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This Day in History - June 19

June 19

240 BC – Eratosthenes estimates the circumference of Earth using two sticks

1312 – English nobleman Piers Gaveston, First Earl of Cornwall, dies

1566 – James I, King of England, is born

1623 – French mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher, Blaise Pascal, is born

1778 – General George Washington’s troops finally leave Valley Forge after a winter of training

1821 – The Ottomans defeat the Greeks at the Battle of Dragasani

1846 – The New York Knickerbocker Club plays the New York Club in the first baseball game at Elysian Field, Hoboken, New Jersey

1856 – In Music Fund Hall in Philadelphia, the first national convention of the Republic Party, comes to its conclusion

1861 – Virginians, in what will soon be West Virginia, elect Francis Pierpont as their provisional governor

1861 – Filipino polymath, Jose Rizal, is born

1862 – President Abraham Lincoln outlines his Emancipation Proclamation and the news reaches the South

1864 – The USS Kearsarge sinks the CSS Alabama off of Cherbourg, France

1867 – Mexican Emperor Maximillian is executed on the orders of Benito Juarez, the president of the Mexican Republic

1868 – Jesuit missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet meets with great Sioux Chief Sitting Bull in present-day Montana to discuss making peace with the US.  Although Sitting Bull would not agree to peace himself, he did send a lesser chief to sign an agreement allowing whites travel in certain places.  Smet also had the respect of Indians and spent the remainder of his life attempting to paint a more sympathetic picture of Indians

1885 – The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York City from France

1886 – Future President, William Howard Taft, marries Helen “Nellie” Herron in Cincinnati, Ohio

1892 – Francesca Rojas’ two young children are stabbed to death in their home in Necochea, Argentina.  Rojas claimed a man named Velasquez had threatened her earlier in the day and that she had seen him escaping out of her back door at the time of her children’s death.  After torturing Velasquez for over a week in an attempt to force a confession, he maintained his innocence.  Juan Vucetich, in charge of criminal identification, who was intrigued by the new theories of fingerprint identification, sent an investigator to gather a bloody fingerprint on a bedroom door.  Using this, it was determined that Rojas has stabbed her six-year-old boy and four-year-old girl.  Once presented with the evidence against her, she confessed, claiming she was trying to improve her chance of marrying her boyfriend who was known to dislike children.  Rojas was sentenced to life imprisonment

1897 – Comic actor, Moe Howard, is born

1900 – Novelist, Laura Hobson, is born

1903 – Professional baseball player, Henry Louis Gehrig, is born

1903 – The young school teacher, Benito Mussolini, is placed under investigation by police in Bern, Switzerland

1905 – Some 450 attend the opening day of the world’s first nickelodeon, located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  The storefront theater boasted 96 seats and charged only five cents

1917 – During the third year of WWI, Britain’s King George V orders the British royal family to dispense with the use of German titles and surnames, changing the surname of his own family, the Germanic Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to Windsor

1919 – Mustafa Kemal founds the Turkish National Congress at Ankara and denounces the Treaty of Versailles

1919 – American film critic and author, Pauline Kael, is born

1933 – France grants Leon Trotsky political asylum

1934 – The National Archives and Records Administration is established

1934 – Nathanael West’s novel, A Cool Million, is published

1937 – The town of Bilbao, Spain, falls to the Nationalist forces

1937 – Scottish author and playwright, JM Barrie, dies

1938 – A flood in Montana kills 46 and seriously injures over 60 when it washes out train tracks

1942 – Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrives in Washington DC to discuss the invasion of North Africa with President Franklin Roosevelt

1944 – US Navy carrier-based planes shatter the remaining Japanese carrier forces in the Battle of the Marianas in what would become known as the “Marianas Turkey Shoot”

1945 – Myanmar human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Aung San Suu Kyi is born

1945 – Writer, Tobias Wolff, is born

1947 – British author, Salman Rushdie, is born

1951 – President Harry Truman signs the Universal Military Training and Service Act, which extends Selective Service until July 1, 1955, and lowers the draft age to 18

1953 – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiring to pass US atomic secrets to the Soviets, are executed by electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York

1958 – Nine entertainers refuse to answer a congressional committee’s questions on communism

1961 – Kuwait regains complete independence from Britain

1963 – Soviet Cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova, becomes the first woman in space

1964 – British politician, Boris Johnson, is born

1965 – Air Marshall Nguyen Cao Ky becomes South Vietnam’s youngest premier at age 34

1968 – Over 50,000 march on Washington, DC to support the Poor People’s Campaign

1968 – South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu signs a general mobilization bill, forcing men between the ages of 18 and 43 to be subjected to induction into the regular armed forces

1972 – The US Supreme Court rules against Curt Flood in Flood v. Kuhn, denying Flood free agency as a baseball player

1973 – The Case-Church Amendment prevents further US involvement in Southeast Asia

1978 – German basketball player, Dirk Nowitzki, is born

1987 – The US Supreme Court voids the Louisiana law requiring schools to teach creationism

1991 – Actress Jean Arthur dies

1993 – Nobel Prize-winning author, poet, and playwright, William Golding dies

1995 – The Richmond Virginia Planning Commission approves plans to place a memorial statue of tennis professional Arthur Ashe

2005 – German driver Michael Schumacher wins at the US Grand Prix.  It was difficult to celebrate the win, as 14 Formula One race car drivers had withdrawn due to safety concerns over Michelin-made tires on their cars.  The race, held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will go down as one of the most controversial Formula One racing events in history.  Despite Michelin’s petition to send another batch of tires (after determining that the original tires they sent couldn’t hold up to the speed), and their petition to build a series of turns designed to slow down cars before the 13th turn, the Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA), the sanctioning body for Formula One, refused

2013 – Actor, James Gandolfini, dies


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.


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