Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
On this day in 1897, the Boston subways opens, becoming the first underground rapid transit system in North America. It was the inspiration for this song by the Kingston Trio.
462 – Possible start of first Byzantine indiction cycle.
1532 – Lady Anne Boleyn is made Marchioness of Pembroke by her fiance, King Henry VIII of England.
1644 – Battle of Tippermuir: Montrose defeats Elcho’s Covenanters, reviving the Royalist cause.
1715 – King Louis XIV of France dies after a reign of 72 years-the longest of any major European monarch.
1763 – Catherine II of Russia endorses Ivan Betskoy’s plans for a Foundling Home in Moscow
1772 – Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa founded in San Luis Obispo, California.
1804 – Juno, one of the largest main belt asteroids, is discovered by German astronomer Karl Ludwig Harding.
1836 – Narcissa Whitman, one of the first English-speaking white women to settle west of the Rocky Mountains, arrives at Walla Walla, Washington.
1862 – American Civil War: Battle of Chantilly – Confederate forces attack retreating Union troops in Chantilly, Virginia.
1864 – American Civil War: Confederate General John Bell Hood evacuates Atlanta, Georgia after a four-month siege by General Sherman.
1870 – Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Sedan is fought, resulting in a decisive Prussian victory.
1878 – Emma Nutt becomes the world’s first female telephone operator when she was recruited by Alexander Graham Bell to the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company.
1897 – The Boston subway opens, becoming the first underground rapid transit system in North America.
1902 – A Trip to the Moon, considered one of the first science fiction films, is released in France.
1905 – Alberta and Saskatchewan join the Canadian confederation
1906 – The International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys is established.
1911 – The armored cruiser Georgios Averof is commissioned into the Greek Navy. It now serves as a museum ship.
1914 – St. Petersburg, Russia, changes its name to Petrograd.
1914 – The last passenger pigeon, a female named Martha, dies in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo.
1920 – The Fountain of Time opens as a tribute to the 100 years of peace between the United States and Great Britain following the Treaty of Ghent.
1923 – The Great Kanto earthquake devastates Tokyo and Yokohama, killing about 105,000 people.
1928 – Ahmet Zogu declares Albania to be a monarchy and proclaims himself king.
1939 – World War II: Nazi Germany invades Poland, beginning the war in Europe.
1939 – George C. Marshall becomes Chief of Staff of the United States Army.
1939 – The Wound Badge for Wehrmacht, SS, Kriegsmarine, and Luftwaffe soldiers is instituted. The final version of the Iron Cross is also instituted on this date.
1939 – Switzerland mobilizes its forces and the Swiss Parliament elects Henri Guisan to head the Swiss Army (an event that can happen only during war or mobilization).
1951 – The United States, Australia and New Zealand sign a mutual defense pact, called the ANZUS Treaty.
1961 – The Eritrean War of Independence officially begins with the shooting of the Ethiopian police by Hamid Idris Awate.
1964 – The Indian Oil Corporation forms after the merger of the Indian Oil Refineries and the Indian Oil Company.
1969 – A revolution in Libya brings Muammar al-Gaddafi to power, which is later transferred to the People’s Committees.
1969 – Tran Thien Khiem became Prime Minister of South Vietnam under President Nguyen Van Thieu.
1970 – Attempted assassination of King Hussein of Jordan by Palestinian guerrillas, who attacked his motorcade.
1972 – In Reykjavík, Iceland, American Bobby Fischer beats Russian Boris Spassky and becomes the world chess champion.
1974 – The SR-71 Blackbird sets (and holds) the record for flying from New York to London in the time of 1 hour, 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds.
1979 – The American space probe Pioneer 11 becomes the first spacecraft to visit Saturn when it passes the planet at a distance of 21,000 km.
1980 – Major General Chun Doo-hwan becomes president of South Korea, following the resignation of Choi Kyu-hah.
1982 – Canada adopts the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as part of its Constitution.
1982 – The United States Air Force Space Command is founded.
1983 – Cold War: Korean Air Flight 007 is shot down by a Soviet Union jet fighter when the commercial aircraft enters Soviet airspace. All 269 on board die, including Congressman Lawrence McDonald.
1985 – A joint American-French expedition locates the wreckage of the RMS Titanic.
1990 – The Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist is founded, following a split from the Communist Labour Party of Turkey.
1991 – Uzbekistan declares independence from the Soviet Union
2004 – Beslan school hostage crisis commences when armed terrorists take children and adults hostage in Beslan in North Ossetia, Russia.
2006 – Luxembourg becomes the first country to complete the move to all digital television broadcasting.