This Day in History

June 26


1284      legendary date of the Pied Piper of Hamelin leading the children away   734
1483      Richard III becomes King of England—last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty   535
1522      Ottoman Empire begins a six-month seige of Rhodes that ends with an Ottoman victory and annexation of the island of Rhodes   496
1541      conquistador Francisco Pizarro assassinated in Lima, Peru; the city he founded   477
1730      French astronomer Charles Messier is born in Badonviller, France   288
1793      pioneering English naturalist and ornithologist Gilbert White dies, agr 72   225
1796      American astronomer and mathematician David Rittenhouse dies, age 64   222
1797      Charles Newbold is issued the first U.S. patent for a cast-iron plow   221
1810      French pioneer balloonist Joseph-Michel Montgolfier dies, agr 69   208
1824      Irish mathematical physicist William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), physicist, born in Belfast   194
1830      George IV of the United Kingdom dies after a controversial reign of 10 years, age 67   188
1843      Treaty of Nanking goes into effect ending the First Opium War between China and the U.K.—Hong Kong is ceded to Britain "in perpetuity"   175
1848      June Days Uprising ends in Paris when National Guard is called to quell protesting working class—4500 killed, 4000 deported   170
1870      Christmas is established as a Federal Holiday by President Grant   148
1883      Irish astronomer, geophysicist, ornithologist, and explorer Edward Sabine dies in England, age 94   135
1892      American writer and novelist Pearl Sydenstricker Buck born in Hillsboro, West Virginia   126
1902      King Edward VII founds the Order of Merit for exceptional meritorious service in the armed forces, art, literature, and science   116
1906      first Grand Prix race, Le Mans, France   112
1917      first U.S. troops arrive in France to fight in the Great War   101
1927      Coney Island Cyclone wooden roller coaster opens   91
1934      President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Federal Credit Union Act establishing credit unions   84
1936      maiden flight of the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 designed and built by Heinrich Focke—first fully controllable helicopter   82
1942      first flight of the Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter—becomes the most successful aircraft in naval history   76
1943      Austrian-born American biologist and physician and Nobel laureate Karl Landsteiner dies in New York City, age 75   75
1945      United Nations charter signed in San Francisco   73
1959      St. Lawrence Seaway officially opens for shipping   59
1960      Madagascar gains its independence from France   58
1974      UPC is used for the first time to sell a retail product—a pack of chewing gum   44
1986      Soyuz T-15 docks for the second time with Mir—undocked the previous day from Salyut 7   32
1995      Irish physicist and Nobel laureate Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton dies in Belfast, age 91   23
2002      American college football player and referee and first winner of the Heisman Trophy John Jacob "Jay" Berwanger dies, age 88   16
2003      American general, lawyer, governor and senator from South Carolina James Strom Thurmond dies in Edgefield, South Carolina, age 100   15
2003      The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Lawrence v. Texas that gender-based sodomy laws are unconstitutional   15
2008      suicide bomber kills 25 tribal and town leaders in the town of Al-Karmah, Iraq   10
2010      Chicago Cubs become the first MLB franchise to play 20,000 games   8
2010      American writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron dies in New York City, age 71   8
2012      discovery of Styx, the fifth known moon of Pluto, by a team led by astronomer Mark R. Showalter   6
2015      U.S. Supreme Court rules in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex marriages are protected by the Constitution   3
2016      Opportunity reaches 4416 sols—twice the operational time for her sister Spirit on the surface of Mars   2
2016      inauguration of the Panama Canal expansion   2

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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