[The location of George Washington's first inauguration is today marked by this fine statue bearing a carved inscription commemorating the event at its base; it was on this very spot that Chancellor of New York Robert Livingston administered the oath of office to both Washington and his Vice President John Adams.]
313 CE - Emperor Licinius unified the entire Eastern Roman Empire under his rule following the Battle of Tzirallum.
1006 - Supernova SN 1006 - the brightest in recorded history - appeared in the constellation Lupus; it's occurrence was noted independently by astronomers in China, Egypt, and Switzerland.
1315 – Enguerrand de Marigny was hanged on the public gallows at Montfaucon; the former chamberlain of Philip IV the Fair, he'd been arrested by Louis X at the instigation of Charles of Valois, and twenty-eight articles of accusation including charges of receiving bribes were brought against him.
1789 - On the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City - which was then the capital of the fledgling republic - George Washington took the oath of office, becoming the first elected President of the United States (even though he was only elected by the Electoral College, and ran unopposed, making him the only President ever elected unanimously).
1803 - The United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million; overnight the Louisiana Purchase more than doubled the size of the young nation, and would become the greatest achievement of Thomas Jefferson's presidency.
1812 - The Territory of Orleans became the 18th US state under the name Louisiana.
1894 - The so-called Coxey's Army reached Washington, DC, having been led there by Jacob Coxey from Massillon, Ohio, to protest the widespread unemployment caused by the Panic of 1893; legend has it the march inspired the whimsical picaresque of L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Only time will tell what works of art the Panic of 2009 will produce...
1900 - Casey Jones died in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express; thanks to his black friend Wallace Saunders, who wrote a song about his exploits called The Ballad of Casey Jones - later recorded by, among others, bluesman Mississippi John Hurt - Jones achieved a vast posthumous fame.
1904 - The Louisiana Purchase Exposition World's Fair opened in St. Louis, Missouri.
1927 - The Federal Industrial Institute for Women opened in Alderson, West Virginia, as the first women's federal prison in the United States; now better known as 'Camp Cupcake', it's most famous recent inmate has been Martha Stewart, while in the past Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme, Sara Jane Moore, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Tokyo Rose, and Billie Holiday have also served time there.
1938 - An animated short entitled Porky's Hare Hunt debuted in movie theaters, introducing Happy Rabbit, the forerunner of Bugs Bunny.
1945 - Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide in the Fuehrerbunker just one day into their marriage, as Soviet soldiers raised the Russian flag over the Reichstag and Berlin fell to Allied forces - officially making theirs the worst honeymoon in history.
1947 - Nevada's Boulder Dam was officially renamed Hoover Dam.
1956 - Harry S. Truman's former Vice President, Senator Alben Barkley, died during a speech in Virginia; he collapsed after proclaiming 'I would rather be a servant in the house of the lord than sit in the seats of the mighty.'
1975 - Following the unconditional surrender of South Vietnamese president Duong Van Minh Operation Frequent Wind airlifted the last US citizens out of Saigon prior to an expected North Vietnamese takeover, bringing US involvement in the Vietnam War to an end and precipitating the Fall of Saigon.
1980 - Queen Juliana abdicated the Dutch throne on the occasion of her 71st birthday, following which her daughter became Queen Beatrix.
1988 - Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, officially opened World Expo '88 in Brisbane.
1991 - A tropical cyclone hit Bangladesh, killing an estimated 138,000 people.
1993 - Virgin Radio broadcast for the first time in the United Kingdom.
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