September 5


1698: Seeking to Westernize his nobility, Tsar Peter I of Russia imposed a tax on beards for all men except clergy members and peasants.

1877: Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse was bayoneted in the back by a U.S. soldier after resisting confinement in a guardhouse at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. He died of the wound.

1882: The first Labor Day parade in the United States was held in New York City.

1906: The first legal forward pass in U.S. football history was thrown by Bradbury Robinson of St. Louis University to teammate Jack Schneider in a 22-0 victory over Carroll College of Waukesha, Wisconsin.

1960: Boxer Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) was awarded the gold medal for his first place in the light heavyweight boxing competition at the Olympic Games in Rome.

1980: The St. Gotthard Tunnel opened in Switzerland to become the world’s longest highway tunnel at 10.14 miles, from Airolo to Göschenen.


September 6

3114 B.C.: The Mayan long-count calendar began.

1522: The only surviving ship of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition, Victoria, returned to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain, to become the first ship to circumnavigate the world.

1628: The Puritans settled in Salem, which later became part of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1803: British scientist John Dalton created the system of atomic symbols that represent the atoms of different elements.

1870: Louisa Ann Swain of Laramie, Wyo., became the first woman in the United States to cast a vote in a general election.

1942: Born this day: country singer Mel McDaniel (“Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On, died 2011), and TV actress Carol Wayne (I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, I Spy, Love American Style, Mannix, died 1985).

1946: U.S. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes announced that the U.S. would follow a policy of economic reconstruction in postwar Germany.

1992: Hunters discovered the emaciated body of Christopher Johnson McCandless at his camp 20 miles west of the town of Healy, Alaska. (McCandless’ story was told in the book and movie, Into the Wild.)

1997: The funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales, was held in London. Over 1 million people lined the streets and 2.5 billion watched around the world on television.


September 7

1776: The world’s first submarine attack occurred in the Turtle, when Ezra Lee attempted to attach a time bomb to the hull of HMS Eagle in New York Harbor.

1857: Mormon settlers in southern Utah slaughtered about 140 members of peaceful, emigrant wagon train from Arkansas, in what became known as the Mountain Meadows massacre. Only 17 people survived the unprovoked attack.

1916: The Federal Employers Liability Act became law, making U.S. federal employees eligible for workers’ compensation for the firs time.

1927: Philo Taylor Farnsworth constructed the first fully electronic television system.

1936: The last surviving thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) died alone in its cage at the Hobart Zoo in Tasmania.

1963: The Pro Football Hall of Fame opened in Canton, Ohio, with 17 charter members.

1978: While walking across Waterloo Bridge in London, Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was assassinated by Bulgarian secret police agent Francesco Giullino by means of a ricin pellet fired into his leg from a specially designed umbrella.

1979: The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) made its debut. The Chrysler Corporation asked the U.S. government for $1.5 billion to avoid bankruptcy.


September 8

1664: The Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British, who renamed it New York. (The fictional story “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving was set during this time.)

1900: A hurricane struck Galveston, Texas, killing 10,000 people.

1930: 3M began marketing Scotch transparent tape.

1966: The TV series Star Trek premiered.

1974: President Ford granted an unconditional pardon to former president Nixon, who resigned in disgrace to avoid being impeached.



September 9

1776: The American Congress decided on the name “United States.”

1947: The first actual case of a computer bug occurred when a moth lodged in a relay of a Mark II computer at Harvard University.

1956: Elvis Presley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.

1972: In Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park, a Cave Research Foundation exploration and mapping team discovered a link between the Mammoth and Flint Ridge cave systems, making it the longest known cave passageway in the world (400 surveyed miles).


September 10

1842: First lady Letitia Tyler, wife of President John Tyler, died at the White House. She was the first of three first ladies to die during their husbands’ terms.

1935: Sen. Huey Long (“The Kingfish”) was assassinated in Baton Rouge, La., by Dr. Carl Weiss, who shot him from four feet away, one time in the abdomen. Long’s bodyguards shot Weiss 62 times, killing him.

1946: While riding a train to Darjeeling, Sister Teresa Bojaxhiu of the Loreto Sisters’ Convent claimed to have heard the call of God, directing her “to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them.” She would become known as Mother Teresa.

1983:  American tennis linesman Dick Wertheim died from blunt cranial trauma at a match at the 1983 U.S. Open. Stefan Edberg sent an errant serve directly into his groin, causing him to fall and hit his head on the pavement.


September 11

1941: The state of Vermont declared war on Germany.

2001: Islamic terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners on the East Coast and crashed two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, destroying the buildings and killing 2,819 people, including the passengers on the planes. One of the other planes crashed into the Pentagon, killing 187 people total. The fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers overpowered the hijackers. This remains the deadliest terrorist attack in world history.