[Mary Stuart, erstwhile Queen of Scots, in a stunning portrait from 1565... Alas, she was a better subject for an oil painting than a Queen, and her abdication (on this day in 1567) was actually something of a relief.]
1132 - The Battle of Nocera pitted Ranulf II of Alife against Sicily's King Roger II.
1148 - France's Louis VII laid siege to Damascus during the Second Crusade.
1411 - The Battle of Harlaw - one of the bloodiest battles in Scottish history, pitting the Lowlanders of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, against the Highlanders of Donald of Islay, Lord of the Isles, - took place, resulting in a tactical draw but a strategic victory for the Earl of Mar.
1567 - While imprisoned at Loch Leven Castle - recovering from her rape by Bothwell and the miscarriage of their twins - Mary, Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate in favour of her 13-month-old son James VI (who would later become better known as James I of England).
1715 - A Spanish treasure fleet of 10 ships under Admiral Ubilla left Havana for Spain; seven days later, 9 of them sank in a storm off the coast of Florida. It took a few centuries, but treasure was salvaged from these wrecks eventually.
1823 - Slavery was abolished in Chile.
1847 - After 17 months of travel, Brigham Young led 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, resulting in the establishment of Salt Lake City; these events are being celebrated in Utah today with the Pioneer Day state holiday and the Days of '47 Parade.
1901 - Author O. Henry was released from prison in Austin (early, for good behaviour) having served three years for embezzling from the bank where he worked.
1911 - Hiram Bingham III rediscovered the ruins of Macchu Picchu, the fabled 'lost city of the Incas'.
1915 - The passenger ship S.S. Eastland rolled over and capsized while docked in the Chicago River, with the loss of 845 lives.
1923 - The Treaty of Lausanne, settling the boundaries of modern Turkey, was signed in Switzerland by Greece, Bulgaria and other countries that fought in World War I.
1937 - The State of Alabama dropped rape charges against the Scottsboro Nine, who'd been arrested in March 1931.
1967 - During a state visit to Canada for Expo 67, French President Charles deGaulle offered aid and comfort to Quebec separatists by shouting Vive Quebec Libre during a speech in Montreal, outraging his hosts and much of English Canada in the process.
1969 - Apollo 11 splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean, having returned to the Earth from the Moon.
1972 - The Croatian paramilitary Bugojno group - which had been organized by the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood - was captured by Yugoslav security forces.
1983 - George Brett, while batting for the Kansas City Royals against the New York Yankees, hit a game-winning home run which was later nullified by the Pine Tar Incident.
2001 - Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, deposed as Tsar of Bulgaria in 1946 (when he was just 9 years old), was sworn in as Prime Minister of that nation, the first former Head of State in history to later become Head of Government.
2002 - Democrat James Traficant was expelled from the US House of Representatives on a vote of 420 to 1.
2005 - Lance Armstrong won a record-breaking seventh consecutive Tour de France; following his victory, Armstrong retired from professional cycling to focus on finding a cure for cancer*.
*In addition to humping and dumping Sheryl Crow and furthering the cult of his own personality with those Live Strong bracelets.
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