[The Taj Mahal is a prime example of Mughal architecture, and its over-the-top opulence is nothing compared to the ornate and enduring love that seems to have inspired it. History has conveniently erased almost everything that was once known about the woman whose tomb this is, but here is written in stone and tile a biography of one who clearly earned the sobriquet 'beloved ornament of the palace'.]
1462 - During the so-called Night Attack Vlad III the Impaler attempted to assassinate Ottoman Emperor Mehmed II, forcing him to retreat from Wallachia.
1497 - At the Battle of Deptford Bridge near London forces led by England's King Henry VII soundly defeated the rag-tag militia of blacksmith Michael An Gof, thereby effectively ending the Cornish Rebellion.
1565 - Matsunaga Hisahide assassinated the 13th Ashikaga shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru.
1631 - When Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to their fourteenth child, Gauhara Begum, her dying wish prompted her grieving husband Shah Jahan to spend the next 20 years building the Taj Mahal as a tomb worthy both of her memory and their love.
1775 - During the Siege of Boston at the outset of the American Revolution, the Battle of Bunker Hill - which actually took place on Breed's Hill - pitted American general Israel Putnam against Britain's William Howe; technically an American loss, Howe was able to claim a Pyhrric victory at best, since he was the only one of his field staff who wasn't shot.
1885 - The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor packed in 214 boxes on board the French frigate Isère, although she wouldn't be formally dedicated by President Grover Cleveland until October 1886, as fund-raising efforts to provide her with a suitable pedestal foundered.
1898 - The United States Navy Hospital Corps was established.
1930 - President Herbert Hoover signed the rabidly protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act into law, thereby turning a temporary downturn caused by the Crash of 1929 into the decade-long Great Depression. Smoove move Hoove...
1932 - The so-called Bonus Army comprised of around a thousand First World War veterans amassed at the United States Capitol as the US Senate was deliberating a bill that would give them certain benefits such as pensions.
1933 - Four FBI agents and captured fugitive Frank Nash were gunned down by gangsters Charles 'Pretty Boy' Floyd, Vernon Miller, and Adam Richetti - who were attempting to free Nash from federal custody - during the Union Station Massacre in Kansas City, Missouri; the whole story is thrillingly told in Bryan Burroughs' riveting book Public Enemies - soon to be a major motion picture starring Johnny Depp!
1939 - At the last public guillotining in French history, convicted murderer Eugen Weidmann lost his head outside the Saint-Pierre prison near Versailles; the guillotine would still be used in private executions until September 1977, when it would be Hamida Djandoubi's turn to become the answer to an awesome Trivial Pursuit question.
1940 - The Baltic States - Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia - fell under Soviet occupation, where they would remain until their independence was recognized by Russia in September 1991.
1944 - Iceland gained its independence from Denmark, following a plebiscite; the new republic's first president was Sveinn Björnsson. Previously the island dependency had been granted Home Rule in 1874, which was expanded in 1904; latterly, an Act of Union (passed in December 1918) gave Iceland full independence under the Danish crown. It was the Second World War, though - more specifically Denmark's occupation by Germany (not to mention Iceland's occupation by Great Britain) - that gave the country's independence movement its final burst of speed.
1953 - In order to quell the Workers Uprising in East Germany, the Soviet Union ordered units of the GSFG and Volkspolizei into East Berlin.
1958 - The Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing being built to connect Vancouver with North Vancouver collapsed into the Burrard Inlet, killing many of the ironworkers on it and injuring others; the collapse was later deemed to be due to human error, the human in question being an engineer who was one of those who died.
1961 - Canada's New Democratic Party was founded following a merger by the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and the Canadian Labour Congress.
1963 - The US Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 against in the case of Abington School District v. Schempp, disallowing the reciting of Bible verses and the Lord's Prayer in public schools; the dissenting opinion was offered by that lovable kook Potter Stewart.
1987 - With the death of the last individual - a male named Orange Band, who lived to the grand old age of eight at Walt Disney World Resort's Discovery Island nature preserve - Florida's Dusky Seaside Sparrow became extinct. Native to the natural salt marshes of Merritt Island and along the St. John's River, it's foe was the usual suspect of DDT - sprayed no doubt due to the rampant spread of ugly subdivisions with their contempt for the natural world. The species was officially declared extinct in December 1990.
1994 - Following a well-televised low-speed highway chase and a failed attempt at suicide so unconvincing it wouldn't have fooled Helen Keller, O.J. Simpson was arrested for the murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
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