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September 16 is the 259th day of the year (260th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 106 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1932, in his cell at Yerovda Jail near Bombay, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi begins a hunger strike in protest of the British government’s decision to separate India’s electoral system by caste.A leader in the Indian campaign for home rule, Gandhi worked all his life to spread his own brand of passive resistance across India and the world. By 1920, his concept of Satyagraha (or “insistence upon truth”) had made Gandhi an enormously influential figure for millions of followers. Jailed by the British government from 1922-24, he withdrew from political action for a time during the 1920s but in 1930 returned with a new civil disobedience campaign. This landed Gandhi in prison again, but only briefly, as the British made concessions to his demands and invited him to represent the Indian National Congress Party at a round-table conference in London.
In 1932, through the campaigning of the Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar, the government granted untouchables separate electorates under the new constitution. In protest, Gandhi embarked on a six-day fast in September 1932. The resulting public outcry successfully forced the government to adopt a more equitable arrangement via negotiations mediated by the Dalit cricketer turned political leader Palwankar Baloo. This was the start of a new campaign by Gandhi to improve the lives of the untouchables, whom he named Harijans, the children of God.
1400 – Owain Glyndwr is declared Prince of Wales by his followers.
1701 – James Francis Edward Stuart, sometimes called the “Old Pretender”, becomes the Jacobite claimant to the thrones of England and Scotland.
1776 – American Revolutionary War: the Battle of Harlem Heights is fought.
1795 – The first occupation by United Kingdom of Cape Colony, South Africa with the Battle of Hout Bay, after successive victories at the Battle of Muizenberg and Wynberg, after William V requested protection against revolutionary France’s occupation of the Netherlands.
1810 – With the Grito de Dolores, Father Miguel Hidalgo begins Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain.
1812 – Russians set fire to Moscow shortly after midnight – the city burns down completely days later.
1863 – Robert College of Istanbul-Turkey, the first American educational institution outside the United States, is founded by Christopher Robert, an American philanthropist.
1893 – Settlers race in Oklahoma for prime land in the Cherokee Strip.
1908 – General Motors is founded.
1919 – The American Legion is incorporated.
1920 – The Wall Street bombing: a bomb in a horse wagon explodes in front of the J. P. Morgan building in New York City – 38 are killed and 400 injured.
1941 – World War II: concerned that Reza Pahlavi the Shah of Persia was to align his petroleum-rich country with Germany during World War II, the United Kingdom and the USSR invade Iran in late August and force him to resign in favor of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
1945 – World War II: Surrender of the Japanese forces in Hong Kong. The ceremony was presided by British Admiral Cecil Harcourt.
1947 – Typhoon Kathleen hit Saitama, Tokyo and Tone River area, at least 1,930 killed.
1955 – Juan Peron is deposed in Argentina.
1963 – Malaysia is formed from Malaya, Singapore, British North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak.
1966 – The Metropolitan Opera House opens at Lincoln Center in New York City with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s opera, Antony and Cleopatra.
1970 – King Hussein of Jordan declares military rule following the hijacking of four civilian airliners by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). This results in the formation of the Black September Palestinian paramilitary unit.
1975 – Papua New Guinea gains its independence from Australia.
1975 – Cape Verde, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe join the United Nations.
1975 – The first prototype of the MiG-31 interceptor makes its maiden flight.
1978 – An earthquake measuring 7.5-7.9 on the Richter scale hits the city of Tabas, Iran killing about 25,000 people.
1980 – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines join the United Nations.
1982 – Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon.
1987 – The Montreal Protocol is signed to protect the ozone layer from depletion.
1990 – A rail link between China and Kazakhstan is completed at Dostyk, adding an important connection to the Eurasian Land Bridge.
1991 – The trial of deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega begins in the United States.
1992 – Black Wednesday: the Pound Sterling is forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism by currency speculators and is forced to devalue against the Deutschmark.
2005 – Camorra boss Paolo Di Lauro is arrested in Naples.
2007 – A deadly shooting in Baghdad involving the U.S. security firm Blackwater USA left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.