[Not only would the cover of Abbey Road inspire the whole
'Paul is dead' hysteria, but it's also been parodied untold number
of times since by any prat with a camera and four friends.]
636 CE - Following the six-day Battle of Yarmouk - during which Arab forces of the Rashidun Caliphate led by Khalid ibn al-Walid, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, Amr ibn al-A'as, Shurahbil ibn Hassana, and Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan took control of Syria and Palestine away from the Byzantine Empire - the first great wave of Muslim conquest and the rapid advance of Islam outside Arabia began. Although the Byzantine commander Heraclius managed to survive the slaughter - as did Jabalah ibn al-Aiham, Buccinator, and Gregory - his colleagues Theodore Trithyrius, Vahan, and Dairjan fell in battle.
917 BCE - At the Battle of Anchialus Bulgaria's Tsar Simeon I invaded Thrace and successfully drove the Byzantine Empire (commanded by Leo Phocas) out.
1083 - Stephen I - who'd first established Hungary as a Christian kingdom 83 years earlier - was canonized by Pope Gregory VII.
1391 - Konrad von Wallenrode became the 24th Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order.
1775 - The Spanish presidio which would one day become Tucson, Arizona, was completed.
1804 - The Corps of Discovery - the team that accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition's exploration of the Louisiana Purchase - suffered its only death when its quartermaster, Sgt. Charles Floyd, died (apparently from acute appendicitis) en route; the site of his burial is now called Floyd's Bluff in his honour, despite an 1891 ruling by the US Board on Geographic Names that such features (such as Pikes Peak) cannot bear a possessive apostrophe.
1866 - President Andrew Johnson officially declared an end to the US Civil War.
1882 - Tchaikovsky's masterpiece, the 1812 Overture - commemorating the unsuccessful attempt by Napoleon Bonaparte to invade Russia - made its concert debut in Moscow.
1920 - The first commercial radio station in the US began operating in Detroit; originally known by the call letters 8MK, in October 1921 it was given the letters WBL, and since March 1922 the station has been known as WWJ.
1940 - Exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was fatally wounded at his home in Mexico City by NKVD agent Ramón Mercader, who did the deed with an ice pick to the skull; Trotsky died of his injuries the next day.
1968 - 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invaded Czechoslovakia in order to end the so-called Prague Spring, a period of political liberalization.
1969 - All four of The Beatles were together in the studio for the final time as they finished recording their album Abbey Road with producer George Martin.
1975 - NASA launched the Viking 1 planetary probe toward Mars as part of its Viking Program.
1977 - The Voyager 2 spacecraft was launched as part of the Voyager Program, intended to explore the planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune as well as their moons; it is still in operation after more than 11,000 days, and is considered the most productive probe ever launched by NASA.
1979 - The East Coast Main Line rail route between London and Edinburgh was restored when the Penmanshiel Diversion opened.
1986 - American postal employee Patrick Sherrill gunned down 14 of his co-workers before committing suicide in Edmond, Oklahoma; the incident is attributed with introducing the phrase 'going postal' into the collective lexicon.
1988 - The single worst day of the Yellowstone fire at Yellowstone National Park - dubbed 'Black Saturday' - brought about a major change to the 'let it burn' policies favoured by the Reagan Administration.
1991 - Estonia seceded from the Soviet Union, taking advantage of the confusion caused by the military's anti-Gorbachev coup attempt in Moscow to do so.
1998 - The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Quebec could not legally secede without the approval of the federal government.
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