The h2g2 Calendar - 9 - September Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

The h2g2 Calendar - 9 - September

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  • 1914 - The last Passenger Pigeon dies - the last one of about six billion birds that were wiped out in little over a Century from an entire continent.

  • 1923 - Rocky Marciano is born, as mentioned in 'We Didn't Start the Fire' by Billy Joel.

  • 1928 - Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin.

  • 1933 - Master of the scientific romances, HG Wells's The Shape of Things To Come is published.

  • 1939 - Nazi Germany attacks Poland, beginning World War II.

  • 1940 - Laurence Olivier marries Vivien Leigh.

  • 1953 - French virtuoso violonist Jacques Thibaud dies in an air crash when his Air France Lockheed Constallation crashes into Mt Cemet in the French alps on its final approach to Nice.

  • 1972 - Bobby Fisher becomes the first American World chess champion, defeating Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland.

  • 1981 - Albert Speer, one of the leaders of the Nazi Party, dies (b. 1905).


  • 1658 - Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland dies.

  • 1666 - Now commemorated by the Monument in central London, the Great Fire of London starts.

  • 1861 - One of the first London rail disasters happens at Kentish Town when a passenger train collides with a ballast train, killing 16 passengers.

  • 1960 - The parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration is elected for the first time in history of Tibet. The Tibetan community observes this date as Democracy Day.

  • 1973 - JRR Tolkien dies.

  • 1994 - The British entertainer Roy Castle dies (b. 1932).


  • 1658 - Oliver Cromwell, lord protector of England, dies (b. 1599).

  • 1878 - About 600 passengers die in the greatest disaster in peacetime Britain when SS Princess Alice collides with a steam collier ship.

  • 1900 - Dutch orchestral conductor Eduard van Beinum is born in the Dutch town of Arnhem.

  • 1939 - Following the expiry of its 1100hrs ultimatum, Britain declares war on Germany following its invasion of Poland on 1 September and the Second World War begins.

  • 1942 - Al Jardine of the Beach Boys is born.

  • 1953 - The Convention of Human Rights is activated and later becomes enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights.

  • 1957 - The Little Rock Nine encounter school integration problems as mentioned in 'We Didn't Start the Fire' by Billy Joel 1957.


  • 1666 - The Great Fire of London has its most destructive day.

  • 1888 - George Eastman registers the trademark Kodak, and receives a patent for his camera which uses roll film.

  • 1964 - The Forth Road Bridge in Scotland is officially declared open by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

  • 1972 - Guto (pronounced 'Gitto') Pryce, bass player of the welsh band Super Furry Animals, is born in Cardiff.

  • 1984 - The Lenny Henry Show is transmitted for the first time.

  • 2006 - Steve Irwin dies after having been attacked by a stingray.


  • 1567 - Date Masamune, the renowned Samurai and Daimyo, is born in Japan (d. 1636).

  • 1698 - Tsar Peter I of Russia imposes a tax on beards.

  • 1997 - Mother Theresa of Calcutta, who tends the sick and poor of Calcutta, dies.

  • 1997 - Under increasing pressure from a mourning nation, the Queen returns to London to pay tribute to Diana, Princes of Wales.



  • 1533 - Queen Elizabeth I of England is born (d. 1603).

  • 1822 - Brazil, the largest country in South America, gains independence with Pedro I as its first emperor.

  • 1829 - Friedrich August Kekule, the German chemist who elucidated the tautomeric (dynamic) ring structure of benzene, is born.

  • 1936 - One of the most influential founders of Rock 'n' Roll, Buddy Holly, is born in Lubbock, Texas.

  • 1998 - Google is founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, students at Stanford University, USA.


  • 1888 - The body of Annie Chapman, 45, Jack the Ripper's second victim is found in Whitechapel in London's East End.

  • 1900 - A powerful hurricane hits Galveston, Texas, USA, killing about 8,000 people.

  • 1921 - Welsh actor Harry Secombe, famous for his tenor singing and his roles in The Goons, is born.

  • 1945 - Ron Pigpen McKernan of the Grateful Dead is born (d. 1973).

  • 1966 - Star Trek, which went to be the most successful sci-fi franchise ever, is first broadcast.

  • 1974 - Infamous for 'Watergate', Richard Nixon is officially pardonned by President Gerald Ford for all offences against the USA.


  • 1543 - The nine-month-old Mary Stuart is crowned 'Queen of Scots' in Stirling, Scotland.

  • 1754 - The British naval officer William Bligh is born (d. 1817).

  • 1948 - The People's Democratic Republic of North Korea is proclaimed.

  • 1968 - Arthur Ashe, a prominent African-American tennis player, wins the First American Open beating Tom Okker of the Netherlands. Ashe goes onto be the first and only blackman to win Wimbledon Men's Finals, unexpectantly defeating Jimmy Connors.


  • 1659 - Henry Purcell, the English composer of Dido and Aeneas, is born (d. 1695).

  • 1972 - The USA loses its first international basketball game in a disputed match against the Soviet Union in Munich, Germany.

  • 1993 - The X Files first airs.

  • 2006 - King Tupou IV of Tonga, the heaviest monarch in the world, dies aged 88.


  • 1902 - Erno Goldfinger, who went on to become one of the leading exponents of International Modernists Architecture, including the now listed Trellick Tower in West London, is born on this day.

  • 1906 - India's Mahatma Gandhi coins the term 'satyagraha' to characterise the non-violence movement in South Africa.

  • 1962 - The Beatles record their first chart single at EMI Studios, Abbey Road. 'Love Me Do' eventually reaches number 17 in the charts.

  • 1973 - The democratically-elected president of Chile faces a coup. By the middle of the afternoon, his suicide has already been reported by news agencies across the world.

  • 1985 - Baseball player Pete Rose beats Ty Cobb's Most Career Hits Record.

  • 1998 - The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games takes place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - the first Asian host nation.

  • 2001 - In a terrorist attack, two passenger aeroplanes crash into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York.


  • 490 BC - The Greeks are defeated by Datis, nephew of Darius I at the Battle of Marathon. Created in tribute to Phillipides who ran 26 miles to warn the Athenians about the Persians, the modern Marathon is a physically and mentally tough run which takes place around the world.

  • 1909 - Musician, businessman, bootlegger, 'Father of the Austin music scene' and the man who discovered Janis Joplin - Kenneth Threadgill is born in Peniel, Texas.

  • 1913 - Olympic Champion Jesse Owens is born in Oakland, a small town in Alabama, USA, as seventh of eleven children.

  • 1914 - Desmond LLewellyn, Welsh actor famous for his role as eccentric gadget inventor, Q in the James Bond films, is born.

  • 1940 - The Lascaux Pre-historic cave drawings are discovered.

  • 1977 - South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko is killed while in police custody.

  • 2005 - Following Hurricane Katrina, the bodies of more than 40 patients are discovered in a flooded hospital in New Orleans, USA.


  • 122 - The building of Hadrian's Wall, in the UK, begins.

  • 622 - Muhammad, founder of Islam leaves the city of Mecca for Yathrib (Medina) to avoid persecution from his enemies. This event is know as 'Hijra' and marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

  • 1911 - Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe is born on this day.

  • 1960 - South African photojournalist Kevin Carter is born in Parkmore, a suburb of Johannesburg.

  • 1987 - A radioactive object is stolen from an abandoned hospital in Goiânia, Brazil, contaminating many people in the following weeks and causing some to die from radiation poisoning.


  • 81 - Domitian becomes emperor of the Roman empire upon the death of his brother, Titus.

  • 1321 - Dante Alighieri, author of La Divina Commedia, dies.

  • 1814 - Francis Scott Key writes the words to the Star-Spangled Banner - USA's national anthem - during the British bombardment of Fort McHenry.

  • 1847 - In the Mexican-American War, Winfield Scott captures Mexico City.

  • 1982 - Princess Grace of Monaco - AKA former actress Grace Kelly - dies in a car crash.


  • 1835 - The HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, reaches the Galápagos Islands.

  • 1859 - Isambard Kingdom Brunel dies.

  • 1890 - Mary Miller, AKA world-famous author Agatha Christie, is born.

  • 1967 - Huw Bunford, lead guitarist of the welsh band Super Furry Animals, is born in Cardiff.

  • 1981 - The Pacific island of Vanuatu becomes a member of the United Nations.


  • 1812 - Russians set fire to Moscow shortly after midnight, and the city is completely burnt down days later.

  • 1887 - The Allotments Act gains Royal Assent and becomes law.

  • 1975 - Papua New Guinea declares independence from Australia.

  • 2003 - The service from King's Cross to Glasgow Central narrowly escapes a London rail disaster when the train derails due to a missing piece of track; nobody is injured.

  • 1987 - The Montreal Protocol is signed to protect the ozone layer from depletion caused by atmospheric pollution.


  • 1629 - The rescue of the Batavia by the Sardam coincides with the defeat of the mutineers in the Dutch East Indies.

  • 1787 - Delegates from 12 states at the Constitutional Converntion in Philadelphia, PA, vote unanimously to approve the final draft of the Constitution of the USA.

  • 1908 - Lt Thomas E Selfridge has the questionable honour to be the first person in the history of powered flight to die in an air crash.

  • 1916 - World War I flying ace Manfred von Richthofen ('The Red Baron') wins his first aerial combat for the Germans near Cambrai, France.

  • 1923 - Hank Williams, legendary Country Music singer, is born.

  • 1935 - The Brooklyn Dodgers outfield baseball player Len Koenecke dies in sort of an air crash - he drunkenly tries to wrestle the controls away from the pilot and the pilot hits him over the head with a fire extinguisher.

  • 1940 - Twenty people die when a World War 2 bomb hits Marble Arch station of the London Underground.

  • 1961 - United Nations politician Dag Hammarskjöd dies in an air crash near the Ndola airport in Northern Rhodesia.

  • 1972 - The first episode of the M*A*S*H TV series is aired; the show is going to last 11 years - four years longer than the Korean War that had inspired it.

  • 2000 - Paula Yates, the British TV personality, dies (b. 1960).


  • 1709 - Father of the English dictionary, Dr Samuel Johnson is born.

  • 1905 - Greta Garbo, Swedish actress is born.

  • 1977 - Voyager I takes the first space photograph of the Earth and Moon together.

  • 1997 - Voters in Wales vote 'yes' in a referendum on autonomy.


  • 1905 - Philanthropist Thomas John Barnardo dies.

  • 1932 - Songwriting partner of John Kander, Fred Ebb is born.

  • 1952 - The US bars Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country after a trip to England.

  • 1957 - The first underground nuclear test takes place in Nevada.

  • 1975 - The first episode of Fawlty Towers is broadcast on BBC1.

  • 1948 - A London rail disaster happens at Southall when a freight train collides with a passenger train at speed; seven passengers are killed and more than a hundred others are injured.

  • 1970 - The first Glastonbury Festival takes place at Michael Eavis' farm in Glastonbury, UK.


  • 1871 - Bishop John Coleridge Patteson is martyred on the island of Nukapu, a Polynesian outlier island now in the Temotu province of the Solomon Islands. He was the first bishop of Melanesia.

  • 1902 - Elimbah Village, Queensland, Australia is officially named.

  • 1920 - Elgar's 'Pomp and Circumstance' is first performed at the Queen Elizabeth II Hall.

  • 1946 - Now a major event in the movie business, the first Cannes International Film Festival is held for the first time, with René Clement awarded the Palm D'Or for La Bataille du rail.

  • 1963 - US singer/songwriter Jim Groce, best known for his song 'Bad, Bad Leroy Brown', dies in an air crash.

  • 2001 - US president George W Bush declares 'war on terror'.



  • 1869 - Wagner's Opera Das Rheingold, the first part of the Ring Cycle, is premièred at the Court Theatre in Munich.

  • 1880 - Christabel Pankhurst, daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst is born.

  • 1934 - 266 men and boys, most of whom would stay buried in the pit, die in the Gresford Colliery Disaster.

  • 1908 - The independence of Bulgaria is recognised.

  • 1955 - Britain's second TV channel, ITV is launched.

  • 1965 - The Second Kashmir War between India and Pakistan ends after the UN calls for a ceasefire.

  • 1981 - The TGV is inaugurated.

  • 1999 - The US actor George C Scott dies (b. 1927).


  • 1846 - The planet Neptune is discovered by the French astronomer Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier and British astronomer John Couch Adams; verified by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle.

  • 1869 - Mary Mallon is born in Cookstown, County Tyrone, Ireland; in later life she happens to infect 53 people with typhoid fever without knowing and becomes known as Typhoid Mary.

  • 1926 - Master jazz saxophonist John Coltrane is born.

  • 1932 - The Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd is renamed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

  • 1949 - Bruce 'The Boss' Springsteen is born in the USA.


  • 1957 - US president Dwight Eisenhower sends 101st Airborne Division troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce the desegregation of white and black people.

  • 1916 - During the night, at around 01.00hrs, 12 German Zeppelin airships take part in an attack on the South-East, East and East Midland counties. An attack on London is carried out by three airships in which 28 people are killed.

  • 1924 - Ayatollah Khomeini is born, as mentioned in the song 'We Didn't Start the Fire'.

  • 1990 - The periodic Great White Spot is observed on Saturn.



  • 1687 - The greatest of the Greek temples, the Parthenon in Athens, is partially destroyed after an explosion caused by bombing by the Venetian as they besieged the Ottoman Turks.

  • 1957 - The musical West Side Story opens on Broadway.

  • 1960 - The first TV debate between John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon is broadcast by CBS. It focused on domestic issues.

  • 1969 - The Beatles' 11th and penultimate album Abbey Road is released in the UK.

  • 1984 - The UK agrees to handover Hong Kong to China.


  • 1910 - Peruvian-born Parisien Georges Chavez dies in an air crash while trying to attempt the first crossing of the alps, in his Bleriot XI monoplane.

  • 1935 - The steam locomotive Mallard touches 112.5mph on a demonstration run from Kings Cross to Grantham.

  • 1947 - Meat Loaf, otherwise known as Marvin Lee Aday, is born.

  • 1980 - Marvin Hagler defeats Alan Minter to win boxing's world middleweight championship in London. A riot follows.

  • 1992 - Hack Green is de-commissioned.

  • 1998 - The Google search engine is launched.


  • 929 - Wenceslas, Duke of Bohemia or The Good King as he is known, is murdered by his brother, Boleslav, who opposes the prince's policy of encouraging Christian missionnaries to enter Bohemia.

  • 1066 - William the Conqueror invades England, marking the beginning of the Norman Conquest.

  • 1448 - Christian I is crowned king of Denmark.

  • 1964 - Harpo Marx dies. Born Adolph, he changed his name to Arthur before becoming 'Harpo', one of the Marx Brothers.

  • 1964 - Janeane Garofalo, actress and comediene, is born. Her films include Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, while she also worked with Michael Moore's TV show TV Nation.

  • 2002 - Arsenal score their 47th consecutive league match, breaking Chesterfield's 71-year-old record. They also remain unbeaten for the 22nd time away from home.


  • 1758 - The hero of Trafalgar, 1st Viscount Horatio Nelson, is born in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk.

  • 1850 - Pope Pius IX re-establishes the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales.

  • 1968 - The first episode of surreal TV series The Prisoner is shown on ITV. 17 weeks later and the viewers are still none the wiser as to who he is and what they want...

  • 1988 - American cartoonist Charles Addams dies.

  • 2003 - EastEnders resurrect Dirty Den after a 14 year absence. One of the quirks that you might expect in soap operas.

  • 2004 - The asteroid 4179 Toutatis passes within four lunar distances of the Earth.


  • 1791 - The Magic Flute, the last opera to be composed by Mozart, premiers at Theater an der Wien in Vienna, Austria.

  • 1955 - James Dean dies in a car crash, as mentioned in 'We Didn't Start the Fire' by Billy Joel.

  • 1967 - BBC Radio One begins broadcasting pop music across the UK.

  • 1983 - The TV series Manimal first airs.

  • 1990 - The Dalai Lama unveils the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights, in Ottawa.

  • 2004 - Writer and director Jacques Levy loses his battle with cancer. He worked with many musicans but is perhaps best know for his work with Bob Dylan on the Desire album, co-writing the majority of the songs, including 'Hurricane', written about boxer Rubin Carter.

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