General Interest

Fidel Castro born

Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro is born in the Oriente province of eastern Cuba. The son of a Spanish immigrant who had made a fortune building rail systems to transport sugar cane, Fidel attended Roman Catholic boarding schools in Santiago de Cuba. He became involved in ...read more

Falklands War ends

After suffering through six weeks of military defeats against Britain’s armed forces, Argentina surrenders to Great Britain, ending the Falklands War. The Falkland Islands, located about 300 miles off the southern tip of Argentina, had long been claimed by the British. British ...read more

England wins World Cup

In the first televised World Cup soccer match, host-nation England beats Germany 4 to 2 to win the tournament final at Wembley Stadium. In overtime play, England’s Geoff Hurst scored his second of three match goals to give Britain a 3 to 2 lead. In the dying seconds of overtime ...read more

Dempsey loses on long count

Jack Dempsey, the “Manassa Mauler,” misses an opportunity to regain the heavyweight boxing title when he fails to return to a neutral corner after knocking down champ Gene Tunney in a title match in Chicago. Dempsey waited five precious seconds before heading to the neutral ...read more

First Winter Olympics

On January 25, 1924, the first Winter Olympics take off in style at Chamonix in the French Alps. Spectators were thrilled by the ski jump and bobsled as well as 12 other events involving a total of six sports. The “International Winter Sports Week,” as it was known, was a great ...read more

Louis becomes champ

In Chicago’s Comiskey Park, Joe Louis wins the world heavyweight boxing title when he defeats American Jim Braddock in an eighth-round knockout. Louis was the first African American heavyweight champ since Jack Johnson, who lost the title in 1915. During his subsequent reign, the ...read more

Near launching of Russian nukes

Russia’s early-warning defense radar detects an unexpected missile launch near Norway, and Russian military command estimates the missile to be only minutes from impact on Moscow. Moments later, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, his defense minister, and his chief of staff were ...read more

Marcos flees the Philippines

In the face of mass demonstrations against his rule, Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos and his entourage are airlifted from the presidential palace in Manila by U.S. helicopters. Elected in 1966, Marcos declared martial law in 1972 in response to leftist violence. In the ...read more

Owens wins 4th gold medal

At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, African American track star Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal of the Games in the 4×100-meter relay. His relay team set a new world record of 39.8 seconds, which held for 20 years. In their strong showing in track-and-field events at the XIth ...read more

Republic of India born

On January 26, 1950, the Indian constitution takes effect, making the Republic of India the most populous democracy in the world. Mohandas Gandhi struggled through decades of passive resistance before Britain finally accepted Indian independence. Self-rule had been promised ...read more

The Battle of Brooklyn

During the American Revolution, British forces under General William Howe defeat Patriot forces under General George Washington at the Battle of Brooklyn in New York. On August 22, Howe’s large army landed on Long Island, hoping to capture New York City and gain control of the ...read more

U.S. forces land in Haiti

On September 19, 1994, 20,000 U.S. troops land unopposed in Haiti to oversee the country’s transition to democracy. In 1991, Roman Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first freely elected leader in Haitian history, was deposed in a bloody military coup. He escaped to ...read more

Thirty Years War ends

The Treaty of Westphalia is signed, ending the Thirty Years War and radically shifting the balance of power in Europe. The Thirty Years War, a series of wars fought by European nations for various reasons, ignited in 1618 over an attempt by the king of Bohemia (the future Holy ...read more

USS Pueblo captured

On January 23, 1968, the USS Pueblo, a Navy intelligence vessel, is engaged in a routine surveillance of the North Korean coast when it is intercepted by North Korean patrol boats. According to U.S. reports, the Pueblo was in international waters almost 16 miles from shore, but ...read more

Christ is born?

Although most Christians celebrate December 25 as the birthday of Jesus Christ, few in the first two Christian centuries claimed any knowledge of the exact day or year in which he was born. The oldest existing record of a Christmas celebration is found in a Roman almanac that ...read more

The mystery of the Mary Celeste

The Dei Gratia, a small British brig under Captain David Morehouse, spots the Mary Celeste, an American vessel, sailing erratically but at full sail near the Azores Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was seaworthy, its stores and supplies were untouched, but not a soul was ...read more

Panama declares independence

With the support of the U.S. government, Panama issues a declaration of independence from Colombia. The revolution was engineered by a Panamanian faction backed by the Panama Canal Company, a French-U.S. corporation that hoped to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans with a ...read more

The Battle of Bunker Hill

During the American Revolution, British General William Howe lands his troops on the Charlestown peninsula overlooking Boston and leads them against Breed’s Hill, a fortified American position just below Bunker Hill. As the British advanced in columns against the Americans, ...read more

Jerusalem captured in First Crusade

During the First Crusade, Christian knights from Europe capture Jerusalem after seven weeks of siege and begin massacring the city’s Muslim and Jewish population. Beginning in the 11th century, Christians in Jerusalem were increasingly persecuted by the city’s Islamic rulers, ...read more

Washington assumes command

On Cambridge common in Massachusetts, George Washington rides out in front of the American troops gathered there, draws his sword, and formally takes command of the Continental Army. Washington, a prominent Virginia planter and veteran of the French and Indian War, was appointed ...read more

Walesa released from jail

Lech Walesa, leader of communist Poland’s outlawed Solidarity movement, returns to his apartment in Gdansk after 11 months of internment in a remote hunting lodge near the Soviet border. Two days before, hundreds of supporters had begun a vigil outside his home upon learning that ...read more

U.S. takes control of Puerto Rico

Only one year after Spain granted Puerto Rico self-rule, American troops raise the U.S. flag over the Caribbean nation, formalizing U.S. authority over the island’s one million inhabitants. In July 1898, near the end of the Spanish-American War, U.S. forces launched an invasion ...read more

The U.S. invades Panama

The United States invades Panama in an attempt to overthrow military dictator Manuel Noriega, who had been indicted in the United States on drug trafficking charges and was accused of suppressing democracy in Panama and endangering U.S. nationals. Noriega’s Panamanian Defense ...read more

The Soviet space dog

The Soviet Union launches the first animal into space—a dog name Laika—aboard the Sputnik 2 spacecraft. Laika, part Siberian husky, lived as a stray on the Moscow streets before being enlisted into the Soviet space program. Laika survived for several days as a passenger in the ...read more

The British evacuate Boston

During the American War for Independence, British forces are forced to evacuate Boston following Patriot General George Washington’s successful placement of fortifications and cannons on Dorchester Heights, which overlooks the city from the south. During the evening of March 4, ...read more

The Battle of Germantown

Near the British-occupied city of Philadelphia, Patriot forces under General George Washington attempt an early morning attack on Sir William Howe’s British troops at Germantown. Heavy morning fog threw Washington’s divisions into disarray, and by 10 o’clock the battle was over. ...read more

Soviets to withdraw from Afghanistan

Representatives of the USSR, Afghanistan, the United States, and Pakistan sign an agreement calling for the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan. In exchange for an end to the disputed Soviet occupation, the United States agreed to end its arms support for the Afghan ...read more

Soviets to boycott L.A. Olympics

Citing fears for the safety of its athletes in what it considered a hostile and anti-communist environment, the Soviet government announces a boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Los Angeles, California. Although the Soviets had cited security concerns, the ...read more

Soviets test “Layer-Cake” bomb

Less than one year after the United States tested its first hydrogen bomb, the Soviets detonate a 400-kiloton device in Kazakhstan. The explosive power was 30 times that of the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and the mushroom cloud produced by it stretched five miles into ...read more

Soviets release Mathias Rust

On August 3, 1988, Soviet authorities free Mathias Rust, the daring young West German pilot who landed a rented Cessna on Moscow’s Red Square in 1987. Rust was serving a four-year sentence at a labor camp when the Soviets approved his extradition as a goodwill gesture to the ...read more

Soviets explode atomic bomb

At a remote test site at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, the USSR successfully detonates its first atomic bomb, code name “First Lightning.” In order to measure the effects of the blast, the Soviet scientists constructed buildings, bridges, and other civilian structures in the ...read more

Soviets Invade Czechoslovakia

On the night of August 20, 1968, approximately 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to crush the “Prague Spring”–a brief period of liberalization in the communist country. Czechoslovakians protested the invasion with public demonstrations and other ...read more

Sakharov wins Peace Prize

Andrei Dmitriyevich Sakharov, the Soviet physicist who helped build the USSR’s first hydrogen bomb, is awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of his struggle against “the abuse of power and violations of human dignity in all its forms.” Sakharov was forbidden by the ...read more

Romanian government falls

The Romanian army defects to the cause of anti-communist demonstrators, and the government of Nicolae Ceausescu is overthrown. The end of 42 years of communist rule came three days after Ceausescu’s security forces opened fire on demonstrators in Timisoara. After the army’s ...read more

Scharansky released

After spending eight years in Soviet prisons and labor camps, human rights activist Anatoly Scharansky is released. The amnesty deal was arranged by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan at a summit meeting three months earlier. Scharansky was ...read more

Puerto Rico invaded

During the Spanish-American War, U.S. forces launch their invasion of Puerto Rico, the 108-mile-long, 40-mile-wide island that was one of Spain’s two principal possessions in the Caribbean. With little resistance and only seven deaths, U.S. troops under General Nelson A. Miles ...read more

Peron elected in Argentina

Juan Domingo Peron, the controversial former vice president of Argentina, is elected president. In 1943, as an army officer, he joined a military coup against Argentina’s ineffectual civilian government. Appointed secretary of labor, his influence grew and in 1944 he also became ...read more