[When HM The Queen of Australia formally opened the Sydney Opera House on this day in 1973 the performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 she attended there was far from the venue's first show; previously Jørn Utzon's impressionistic architectural masterpiece - which dominates Sydney Harbour from Bennelong Point dwarfed only by Sydney Harbour Bridge - had been host to a performance of Sergei Prokofiev's opera War and Peace, in addition to a concert of Wagner favourites featuring soloist Birgit Nilsson, a recital of lieder songs by Nilsson and Geoffrey Parsons, a violin and piano recital by Parsons and Wanda Wiłkomirska, as well as a series of lunchtime performances for the workers, the first of which was given by Paul Robeson in 1960.]
1740 - Upon the accession of Maria Theresa to the Austrian throne, France, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony refused to honour the Pragmatic Sanction, triggering the War of the Austrian Succession.
1803 - The US Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.
1818 - The Treaty of 1818 settled most of the border between Canada and the United States at the 49th Parallel.
1827 - At the Battle of Navarino a combined Turkish and Egyptian armada was destroyed by an allied British, French, and Russian naval force at a port now called Pylos on Navarino Bay; the victory marks the end of the Greek War of Independence and the affirmation of an independent, modern Greece.
1883 - Peru and Chile signed the Treaty of Ancón, by which the Tarapacá province of the former was ceded to the latter, bringing an end to Peru's involvement in the War of the Pacific.
1905 - The Turkish football club Galatasaray was founded.
1941 - Thousands of civilians in the Nazi-occupied Serbian town of Kragujevac were killed, in what came to be known as the Kragujevac Massacre.
1947 - The US and Pakistan established diplomatic relations.
1951 - The Johnny Bright Incident enflamed the Oklahoma town of Stillwater.
1952 - Kenya's Governor Evelyn Baring declared a state of emergency and began arresting hundreds of suspected leaders of the Mau Mau Uprising, including Jomo Kenyatta, the future first President of Kenya.
1955 - J. R. R. Tolkien novel The Return of the King - the last part of The Lord of the Rings - was published.
1967 - A purported bigfoot was filmed by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin.
1968 - Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis and became the emblematic mega-celebrity of the 1970s known as Jackie O.
1973 - During the so-called Saturday Night Massacre US President Richard M. Nixon fired his Attorney-General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney-General William Ruckelshaus after they refused to fire Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was finally fired by Robert Bork.
1976 - The ferry George Prince was struck by a ship while crossing the Mississippi River between Destrehan and Luling, Louisiana; in all seventy-eight passengers and crew died, while only 18 people aboard the ferry survived.
1977 - An airplane carrying most of Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in Mississippi; killed were lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines along with backup singer Cassie Gaines, as well as the band's road manager, pilot, and co-pilot.
1979 - The JFK Library opened in Boston.
1984 - California's Monterey Bay Aquarium opened.
1991 - The Oakland Hills firestorm killed 25 and destroyed 3,469 homes and apartments, causing more than $2 billion in damage.
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