Today in History ...

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322 BC – Battle of Crannon between Athens and Macedonia. 461 – Roman Emperor Majorian is beheaded near the river Iria in north-west Italy following his arrest and deposition by the magister militum Ricimer. 626 – The Avar and Slav armies leave the siege of Constantinople. 936 – Coronation of King Otto I of Germany. 1420 – Construction of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore begins in Florence. 1427 – The Visconti of Milan's fleet is destroyed by the Venetians on the Po River. 1461 – The Ming dynasty Chinese military general Cao Qin stages a coup against the Tianshun Emperor. 1679 – The brigantine Le Griffon, commissioned by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, is towed to the south-eastern end of the Niagara River, to become the first ship to sail the upper Great Lakes of North America. 1714 – The Battle of Gangut: The first important victory of the Russian Navy. 1782 – George Washington orders the creation of the Badge of Military Merit to honor soldiers wounded in battle. It is later renamed to the more poetic Purple Heart. 1789 – The United States Department of War is established. 1791 – American troops destroy the Miami town of Kenapacomaqua near the site of present-day Logansport, Indiana in the Northwest Indian War. 1794 – U.S. President George Washington invokes the Militia Acts of 1792 to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. 1819 – Simón Bolívar triumphs over Spain in the Battle of Boyacá. 1858 – The first Australian rules football match is played between Melbourne Grammar and Scotch College. 1879 – The opening of the Poor Man's Palace in Manchester, England. 1890 – Anna Månsdotter becomes the last woman in Sweden to be executed, for the 1889 Yngsjö murder. 1909 – Alice Huyler Ramsey and three friends become the first women to complete a transcontinental auto trip, taking 59 days to travel from New York, New York to San Francisco, California. 1927 – The Peace Bridge opens between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York. 1930 – The last confirmed lynching of blacks in the Northern United States occurs in Marion, Indiana. Two men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, are killed. 1933 – The Simele massacre: The Iraqi government slaughters over 3,000 Assyrians in the village of Simele. The day becomes known as Assyrian Martyrs Day. 1938 – The Holocaust: The building of Mauthausen concentration camp begins. 1940 – World War II: Alsace-Lorraine is annexed by the Third Reich. 1942 – World War II: The Battle of Guadalcanal begins as the United States Marines initiate the first American offensive of the war with landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon Islands. 1944 – IBM dedicates the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (known best as the Harvard Mark I). 1946 – The government of the Soviet Union presented a note to its Turkish counterparts which refuted the latter's sovereignty over the Turkish Straits, thus beginning the Turkish Straits crisis. 1947 – Thor Heyerdahl's balsa wood raft the Kon-Tiki, smashes into the reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands after a 101-day, 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) journey across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to prove that pre-historic peoples could have traveled from South America. 1947 – The Bombay Municipal Corporation formally takes over the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport (BEST). 1955 – Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering, the precursor to Sony, sells its first transistor radios in Japan. 1959 – The Lincoln Memorial design on the U.S. penny goes into circulation. It replaces the "sheaves of wheat" design, and was minted until 2008. 1959 – Explorer program: Explorer 6 launches from the Atlantic Missile Range in Cape Canaveral, Florida. 1960 – Ivory Coast becomes independent from France. 1962 – Canadian-born American pharmacologist Frances Oldham Kelsey awarded the U.S. President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service for her refusal to authorize thalidomide. 1964 – Vietnam War: The U.S. Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson broad war powers to deal with North Vietnamese attacks on American forces. 1966 – Race riots occur in Lansing, Michigan. 1970 – California judge Harold Haley is taken hostage in his courtroom and killed during an effort to free George Jackson from police custody. 1974 – Philippe Petit performs a high wire act between the twin towers of the World Trade Center 1,368 feet (417 m) in the air. 1976 – Viking program: Viking 2 enters orbit around Mars. 1978 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter declares a federal emergency at Love Canal due to toxic waste that had been disposed of negligently. 1979 – Several tornadoes strike the city of Woodstock, Ontario, Canada and the surrounding communities. 1981 – The Washington Star ceases all operations after 128 years of publication. 1985 – Takao Doi, Mamoru Mohri and Chiaki Mukai are chosen to be Japan's first astronauts. 1985 – The White House Farm murders took place near the English village of Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, England. 1987 – Lynne Cox becomes first person to swim from the United States to the Soviet Union, crossing from Little Diomede Island in Alaska to Big Diomede in the Soviet Union 1989 – U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland (D-TX) and 15 others die in a plane crash in Ethiopia. 1998 – The United States embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya kill approximately 212 people. 1999 – The Chechnya-based Islamic International Brigade invades neighboring Dagestan. 2008 – The start of the Russo-Georgian War over the territory of South Ossetia. 2012 – Three gunmen kill 19 people in a church near Okene, Nigeria. 2013 – A bombing in a market in Karachi, Pakistan, kills eleven people.

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