- 1900, Congress made gold the monetary standard for U.S. currency. They set its value at $20.67 an ounce. This same month back in 2008, gold futures hit an all-time high, topping $1,000 an ounce!
- 1906, A powerful earthquake and a full day of aftershocks rock Taiwan killing over 1,200 people. This terrifying day of tremors destroyed several towns and caused millions of dollars in damages.
- 1937, Nearly 300 students at The Consolidated School of New London, Texas were killed by an explosion of natural gas at their school.
- 1944, Britain announces that all travel between Ireland and the United Kingdom is suspended, the result of the Irish government's refusal to expel Axis-power diplomats within its borders.
- 1959, Barbie dolls arrived in stores. Today, there are more Barbie dolls than people in the United States!
- 1964, Elizabeth Taylor married her fourth husband, Richard Burton. Filmdom's most famous co-stars had met on the set of Cleopatra a year earlier. They divorced in 1974 and remarried in 1975, but the second marriage only lasted one year. Taylor split from her eighth husband, Larry Frotensky, in 1996, and has not remarried - yet!
- 1971, An earthquake set off by a series of calamities—a landslide, flood and avalanche-- resulted in the destruction of the town of Chungar, Peru, and the death of 600 of its inhabitants.
- 1972, Francis Ford Coppola directed The Godfather. It was the first of a trilogy based on Mario Puzo's novel about a crime family. It won three Oscars. A few years ago, a hat Al Pacino wore in the movie sold at an auction for $16,100!
- 1989, Exxon Valdez runs aground. The worst oil spill in U.S. territory begins when the supertanker Exxon Valdez, owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, runs aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water. Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil more than 100 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 700 miles of coastline. Hundreds of thousands of birds and animals were adversely affected by the environmental disaster.
- 1992, A 6.8-magnitude earthquake near Erzincan, Turkey, and an unusually powerful aftershock two days later kill at least 500 people and leave 50,000 people homeless. Erzincan was a provincial capital city of 90,000 people 600 miles east of Istanbul in Central Turkey. The people of the area were no strangers to earthquakes--deadly quakes had struck the area in 1047, 1547, 1583, 1666, 1784 and 1939. It was a Friday evening during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when the 1992 earthquake struck; most people in Erzincan and the surrounding area were sitting down for their evening meal. Seventeen seconds of powerful jolts and rocking began at 7:19 p.m., bringing down buildings and all electricity in the region.
One casualty of the quake was the minaret on top of the Demirkent Mosque—it toppled and fell, killing 27 people.
- 2003, The United States, along with coalition forces primarily from the United Kingdom, initiated war on Iraq.
Resources: history.com, various magazines