[By 1450, when this image was made, the Renaissance St. Peter's Basilica which had grown up around the tomb of Saint Peter had itself grown too old-fashioned for the silk- and velvet-dressed, perfumed and bejewelled he-men who lived and worked there; originally intending to preserve the old building, Pope Julius II eventually tore one architectural masterpiece down with an unshakable faith that someday an even greater one would arise...]
326 CE - The Old St. Peter's Basilica was consecrated, during the papal reign of St. Sylvester I.
1302 - When Pope Boniface VIII issued the Papal bull Unam sanctam - 'The One Holy' - it wasn't the first bull issued by a Pope (and Lord knows it wouldn't be the last) but it was one of the strongest statements to date about Papal infallibility, and is probably responsible for that holier-than-Thou attitude of theirs the rest of us must contend with to this day.
1307 - According to legend, William Tell shot an apple off his son's head.
1477 - When William Caxton produced Dictes, or Sayengis of the Philosophres (written by the King's brother-in-law Earl Rivers, whose sister Elizabeth married Edward IV), it would be the first book printed on a printing press in England.
1626 - The extensively remodeled St. Peter's Basilica was re-consecrated by Pope Urban VIII.
1803 - At Battle of Vertières, the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution, Jean-Jacques Dessalines defeated French troops under Vicomte de Rochambeau - leading to the establishment of the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere, the Republic of Haiti, where the day is still celebrated.
1863 - Denmark's King Christian IX signed that country's November Constitution, which (in part) declared Schleswig to be part of Denmark; this was seen by the German Confederation as a violation of the London Protocol and would eventually lead to the German-Danish War of 1864.
1865 - Mark Twain's story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County was first published, in the New York Saturday Press.
1905 - Denmark's Prince Carl became King Haakon VII of Norway following the 1905 dissolution of the union between the two countries.
1916 - The First Battle of the Somme ended when British Expeditionary Force commander Douglas Haig called off the battle - which had started on July 1st.
1928 - The animated short Steamboat Willie, the first fully-synchronized sound cartoon, was released; directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, it featured the second appearances of cartoon stars Mickey and Minnie Mouse. This date is also considered by the Disney Corporation to be Mickey's birthday.
1929 - The Grand Banks earthquake - a submarine seismic event recorded at 7.2 on the Richter scale and centred on the Grand Banks in the Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of Newfoundland - broke 12 underwater transatlantic telegraph cables and triggered a tsunami that destroyed many south coast communities in the Burin Peninsula area.
1947 - A fire at Ballantyne's Department Store fire in Christchurch killed 41, making it the worst such catastrophe in New Zealand history.
1978 - At the Jonestown incident in Guyana, Jim Jones led his Peoples Temple cult in a mass murder-suicide that claimed 918 lives in all, 909 of them at Jonestown itself, including over 270 children; the event had been precipitated by the fact-finding mission of Congressman Leo Ryan (D.-Calif.) and his subsequent murder (along with four journalists) at the hands of Jonestown thugs, also on this day.
1985 - Bill Watterson's legendary comic strip Calvin and Hobbes debuted.
1987 - During a fire in London, 31 people died at the city's busiest Tube station, King's Cross St Pancras.
1991 - Following the 87-day siege of Vukovar, that Croatian city capitulated to the besieging Yugoslav People's Army and allied Serb paramilitary forces.
2000 - Welsh beauty Catherine Zeta-Jones married Hollywood royalty Michael Douglas at New York City's famed Plaza Hotel.
2003 - The UK's Local Government Act 2003 received Royal Assent, repealing the Thatcher government's controversial anti-gay amendment Section 28 in England and Wales; Scotland had already repealed it in June 2000 with the passage of its Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000. First passed in May 1988 and championed by, among many others, Michael Howard, Section 28 remains one of the most loathsome pieces of legislation ever produced by the Mother of All Parliaments.
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