September 15th in History

This day in historySeptember 15 is the 258th day of the year (259th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 107 days remaining until the end of the year.




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A solidus of Constans II c. 651–654, wearing a diadem and holding the globus cruciger

In 668,  Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II is assassinated in his bath at Syracuse, Italy.

In 921,  At Tetin, Saint Ludmila is murdered at the command of her daughter-in-law.

In 994,  Major Fatimid victory over the Byzantine Empire at the Battle of the Orontes.

In 1440,  Gilles de Rais, one of the earliest known serial killers, is taken into custody upon an accusation brought against him by the Jean de Malestroit, Bishop of Nantes.

In 1556,  Departing from Vlissingen, ex-Holy Roman Emperor Charles V returns to Spain.

In 1616,  The first non-aristocratic, free public school in Europe is opened in Frascati, Italy.

In 1762,  Seven Years’ War: Battle of Signal Hill.

In 1776,  American Revolutionary War: British forces land at Kip’s Bay during the New York Campaign.

In 1789,  The United States “Department of Foreign Affairs”, established by law in July, is renamed the Department of State and given a variety of domestic duties.

In 1794,  French Revolutionary WarsArthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington) sees his first combat at the Battle of Boxtel during the Flanders Campaign.

In 1795,  Britain seizes the Dutch Cape Colony in southern Africa to prevent its use by the Batavian Republic.

In 1812,  The French army under Napoleon reaches the Kremlin in Moscow.

In 1812,  War of 1812: A second supply train sent to relieve Fort Harrison is ambushed in the Attack at the Narrows.

In 1816,  HMS Whiting runs aground on the Doom Bar

In 1820,  Constitutionalist revolution in Lisbon, Portugal.

In 1821,  Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica jointly declare independence from Spain.

In 1830,  The Liverpool to Manchester railway line opens.

In 1831,  The locomotive John Bull operates for the first time in New Jersey on the Camden and Amboy Railroad.

In 1835,  HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, reaches the Galápagos Islands. The ship lands at Chatham or San Cristobal, the easternmost of the archipelago.

In 1835,  Sarah Knox Taylor, American wife of Jefferson Davis (b. 1814) dies. She was the daughter of Zachary Taylor, who was a career military officer during her life and later became President of the United States. She met Jefferson Davis when living with her father and family at Fort Crawford during the Black Hawk War. They married in 1835 and she died three months later of malaria.

Margaret Mackall (Smith) and Zachary Taylor had three surviving daughters and one son. Sarah Knox Taylor was their second child and spent some years growing up in military installations. Her father became a general and commanded forts; her mother provided most of her education. Sarah was given the nickname “Knoxie,” which originated from her middle name and from Fort Knox II in Vincennes, Indiana, where she was born. In the early 1830s, her father commanded Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and was involved in waging the Black Hawk War. His wife and children were living there with him.

At age 17, Sarah fell in love with Jefferson Davis, a recent graduate of the United States Military Academy and a lieutenant, who was second to General Taylor at the fort. Davis was transferred to St. Louis in 1833, yet managed to keep in contact with the woman whom he wished to marry. Taylor admired Davis for his soldiering skills but opposed the romantic match. The Taylors’ older daughter had already married Army surgeon Robert Crooke Wood, and they were raising three young children in a desolate frontier outpost. Together with their own experience, the Taylors felt that the military life was too hard and did not want Sarah to be an Army wife.

In 1851,  Saint Joseph’s University is founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1862,  American Civil War: Confederate forces capture Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

In 1873,  Franco-Prussian War: The last German troops leave France upon completion of payment of indemnity.

In 1894,  First Sino-Japanese War: Japan defeats Qing dynasty China in the Battle of Pyongyang.

In 1916,  World War I: Tanks are used for the first time in battle, at the Battle of the Somme.

In 1918,  World War I:The Battle of Dobro Pole is fought, Entente troops break through the Bulgarian defenses on the Macedonian Front eventually liberating Vardar Macedonia and forcing Bulgaria to sign the Armistice of Salonica.

In 1935,  The Nuremberg Laws deprive German Jews of citizenship.

In 1935,  Nazi Germany adopts a new national flag bearing the swastika.

Thomas Wolfe 1937 1.jpgIn 1938,  Thomas Wolfe, American author (b. 1900) dies after a surgical procedure in an effort to remedy a condition of  miliary tuberculosis of the brain.  He was a major American novelist of the early twentieth century.

Wolfe wrote four lengthy novels, plus many short stories, dramatic works and novellas. He is known for mixing highly original, poetic, rhapsodic, and impressionistic prose with autobiographical writing. His books, written and published from the 1920s to the 1940s, vividly reflect on American culture and mores of the period, albeit filtered through Wolfe’s sensitive, sophisticated and hyper-analytical perspective. He became very famous during his own lifetime.

After Wolfe’s death, his contemporary William Faulkner said that Wolfe may have had the best talent of their generation. Wolfe’s influence extends to the writings of famous Beat writer Jack Kerouac, authors Ray Bradbury and Philip Roth, among others. He remains one of the most important writers in modern American literature, as he was one of the first masters of autobiographical fiction. He is considered North Carolina’s most famous writer.

In 1940,  World War II: The climax of the Battle of Britain, when the Royal Air Force shoots down large numbers of Luftwaffe aircraft.

In 1942,  World War II: U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Wasp is sunk by a Japanese torpedo at Guadalcanal.

In 1944,  Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill meet in Quebec as part of the Octagon Conference to discuss strategy.

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The first wave of U.S. Marines in LVTs during the invasion of Peleliu on September 15, 1944

In 1944,  Battle of Peleliu begins as the United States Marine Corps1st Marine Division and the United States Army‘s 81st Infantry Division hit White and Orange beaches under heavy fire from Japanese infantry and artillery.

In 1945,  A hurricane in southern Florida and the Bahamas destroys 366 planes and 25 blimps at Naval Air Station Richmond.

In 1947,  RCA releases the 12AX7 vacuum tube.

In 1947,  Typhoon Kathleen hit the Kanto Region in Japan killing 1,077.

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A North American F-86 over the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, Ca.

In 1948,  The F-86 Sabre sets the world aircraft speed record at 671 miles per hour (1,080 km/h).

In 1950,  Korean War: United States forces land at Inchon

In 1952,  The United Nations cedes Eritrea to Ethiopia.

In 1958,  A Central Railroad of New Jersey commuter train runs through an open drawbridge at the Newark Bay, killing 48.

In 1959,  Nikita Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet leader to visit the United States.

In 1961,  Hurricane Carla strikes Texas with winds of 175 miles per hour.

In 1962,  The Soviet ship Poltava heads toward Cuba, one of the events that sets into motion the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In 1963,  16th Street Baptist Church bombing: Four children killed at an African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama, United States

In 1966,  U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to a sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin, writes a letter to Congress urging the enactment of gun control legislation.

In 1968,  The Soviet Zond 5 spaceship is launched, becoming the first spacecraft to fly around the Moon and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

In 1971,  The first Greenpeace ship set sail to protest against nuclear testing.

In 1972,  A Scandinavian Airlines System domestic flight from Gothenburg to Stockholm is hijacked and flown to Malmö Bulltofta Airport.

In 1974,  Air Vietnam Flight 706 is hijacked, then crashes while attempting to land with 75 on board.

In 1975,  The French department of “Corse” (the entire island of Corsica) is divided into two: Haute-Corse (Upper Corsica) and Corse-du-Sud (Southern Corsica)

In 1978,  Muhammad Ali outpointed Leon Spinks in a rematch to become the first boxer to win the world heavyweight title three times at the Superdome in New Orleans.

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1969-169-19, Willy Messerschmitt.jpgIn 1978,  Willy Messerschmitt, German aircraft designer, designed the Messerschmitt Bf 109 (b. 1898) dies in a Munich hospital in undisclosed circumstances. He was a German aircraft designer and manufacturer. He was born in Frankfurt am Main, the son of Baptist Ferdinand Messerschmitt (1858–1916) and his second wife, Anna Maria née Schaller (1867–1942).

Probably Messerschmitt’s single most important design was the Messerschmitt Bf 109, designed in 1934 with the collaboration of Walter Rethel. The Bf 109 became the most important fighter in the Luftwaffe as Germany rearmed prior to World War II. To this day, it remains one of the most-produced warplanes in history, with some 34,000 built, with only the Russian Ilyushin Il-2 surpassing it at 36,000. Another Messerschmitt aircraft, first called “Bf 109R”, purpose-built for record setting, but later redesignated Messerschmitt Me 209, broke the absolute world airspeed record and held the world speed record for propeller-driven aircraft until 1969. His firm also produced the first jet-powered fighter to enter service — the Messerschmitt Me 262, although Messerschmitt himself did not design it.

In 1981,  The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

In 1981,  The John Bull becomes the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when the Smithsonian Institution operates it under its own power outside Washington, D.C.

In 1981,  Vanuatu becomes a member of the United Nations.

In 1983,  Israeli premier Menachem Begin resigns.

In 1987,  United States Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze sign a treaty to establish centers to reduce the risk of nuclear war.

In 1990,  France announces it will send 4,000 troops to the Persian Gulf.

In 1993,  Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein disbands Parliament

In 1998,  With the landmark merger of WorldCom and MCI Communications completed the day prior, the new MCI WorldCom opens its doors for business.

In 2000,  The Games of the XXVII Olympiad begin in Sydney, Australia.

In 2004,  National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman announces lockout of the players’ union and cessation of operations by the NHL head office.

In 2008,  Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

In 2012,  Muslim protesters shouting anti-American slogans clash with police, injuring 19 people, outside the US embassy in Sydney, Australia.

In 2017,  The Parsons Green bombing took place in London.

HarryDeanStanton-1.jpgIn 2017, Harry Dean Stanton, American actor (b. 1926) dies at age 91 on September 15, 2017, at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He was an American actor, musician, and singer. In a career that spanned more than six decades, Stanton made appearances in the films Cool Hand Luke (1967), Kelly’s Heroes (1970), Dillinger (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), Alien (1979), Escape from New York (1981), Christine (1983), Repo Man (1984), Paris, Texas (1984), Pretty in Pink (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Wild at Heart (1990), The Straight Story (1999), The Green Mile (1999), Alpha Dog (2006), Inland Empire (2006), and Lucky (2017), and had supporting roles in many others.

Stanton was born in West Irvine, Kentucky, to Ersel (née Moberly), a cook, and Sheridan Harry Stanton, a tobacco farmer and barber. His parents divorced when Stanton was in high school; both later remarried.

Stanton had two younger brothers, Archie and Ralph, and a younger half-brother, Stanley McKnight. His family had a musical background. Stanton attended Lafayette High School and the University of Kentucky in Lexington where he performed at the Guignol Theatre under the direction of British theater director Wallace Briggs, and studied journalism and radio arts. “I could have been a writer,” he told an interviewer for a 2011 documentary, Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland, in which he sings and plays the harmonica. “I had to decide if I wanted to be a singer or an actor. I was always singing. I thought if I could be an actor, I could do all of it.” Briggs encouraged him to leave the university and become an actor. He studied at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California, where his classmates included his friends Tyler MacDuff and Dana Andrews.

During World War II, Stanton served in the United States Navy, including a stint as a cook aboard the USS LST-970, a tank landing ship, during the Battle of Okinawa.

In 2017,  The Cassini–Huygens probe is retired.

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