1466:Birth of Genovese Admiral Andrea Doria; led sea battles against the Ottomans and Barbary pirates. Also the leading politician of the independent Genovese Republic.
1729: On the western fringes of colonial settlement, in this case the French territories along the Mississippi River basin, Natchez Indians massacre 138 Frenchmen, 35 French women and 56 children at Fort Rosalie. The fort was the seat of French authority and trade along the river. Relations between the French and the Indians were never entirely peaceful, and the 1720s saw periodic uprisings of increasing violence, culminating in the massacre today. Present-day Natchez, Mississippi, developed from the trade routes that converged on the fort.
1778: On his third Pacific voyage of exploration, Captain James Cook becomes the first European to land on Maui, in the Sandwich Islands chain.
1877: Inventor Thomas Edison demonstrates his gramophone for the first time.
1883: Death of abolitionist Sojouner Truth. who achieved nation-wide fame for her outspoken advocacy of abolition and women’s rights, particularly her 1851 speech at a woman’s rights convention, where she uttered the phrase, “Ain’t I a woman??” She was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son, in 1828 she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man.
1898: Birth of British author C.S. “Jack” Lewis, best known over here for his deeply felt Christian conversion (“I went kicking and screaming”), that helped guide his writing of the Chronicles of Narnia series.
1901: Establishment of the U.S. Army War College in the garrison town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
1929: Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd becomes the first to fly over the South Pole. After learning to fly during the World War, the Virginia native pursued solutions to increasingly difficult flying problems, most notably long-range navigation. He developed a number of navigation instruments, including the bubble sextant, with which he proved that planes could be safely flown across great distances with reasonable accuracy. He played a key role in developing the routing of the Navy’s first trans-Atlantic flight in 1919 (DLH 5/27 Addendum). In May, 1926, he planned- and took credit for- a flight from Spitsbergen Norway to the North Pole and back, a feat for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. In 1928 he led a two-year Antarctic expedition of two ships and three airplanes which surveyed and photographed vast areas of that frozen continent. The South Polar flight today was well-documented and earned Byrd a gold medal from the American Geographical society.
1934: A British steam locomotive nicknamed The Flying Scotsman becomes the first steam locomotive to officially be clocked at a speed over 100 mph.