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    • French defeated in Spain, ending the Peninsular War
      At Vitoria, Spain, a massive allied British, Portuguese, and Spanish force under British General Arthur Wellesley routs the French, effectively ending the Peninsular War. On February 16, 1808, under the pretext of sending reinforcements to the French army occupying Portugal, French Emperor Napoleon ...
    • U.S. General John J. Pershing attacked by Mexican troops
      The controversial U.S. military expedition against Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa brings the United States and Mexico closer to war when Mexican government troops attack U.S. Brigadier General John J. Pershing’s force at Carrizal, Mexico. The Americans suffered 22 casualties, and more than 30 ...
    • John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, found not guilty
      John W. Hinckley, Jr., who on March 30, 1981, shot President Ronald Reagan and three others outside a Washington, D.C., hotel, was found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity. In the trial, Hinckley’s defense attorneys argued that their client was ill with narcissistic personality ...
    • U.S. Constitution ratified
      New Hampshire becomes the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making the document the law of the land. By 1786, defects in the post-Revolutionary War Articles of Confederation were apparent, such as the lack of central authority over foreign and ...
    • Zachary Taylor and Richard Nixon marry their future first ladies
      On this day in June (in two different years), two future presidents, Zachary Taylor and Richard Nixon, marry the women who will become their first ladies. On this day in 1810, 26-year-old Zachary Taylor married Margaret Smith, age 31, in her sister’s log house in Louisville, Kentucky. The ...
    • General Santa Anna dies in Mexico City
      Embittered and impoverished, the once mighty Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna dies in Mexico City. Born in 1792 at Jalapa, Vera Cruz, Mexico, Santa Anna was the son of middle-class parents. As a teen, he won a commission in the Spanish army and might have been expected to live out an unspectacular ...
    • “Mr. Tambourine Man” is released, and the folk-rock revolution is on
      Released on June 21, 1965, the Byrds’ debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man, marked the beginning of the folk-rock revolution. In just a few months, the Byrds had become a household name, with a #1 single and a smash-hit album that married the ringing guitars and backbeat of the British Invasion with the ...
    • Arthur Miller refuses to name communists
      Playwright Arthur Miller defies the House Committee on Un-American Activities and refuses to name suspected communists. Miller’s defiance of McCarthyism won him a conviction for contempt of court, which was later reversed by the Supreme Court. His passport had already been denied when he tried to ...
    • Hollywood stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks mobbed by crowds
      Swarms of admirers mob the Hollywood film actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, who arrive in London on their honeymoon on June 21, 1920. Two of film’s earliest stars, Pickford and Fairbanks had been business partners since 1919, when they teamed up with Charlie Chaplin and director D.W. ...
    • Earthquake devastates Iran
      An earthquake near the Caspian Sea in Iran kills an estimated 50,000 and injures another 135,000 people on June 21, 1990. The 7.7-magnitude tremor wrecked havoc on the simply constructed houses in the area. Thirty minutes past midnight, with most people sleeping in their homes, a violent quake, ...
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