This Day in History

Archived Facts

2008

An estimated seventy thousand people are killed after an earthquake strikes Sichuan, China.

1997

World chess champion Garry Kasparov loses match to IBM computer Deep Blue, marking the first time a computer defeats a champion player.

1980

WHO announces eradication of smallpox.

1954

Vietnamese Communist and nationalist forces defeat the French in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, leading to France's withdrawal from its former colony.

1882

President Chester A. Arthur signs the Chinese Exclusion Act, denying would-be migrants entry to the United States and excluding U.S. residents from gaining citizenship.

1960

Alan Shephard becomes the first U.S. astronaut to travel in space.

1994

Israeli and Palestinian leaders sign the Gaza-Jericho Accord granting self-rule to Palestinians in Jericho and along the Gaza Strip.

1961

Fidel Castro bans elections in Cuba, formally declaring the country a socialist state.

1997

The Chemical Weapons Convention goes into effect, banning the production and deployment of chemical weapons.

2004

CBS's '60 Minutes II' releases photos of Iraqi prisoners being abused and humiliated by U.S. military police at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

1978

Afghan president Sardar Mohammed Daoud is overthrown and killed in a coup led by pro-communist rebels.

1915

The Turkish government arrests and executes several hundred Armenian intellectuals, marking the beginning of the Armenian genocide.

1984

U.S. officials announce that 'the probable cause of AIDS', the human immunodeficiency virus, had been found.

1971

Haitian president Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier dies, ending his fourteen-year dictatorship.

1989

Students gather in Tiananmen Square to lead protests against the Chinese government.

2010

An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico started the biggest marine oil spill in U.S. history.

1961

A CIA-sponsored paramilitary attempt to oust Fidel Castro, known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion, fails.

1917

Vladimir Lenin returns to Russia after a ten-year exile to lead the Bolshevik Revolution .