Saturday, June 26, 2010
363 CE - Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate was killed during a retreat from the Sassanid Empire following the Battle of Samarra; General Jovian was proclaimed Emperor in his place by the troops on the battlefield.
1284 - According to legend, the Pied Piper lured 130 children away from the German town of Hamelin.
1409 - Petros Philargos was crowned Pope Alexander V after the Council of Pisa, joining Pope Gregory XII in Rome and Pope Benedict XII in Avignon, causing a double schism in the Roman Catholic Church.
1541 - Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was assassinated in Lima by Don Diego de Almagro, who was later caught and executed for the crime.
1819 - The bicycle was patented. History does not record when bicyclists first began to demand the right to ride their bicycles wherever they damn well please without consideration for others - such as on the sidewalk or inside public buildings (as they've been known to do in Vancouver at least) but at least one amateur historian (namely me) suspects it was immediately thereafter.
1857 - The first investiture of the Victoria Cross was held in London's Hyde Park; Queen Victoria herself awarded the prestigious medal for bravery to 62 out of 111 eligible veterans of the Crimean War that day, including one to Charles Davis Lucas who'd been the first to earn his (during the bombardment of Bomarsund). It has since been awarded 1351 times, with 94 of them going to Canadians.
1927 - The Cyclone roller coaster opened on Coney Island.
1934 - Apparently President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act, which aptly enough allowed for the establishment of credit unions. You know... Federally.
1945 - The United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco by 50 of its 51 original signatories; only Poland had to wait, since they'd sent no delegate to the United Nations Conference on International Organization.
1959 - Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower opened the St. Lawrence Seaway.
1963 - US President John F. Kennedy boosted morale in West Berlin by declaring 'Ich bin ein Berliner' in the partitioned area of that city; JFK's elegant Commie-bashing can be seen and heard above, but if it's as much like porno to you as it is to me, it's definitely NSFW.
1974 - At the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, the Universal Product Code on a package of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit chewing gum became the first item ever to be scanned.
1975 - During a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota two FBI agents (Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams) and an American Indian Movement member named Joe Stuntz were killed; Leonard Peltier was later convicted of the murders following a controversial trial.
1976 - The CN Tower, the world's tallest free-standing structure on land, was opened.
1977 - The Yorkshire Ripper killed 16 year-old shop girl Jayne MacDonald in Leeds, changing the public's perception of the killer; she was the first of his victims who was not a prostitute, and with her death British women began to fear that any of them could be next.
1995 - Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani deposed his father Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, in a bloodless coup.
1996 - Irish journalist Veronica Guerin was shot and killed in her car by drug dealers while stopped at a traffic light on the Naas Dual Carriageway on the outskirts of Dublin; her story was told in a movie by Joel Schumacher, in which Guerin was played by Cate Blanchett.
1997 - The US Supreme Court ruled that the Communications Decency Act violated the First Amendment.
2003 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that gender-based sodomy laws were unconstitutional.
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