TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1321, Italian poet Dante Alighieri died. In 1752, the Gregorian calendar was officially adopted by the British Empire and its colonies in America.
In 1812, the Russians set fire to Moscow before Napoleon’s triumphant march into the city. Three-fourths of the city was destroyed in the next few days. Napoleon remained in Moscow for about a month while cold and hunger decimated the Grande Armee.
In 1814, the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” (later becoming the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner”) was written by Francis Scott Key following the British shelling of Fort McHenry in Maryland. The morning after, Key saw the American flag still flying over the fortress and wrote his poem. It was set to the tune of an English drinking song and it was designated as the U.S. national anthem in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, and his order was confirmed by an act of Congress in 1931.
In 1847, U.S. troops captured Mexico City during the Mexican War. In 1868, golf’s first recorded hole-in-one was scored by Scotsman Tom Morris at Prestwick’s 166-yard 8th hole during the Open Championship (known in North America as the British Open).
In 1882, the steamer “Asia” sank in Georgian Bay during a fierce gale, claiming 126 lives. In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became president of the United States after President William McKinley died eight days after being shot by an anarchist in Buffalo, N.Y.
In 1926, the federal Liberal party, led by William Lyon Mackenzie King, defeated the Conservatives under Arthur Meighen in a general election.
In 1927, modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan died when her scarf became entangled in the wheels of her sports car. She was 50. In 1936, Canadians Harry Richman and Robert Merrill completed the first Atlantic round-trip by air.
In 1936, Dorothea Palmer, a nurse, was arrested and charged with distributing birth control medicine and information in Eastview, Ont., a predominantly Frenchspeaking, low-income suburb of Ottawa. Her lawyers argued that her work was not for profit but “for the public good.” She was acquitted of all charges.
In 1959, the Soviet space probe “Luna 2” became the first man-made object to reach the moon as it crashed onto the lunar surface.
In 1959, Gov. Gen. Vincent Massey, the first Canadianborn governor general, delivered his farewell address on national radio and TV networks. In 1962, 29 people escaped to the West through a tunnel under the Berlin Wall.
In 1967, shareholders of the Bank of Western Canada voted in Winnipeg to wind up the bank.