On this date:
Feast of ex-Saint Christopher, patron of archers, fruit-dealers and travellers.
306Flavius Valerius Constantius, Roman Emperor and military commander, father of Constantine the Great, died in England at York, then the Roman Eboracum.
1215The splendid Frederick II crowned King of Germany, again.
1467Battle of Ricardina in Italy, when Florence, Milan and Naples defeated Venice.
1554The marriage of Queen Mary of England with Philip, King of Spain.
1593Henry IV, Protestant King of France, became a Roman Catholic.
1666England defeated the Dutch fleet that tried to sail up the Thames.
1766Chief Pontiac and the Ottawa Indians made peace with the British.
1794Andre Marie de Chenier executed. One of the greatest writers in French classical verse, he lived in Paris mixing with writers and artists who frequented his mother's salon. After three years in London as secretary to the French Ambassador he returned to France in 1790 to plunge into political writing. He was mainly concerned with condemning the authors of disorder. He escaped the massacres of September 1792 by fleeing to Normandy, but he returned at the end of the year and wrote in defence of Louis XVI. After the King's execution he went into hiding at Versailles but was arrested in March 1794, and despite the efforts of his brother who was a member of the Convention, he was executed.
1806William Clark, American explorer, camped at Pompey's Pillar, Montana, and carved his name and the date on it.
1814The first successful steam train made a nine-mile trial run in England.
1843Charles Mackintosh, chemist, pioneer of the water-proofing of fabrics, died.
1898Puerto Rico was invaded by the U.S.
1909The first cross-Channel flight, by the Frenchman Louis Bleriot (36 minutes). When he landed he wasn't allowed to get out until the Customs officers could decide what kind of craft it was. Finally they decided it was a yacht.
1934Dr Engelbert Dollfuss, Austrian Chancellor, murdered. When he became Chancellor (1932) he found himself confronted with the rival hostility of Socialists and Nazis both resorting to violence. This gave him justification for raising a private army and dictatorial rule. His ruthless shelling of the flats of Viennese workers (1934) and his flouting of democratic sentiment deprived him of the support and help of those who may have been his allies against the Nazis, by whom he was murdered, during an attempted coup d'etat.
1959The Channel was first crossed by a British hovercraft in a little over 2 hours.
Thomas Eakins, painter (1844-1916)
Arthur Balfour, politician (1848-1930)
"I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore." Sir Isaac Newton.
The above article was written by James Finlayson-Bald.
Edited and illustrations added by David Paul Wagner.