This Week in History

June 24


1374: The first recorded outbreak of St. John’s Dance caused people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapsed from exhaustion.

1916: Mary Pickford became the first female film star to sign a $1 million contract.

1939: Siam was renamed Thailand.

1947: Kenneth Arnold made the first widely reported UFO sighting, near Mount Rainier, Washington. Born this day: musician Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac), and actor Peter Weller (RoboCop).

2017: World record for highest altitude football match ever played at 18,799ft on Mount Kilimanjaro by women’s international team.

2018: Women drive for the first time in Saudi Arabia after ban is lifted.

June 25


1788: Virginia ratified the U.S. Constitution and became the 10th state.

1913: U.S. Civil War veterans begin arriving at the Great Reunion of 1913, the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, held in Gettysburg, Pa.

1944: The final page of the comic Krazy Kat was published, exactly two months after its author, George Herriman, died.

1947: The Diary of a Young Girl, better known as The Diary of Anne Frank, was published.

1976: Missouri Gov. Kit Bond issued an executive order rescinding the Mormon Extermination Order of 1838, and formally apologized on behalf of the state of Missouri for the suffering it had caused to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

1981: Microsoft became an incorporated business in its home state of Washington.

2009: Entertainer Michael Jackson died of heart failure at his rented mansion in Brentwood, Calif. He was 50. Jackson was one of the most famous people in history, known on every continent to approximately one-fourth of the world’s population. Actress Farrah Fawcett, 62, died of cancer in Santa Monica, Calif.

2018: Californian Governor Jerry Brown declares State of Emergency for wildfire spread over 8,200 acres in Lake County.

2019: San Francisco is the first major US city to ban e-cigarettes.


June 26


1797: Louisa Johnson married John Quincy Adams in London, England. He would become the sixth president (1825-1829).

1870: Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States.

1906: The first Grand Prix motor racing event was held in Le Mans, France.

1927: The Cyclone roller coaster opened on Coney Island.

1934: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act, which established credit unions.

1945: The United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco.

1960: Madagascar gained its independence from France.

1963: President John F. Kennedy gave his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, underlining the support of the United States for democratic West Germany shortly after Soviet-supported East Germany erected the Berlin Wall. (Contrary to popular myth, the German phrase he uttered three times in the speech does not mean “I am a jelly-filled donut.”)

1997: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Communications Decency Act violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

2000: President Clinton announced the completion of the first survey of the entire human genome.

2018: Hello Kitty bullet train unveiled by the West Japan Railway.

2019: Highest ever June temperatures recorded in Germany (38.6C), Poland (38.2C) and the Czech Republic (38.9C) during week-long heatwave in Europe.


June 27

1895: The first U.S. passenger train to use electric locomotives, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Royal Blue, had its inaugural run from Washington, D.C., to New York, New York.

1925: An earthquake of magnitude 6 struck Three Forks, Mont.

1973: The president of Uruguay, Juan María Bordaberry, dissolved Parliament and established a dictatorship.

1974: President Richard Nixon visited the Soviet Union.

1985: U.S. Route 66 was officially removed from the U.S. highway system.

2007: Tony Blair resigned as British prime minister, a position he had held since 1997.

2018: Complex carbon-based molecules found by Cassini spacecraft on Saturn moon Enceladus, previously only ever found on earth and meteorites in research published in “Nature”.

2019: Chief Apple designer Jony Ive, designer of the iMac and the iPhone, announces he is leaving Apple after 30 years.


June 28

1491: King Henry VIII was born in London, England.

1786: American Thomas Barclay gave $10,000 in gifts to the Sultan of Morocco in exchange for protection from the Barbary pirates. (The U.S. made similar agreements with Algiers in 1795; Tripoli in 1796; and Tunis in 1797.)

1836: James Madison, fourth president, died at Montpelier, Va.

1894: Labor Day became an official U.S. holiday.

1926: Mercedes-Benz was formed when Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merged their two companies.

1969: The Stonewall Riots began at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood in New York City, marking the start of the gay rights movement.

1970: Andy C. Hecht, 9, of Williamsville, N.Y., died when he jumped or fell into a boiling hot spring near Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park. His body sank into the hot spring. Rangers recovered eight pounds of flesh, bones and clothing the next day.

1982: A 30-minute hailstorm in Helena, Mont., caused $35 million in damage. No deaths or serious injuries.

2018: Power company uncovers Neolithic wooden trackway 2,300 years old in Suffolk, England. One of the largest archaeological digs in Europe at 16,000 square meters.

2019: 3,400 year old Bronze Age palace from the Mittani Empire uncovered on the banks of the Tigris River, due to lack of rainfall dropping the water level in the Mosul Dam reservoir.


June 29


1613: William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, England, burned to the ground.

1776: Father Francisco Palou founded Mission San Francisco de Asis in what is now San Francisco, Calif.

1974: Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defected from the Soviet Union to Canada while on tour with the Kirov Ballet.

1975: Steve Wozniak tested his first prototype of the Apple I computer.

2006: In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President George W. Bush’s plan to try Guantánamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law.

2007: Apple Inc. released its first mobile phone, the iPhone.

2015: Beijing Times reports 30% of the Great Wall of China has disappeared due to natural forces and stealing of bricks.

2016: Brad Treat, 38, a career law-enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service, died when a grizzly bear attacked him while he was riding a mountain bike on a trail near West Glacier, Mont.

2018: Drake releases his fifth studio album “Scorpion”, a double album with 25 tracks.


June 30


1906: Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act.

1921: President Warren G. Harding appointed former President William Howard Taft Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

1934: The Night of the Long Knives, Adolf Hitler’s violent purge of his political rivals in Germany, took place.

1937: The world’s first emergency telephone number, 999, was introduced in London

1953: The first Chevrolet Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Mich.

1966: The National Organization for Women, the United States’ largest feminist organization, was founded in New York. Born this day: actress Wendy Davis (Army Wives), and boxer Mike Tyson.

1987: The Royal Canadian Mint introduced the $1 coin, known as the Loonie.

2013: Nineteen firefighters died in a wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona.

2016: The Ikea Museum opens in the former very first Ikea store in Älmhult, Sweden.

2019: Brooklyn Nets load up on elite NBA talent on first day of free agency; sign Kevin Durant from Golden State, Kyrie Irving from Boston and DeAndre Jordan from NY Knicks.