Today in 1637, the first battle of Pequot at Mystic, Connecticut took place – with Colonial forces killing 500 Indian men, women and children.
Today in 1647, Alse Young became the first recorded person to be executed for being a “witch” in the colonies.
Today in 1647, a new law banned Catholic priests from the colony of Massachusetts. The penalty was banishment or death for a second offense. The English Puritans, who settled the colony, feared the Jesuits for a number of reasons. First, simply because they were Catholic. To Puritans, Catholicism was nothing less than idolatrous blasphemy, and Catholics were destined for eternal damnation. Secondly, because the Jesuits were French, and France and England were engaged in a bitter struggle for control of North America.
Today in 1836, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted what has been called the Gag Rule.
Today in 1896, the Dow Jones Industrial Average appeared for the first time in the "Wall Street Journal."
Today in 1908, the first oil strike was made in the Middle East – in Persia (what is now known as Iran).
Today in 1927, Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company produced the last Model T Ford (aka Tin Lizzie).
Today in 1938, the House Committee on Un-American Activities began its work of searching for subversives in the United States.
Today in 1940, the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk, France, began during World War II.
Today in 1948, Congress passed Public Law 557, which permanently established the Civil Air Patrol as the Auxiliary of the new U.S. Air Force.
Today in 1956, a series of explosions on board the aircraft carrier USS Bennington killed 103 crewmembers off Narragansett Bay, in Rhode Island.
Today in 1961, the civil rights activist group Freedom Ride Coordinating Committee was established in Atlanta, Georgia.
Today in 1961, a U.S. Air Force bomber flew across the Atlantic – from New York to Paris – in a record time of just over three hours.
Today in 1969, the Apollo 10 astronauts returned to Earth after a successful rehearsal for the first manned moon landing.
Today in 1994, President Clinton renewed trade privileges for China, and announced that his administration would no longer link China's trade status with its human rights record.
Today in 1998, SCOTUS ruled that police officers in high-speed chases are liable for bystander injuries only if their "actions shock the conscience." The case - County of Sacramento v. Lewis - concerned a high-speed chase between Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies and two men on a motorcycle. The chase reached speeds up to 100-miles per hour and ended when the driver lost control and the bike spilled. The passenger was killed when one of the deputies couldn’t stop in time and hit him.
Today in 1998, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of immigrants, is mainly in the state of New Jersey, not New York.
Today in 2002, the Mars Odyssey found signs of large ice deposits on the planet Mars.
Today in 2004, the “New York Times” published an admission of journalistic failings, claiming that its flawed reporting and lack of skepticism towards sources during the buildup to the 2003 war in Iraq helped promote the belief that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.
Today in 2004, United States Army veteran Terry Nichols was found guilty of 161 state murder charges for helping carry out the Oklahoma City bombing. The jury spent just five hours deliberating before announcing the verdict. He remains incarcerated at ADX Florence, a SuperMax security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef (one of the main perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Ted Kaczynski (the “Unabomber”).
Today in 2012, Pope Benedict XVI's butler Paolo Gabriele was charged with allegedly leaking confidential Church documents. He was tried and convicted later that year – sentenced to 18 months, to be served inside the Vatican (as opposed to an Italian Prison). Why the arrangement? Concerns about him leaking more information. Still, it didn’t last long - Gabriele was pardoned by Benedict XVI that December.
Today in 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that Ebola had reached Sierra Leone. By the following month, the disease was considered out of control and by July had been declared an international emergency.