[George Jorgensen's meeting of Sweden's Dr. Christian Hamburger brought about the startling transformation known as Christine Jorgensen; rattling the staid sexual orthodoxy of the 1950s in the process was just a bonus.]
1640 - The Iberian Union came to an end when Portugal acclaimed João IV as its king, thus ending a 60-year period of personal union of the crowns of Portugal and Spain and the end of the rule of the House of Habsburg (also called the Philippine Dynasty) in that country.
1768 - The slave ship Fredensborg sank off the Norwegian coast near the town of Tromøy.
1822 - Pedro I was crowned Emperor of Brazil.
1834 - Slavery was abolished in the Cape Colony in accordance with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which called for the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire.
1860 - Charles Dickens serialized the first part of his novel Great Expectations in his own magazine, All the Year Round.
1913 - Crete - having obtained self-rule from Turkey after the first Balkan War - was annexed by Greece.
1918 - The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) was proclaimed.
1919 - Lady Astor became Britain's first woman Parliamentarian when she took her seat at Westminster as a Unionist, representing the constituency of Plymouth Sutton, three days after her election.
1941 - New York City's Mayor Fiorello La Guardia - doing double duty as Director of the Office of Civilian Defense - signed Administrative Order 9, creating the Civil Air Patrol.
1952 - The New York Daily News reported the news of Christine Jorgensen, the first notable case of a gender reassignment operation.
1955 - Seamstress Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man and was arrested for violating the city's racial segregation laws, an incident which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
1958 - A fire at Chicago's Our Lady of the Angels School claimed the lives of 92 pupils and three nuns.
1959 - The Antarctic Treaty - which set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and under its own Article I banned military activity on that continent - was opened for signature; the first 12 signatories were Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. The treaty's Article I was the Cold War era's first such proscription against militarism.
1963 - Nagaland became India's 16th state.
1973 - Papua New Guinea became self-governing, and would obtain full independence from Australia following a peaceful transition of power in September 1975.
1981 - The AIDS virus was officially recognized; today this event is commemorated around the world as World AIDS Day, which has been observed since 1988.
1982 - Michael Jackson released Thriller, which would go on to be the biggest selling album of all time.
1989 - The right-wing military rebel group Reform the Armed forces Movement (RAM) - comprised principally of Ferdinand Marcos loyalists - attempted to oust Philippine President Corazon Aquino in a failed coup d' etat.
1990 - French and UK Channel Tunnel excavations met in the middle - 40 meters beneath the seabed of the English Channel/La Manche - joining Britain to mainland Europe for the first time in 8,000 years.
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