[In the years since its composition on this day in 1792, La Marseillaise has fallen in and out of favour almost as dramatically as its own notes rise and fall while being sung... The rallying cry of the French Revolution, it was adopted as the new Republic's national anthem by the National Convention in July 1795; naturally it was banned outright by those noted monarchists Napoleon, Louis XVIII, and Napoleon III. Reinstated briefly after the July Revolution of 1830, it wouldn't be until 1879 that it would be permanently enshrined. It's shown sung here by noted French operatic tenor, Roberto Alagna, in an arrangement by Hector Berlioz, conducted by Semyon Bychkov.]
1185 - Japan's Emperor Antoku drowned, at the age of six, when he was purposely dropped into the Kanmon Straits which separate Kyūshū and Honshū during a sea battle between warring clans and the Imperial Family; he was succeeded by Emperor Go-Toba, who was the fourth son of Emperor Takakura and therefore his predecessor's younger brother.
1605 - Naresuan, King of Siam, died; he was succeeded by his brother Ekathotsarot.
1644 - China's Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide on Jingshan Hill after his capital, Beijing, fell to forces loyal to Li Zicheng; the 16th and last ruler of the Ming Dynasty, his death brought about not only the fall of the Ming Dynasty but led to a period of civil war in which the Southern Ming Dynasty, increasingly harried by Manchus from the north, eventually capitulated as well. Chongzen was succeeded by Hongguang Emperor and thence the Longwu Emperor, whose own Shun Dynasty lasted less than a year. Following the Shun Dynasty's defeat after the Battle of Shanhai Pass in May of the following year power passed to the Shunzhi Emperor and the Qing Dynasty - which would rule the country until its monarchy was abolished in 1912 - was established.
1792 - La Marseillaise - the song that would become France's national anthem - was composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle.
1829 - Charles Fremantle arrived in the HMS Challenger off the coast of modern-day Western Australia prior to declaring the Swan River Colony for the United Kingdom.
1846 - The Thornton Affair - an open skirmish over the disputed border of Texas - triggered the declaration of the Mexican-American War by US President James K. Polk.
1849 - Canada's Governor-General Lord Elgin signed the Rebellion Losses Bill, which outraged the English population of Montreal and triggered rioting in that city.
1915 - The Battle of Gallipoli began with the invasion of Turkey's Gallipoli Peninsula by Australian, British, French and New Zealand troops, who landed at Cape Helles and what is now known as Anzac Cove.
1916 - Anzac Day was commemorated for the first time, on the first anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at what is now known as Anzac Cove near Gallipoli in Turkey - events dramatized in Peter Weir's 1981 film Gallipoli, starring a young Mel Gibson.
1938 - The US Supreme Court delivered its opinion in Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins and in doing so overturned a century of federal common law regarding diversity jurisdiction.
1944 - The United Negro College Fund was incorporated by Frederick D. Patterson (then president of Tuskegee University), Mary McLeod Bethune (then president of Bethune-Cookman University), and others.
1953 - Francis Crick and James D. Watson published their article Molecular structure of nucleic acids: a structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid in the magazine Nature, making them the first to describing the double helix structure of DNA.
1959 - The St. Lawrence Seaway - linking the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence River and a series of locks and canals - officially opened to shipping; its formal opening on June 26th, though, would attract such VIPs as Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
1974 - The so-called Carnation Revolution - a leftist military coup in Portugal - restored democracy after more than forty years as a corporate fascist state under the Estado Novo, most famously led by António de Oliveira Salazar. The revolution is notable in that the revolutionaries produced no casualties, although government forces did kill four people.
1982 - Having landed a contingent of Royal Marines on South Georgia as part of Operation Paraquet the Royal Navy's destroyer Antrim intercepted and disabled the Argentinian submarine Santa Fe, with the able assistance of her Westland Wessex HAS.Mk3 helicopter; the helicopter's crew had already demonstrated distinction in rescuing 16 SAS commandos from the Fortuna Glacier on April 21st. Today this very craft resides in the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton in Somerset. VISIT
1986 - Mswati III was crowned King of Swaziland, succeeding his father Sobhuza II.
1988 - A court in Israel sentenced John Demjanuk to die for his having committed war crimes while serving as an SS guard at Treblinka during World War II.
2005 - The final piece of the Obelisk of Axum was returned to Ethiopia after being stolen by the invading Italian army in 1937.
2007 - Boris Yeltsin's funeral was the first to be sanctioned by the Russian Orthodox Church for a Russian head of state since the funeral of Tsar Alexander III in 1894.
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