[The E.V. Haughwout Building - located at 488 Broadway and the corner of Broome Street in Manhattan's tony SoHo district - was designed by John P. Gaynor to house Haughwout's emporium of fine china, which once attracted such bold-named clients as Mary Todd Lincoln. The building's original Otis Elevator - the first in the world - cost $300 and went the amazing speed of 20 cm (8 inches) per second; it is no longer in place.]
1568 - The Peace of Longjumeau ended France's so-called Second War of Religion when again King Charles IX and Catherine de' Medici (his mother and widow of Henri II) made substantial concessions to the Huguenots.
1708 - James Francis Edward Stuart - son of the deposed James II and VII of England and Scotland, known colloquially as the Old Pretender - attempted to invade England by landing a French fleet at the Firth of Forth; the ships were ultimately driven back by Admiral Sir George Byng.
1775 - American patriot Patrick Henry delivered his famous speech - proclaiming 'give me liberty or give me death' - to the Virginia House of Burgesses at St. John's Church in Richmond, supposedly in the presence of fellow revolutionaries Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Or did he? And was he the first to utter those famous words?
1801 - Russia's Tsar Paul I was struck with a sword, then strangled, and finally trampled to death in his bedroom at St. Michael's Castle in what was surely one of the most labour-intensive assassinations in history... In the end the Tsar was killed by a group of men led by Levin August, Count von Benningsen and General Vladimir Yashvil.
1806 - After traveling overland through the vast territory encompassed by the Louisiana Purchase and reaching the Pacific Ocean, explorers Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery set out from Fort Clatsop in the Oregon Country to begin their equally arduous journey back to St. Louis.
1848 - The ship John Wickliffe arrived at Port Chalmers carrying the first Scottish settlers for a proposed colony at Dunedin, resulting in the founding of New Zealand's Otago province.
1857 - Elisha Otis's first elevator was installed at 488 Broadway in New York City.
1889 - The free Woolwich Ferry officially opened connecting Woolwich in the Borough of Greenwich to North Woolwich in the Borough of Newham in the east end of London across the Thames.
1896 - The Raines Law was passed by the New York State Legislature, restricting the Sunday sale of alcohol to hotels, rather than saloons - which anyway soon found a loophole by fitting out 'rooms' in storehouses which later proved highly propitious to prostitutes and their clients. The Raines Law's principal depiction in pop culture remains Eugene O'Neill's play The Iceman Cometh, in which the saloon room has been outfitted for use as a gambling parlour.
1908 - American diplomat Durham Stevens was attacked while staying at San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel by Korean assassins Jeon Myeong-un and Jang In-hwan, leading to his death in a hospital two days later.
1919 - Benito Mussolini founded his Fascist political movement, the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento (Italian Combat Squad), in Milan; within two years the organization became known as the National Fascist Party.
1931 - Revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged during the Indian struggle for independence, their request to be executed by firing squad having been refused.
1933 - Germany's Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933, effectively making Adolf Hitler that country's dictator.
1983 - US President Ronald Reagan made his initial proposal to develop the Strategic Defense Initiative, a technology designed to intercept enemy missiles from space.
1994 - At an election rally in Lomas Taurinas, a poor neighbourhood in Tijuana, Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio of the centre-right PRI party was assassinated by Mario Aburto Martínez.
1996 - Taiwan held its first direct elections, choosing Lee Teng-hui as President despite offshore missile tests conducted by China, which were intended as a scare tactic in support of such candidates as Lin Yang-kang, who supported the One-China Policy.
1999 - Gunmen assassinated Paraguay's Vice President Luis María Argaña; no saint himself - he was a high-ranking judge during the regime of Alfredo Stroessner - Argaña's death was thought to have been masterminded by his political rival Lino Oviedo, although no proof one way or the other has ever been found.
2001 - Russia's Mir space station became a 'mere' memory when it was removed from orbit, breaking up in the atmosphere before falling into the southern Pacific Ocean near Fiji.
2007 - A pile-up involving three trucks and four cars in Melbourne's Burnley Tunnel resulted in an explosion and fire which rescue crews estimated burned as hot as 1000 °C (1800 °F); three people died, including Commonwealth Games gold medal cyclist Damian McDonald.
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