On this day in 1824, the world premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Vienna, Austria. The performance is conducted by Michael Umlauf under the deaf composer’s supervision. It was Beethoven’s first appearance on stage in 12 years. Over the years the symphony has been performed for both political and non-political from the eve of Hitler’s birthday, to the celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, to the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. The Ode to Joy was used as the anthem by Kosovo when it declared it’s independence in 2008.
558 – In Constantinople, the dome of the Hagia Sophia collapses. Justinian I immediately orders that the dome be rebuilt.
1274 – In France, the Second Council of Lyons opens to regulate the election of the Pope.
1429 – Joan of Arc ends the Siege of Orleans, pulling an arrow from her own shoulder and returning, wounded, to lead the final charge. The victory marks a turning point in the Hundred Years’ War.
1664 – Louis XIV of France inaugurates The Palace of Versailles.
1697 – Stockholm’s royal castle (dating back to medieval times) is destroyed by fire. It is replaced by the current Royal Palace in the eighteenth century.
1718 – The city of New Orleans is founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.
1763 – Indian Wars: Pontiac’s Rebellion begins – Chief Pontiac begins the “Conspiracy of Pontiac” by attacking British forces at Fort Detroit.
1832 – The independence of Greece is recognized by the Treaty of London. Otto of Wittelsbach, Prince of Bavaria is chosen King.
1836 – The settlement of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico is elevated to the royal status of villa by the government of Spain.
1840 – The Great Natchez Tornado strikes Natchez, Mississippi killing 317 people. It is the second deadliest tornado in United States history.
1847 – The American Medical Association is founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1864 – American Civil War: The Army of the Potomac, under General Ulysses S. Grant, breaks off from the Battle of the Wilderness and moves southwards.
1895 – In Saint Petersburg, Russian scientist Alexander Stepanovich Popov demonstrates to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society his invention, the Popov lightning detector – a primitive radio receiver. In some parts of the former Soviet Union the anniversary of this day is celebrated as Radio Day.
1902 – Volcanic eruption buries Caribbean city: Martinique s Mount Pele begins the deadliest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. The following day, the city of Saint Pierre, which some called the “Paris” of the Caribbean, was virtually wiped off the map.
1915 – World War I: German submarine SM U-20 sinks RMS Lusitania, killing 1,198 people including 128 Americans. Public reaction to the sinking turns many formerly pro-Germans in the United States against the German Empire.
1920 – Kiev Offensive (1920): Polish troops led by Jozef Pilsudski and Edward Rydz-Smigly and assisted by a symbolic Ukrainian force capture Kiev only to be driven out by the Red Army counter-offensive a month later.
1920 – Treaty of Moscow: Soviet Russia recognizes the independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia only to invade the country six months later.
1927 – Angelos Sikelianos organizes the first Delphic Festival in Delphi to celebrate the ancient Greek Delphic ideal.
1937 – Spanish Civil War: The German Condor Legion, equipped with Heinkel He 51 biplanes, arrives in Spain to assist Francisco Franco’s forces.
1942 – During the Battle of the Coral Sea, United States Navy aircraft carrier aircraft attack and sink the Japanese Imperial Navy light aircraft carrier Shoho. The battle marks the first time in the naval history that two enemy fleets fight without visual contact between warring ships.
1945 – World War II: General Alfred Jodl signs unconditional surrender terms at Reims, France, ending Germany’s participation in the war. The document takes effect the next day.
1946 – Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering (later renamed Sony) is founded with around 20 employees.
1948 – The Council of Europe is founded during the Hague Congress.
1952 – The concept of the integrated circuit, the basis for all modern computers, is first published by Geoffrey W.A. Dummer.
1954 – Indochina War: The Battle of Dien Bien Phu ends in a French defeat (the battle began on March 13).
1960 – Cold War: U-2 Crisis of 1960 – Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announces that his nation is holding American U-2 pilot Gary Powers.
1964 – Pacific Air Lines Flight 773, a Fairchild F-27 airliner, crashes near San Ramon, California, killing all 44 aboard; the FBI later reports that a cockpit recorder tape indicates that the pilot and co-pilot had been shot by a suicidal passenger.
1974 – West German Chancellor Willy Brandt resigns.
1992 – Michigan ratifies a 203-year-old proposed amendment to the United States Constitution making the 27th Amendment law. This amendment bars the U.S. Congress from giving itself a mid-term pay raise.
1992 – Latvia conducted its first post-Soviet monetary reform and began issuing Latvian rublis, a temporary currency in use until the introduction of Latvian lats. The move reduced the pressure on Latvian economy caused by shortage of cash and hyperinflation of rouble, and led way to ultimately successful economic reforms.
1994 “The Scream”, Norway’s most famous painting, by Edvard Munch, was recovered almost three months after it was stolen from a museum in Oslo. The fragile painting was recovered undamaged at a hotel in Asgardstrand, about 40 miles south of Oslo, police said.
1998 – Mercedes-Benz buys Chrysler for $40 billion USD and forms DaimlerChrysler in the largest industrial merger in history.
1999 – Pope John Paul II travels to Romania becoming the first pope to visit a predominantly Eastern Orthodox country since the Great Schism in 1054.
1999 – Kosovo War: In Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, three Chinese citizens are killed and 20 wounded when a NATO aircraft bombs the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
2007 – The tomb of Herod the Great is discovered.
1931 – Gene Wolfe, American science fiction author, 79
1932 – Pete Domenici, Republican senator from New Mexico, 78
1943 – Terry Allen, American country music singer, 67
1945 – Robin Strasser, American TV soap opera actress, 65
1946 – Bill Kreutzmann, American drummer (Grateful Dead), 64
1946 – Brian Turner, English celebrity chef, 64
1951 – Robert Hegyes, American actor, 59
1955 – Peter Reckell, American actor, 55
1956 – Jean Lapierre, Canadian politician and television host, 54
1957 – Ned Bellamy, American actor, 53
1958 – Mark G. Kuzyk, American physicist, 52
1967 – Joe Rice, American politician, 43
1968 – Traci Lords, American actress, 42
1969 – Eagle-Eye Cherry, Swedish/American musician, 41
1972 – Felix da Housecat, American DJ and record producer, 38