June 19th 1978: Garfield debuts
On this day in 1978, the popular comic strip Garfield was launched in 4 newspapers. The comic revolves around a cat (Garfield) and his owner Jon Arbuckle and was created by Jim Davis. Garfield was a huge success, and is now the world’s most widely distributed comic strip
Above is the first Garfield strip from 1978.
June 17th 1631: Mumtaz Mahal dies
On this day in 1631, the wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I died during childbirth. She was giving birth to their fourteenth child, Gauhara Begum, when she died. Mumtaz Mahal was Shah Jahan’s third but favourite wife and he was in deep mourning after her death. The emperor spent the next 17 years building a mausoleum for her: the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is often considered the greatest example of Mughal architecture, and remains a major tourist attraction in India.
June 15th 1888: Wilhelm becomes Kaiser
On this day in 1888 Crown Prince Wilhelm became Kaiser Wilhelm II upon the death of his predecessor Frederick III. He dismissed Chancellor Otto von Bismarck and took more control of policy, and proved an ineffective war leader during World War One. Wilhelm was the last Emperor of the German Empire and reigned until 9th November 1918 when he abdicated following growing disaffection with his leadership. After Wilhelm, the German monarchy was abolished and Friedrich Ebert became the first President of Germany. Wilhelm died in 1941 aged 82.
June 13th 1971: Pentagon Papers first published
On this day in 1971, the New York Times began publication of the Pentagon Papers, a series of Defense Department documents which revealed secrets about US involvement in Vietnam. They contained a history of America’s involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst, leaked the documents to the New York Times. President Nixon challenged the newspaper’s right to publish the documents, but the Supreme Court ruled in New York Times v. United States that the papers could be published. The revelations about the secret campaigns of the Johnson administration with its bombing of Cambodia and Laos outraged the public. The release of the papers added to a growing anti-war movement within the United States.
June 12th 2003: Gregory Peck dies
On this day in 2003 the famous American actor Gregory Peck died in Los Angeles aged 87. Peck is well known for his role alongside Audrey Hepburn in ‘Roman Holiday’ and as Atticus Finch in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson in 1969 for his humanitarian work.
June 10th 1967: Six-Day War ends
On this day in 1967, the Six-Day War in the Middle East ended as Israel observed the UN ceasefire and ended its advance into Syria. The war was a result of high tensions in the area with clashes over territory and mutual attacks. Israel went to war with Egypt, Jordan and Syria on June 5th 1967 with Israeli surprise bombing raids on Egypt. The war ended with a decisive Israeli victory which gave them effective control of the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.
June 8th 793: Viking invasion of England begins
On this day in 793, Vikings raided the abbey at Lindisfarne in Northumbria, thus beginning the Scandinavian invasion of England. The abbey was a famous centre of learning across the continent, and many of the resident monks were killed by the Vikings and the abbey’s treasures were taken. The invasion shocked the Christian West and alerted Europe to the Viking threat; many consider it the beginning of the Viking Age.
“Never before has such an atrocity been seen”
- Alcuin of York, 793
June 6th 1944: D-Day
On this day in 1944, the D-Day landings began on the beaches of Normandy as part of the Allied ‘Operation Overlord’. It was the largest amphibious military operation in history. 155,000 Allied troops landed in France and quickly broke through the Atlantic Wall and pushed inland. In charge of the operation was General Dwight Eisenhower and leading the ground forces was General Bernard Montgomery. It was a decisive Allied victory and a key moment in the Second World War as the Allies gained some ground on the continent following the fall of France to the Nazis in 1940.
“You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.”
- Eisenhower’s message to the Allied Expeditionary Force
June 18th 1873: Susan B. Anthony fined
On this day in 1873, Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for trying to vote in the 1872 presidential election. Anthony was a famous advocate of women’s rights and female suffrage and co-founded the first Women’s Temperance Movement. She was arrested and eventually fined after trying to vote in the election, despite her argument that she was protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Anthony used the publicity to raise awareness of women’s rights and traveled the United States and Europe spreading her message of equality.
June 16th 1816: Byron’s challenge
On this day in 1816 the famous British poet Lord Byron proposed a literary challenge to his four guests at his manor near Lake Geneva, Villa Diodati. His guests were fellow poets and authors: Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, John Polidori and Claire Clairmont (Mary Shelley’s stepsister who had a child with Byron). Bryon read ‘Fantasmagoriana’, an anthology of horror fiction, to his guests and this inspired him to challenge that each write a ghost story. This challenge was the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, Polidori’s ‘The Vampyre’ and Byron’s ‘Darkness’.
June 14th 1940: Paris falls to the Nazis
On this day in 1940 during World War Two, German soldiers marched into Paris without resistance, and began the occupation of the city. France had fallen quickly partially due to its ill-preparedness for war, and the formidable Nazi blitzkrieg attack. Troops took over the city and hung swastikas on public buildings and monuments. Many Parisians fled, and those who remained faced four brutal years of occupation. Many reported on other people’s opposition to the Nazis, and the dissidents faced torture by the Gestapo and SS. Parisian Jews were also persecuted and sent to concentration camps. Paris was eventually liberated in 1944 following the Allied invasion of Normandy.
June 12th 1942: Anne Frank receives her diary
On this day in 1942, Anne Frank received a diary for her 13th birthday. She had seen the book, bound with red and white checkered cloth, a few days before and her father gave it to her for her birthday. Frank, a Jewish German national, lived in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Her family went into hiding in 1942 to escape the persecution of the Jewish population, and Frank documented her experiences. Her group was eventually betrayed after two years in hiding and Frank died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp from typhus in March 1945. Her father survived, and upon his return to Amsterdam found his daughter’s diary, which documented her life from 14th June 1942 to 1st August 1944, and had it translated and published.
Anne Frank would have turned 84 today
June 11th 1963: The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door
On this day in 1963, segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace stood at the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to prevent two black students (Vivian Malone and James Hood) from attending. Around the United States, following the Supreme Court declaring school segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), schools were being desegregated. Wallace became well known nationwide for his opposition to desegregation, famously saying in his inaugural speech “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. As Wallace stood in the door, he was confronted by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach who, when Wallace refused to move, called President John F. Kennedy who federalised the Alabama National Guard. General Henry Graham of the National Guard then asked him to step aside on the President’s orders, which Wallace reluctantly did, thus allowing Malone and Hood to register.
June 9th 1870: Charles Dickens dies
On this day in 1870, the English writer Charles Dickens passed away aged 58 following a stroke. Dickens wrote some popular and famous works such as Bleak House, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol. He died leaving his final novel (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) unfinished, leaving the identity of the story’s murderer unknown. Due to his status as a literary giant of his age, Dickens was buried in Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey rather than the “unostentatious” service he desired. His work is still celebrated and widely read today.
“He was a sympathiser with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.”
- Epitaph for Charles Dickens
June 7th 1099: Siege of Jerusalem begins
On this day in 1099 during the First Crusade, the Siege of Jerusalem began. The Crusade was called by Pope Urban II in 1095 to rid the Holy Land of Muslim presence. The siege of Jerusalem lasted until July 15th and saw the Crusaders capture the holy city from Fatmid Egypt. It was after this siege that the Crusaders massacred much of Jerusalem’s population, with some sources from the time claiming the blood in the streets reached their ankles and even the bridles of their horses.