Category Archives: This day in History

The Securitas Depot Robbery (2006)

In an elaborate heist that took place over the course of several hours, the manager of the Securitas bank depot in Kent, England, was abducted along with his family and forced by a gang of masked, armed men to help steal approximately £53 million. In the process, 14 other staff members at the depot were held captive. It was the largest robbery in British history, and dozens of people would eventually be arrested in connection with it. What had previously been the UK’s largest cash robbery? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Creation of the Peace Symbol (1958)

Historically, the idea of peace has been represented by symbols that attempt to transcend differences of culture, such as the white dove, the olive branch, and the broken rifle. The now-familiar line-drawing of a crow’s foot in a circle was created specifically for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament by British artist Gerald Holtom, but it quickly caught on as a general, international sign for peace. Holtom has stated that it is derived from the semaphore flag signals for what two letters? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Station Nightclub Fire (2003)

Moments after the band Great White took the stage at the Station nightclub in Rhode Island, sparks from one of the group’s pyrotechnic devices—of which the nightclub was unaware—ignited the highly flammable sound insulation around the stage. The nightclub, which had no sprinklers, was engulfed in minutes, trapping many inside. One hundred people were killed, making it one of the deadliest nightclub fires in US history. How many people faced criminal charges in the aftermath of the tragedy? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Former US Vice President Aaron Burr Arrested for Treason (1807)

Nearly three years after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, former US Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested on unrelated charges of treason. Though the exact details of his plan were a mystery even then, he was accused of plotting to establish an independent country of his own, possibly in the American Southwest. He was treated well while imprisoned at Fort Stoddert and was eventually acquitted, but his political career was destroyed. Which of his co-conspirators turned on him? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Age of Kali Yuga Begins (3102 BCE)

In Hindu scripture, the age of Kali Yuga is the last of the four cyclic stages of the world and is currently ongoing. It is thought to have begun on the same day that Krishna left the Earth and is said to be marked by greed and murder. The scriptures predict that during Kali Yuga, unreasonable rulers will impose burdensome taxes and people will migrate to wheat-producing countries, become addicted to alcohol, and exhibit flexible morals. How long is the age expected to last? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

H. L. Hunley Becomes First Submarine to Sink an Enemy Warship (1864)

The US Civil War-era submarine Hunley required an eight-man crew—seven to power the propeller with a hand-crank and one to steer. Within months of its launch, the Confederate sub had sunk and been salvaged twice, taking the lives of five crewmen the first time and the entire crew the second. Manned with a new crew, Hunley became the first submarine to sink a ship in battle, yet the achievement was marred when the sub itself sank, killing all aboard yet again. When was it recovered? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Altmark Incident (1940)

While passing through neutral Norwegian waters during WWII, the German supply vessel Altmark was boarded by Norwegian inspectors. They were told the craft was merely a commercial ship, but it was in fact being used to transport 299 British prisoners of war. The captives tried to make their presence known by banging on the hull, but winches were run to drown them out. The Royal Navy, however, pursued the ship and mounted a rescue. What now-famous phrase alerted the men to their liberation? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Canada Adopts Maple Leaf Flag (1965)

By the 1960s, Canada had been an organized dominion for a century and an equal, autonomous partner of Britain for decades. Consequently, its British-derived flag had become the subject of intense controversy. Following the Great Flag Debate of 1964, Canada’s Parliament considered several possible designs before choosing the red-and-white maple leaf flag. In what foreign conflict had the previous flag’s design, which incorporated the Union Jack, caused trouble for Canadian peacekeeping forces? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Ayatollah Khomeini Calls for the Execution of Author Salman Rushdie (1989)

When British-Indian author Salman Rushdie’s fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, was published in 1988, it received much critical acclaim, but it was also the subject of intense controversy within the Muslim community due to its allegedly blasphemous content. Particularly outraged was Iran’s political and religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini, who issued a call for Rushdie’s execution. What misunderstanding about the book’s title, as translated into Arabic, may have contributed to the crisis? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Nashville Sit-Ins Begin (1960)

Just before it became first major Southern US city to begin integrating public spaces, Nashville was the scene of a months-long peaceful protest at the lunch counters of the city’s department stores. Scores of African-American college students calmly occupied seats at the counters while employees refused to serve them. Some protesters were assaulted or jailed. That May, the counters were desegregated. The protesters’ code of conduct became a model for other demonstrations. What did it say? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary