[The holiest of the gurdwaras in Sikhism, the Harmandir Sahib was no stranger to unrest when, on this day in 1984, Indian troops fired upon it, causing extensive structural damage as well as killing 83 soldiers and 492 civilians in the process; it was nearby in April 1919 that Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer ordered British troops to open fire on a peaceful protest during what came to be known as the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, at which official estimates claim 379 were killed with 1100 wounded, although some unofficial reports had 1,526 fatalities in that earlier clash.]
350 CE - Usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantinian Dynasty, proclaimed himself Emperor and entered Rome at the head of a group of gladiators. His reign lasted just 28 days, whereupon he was killed by Marcellinus, a general in the service of rival usurper Magnentius.
1326 - The Treaty of Novgorod delineated the border between Russia and Norway in Finnmark, which is today the northernmost county in Norway.
1621 - The Dutch West India Company received a charter for New Netherlands from the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.
1770 - Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo was founded by Junípero Serra in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
1888 - The San Francisco Examiner first published the poem Casey at the Bat, which was written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer.
1935 - A thousand unemployed workers boarded freight cars in Vancouver, beginning an historic protest trek to Parliament Hill in Ottawa; the so-called On-To-Ottawa Trek was met with harsh reprisals along the way by local authorities - most notably at the Regina Riot on that year's Dominion Day - but did succeed in discrediting the do-nothing* government of Prime Minister R. B. Bennett's Conservatives at the polls on October 23rd. While most of those involved found little relief for their downtrodden state under his successor - the redoubtable Liberal Mackenzie King - the defeated Bennett (shown, looking typically smug, at left) decamped to the United Kingdom, where in June 1941 he became the first and only Canadian Prime Minister elevated to the House of Lords by King George VI on the advice of Prime Minister Winston Churchill; while there he served as Viscount Bennett of Mickleham (in the County of Surrey) and of Calgary and Hopewell in the Dominion of Canada.
*Which in French is called laissez-faire, and best pronounced 'lazy... feh!'
1962 - A chartered Air France Boeing 707, Chateau de Sully, crashed after an aborted takeoff from Paris, killing 130; at the time it was the largest single airplane accident to date.
1963 - Pope John XXIII died; he was succeeded by Paul VI on June 21st.
1965 - Gemini 4 - the first multi-day space mission by a NASA crew - was launched.
1968 - Valerie Solanas, misandric author of The SCUM Manifesto*, attempted to assassinate Andy Warhol by shooting him three times at his New York City studio, The Factory; she also shot and slightly injured art critic Mario Amaya and would have shot Warhol's manager Fred Hughes as well only her gun jammed. Warhol's injuries were serious enough that they would plague him throughout the rest of his life - he was forced to wear a girdle, for instance, and after any exertion his wounds would bleed - although he refused to testify against her in court; she received a three-year sentence for the attack. The incident is dramatized in the 1996 film I Shot Andy Warhol, in which Solanas is played by Lili Taylor and Warhol by Jared Harris; the film was directed by Canadian Mary Harron.
*SCUM was an acronym; it stood for 'Society for Cutting Up Men.'
1969 - During the so-called Melbourne-Evans Collision off the coast of South Vietnam, the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne cut the US Navy destroyer USS Frank E. Evans in half, killing 74 American sailors.
1979 - A blowout at the Ixtoc I oil well in the southern Gulf of Mexico caused at least 600,000 tons (176,400,000 gallons) of oil to be spilled, making it the worst oil spill to date - although it will likely be surpassed (and then some) by the spill caused by the explosion that sank the oil rig Deepwater Horizon in April 2010.
1982 - The Israeli ambassador to the Court of St. James's, Shlomo Argov, was shot on a London street; although he survived the attack he was permanently paralyzed.
1984 - During an ill-considered attempt to arrest Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the Indian Army stormed the Harmandir Sahib - the Golden Temple near Amritsar which is the most sacred shrine of Sikhism - during Operation Blue Star, which was personally organized by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
1989 - Iranian spiritual leader and theocratic dictator Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini died; he was succeeded the next day by Ali Khamenehei.
1990 - American punk rock legend Stiv Bators died in Paris after being hit by taxi while drunkenly crossing the street; although his friends took him to the hospital, he left voluntarily after several hours without being seen by a doctor, and later died in his sleep of a concussion. He was 40.
1991 - Mount Unzen erupted on Japan's southernmost island of Kyūshū killing 43 people, all of them either researchers or journalists.
1998 - During the Eschede train disaster an ICE high speed train derailed in the German state of Lower Saxony, causing 101 deaths - surpassing the death toll of the May 1971 Dahlerau train disaster to become the world's deadliest train crash.
2007 - USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) engaged pirates after they boarded the Danish ship Danica White off the coast of Somalia.
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