Category Archives: This day in History

Saddam Hussein Is Executed (2006)

During his presidency of Iraq from 1979 to 2003, Hussein instituted a brutal dictatorship, launching wars against Iran and Kuwait and directing campaigns against Iraqi minorities, particularly the Kurds. After an Anglo-American force invaded Iraq in 2003 and drove him from power, he spent several months in hiding but was captured by US forces. In 2006, the Iraqi High Tribunal sentenced him to death for crimes against humanity. What hobby did Hussein take up while in prison awaiting execution? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Charlemagne Crowned Emperor (800 CE)

Charlemagne was king of the Franks (768–814) and emperor of the West (800–814). With the exception of the British Isles and parts of Italy and Spain, he united in one vast state almost all the Christian lands of Western Europe. After restoring Leo III to the papacy, he was crowned emperor in Rome on Christmas Day, 800 CE, finalizing the split between the Byzantine and Roman empires and marking the revival of the empire that was the forerunner of the Holy Roman Empire. What language did he speak? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Sir Francis Drake Begins Circumnavigation of the Globe (1577)

Drake, an English buccaneer and navigator, set out in 1577 with five ships to raid Spanish holdings on the Pacific coast of the New World. After abandoning two ships, he navigated the Straits of Magellan with the remaining three, becoming the first Englishman to do so. Another ship was destroyed in a storm, and a fourth returned to England, but Drake continued alone up the coast of S America, crossed the Pacific, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived in England in 1580. How was he rewarded? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Battle of Edgehill (1642)

The Battle of Edgehill was the first major engagement of the English Civil War, fought between the Royalist army of King Charles I and the Parliamentarians. The battle ended in a draw, and its inconclusive result prevented either faction from gaining a quick victory in the war, which eventually resulted in the execution of the king and the establishment of a republican commonwealth. What did a group of Parliamentarian troops under Faithfull Fortescue do when the Royalists charged them? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Jacqueline Kennedy Weds Aristotle Onassis (1968)

Jacqueline Bouvier married future US President John F. Kennedy in 1953. As first lady, she promoted the arts, history, and high style. After Kennedy’s assassination, her stoic behavior enhanced her standing with the public, but she stunned the world in 1968 when she married Greek millionaire shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. For a time, she was the world’s premier celebrity, but after Onassis’s death in 1975, she returned to New York, where she got a job doing what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Battle of Tigranocerta (69 BCE)

Through an alliance with his father-in-law, Mithradates VI of Pontus, Armenian King Tigranes the Great extended his conquests across Asia Minor and founded Tigranocerta—the modern Siirt, Turkey—as the capital of his large empire. In 69 BCE, Roman forces led by General Lucullus captured Tigranocerta. With the aid of Tigranes’s son, Pompey vanquished Tigranes, who lost all of his conquests and had to pay tribute to Rome. What early form of chemical warfare was employed during the battle? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Paddington Tram Depot Fire (1962)

In 1962, the Paddington Tram Depot in Brisbane, Australia, and 65 of its trams were destroyed in one of the largest fires in the city’s history. The strain that the destruction put on local transportation resources is generally considered to have brought about the beginning of the end for Brisbane’s tram system, which closed in 1969. After the fire, parts were salvaged from the destroyed trams and incorporated into new ones. What mythical creature adorns the trams bearing the salvaged parts? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Concordat of Worms (1122)

The Concordat of Worms was an agreement reached by Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V that put an end to the first phase of the power struggle between Rome and what was becoming the Holy Roman Empire. Under its terms, the king was recognized as having the right to invest bishops “by the lance” but not “by ring and staff,” meaning he could grant them secular but not sacred authority. What message about the divine right of kings did the concordat convey? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Battle of Tannenberg Ends (1914)

The Battle of Tannenberg was a decisive engagement between Russian and German forces in WWI. After invading German East Prussia, the Russian First and Second armies became separated. German forces then attacked one of the isolated armies and forced its retreat, killing and capturing tens of thousands in the process. Though disastrous for Russia, the battle forced Germany to divert troops from the Western Front during the first critical weeks of the war. Why was the battle named after Tannenberg? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Battle of Bosworth Field (1485)

The Battle of Bosworth Field was the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses in which Henry Tudor defeated the royal forces of Richard III, the last king of the House of York. Richard was killed in battle, and Henry advanced to London and was crowned as Henry VII. In 1486, Henry married Edward IV’s daughter, Elizabeth, thus uniting the houses of York and Lancaster, ending the Wars of the Roses and founding the Tudor royal dynasty. This battle is featured in which of Shakespeare’s plays? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary