[The pitted appearance of the far side of the Moon suggests that it has shielded Earth from a number of significant impacts, including the South Pole-Aitken basin, which is the largest known impact feature in our solar system.]
1640 - The Treaty of Ripon was signed, restoring peace between Scotland and Charles I.
1689 - Austrian General Enea Silvio Piccolomini burned down Skopje to prevent the spread of cholera - or possibly in retaliation for an earlier siege of Vienna; he died of cholera himself soon after, and either way, at least he didn't have to live with himself for what he'd done.
1774 - The first Continental Congress adjourned.
1825 - The Erie Canal opened, connecting the Hudson River at Albany, New York, to the Great Lakes via Lake Erie.
1859 - The Royal Charter was wrecked off the Welsh coast of Anglesey, with as many as 459 dead.
1881 - The Gunfight at the OK Corral took place in Tombstone, Arizona.
1905 - Norway's King Oscar II renounced his claim to Sweden, and by signing the Treaty of Separation gave the former its independence from the latter; Denmark's Prince Carl (husband of England's Princess Maud and therefore son-in-law of Edward VII) soon took over as Sweden's King Haakon VII.
1951 - Britain's Conservative Party, led by Sir Winston Churchill, swept Clement Attlee's Labour Party from power. READ MORE! Also, former Heavyweight boxing champ Joe Louis came out of retirement to fight Rocky Marciano, only to lose after eight rounds on the wrong end of a knockout.
1955 - Ngô Đình Diệm declared himself Premier of South Vietnam.
1959 - The world got its first glimpses at the far side of the Moon, courtesy of Luna 3.
1964 - Eric Edgar Cooke became the last person to be executed in Western Australia.
1967 - Mohammad Reza Pahlavi crowned himself Shah of Iran before crowning his wife Farah Diba the Shahbanu.
1977 - The last naturally occurring case of indigenous smallpox (Variola minor) was diagnosed in Ali Maow Maalin, a hospital cook in Merca, Somalia; the last naturally occurring case of the more deadly Variola major had been detected in October 1975 in a two-year-old Bangladeshi girl, Rahima Banu. The death of Janet Parker in September 1978 aside, the WHO and the CDC consider this the date smallpox was eliminated, a singular day for supporters of vaccination, since smallpox is the only infectious human disease to ever be eradicated.
1979 - The President of South Korea, Park Chung-hee, was assassinated by Kim Jae-kyu, the head of the KCIA; in an attempt made five years earlier, his wife Yuk Young-soo was killed by Mun Se-gwang. READ MORE!
1984 - 'Baby Fae' received a heart transplant from a baboon.
1992 - Canada's Charlottetown Accord was defeated in a nationwide referendum.
2000 - Laurent Gbagbo took over as president of Côte d'Ivoire following a popular uprising against President Robert Guéï.
2001 - President George W. Bush passed the USA PATRIOT Act into law, a suspiciously fast 43 days after the attacks of 9-11.
2002 - The Moscow Theatre Siege reached its heartbreaking climax as approximately 50 Chechen terrorists and 150 of their hostages died when Russian Spetsnaz forces stormed the House of Culture at State Ball-Bearing Plant Number 1 in Dubrovna, near Moscow, which had been occupied by the terrorists during a musical performance three days before.
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