This Week in History

June 17


1631: Mumtaz Mahal died during childbirth; her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, spent the next 17 years building her mausoleum, the Taj Mahal.

1775: The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought.

1835: Sarah Knox Taylor, the middle daughter of Gen. Zachary Taylor (America’s 12th president, 1849-1850) married Jefferson Davis, a young lieutenant on Gen. Taylor’s staff, at Beechland, Ky., near Louisville. (The newlyweds contracted malaria on their honeymoon and she died three months later. Davis recovered and went on to become the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.)

1885: The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor.

1963: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in Abington School District v. Schempp against requiring the reciting of Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.

1971: President Richard Nixon declared the U.S. War on Drugs.

1977: Photographer Jack Eagen and comedian Rodney Dangerfield, both of New York City, signed the guest register at Austin F. Reedy American Legion Post 97 at 319 California Ave. in Libby, Mont. Under the ‘comments’ section, Dangerfield wrote, “No respect!”

1987: With the death of the last individual of the species in Florida, the dusky seaside sparrow became extinct (as a result of NASA’s development of Cape Canaveral).

1994: Following a televised low-speed highway chase, O.J. Simpson was arrested for the murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

2018: “The Incredibles 2” sets a box office record for an animated release, earning $180 million its opening weekend.

2018: Historic deal signed between Greece and Macedonia to end dispute over Macedonia’s name – changing to North Macedonia.


June 18


1767: Samuel Wallis, an English sea captain, sighted Tahiti and is considered the first European to reach the island.

1858: Charles Darwin received a paper from Alfred Russel Wallace that included nearly identical conclusions about evolution as Darwin’s own, prompting Darwin to publish his theory.

1873: Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for attempting to vote in the 1872 presidential election. (She never paid the fine.)

1923: Checker Taxi put its first taxi on the streets, in Chicago.

1928: Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, disappeared without a trace during a search-and-rescue mission in the Arctic.

Ride became the first American woman in space, on the space shuttle Challenger.

1996: Lincoln, Mont., resident Ted Kaczynski, suspected of being the Unabomber, was indicted on 10 criminal counts.

2002: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that individuals and groups may solicit door-to-door without government permission.

2017: Rare magnitude-four earthquake causes a tsunami to hit Nuugaatsiaq in northwestern Greenland.

2019:  US President Donald Trump announces his campaign for reelection.

June 19

1754: The French and Indian War began when the French occupied Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburgh.

1846: The first officially recorded, organized baseball game was played in Hoboken, New Jersey.

1862: The U.S. Congress prohibited slavery in United States territories.

1865: More than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas, were finally informed of their freedom. (The anniversary is still officially celebrated in Texas and 41 other states as Juneteenth.)

1910: The first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Wash.

1934: The Federal Communications Commission was established.

1953: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, were executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, N.Y.

, made its debut.

1979: World Sauntering Day was first celebrated at Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan.

2018: General Electric is dropped form the Dow Jones Index, the last original member from 1907.

2019: US Senators receive a classified briefing on possible UFO sightings by the US Navy.

June 20

1214: The University of Oxford received its charter.

1787: At the Federal Convention in Philadelphia, Oliver Ellsworth moved to call the country the United States.

1837: Queen Victoria succeeded to the British throne (she died in 1901).

1840: Samuel Morse received the patent for the telegraph.

1863: West Virginia was admitted as the 35th U.S. state after breaking away from Virginia during the Civil War.

1877: Alexander Graham Bell installed the world’s first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

1893: Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Mass.

1948: Toast of the Town, later The Ed Sullivan Show, made its television debut.

1963: The so-called “red telephone” was established between the Soviet Union and the United States following the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1979: While attempting to film war destruction in Nicaragua, ABC television news correspondent Bill Stewart, 37, and his interpreter, Juan Espinosa, were executed by a National Guard soldier. Surviving members of the ABC crew managed to catch the murder on tape. The footage was later shown on news broadcasts.

2017: Uber founder Travis Kalanick resigns as CEO after a shareholder revolt.

2018: Algeria turns off its internet to stop students cheating during exams.


June 21

1898: The United States captured Guam from Spain.

1942: During World War II, a Japanese submarine surfaced near the Columbia River in Oregon and fired 17 shells at nearby Fort Stevens in one of only a handful of attacks by Japan against the United States mainland.

1963: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini was elected as Pope Paul VI.

1982: John Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.

2001: A federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, indicted 13 Saudis and one Lebanese in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 American servicemen.

2003: The township of Knowlton, N.J., celebrated its first officially sanctioned “Beaver Day.”

2004: SpaceShipOne became the first privately funded spaceplane to achieve spaceflight.

2009: Greenland assumed self-rule from Denmark.

2015: Hackers ground 1400 passengers by attacking IT system at Warsaw Chopin airport in Poland.

2018: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden becomes the second world leader to give birth in office, to a daughter.


June 22

1783: A poisonous cloud caused by the eruption of the Laki volcano in Iceland reached Le Havre in France.

Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill.

1969: The Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire, triggering a crackdown on pollution in the river. Iconic actress-singer Judy Garland (The Wizard of Oz) died at age 47.

1981: Mark David Chapman changed his plea to guilty and admitted he murdered John Lennon in December 1980.

1990: Checkpoint Charlie at the Berlin Wall was dismantled in Berlin.

2009: Eastman Kodak Company announced that it would discontinue sales of Kodachrome Color Film, concluding its 74-year run as a photography icon.

2018: Eurozone countries agree debt relief deal for Greece, signalling end to the country’s economic crisis.

2019: Russian volcano Raikoke erupts from 700m-wide-crater, seen from International Space Station. Turns sunsets purple across the Northern Hemisphere all summer.


June 23


1611: The mutinous crew of Henry Hudson’s fourth voyage set Hudson, his son, and seven loyal crew members adrift in an open boat in what is now Hudson Bay. (They were never heard from again.)

1713: The French residents of Acadia were given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia, Canada. (Many left and settled in Louisiana, descendants of today’s Cajuns.)

1809: A rainfall full of live toads fell on Poitiers, France.

1810: John Jacob Astor formed the Pacific Fur Company.

1860: Congress established the Government Printing Office and the Secret Service.

1865: Two-and-a-half months after Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered, Confederate Brigadier Gen. Stand Watie surrendered the last significant rebel army, at Fort Towson in the Oklahoma Territory.

1868: Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for an invention he called the “Type-Writer.”

1960: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first oral contraceptive pill in the world.

1969: IBM announced that effective January 1970 it would price its software and services separately from hardware, thus creating the modern software industry.

2013: Nik Wallenda became the first person to successfully walk across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope.

2018: 12 boys and their coach are stranded in Tham Luang Nang Non cave, Thailand by monsoon flooding, prompting an international rescue effort when they are discovered 9 days later.

2019: Women’s PGA Championship, Hazeltine National GC:Australian Hannah Green leads wire-to-wire to win her first LPGA event by 1 stroke ahead of Park Sung-hyun.