Saturday, April 9, 2005
1241: The Mongols reach their furthest penetration into Europe at the Battle of Liegnitz, where they defeat a combined German-Polish force, but subsequently withdraw.
1626: Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St. Albans, the crooked lawyer and royal toady who will invent the scientific methods, is born at London.
1682: René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, on a trip to scout new routes for the fur trade, becomes the first European to find the mouth of the Mississippi River. He claims the region for France, and names it "Louisiana."
1806: Engineer-entrepreneur Isambard Kingdom Brunel is born at Portsmouth, England. Among his works are the Thames Tunner, the Great Western Railway, the Royal Albert Bridge, and the Great Western, the first iron-hulled steamship to cross the Atlantic.
1865: In the parlor of Wilmer McLean's house at Appamottox Court House, Virginia, Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant. Four years later, the house will be foreclosed on and sold at public auction as a rental unit. The tenant will buy it in 1872 for $1,250.
1867: By a single vote, the U.S. Senate ratifies the Alaska Purchase. This may be the last time anyone in Washington was concerned about spending $7.2 million.
1905: J. William Fulbright (George Washington Law 1934) is born at Sumner, Missouri. His watch as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will see the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the Vietnam War.
1913: The Brooklyn Robins (later the Dodgers) open their new ballpark in Flatbush, Ebbets Field.
1926: Hugh Marston Hefner, whose future career will prove that you can make money selling pictures of naked women, is born at Chicago, Illinois.
1953: The future arrives, as Warner Brothers debuts the first 3-D film, House of Wax, starring Vincent Price, with Charles Bronson as his sinister assistant, Igor.