Today In History
On Sept. 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write a poem, "Defence of Fort McHenry," after witnessing how an American flag flying over the Maryland fort withstood a night of British bombardment during the War of 1812; the poem later became the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner."
On this date:
In 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte's troops entered Moscow following the Battle of Borodino to find the Russian city largely abandoned and parts set ablaze.
In 1829, the Treaty of Adrianople was signed, ending war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire.
In 1861, the first naval engagement of the Civil War took place as the USS Colorado attacked and sank the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Fla.
In 1901, President William McKinley died in Buffalo, N.Y., of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him.
In 1927, modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan died in Nice, France, when her scarf became entangled in a wheel of the sports car she was riding in.
In 1941, Vermont passed a resolution enabling its servicemen to receive wartime bonuses by declaring the U.S. to be in a state of armed conflict, giving rise to headlines that Vermont had "declared war on Germany."
In 1963, Mary Ann Fischer of Aberdeen, S.D., gave birth to four girls and a boy, the first known surviving quintuplets in the United States.
In 1964, Pope Paul VI opened the third session of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, also known as "Vatican II." (The session closed two months later.)
In 1975, Pope Paul VI declared Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton the first U.S.-born saint.
In 1982, Princess Grace of Monaco, formerly actress Grace Kelly, died at age 52 of injuries from a car crash the day before; Lebanon's president-elect, Bashir Gemayel, was killed by a bomb.
In 1988, Hurricane Gilbert slammed into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 5 storm after forcing thousands of residents to flee.
In 1991, the government of South Africa, the African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party signed a national peace pact.
Ten years ago: Swedes rejected adopting the European common currency in a referendum overshadowed by the killing of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, an ardent euro supporter. World Trade Organization talks designed to change global trade collapsed in Cancun, Mexico, amid differences between rich and poor nations. An older half-sister of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, Yetunde Price, was shot to death in Compton, Calif. (Gang member Robert Edward Maxfield later pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.)
Five years ago: Losing its devastating punch as a major hurricane, Ike nevertheless drubbed the Midwest with powerful winds and floodwaters. Carlos Zambrano pitched the first no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs in 36 years, striking out 10 in a 5-0 win over Houston in a game relocated to Milwaukee because of Hurricane Ike.
One year ago: Fury over an anti-Muslim film ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad spread across the Muslim world, with deadly clashes near Western embassies in Tunisia and Sudan, an American fast-food restaurant set ablaze in Lebanon, and international peacekeepers attacked in the Sinai. A French gossip magazine's publication of topless photos of Prince William's wife, Kate, prompted an immediate lawsuit from the royal couple and statements of outrage from palace officials. The National Hockey League locked out its players at 11:59 p.m.; it was the league's fourth shutdown in a decade and one that would cost the league nearly half its season.
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