Today in 1862, 38 Dakota men were publicly hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, as directed by President Abraham Lincoln. Their crime? Their role in the war between the United States and the Dakota nation – it remains the largest mass execution in American history.
Today in 1865, James H. Mason patented the coffee percolator.
Today in 1941, Winston Churchill became the first British Prime Minister to address a joint meeting of the US Congress.
Today in 1947, heavy snow blanketed the Northeast United States, burying New York City under 25.8-inches of snow in 16 hours. The severe weather was blamed for about 80 deaths.
Today in 1966, Maulana Karenga celebrated the first Kwanzaa, a seven-day African American celebration of family and heritage.
Today in 1972, the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, died in Kansas City, Missouri.
Today in 1982, the “Man of the Year" in "Time" magazine was a computer. It was the first time a non-human received the honors.
Today in 1985, American naturalist Dian Fossey, who had studied gorillas in the wild, was found hacked to death at a research station in Rwanda. Her murderer wasn’t arrested until 2001.
Today in 2000, 42-year-old Michael McDermott opened fire at his place of employment killing seven people in Wakefield, Massachusetts. McDermott had no criminal history and claimed schizophrenia as the reason behind the killings. Prosecutors charged that it was a pay dispute that set him off. He was ultimately sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences.
Today in 2002, a spokeswoman for Raelians, a sect that believes space travelers created humans by cloning, said their group had created the first human clone, a seven-pound baby girl. It was later proven be a hoax.
Today in 2004, under the Indian Ocean, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake sent 500-mph waves across the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. The tsunami killed more than 200-thousand people from a dozen countries including, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Indonesia, Thailand, and India.
Today in 2005, the “Boxing Day Shooting” on a busy shopping street in Toronto found 15-year-old student Jane Creba killed and six other bystanders wounded.