[The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, described by Antipater of Sidon, who
said of it '...apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.' ]
356 BCE - A young man named Herostratus set fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, destroying it; he did so, he said, for fame. Sure enough, more than 2300 years later the readers of the Pop Culture Institute are learning - many of them for the first time - the name of the douchebag who gave his name to the term herostratic fame, meaning 'fame at any cost', a concept all-too-familiar to us in the era of reality television.
1403 - At the Battle of Shrewsbury England's King Henry IV defeated rebels led by Henry Percy (better known as Hotspur) to the north of the county town of Shropshire; the site of the battle is now a village called, aptly enough, Battlefield.
1545 - The French invasion of the Isle of Wight occurred when, coincidentally enough, French troops landed on the coast of the Isle of Wight; that the event took place during the Italian Wars ought to confuse matters even more.
1718 - The Treaty of Passarowitz was signed by the Ottoman Empire, Austria, and the Republic of Venice.
1831 - Léopold I - widower of England's Princess Charlotte and therefore uncle of the future Queen Victoria as well as father (by his second marriage) of Mexico's ill-fated Empress Carlota* - was inaugurated as the first King of the Belgians.
*Later portrayed by Bette Davis in the 1939 film Juarez.
1865 - Wild Bill Hickok shot Davis Tutt Jr. dead in the market square of Springfield, Missouri, in what is now regarded as the first true western showdown.
1873 - Jesse James and the members of the James-Younger Gang pulled off the first successful train robbery in the American West at Adair, Iowa; the gang successfully derailed the train, killing the engineer, and managed to make off with $3,000.
1919 - The dirigible Wingfoot Air Express crashed into the Illinois Trust and Savings Building in Chicago, killing 12 people - although the pilot and co-pilot managed to parachute to safety.
1925 - Following the Scopes Trial high school biology teacher John T. Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution in class and fined $100.
1960 - Sirimavo Bandaranaike was elected Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, making her the first elected female head of government in the world; as leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, 'Mrs. B' served Sri Lanka three times as its Prime Minister (first in 1960-1965, again from 1970-1977, and finally 1994-2000).
1969 - Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin left the Moon, following a successful landing by the Apollo 11 mission the day before and a break to stretch their legs.
1970 - After 11 years of construction, Egypt's Aswan High Dam was completed.
1972 - The Bloody Friday series of bombings by the Provisional IRA in and around Belfast saw 22 explosions kill 9 people and seriously injure 130.
1973 - During the Lillehammer Affair in Norway, Israeli Mossad agents killed a waiter named Ahmed Bouchiki whom they mistakenly thought was involved in 1972's Munich Olympics Massacre.
1976 - Christopher Ewart-Biggs - British ambassador to the Republic of Ireland - was assassinated by the Provisional IRA.
1977 - The four-day-long Libyan-Egyptian War - essentially a border dispute between the two nations - began.
1983 - The world's lowest temperature - −89.2°C (−129°F) - was recorded at Antarctica's Vostok Station.
2002 - Telecommunications giant WorldCom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the largest such filing in US history.
2005 - Four terrorist bombings occurred exactly two weeks after the similar July 7 bombings, targeting London's public transportation system; all four bombs failed to detonate and all four suspected suicide bombers were captured, convicted and given long prison terms.
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