Category Archives: This day in History

US Invades Grenada (1983)

After a left-wing government took control of Grenada in a 1979 bloodless coup, relations between the tiny Caribbean nation and its neighbors became strained. In 1983, the government was overthrown by radicals from within the same movement. Concerned about Grenada’s leanings toward Cuba and the Soviet bloc, the US invaded. World leaders were outraged, and the UN voted 108 to 9 to condemn the invasion. How did US President Ronald Reagan respond when asked whether the lopsided vote concerned him? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Zambia Gains Independence (1964)

The area that is now Zambia came under British control in the early 1900s with the development of the copper mining industry. After decades of nationalist struggle, the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia became the independent Republic of Zambia. Kenneth Kaunda, a former schoolteacher who had been jailed for nationalist political activities prior to independence, became its first president. Zambia may have been the first country to do what during the Olympics? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Hungarian Republic Is Officially Proclaimed (1989)

The defeat of the Central Powers in WWI brought the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary to an end and led to the creation of an independent Hungarian republic, which, in 1949, came under Communist control. Though a 1956 uprising was suppressed, Hungary became the most tolerant of the Soviet bloc nations of Europe and finally replaced Communism with a multi-party democracy with free elections in 1989. Hungary’s relative freedom compared to other Eastern bloc countries led to what satirical nickname? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Final Attack by the Beltway Sniper (2002)

For three weeks in October 2002, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo terrorized the Washington, DC, metropolitan area by shooting random victims from a distance. Ten people were killed and three others wounded in the spree, which was later linked to earlier shootings. Two days after killing their final victim, Muhammad and Malvo were arrested after being found sleeping in the car from which they had shot their victims. Before the arrest, the pair had planned to travel to Canada to do what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Siad Barre Leads Coup to Become President of Somalia (1969)

Following the assassination of Somalia’s president in 1969, a military coup installed Major General Mohamed Siad Barre as leader. His dictatorial administration was marked by human rights abuses and civil strife. Though he sought to end pervasive clan loyalties, warfare among rival factions intensified. In 1991, he was ousted. The country plunged into a civil war and has had no effective central government since. How did Siad Barre’s regime terrorize the Majeerteen clan in particular? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Saturday Night Massacre (1973)

While investigating the Watergate scandal, special prosecutor Archibald Cox subpoenaed audiotapes of conversations implicating US President Richard Nixon in a cover-up of a burglary of the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC. Nixon refused to produce the tapes and ordered the US attorney general and his deputy to fire Cox. On the same Saturday, both men resigned in protest, and public outcry eventually forced Nixon to surrender the tapes. What happened to Cox? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Black Monday: Dow Jones Industrial Average Falls 508 Points (1987)

On what is known in the financial world as Black Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 508 points, nearly 23%—the largest drop since 1914. Although the cause of the crash is still debated, its result was immediately apparent: it sent the value of markets plummeting worldwide. By the end of the month, markets in Hong Kong and Australia had lost over 40%. That December, a group of eminent economists predicted that the next few years could be the worst since the Great Depression. Were they? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Earthquake Destroys Basel, Switzerland (1356)

Estimated to have been greater than 6.0 in magnitude, the Basel earthquake of 1356 may have been the most serious seismological event in the recorded history of central Europe. The main earthquake struck around 10 PM. In the Swiss city of Basel, all the major buildings—including castles and churches—were destroyed by the quake and subsequent fires. Three hundred people are thought to have been killed. The event was felt across Europe, including as far away as what locations? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Loyalty Day: Massive Crowd Demands Release of Juan Perón (1945)

As secretary of labor and social welfare in the wake of the 1943 revolution in Argentina, Perón enacted a wide range of benefits for workers that earned him a loyal following. In October 1945, he was overthrown in a coup, arrested, and jailed. Mass demonstrations of workers forced his release on October 17, a day now known in Argentina as Loyalty Day. Shortly thereafter, Perón ran for president and was elected by a vast majority in 1946. He was forced into exile in 1955. When did he return? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Olympic Medalists Create Furor with Black Power Salute (1968)

The silent protest of two black American athletes at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City was an iconic and controversial statement. Sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos received their medals shoeless to draw attention to black poverty in America, and they performed the Black Power salute as their national anthem played. They were booed by the crowd and were later expelled from the staunchly apolitical games. Smith saluted with his right hand. Why was Carlos forced to salute with his left? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary