Today in history
1492 Christopher Columbus signs a contract with the Spanish monarchs to find the ‘‘Indies’’ with the goal of converting people to Catholicism.
1534 Sir Thomas More confined in the Tower of London.
1758 Franciswilliams, 1st US black college graduate, publishes poems.
1797 Sir Ralph Abercromby attacks San Juan, Puerto Rico, one of the largest invasions of Spanish territories in America.
1824 Russia abandons all North American claims south of 54° 40’N.
1860 Champion of England Tom Sayers and American John Heenan fight out 2-hour, 27-minute draw in England; acknowledged as first world title boxing bout.
1861 Virginia secedes from the Union as the US Civil War begins.
1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki is signed, ending the First Sino-japanesewar (1894-95).
1912 1st unofficial gold record (Al Jolson’s Ragging The Baby To Sleep).
1941 The Kingdom of Yugoslavia surrenders to Germany.
1942 Operations begin to destroy Sobibor Concentration Camp, Poland.
1945 8th Air Force bombs Dresden, while German occupiers flood Wieringermeer, Netherlands.
1961 1400 Cuban exiles land in Bay of Pigs in a doomed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro.
1969 Sirhan Sirhan is convicted of US Senator Robert F Kennedy’s assassination.
1975 The Khmer Rouge captures Phnom Penh, Cambodia, marking the end of the Cambodian Civil war.
1983 India enters the space age, launching its SLV-3 rocket.
1993 Two Los Angeles police officers are convicted in federal court of violating Rodney King’s civil rights and are sentenced to prison, while two others are acquitted, sparking riots.
2002 Four Canadian Forces soldiers are killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire from two US Air Force F-16s, the first deaths in a combat zone for Canada since the Koreanwar.
2009 Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark becomes the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the first woman to lead the organisation. 2011 Game of Thrones, based on the fantasy novels by George R R Martin, premieres on HBO.
2013 Same-sexmarriage is legalised in New Zealand.
TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS J P Morgan, banker and financier (1837–1913); William Holden, actor (1918–81); Nick Hornby, writer (1957–); Sean Bean, actor (1959–); Liz Phair, musician (1967–), Jennifer Garner, actor (1972–).