1291 - The Swiss Confederation was formed with the signing of the Federal Charter.
1492 - The Alhambra Decree - passed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain in March - took effect, either driving the Jews out of Spain or else forcing them to convert to Roman Catholicism.
1820 - London's Regent's Canal opened.
1828 - Britain's Bolton and Leigh Railway opened to freight traffic, connecting the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal at Bolton to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Leigh.
1831 - A new John Rennie-designed London Bridge opened, replacing the far more famous medieval one; King William IV and Queen Adelaide attended a banquet in a pavilion erected on the bridge in honour of the event. In April 1968 the bridge was sold to oilman Robert P. McCulloch, who ordered it painstaking disassembled and rebuilt as part of an Anglophilic theme park in Lake Havasu City, Arizona It has since been replaced by yet another bridge, this time designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson.
1842 - The Lombard Street Riot erupted - not in San Francisco, as you might expect, but in Philadelphia.
1876 - Colorado became the 38th US state.
1907 - Robert Baden-Powell opened a Boy Scout camp on Brownsea Island in Dorset's Poole Harbour to field test the ideas laid out in his acclaimed book Scouting for Boys.
1936 - The Games of the XI Olympiad were opened in Berlin.
1944 - Anne Frank made the last entry in her diary.
1966 - Charles Whitman killed 15 people at The University of Texas at Austin before being killed by the police.
1968 - Hassanal Bolkiah was crowned the 29th Sultan of Brunei.
1977 - Former Lockheed U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers crashed the news helicopter he was flying in the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area just a few miles short of the Burbank Airport; also killed in the crash was NBC newsman George Spears, with whom he'd been covering forest fires in the vicinity of Santa Barbara. According to his son, Francis Gary Powers Jr., the experienced pilot crashed because he'd reported a fuel gauge error to a mechanic - when the plane's fuel gauge indicator displayed 'Empty' there was actually had enough fuel for thirty more minutes of flight time - who apparently made the repair without telling anyone.
1981 - MTV made its broadcast debut.
1993 - The Great Flood of 1993, which had inundated an area of Missouri 1200 km (745 miles) long and 700 km (435 miles) wide - or about 840,000 km² (320,000 square miles) - since April, and would continue to do so until October, came to a peak; at it's worst, the rising water at St. Louis topped 15.1 m (49.6 feet), nearly 6 m (20 feet) above flood stage and easily surpassing the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The 16 m (52-foot)-high St. Louis Floodwall, built to handle the volume of the 1844 flood, was able to keep the 1993 flood out with just over 60 cm (two feet) to spare!
2004 - A supermarket fire in the Paraguayan capital of Asunción killed as many as 396 people and injured 500; according to survivors doors within the complex were closed under the direction of the owners, Juan Pío Paiva and his son, Víctor Daniel, deliberately trapping people inside in order to prevent them from fleeing with merchandise without paying for it - a claim the management of the shopping centre has denied.
2007 - The I-35W Mississippi River Bridge - spanning the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota - collapsed during the evening rush hour, killing thirteen people and injuring 145; the tragedy sparked a brief public debate about the state of America's crumbling infrastructure... That is until (and I'm guessing here) some celebrity or other did something stupid, at which point the media got back to reporting on what's really important.
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