[Blondin's feats of derring-do were the ideal combination of athleticism and showmanship, and garnered him massive publicity, especially considering that he did them all in the century before the advent of mass media; such a jambon was the talented Frenchman that he attempted the 335 m (1100 feet) crossing not once but several times that day - blindfolded, in a sack, trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts, carrying his manager Harry Colcord on his back, even going so far as to once sit down midway to cook and eat an omelette! - and all of it 50 m (160 feet) above the roaring water and billowing mist of the falls.]
350 CE - Roman usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantinian dynasty, was defeated and killed in Rome by general Marcellinus, leader of troops loyal to another usurper named Magnentius.
1559 - France's King Henri II was seriously injured in a jousting match against Gabriel de Montgomery at the Place des Vosges in celebration of both the Peace Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis as well as the wedding of his daughter Elizabeth of Valois to Spain's King Philip II; while the French King later died from the splinter that penetrated his eye, de Montgomery was himself beheaded - not because of the jousting mishap but as a result of his having gotten caught up in the French Wars of Religion.
1805 - The US Congress organized the Michigan Territory.
1859 - French acrobat Charles Blondin crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
1860 - A debate on evolution took place at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in reaction to Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, which had been published seven months earlier.
1864 - US President Abraham Lincoln granted the Yosemite Valley to California for 'public use, resort and recreation' as a state park; the so-called Yosemite Grant would later bring about the Yosemite National Park.
1882 - Charles J. Guiteau was hanged for the assassination of President James Garfield.
1905 - Albert Einstein published the article On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, in which he introduced his theory of special relativity.
1906 - The US Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act largely in response to the publication of Upton Sinclair's muck-raking novel The Jungle - an eye-opening (and stomach-turning) exposé of the Chicago meat packing industry.
1908 - The Tunguska impact event occurred 5-10 kilometres (3-6 miles) above Siberia, levelling as many as 80 million trees over 2,150 square kilometres (830 square miles).
1912 - The Regina Cyclone hit the Saskatchewan capital, killing 28; it remains the deadliest tornado event in Canada's history...
1934 - During the so-called Night of the Long Knives, Adolf Hitler ordered a violent purge of his political rivals, including Ernst Röhm; the operation was codenamed Kolibri - which is the German word for hummingbird.
1944 - The Battle of Cherbourg ended with the fall of the strategically valuable port to American forces.
1956 - A TWA Super Constellation and a United Airlines DC-7 (Flight 718) collided above Arizona's Grand Canyon, killing all 128 on board the two planes.
1968 - The creed Solemni hac liturgia was given by Pope Paul VI.
1971 - The crew of the Soviet Union's Soyuz 11 spacecraft - Vladislav Volkov, Georgi Dobrovolski and Viktor Patsayev - were killed when their air supply escaped through a faulty valve.
1987 - The Royal Canadian Mint introduced the $1 coin, known as the Loonie.
2005 - Spain legalized same-sex marriage.
2007 - A car driven by Kafeel Ahmed crashed into Glasgow International Airport in Scotland, in what was believed to be a terrorist attack; the hero of the event was baggage handler John Smeaton, who not only assaulted the badly injured driver - Kafeel Ahmed, who later died of his burns - but rescued a couple of other bystanders from the damage caused by the crash. The passenger in the vehicle, Bilal Abdullah, was later arrested and was later sentenced to serve two concurrent life sentences.
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