[This stylized view of the birth of the First French Empire was brilliantly imagined by Jacques-Louis David... Having received the coerced blessing of Pope Pius VII, Napoleon Bonaparte took up the modestly named Crown of Napoleon and placed it on his own head; he then made an Empress of his consort, Joséphine de Beauharnais. At 610 × 931 cm (or more than 500 square feet!) the painting currently occupies considerably more of the Louvre than the crown does, even though the crown once contained a thing as vast as the Emperor's ego - compared to which the painting is but an opulent molecule.]
1409 - The University of Leipzig was founded.
1703 - When what was known as the Great Storm of 1703 finally subsided off the southern coast of England following more than a week of hurricane conditions, 8,000 people were dead, 4,000 oak trees fell in the New Forest alone, and countless ships had been wrecked on their way home from fighting in the War of the Spanish Succession.
1755 - The second Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed by fire, almost 52 years to the day after the Great Storm of 1703 destroyed the first one in November 1703.
1804 - Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, rather than at Notre-Dame de Reims, where French rulers had traditionally been crowned.
1805 - The Battle of Austerlitz gave Napoleon his most decisive victory over the combined forces of Russia and Austria by destroying the Third Coalition; the battle is often called the Battle of the Three Emperors as it was fought between Napoleon, Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Francis II, the Holy Roman Emperor.
1823 - President James Monroe proclaimed the Monroe Doctrine during his seventh State of the Union Address, establishing a precedent for American neutrality in European wars; the clarity of the Monroe Doctrine has since been muddied by the Roosevelt Corollary and the Clark Memorandum.
1848 - Franz Josef I became Emperor of Austria upon the death of his uncle, Ferdinand I.
1851 - French President Charles Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the Second Republic.
1852 - Napoleon III declared himself the third Emperor of the French.
1859 - Abolitionist John Brown was executed for his role in the October 1859 raid on the Armory in Harper's Ferry, Virginia.
1867 - Charles Dickens gave his first American reading, at Boston's Tremont Temple; before a paying audience of 2000+ he delivered his 'secular scripture' A Christmas Carol 'like a sermon' or, in the author's own words, a 'literary sledge-hammer'.
1908 - Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, came to the throne at the age of 2.
1927 - The Ford Model A went on the market; it was introduced to eventually replace the company's Model T which had made its debut 19 years earlier in October 1908.
1939 - New York Municipal Airport opened for business, having been dedicated in October 1939; it was later renamed La Guardia Airport.
1942 - As part of the ongoing research of the Manhattan Project, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
1943 - A Luftwaffe bombing raid on the harbour of the Italian port of Bari sank numerous cargo and transport ships, including an American Liberty ship, the John Harvey, which was carrying a stockpile of WWI-era mustard gas.
1947 - The Jerusalem Riots broke out in response to the approval of the UN's Partition Plan.
1954 - The United States Senate voted 65 to 22 in favour of Senate Resolution 301, as recommended by a Select Committee headed by Arthur V. Watkins of Utah; the Watkins Committee's suggested measures led to the censure of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose involvement in the Red Scare it deemed 'conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute'.
1993 - Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar was shot and killed by agents of the Search Bloc in Medellín.
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