Category Archives: This day in History

Mae West Sentenced For Obscenity (1927)

In 1926, American actress Mae West, mistress of the double entendre, began to write, produce, and star in her own Broadway plays, the first of which was the sensation-creating Sex. The notorious production did not go over well with city officials, who prosecuted West on morals charges. She served eight days of her 10-day sentence, getting off two days for good behavior. Still, the punishment did not deter her from tackling taboo subjects, as evidenced by her next play, named what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Paul Revere's Midnight Ride (1775)

American patriot Paul Revere was a member of the Sons of Liberty and a participant in the Boston Tea Party, but he is chiefly remembered for his late-night horseback ride to warn the Massachusetts colonists that British soldiers were setting forth on the mission that, as it turned out, began the American Revolution. Two others also rode out with the news, but it is Revere who is celebrated as the midnight rider, despite having been captured before reaching his final destination. Why is this? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Ford Mustang Debuts at New York World's Fair (1964)

Introduced at a relatively affordable $2,368, the Ford Mustang took the American auto market by storm. The initial sales projection of 100,000 units in the first year was surpassed within months, and a record 418,000 were on the road within the year. That year, the Mustang was featured in the James Bond film Goldfinger and appeared as the pace car at the Indianapolis 500, helping secure its iconic status. The original pony car, the very first Mustang model has what unusual designation? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Chinese Submarine Suffers Mysterious Accident that Kills 70 (2003)

A week and a half after a mysterious event left the entire 70-man crew of the Chinese Ming-class submarine No. 361 dead at their posts, the stricken vessel was spotted by fishermen and towed to shore. The official explanation for the disaster is that the crew suffocated when diesel engines failed to shut down while the vessel was submerged. What had allowed the crippled submarine to drift for over a week without raising concern? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Battle of Formigny (1450)

One of the first battles in which cannons played a pivotal, if not decisive, role, the Battle of Formigny was a major French victory toward the end of the Hundred Years’ War. The English were dealt a significant blow—thousands of troops were killed, injured, or captured—and, as there were no other significant English forces in Normandy, the entire region quickly fell to the French. The battle had raged for several hours before the tides turned in favor of the French. What brought this about? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Bombay Explosion (1944)

The SS Fort Stikine sailed from England in late February 1944 and made stops in Gibraltar, Egypt, and Pakistan before reaching Bombay, India, laden with a cargo of cotton bales, gold, explosives, and munitions. While the ship was berthed there, a fire broke out on board. Attempts to extinguish the fire failed, and a massive explosion soon tore the ship apart, sinking nearby vessels as well and igniting a massive blaze in the surrounding area. How many people were killed in the disaster? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Chicago Flood (1992)

The source of the water pouring into the basements of buildings in the Chicago Loop area had not yet been identified when reports of live fish in the water began surfacing. This helped lead a reporter to the source of the flood—a leak in an old tunnel that ran underneath the Chicago River. It turned out that the leak had been discovered months earlier, but the city had failed to repair it in a timely fashion, allowing it to worsen and eventually inundate the area with how much river water? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Canter & Siegel Post the First Commercial Mass Usenet Spam (1994)

Spam is now a ubiquitous part of the Internet, but that was not always the case. Early in the Internet age, two enterprising immigration lawyers—Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel—opened the floodgates of unwanted online commercial solicitation when they posted an ad for their services on thousands of Usenet newsgroups. Though not the first Usenet spam, the “Green Card Lottery” notice was the first to be commercial in nature and ushered in the modern era of Internet spam. What became of the duo? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

First Treaties of Utrecht Signed (1713)

Lasting from 1701 to 1714, the War of the Spanish Succession was brought to a close with two series of treaties signed in the Dutch city of Utrecht. The first series was signed between France and other European powers, specifically Britain, the Dutch Republic, Prussia, Portugal, and Savoy. Among other concessions, France agreed to cede various territories and recognize Queen Anne as the British sovereign. After concluding these treaties, France still remained at war with what empire? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Rudolf Vrba and Alfréd Wetzler Escape from Auschwitz-Birkenau (1944)

By 1944, transports were arriving daily at Auschwitz, carrying thousands of Jews destined for the gas chambers and crematoria. Prisoners Rudolf Vrba and Alfréd Wetzler knew that someone had to warn the Jews about what was happening to their deported brethren and alert the world to the atrocities being committed, so they mounted a daring escape and made their way to Slovakia, where they presented a detailed report on the concentration camp to Jewish officials. How did they break out of the camp? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary