
- On July 4, 2018, 242 years after Americans declared their independence from Great Britain’s King George III, Dr. Zar and Major Dan journeyed to the Community Stadium in Ashland, Ohio to celebrate.
- On August 18, 2018, Dr. Zar visited the Lexington Blueberry Festival in Ohio for food, fun, music, and fireworks!
- On December 25, 2020, people around the world celebrate the Christian holiday of Christmas, honoring the birth of Jesus Christ.
- On January 19, 2021, there will undoubtedly be fans of American novelist and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe carefully watching his original grave (the cenotaph marking the site) to catch a glimpse of the person that has come to be known as “The Poe Toaster.
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For more information, please see…
Zarzeczny, Matthew D. Meteors That Enlighten the Earth: Napoleon and the Cult of Great Men. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013)
Markham, J. David and Matthew Zarzeczny. Simply Napoleon. Simply Charly, 2017.
The featured image in this article, a detail from the oil painting (1806–7) titled Sacre de l’empereur Napoléon Ier et couronnement de l’impératrice Joséphine dans la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, le 2 décembre 1804 (Coronation of Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in Notre-Dame de Paris, December 2, 1804) by Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825) and Georges Rouget (1783–1869) of Joséphine kneeling before Napoleon during his coronation at Notre Dame, is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less. The work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide. The reproduction is part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project. The compilation copyright is held by Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.