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Here you’ll find interesting bits of history from all periods and countries that occurred on a particular day.

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Disclaimer: None of these pictures included are mine and I do not claim ownership of them. If you see your picture and wish to be credited/have it removed then please don’t hesitate to ask

April 17th 1964: Ford Mustang debuts

On this day in 1964, the Ford Motor Company introduced their new sports car - the Ford Mustang - to the public. The Mustang was one of the first ‘pony cars’, which are smaller sports car-like coupes. The car had debuted two years earlier at the United States Grand Prix, but Ford introduced their new car to the public at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. Ford received over 22,000 orders from around the world on the first day, and the car’s popularity only increased from there. The model’s fame was cemented when a Mustang appeared in the James Bond film ‘Goldfinger’ in September 1964. The Mustang is now approaching its sixth generation, and has changed a lot since the 1964 version. This year marks the 50th anniversary of this legendary American car, and Ford are celebrating with a limited edition 50th anniversary 2015 Mustang GT (pictured above).

50 years ago today

22 hours ago
330 notes

April 7th 1922: Teapot Dome lease signed

On this day in 1922, the US Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome to private oil companies at low rates in return for bribes. Other similar deals were made, but the subsequent scandal is generally called the ‘Teapot Dome’ scandal. When the story broke, the Senate launched an investigation and in 1927 the Supreme Court invalidated the leases. The parties involved were prosecuted, with Fall being found guilty of bribery and sentenced to prison, making him the first former cabinet official sentenced to prison. The scandal weakened Harding’s public standing and the stress contributed to his premature death in 1923. The Teapot Dome scandal was regarded as America’s worst political scandal until Watergate in the 1970s.

1 week ago
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April 4th 1968: Martin Luther King Jr. killed

On this day in 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee aged just 39. The Baptist minister from Georgia first came to national attention for his leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. This event is considered by many the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, which saw a national fight against discrimination suffered by African-Americans. King was one of many leaders, but became the face of the movement for his nonviolent tactics and powerful oratory. In 1963, during the March on Washington, King delivered the crowning speech of the struggle - the ‘I have a dream’ speech. Beyond his role in combating racial inequality, King also focused on tackling poverty and advocating peace, especially during the Vietnam War. On April 4th 1968, King was shot and killed by James Earl Ray. He lived to see the legislative achievements of the movement - the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act - but tragically was unable to continue the push for full equality. The movement King set in motion continues to be fought today; the United States is still not a completely equal society and systemic discrimination persists. However thanks to Martin Luther King, America is closer to fulfilling King’s dream of a truly free and equal society.

1 week ago
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March 26th 1830: The Book of Mormon published

On this day in 1830, the Book of Mormon was first published at E.B Grandin’s New York bookstore. The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith Jr, claimed that he had been visited by an angel called Moroni who told him of ancient writings on golden plates which described people God led to the Western hemisphere before the birth of Jesus. These plates were supposedly found by Smith buried by a tree on a hill in his back yard. Smith said he was told by Moroni to translate the plates into English and publish them. Smith initially struggled to find someone to publish the book as many considered it risky, fraudulent and blasphemous. Smith and his friend Martin Harris began work on translating the Book of Mormon, with Smith dictating by either reading directly or using seer stones placed in a top hat (accounts vary). It took eight men and boys working 12 hours a day, six days a week, for almost eight months to print the initial 5,000 copies, which went on sale in March 1830. The building in New York where the Book of Mormon was first published and sold is now the Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site.

3 weeks ago
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March 22nd 1622: Jamestown massacre

On this day in 1622, the Jamestown massacre occurred in colonial Virginia. Jamestown was the first successful English settlement in North America; this followed the failure of previous attempts to colonise North America, most notoriously the lost colony of Roanoke. On March 22nd, fighters of the Powhatan confederation of Indian tribes (also known as Algonquian Indians) came into the houses of the settlers in the area, grabbed their weapons, and attacked them. 347 people died in the incident, which made up a quarter of the English population at Jamestown. The massacre was in response to the colonists’ mistreatment of Native Americans - burning down their homes, destroying food supplies and threatening expansion into their land. In retaliation the Natives launched a surprise attack on the area, however Jamestown itself was spared as it was forewarned. The incident is one of many conflicts between Native Americans and English settlers in the early days of the colonial venture, as the settlers increasingly encroached upon Native lands.

3 weeks ago
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March 20th 1852: ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ published

On this day in 1852, American author Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ was published. Previously published as a serial in the anti-slavery periodical the National Era, ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ tells the story of a black slave and recounts the harsh reality of his enslavement. Stowe was an ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery, and wrote the novel in response to the passage of the controversial 1850 Fugitive Slave Act which was part of the Compromise of 1850. The Act ordered Northern citizens to assist in the return of runaway slaves from the South, thus forcing the generally anti-slavery North to become complicit in the continuance of the ‘peculiar institution’. Thus the popular discontent over the slavery issue helped make ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ the best-selling novel of the nineteenth century and saw its translation into sixty languages. The novel helped keep the flames of anti-slavery sentiment alive, and is therefore sometimes attributed with helping start the American Civil War. Whilst still hailed as a great anti-slavery work of its day, the novel falls short of modern expectations with its stereotypical portrayal of African-Americans.

"So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war"
- what, according to legend, Abraham Lincoln said upon meeting Stowe in 1862
4 weeks ago
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March 9th 1945: Bombing of Tokyo begins

On this day in 1945, the bombing of Tokyo by the United States Air Forces began; the raid is one of the most destructive in history. There had been raids by B-29 bombers since November 1944. The raid on the night of March 9th saw 334 B-29s take off in Operation Meetinghouse, with 279 of them dropping around 1,700 tons of bombs. 16 square miles of the Japanese capital were destroyed, around a million were left homeless and around 100,000 people died as a result of the firestorm. Tokyo saw many raids such as this, with over 50% of Tokyo being destroyed by the end of the Second World War. However the firebombing on the night of March 9/10th was the single deadliest air raid of the war; the immediate deaths were higher than seen at Dresden, Hiroshima or Nagasaki as single events.

"Killing Japanese didn’t bother me very much at that time… I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal…. Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you’re not a good soldier.
- Curtis LeMay, the American general behind the firebombing campaign

1 month ago
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March 5th 1946: ‘Iron Curtain’ speech

On this day in 1946, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech at Westminster College, Missouri. The term had been used prior to 1946, but this was the most public use of it. In the ‘Sinews of Peace’ address, Churchill used the term ‘iron curtain’ to reference a Soviet dominated Eastern Europe. At the time, the West still saw the Soviet Union as an ally after the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War Two, but Churchill’s speech heralded the onset of the Cold War tensions between the capitalist West and communist Russia. As the Cold War took hold, the phrase became popular as a reference to repressive Communist domination of Europe which hid Soviet actions and set a clear divide in Europe.

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the continent”
1 month ago
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April 12th 1861: Firing on Fort Sumter

On this day in 1861, the American Civil War began when the first shots were fired upon Fort Sumter. Several Southern states had already seceded from the United States when this conflict occurred. The Southern slaveholding states had long been at odds with the anti-slavery agenda of the North, but secession was immediately preciptated by the election of anti-slavery Republican Abraham Lincoln as President in 1860. Fort Sumter was a Union base in South Carolina, which was the first state to secede and thus its government demanded Union forces leave their state. The moment the siege became a battle and the fort was fired upon by Confederate forces, it seemed clear to all that civil war had begun. No one was killed in the conflict, perhaps a false omen that the civil war which became the bloodiest in American history would not be a costly one. The Union forces at the fort eventually surrendered, thus making it a victory for the Confederates. In the aftermath of the struggle each side called for troops and war soon broke out in full force. The American Civil War saw the defeat of the Southern secessionists and the end of slavery - the ‘peculiar institution’ - in the United States.

5 days ago
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April 5th 1951: Rosenbergs sentenced

On this day in 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death for alleged spying. The couple were American citizens, but were convicted for espionage after they were accused of giving information to the Soviets about the atomic bomb. They were both arrested in 1950, and became the face of the supposed Communist conspiracy, the fear of which gripped Cold War United States throughout the 1950s and beyond. The couple insisted upon their innocence, but they were still convicted and sentenced to die. In the years between their conviction and execution, public opinion was divided on the guilt of the Rosenbergs. Despite the reservations of some, they were executed on June 19th 1953 by electric chair. It remained unclear whether the pair were indeed Soviet spies, but due to evidence which has since come to light Julius Rosenberg does appear to have been guilty.

1 week ago
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April 3rd 1882: Jesse James killed

On this day in 1882 the famous outlaw of the Wild West, Jesse James, was killed by Robert Ford. James was a member of the James-Younger Gang from Missouri; his gang gained notoriety in the period 1866 to 1876 as they robbed banks, stagecoaches and trains. He first gained national attention after shooting a cashier during a robbery of a Missouri bank. The gang’s decline began with an attempted robbery of a bank in Northfield, Minnesota when the majority of the gang was captured or killed. James and his gang were pursued by law enforcement until the outlaw Robert Ford, who had posed as James’ friend, shot him in the back of the head in order to collect the bounty on him. The governor of Missouri quickly pardoned Ford, which shocked the public as it suggested their governor had conspired to kill a private citizen.

"In Loving Memory of my Beloved Son, Murdered by a Traitor and Coward Whose Name is not Worthy to Appear Here"
- epitaph for Jesse James, written by his mother

2 weeks ago
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March 24th 1989: Exxon Valdez oil spill

On this day in 1989, hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil were spilled into Prince William Sound in Alaska by the Exxon Valdez oil tanker after it ran aground. Between 11 and 32 million gallons of oil were spilled, creating one of the worst human-caused environmental disasters in history. The cleanup operation was especially difficult due to the Sound’s remote location which was only accessible by air or by boat. The spill damaged the local habitat, covering 1,300 miles of coastline and 11,000 square miles of ocean. It was the largest ever oil spill in American waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Whilst the cleanup operation was completed, it is believed that the oil will continue to have a negative effect on the area for many years.

3 weeks ago
115 notes

March 21st 1925: Butler Act passed

On this day in 1925, the Butler Act was signed into law by Tennessee Governor Austin Peay. The bill was introduced by farmer John Butler of the Tennessee House of Representatives on January 21st and was immediately controversial. It banned school teachers from teaching evolution, and instead provided for the teaching of the Christian theory of creationism. Teachers who violated the law were to be fined a maximum of $500. Many protested that the law violated the 1st Amendment’s ban on the establishment of religion and its provision of free speech. The Butler Act has become infamous in history due to its challenge in the so-called ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’. The trial was prompted by the arrest of science teacher John Scopes, and drew the attention of the nation as it essentially put the theory of evolution on trial. The lawyers for the case were famed in their fields - Clarence Darrow for the defense and William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution. Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution but his conviction was reversed on a technicality. The Butler Act was not repealed until 1967.

"I never had any idea my bill would make a fuss. I just thought it would become a law, and that everybody would abide by it and that we wouldn’t hear any more of evolution in Tennessee"
- John Butler during the Scopes trial
3 weeks ago
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March 17th 1777: Roger Taney born

On this day in 1777, Roger B. Taney was born in Maryland. Taney went on to become the fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1836. The Taney Court has gone down in infamy as the Court which issued the controversial ruling Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). This ruling declared that African-Americans did not count as United States citizens and thus could not sue in federal courts. The case originated when Dred Scott, a slave, claimed that because his master took him to a free state, he was thus a free man. The Court’s complete rejection of African-American rights evoked outrage from Northern anti-slavery forces, and support from Southern slaveowners. The decision, which Taney wrote, is thus often considered one of the causes of the American Civil War as it flared sectional tensions. Taney’s tenure ended with his death towards the end of the Civil War in 1864, but due to his role in the Dred Scott decision, he has gone down in history as one of the worst Chief Justices in history.

1 month ago
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March 6th 1981: Cronkite signs off

On this day in 1981 the legendary anchor of CBS Evening News, Walter Cronkite, signed off for the last time. Cronkite had been presenting the news for nineteen years and became known as ‘the most trusted man in America’. He is known for his departing catchphrase “And that’s the way it is”, followed by that day’s date. Cronkite reported on some pivotal moments in history including the Nuremberg trials, the moon landing and the Watergate scandal. He also got involved in the politics of the day, and is known for his denunciation of the Vietnam War which led President Johnson to bitterly remark “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America”. Cronkite is also remembered as the anchor who broke the story of the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22nd 1963. After his retirement, Cronkite continued to be an active figure in the American media and as a political activist. He died in 2009 in New York City, aged 92.

"This is my last broadcast as the anchorman of The CBS Evening News; for me, it’s a moment for which I long have planned, but which, nevertheless, comes with some sadness. For almost two decades, after all, we’ve been meeting like this in the evenings, and I’ll miss that…And that’s the way it is: Friday, March 6, 1981. I’ll be away on assignment, and Dan Rather will be sitting in here for the next few years. Good night”

1 month ago
129 notes