On this day in 1607, the English colony of Jamestown, in the state of Virginia, is first settled. It was the first permanent English settlement in the New World, coming on the heels of some epic failures - like the Lost Colony of Roanoke - and would serve as capital of the colony for 83 years.
On this day in 1643, Louis XIV becomes King of France upon the death of his father, Louis XIII. The Bourbon royal, popularly referred to as the Sun King, was only 4 years old at the time, enabling him to eventually become Europe's longest-reigning monarch, ruling France and Navarre for 72 years and 110 days.
On this day in 1796, medical researcher Edward Jenner administers the first ever smallpox vaccination. Just imagine how thick that dull the syringes must have been back then... Ugh.
On this day in 1948, in the city of Tel Aviv, Jewish Agency chairman David Ben-Gurion declares: "We hereby proclaim the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel." Within hours, Israel is repelling military attacks from pretty much all of its neighbors.
On this day in 1955, the nations of Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia sign a mutual defense treaty. They call themselves the Warsaw Pact.
On this day in 1970, the Red Army Faction, or RAF, is established in Germany by Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Horst Mahler, and Ulrike Meinhof. The RAF described itself as a communist and anti-imperialist "urban guerrilla" group engaged in armed resistance against what they deemed to be a fascist state. Their terrorist activities mostly consisted of attempts to free jailed members of their gang using violent means. They eventually hook up with the Socialist Patient's Collective, or SPK, a real bunch of nutters who believed that "illness as the protest against capitalism and considering illness the anticipation of the human species that does not yet exist but that should be created through illness." As such, they took a hard-line stance against capitalism... and doctors. I'm not kidding. In their own documents - some of which were co-written by respected French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre! - they proclaimed themselves to be staunchly "pro-illness." You couldn't make up this crap if you tried.
On this day in 1984, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is born. That's right... the fucker ain't even 30 years old yet. How's that Mac'N'Cheese taste, amigo?
On this day in 1995, the Dalai Lama proclaims 6-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima to be the eleventh reincarnation of Panchen Lama, thereby proving that, contrary to popular supposition, Tibetan Buddhism isn't any more enlightened than any other world religion.
Oh, and today is also World Naked Gardening Day. Just thought you'd want to know.