[High-octane hottie Danica Patrick did more than win what could be an urn for Rush Limbaugh when she took the checkered flag at the Indy Japan 300 on this day in 2008; the first woman ever to score an Indy victory also put to rest a thousand tired jokes about woman drivers. Then again, an Indy race doesn't involve parallel parking...]
1303 - The University of Rome La Sapienza was instituted by Pope Boniface VIII.
1653 - Oliver Cromwell dissolved the Rump Parliament.
1775 - At the outset of the American Revolution the Siege of Boston began, following the battles at Lexington and Concord.
1828 - René Caillié became the first non-Muslim to enter Timbouctou.
1836 - The US Congress passed an act creating the Wisconsin Territory.
1884 - Pope Leo XIII published the encyclical, Humanum Genus - a typically paranoid screed condemning the practice of Freemasonry.
1908 - The New South Wales Rugby League had its opening day, at which New Zealand defeated the home team 12-8.
1912 - Detroit's Tiger Stadium (then called Navin Field after Tigers owner Frank Navin) and Fenway Park in Boston both had their opening day.
1914 - Forty-five men, women, and children died in the Ludlow Massacre during a bitter coal-miner's strike in Colorado; the event was later commemorated by a granite monument at the site, although Ludlow is now a ghost town.
1918 - Manfred von Richthofen - better known to history as The Red Baron - shot down his 79th and 80th victims, marking his final victories before his death the following day.
1939 - Billie Holiday recorded the first civil rights anthem, Strange Fruit.
1945 - Adolf Hitler made his last trip to the surface from the safety of the Fuehrerbunker to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth on the occasion of his birthday.
1964 - BBC Two was launched despite a power cut caused by a fire at Battersea Power Station.
1968 - British politician Enoch Powell made his controversial Rivers of Blood speech in which he wittered on about the 'threat of immigration'; Powell was almost immediately sacked by Conservative leader Edward Heath, the kind of 'too little too late' approach often used on Tories who tell the truth about their own bigotry.
1972 - Apollo 16 landed John W. Young, T. Kenneth Mattingly Jr., and Charles M. Duke Jr. on the Moon.
1978 - Korean Air Flight 902 was shot down by Soviet fighter jets; most of the passengers and crew onboard survived when the pilot made an emergency landing on a frozen lake 400 km (250 miles) south of Murmansk, although two passengers died from the rapid cabin decompression caused by the initial missile strike.
1985 - ATF agents raided the compound of The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord - a white supremacist Christian paramilitary organization - near Elijah, in northern Arkansas. There were no deaths and no injuries involved in their peaceful surrender, mainly as a result of the negotiating skills of US Attorney Asa Hutchinson.
1986 - Michael Jordan set all-time record for points in an NBA playoff game with 63 against the Boston Celtics.
2007 - William Phillips barricaded himself in NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston with a handgun, taking David Beverly and Fran Crenshaw hostage. Phillips later killed Beverly before turning the gun on himself; he was said to be distraught at the prospect of losing his job due to his poor performance.
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