On this day in 1760, British Loyalists from New England arrive in Nova Scotia, claiming the land as their own, despite the fact that said land had already been occupied by the French-speaking Acadians for over two hundred years. Yeah, my ancestors also got screwed by the British. A lot of that going around, it seems.
On this day in 1783, France's Montgolfier brothers launch the first-ever hot-air balloon.
On this day in 1913, suffragette Emily Davison runs out in front of King George V's horse at the Epsom Derby and is promptly trampled. She never regains consciousness and dies a few days later. Six years later to the day, the U.S. Congress approves the 19th Amendment to the American Constitution, guaranteeing suffrage (i.e., the vote) to American women.
On this day in 1939, the MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, more than 200 of its passengers would later die in Nazi concentration camps.
On this day in 1984, American singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen releases the most mis-understood song in the history of rock: Born in the USA.
On this day in 1986, spy Jonathan Pollard pleads guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel. He is currently serving a life sentence. Check out his Wikipedia page for a hilarious account of the Israeli reaction to Pollard's treatment. Un-fucking-believable.
On this day in 1989, the Ayatalloh Ruhullah Khomeini of Iran dies of internal bleeding at the age of 86. That same day, Iran's Assembly of Experts choose Ali Khamenei to be the new Supreme Leader of Islamic republic of Iran.
On this day in 1998, Tim McVeigh's bomb-buddy Terry Nichols is sentenced to 161 consecutive life sentences for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing that claimed 168 lives (including 19 children). He is currently serving his time in ADX SuperMax in Florence, Colorado, on "Bomber's Row" with Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski and Ramzi "Bojinka" Yousef.