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Today In History

Columbus mistakes manatees for mermaids | JANUARY 09

On this day in 1493, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, sees three “mermaids”–in reality manatees–and describes them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted.” Six months earlier, Columbus (1451-1506) set off from Spain across the Atlantic Ocean with the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, hoping to find a western trade […]

01 April 1984 – Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his father

Crazy Horse fights last battle | JANUARY 08

On this day in 1877, Crazy Horse and his warriors–outnumbered, low on ammunition and forced to use outdated weapons to defend themselves–fight their final losing battle against the U.S. Cavalry in Montana. Six months earlier, in the Battle of Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse and his ally, Chief Sitting Bull, led their combined forces of Sioux and Cheyenne to a […]

Today In History: 16 February 1941 North Korean Politician Leader Kim Jong II was Born

Morse demonstrates telegraph | JANUARY 06

On this day in 1838, Samuel Morse’s telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. The telegraph, a device which used electric impulses to transmit encoded messages over a wire, would eventually revolutionize long-distance communication, reaching the height of its popularity in the 1920s and 1930s. Samuel […]

Today in History: “The Most Famous of All Streaks” at Twickenham Stadium

Golden Gate Bridge is born | JANUARY 05

On January 5, 1933, construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages. Following the Gold Rush boom that began in 1849, speculators realized the land north of San Francisco Bay would increase in value in direct proportion to its accessibility to the city. Soon, […]

Today In History: 16 February 1941 North Korean Politician Leader Kim Jong II was Born

The euro debuts | JANUARY 04

On this day in 1999, for the first time since Charlemagne’s reign in the ninth century, Europe is united with a common currency when the “euro” debuts as a financial unit in corporate and investment markets. Eleven European Union (EU) nations (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain), representing […]

John Wesley is converted, launching the Methodist movement; celebrated annually by Methodists as Aldersgate Day | MAY 24

Samoa Gains Independence From NZ | JANUARY 1, 1962

On January 1, 1962, Western Samoa became the first independent state in the Pacific, and also the world’s first independent “micro-state.” Malietoa Tanumafili II and Tupua Tamasese Mea’ole were declared joint Heads of State for life. Mata’afa Faumuina Fiame Mulinuu II was Western Samoa’s first Prime Minister. (1a. Davidson 1967: 408-411) Note: The Government of Samoa […]

01 April 1984 – Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his father