photo credit: Ancient Origins
1521 Philippine natives led by chief Lapu-Lapu killed explorer Ferdinand Magellan on Mactan Island. Magellan was demanding the islanders bow to the king of Spain, pay tribute, and convert to Christianity.
1595 Turkish Ottoman Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha publicly incinerated the relics of Saint Sava in Belgrade in a symbolic gesture to quell the cleric-led Serbian uprising. Instead, it provoked the Serbs and empowered them to continue their fight for liberation.
1773 British Parliament passed the Tea Act, giving the East India Company huge tax breaks and a monopoly on the American tea trade.
1857 Lower Austria prohibited the establishment of Jewish communities.
1861 American President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus that protects the public against unlawful and indefinite imprisonment.
1865 The steamboat SS Sultana exploded in the Mississippi River, killing up to 1,800 of the 2,427 passengers. Most were paroled Union POWs on their way home. The boat was grossly overcrowded, the boilers leaky and mismanaged, and the captain notoriously corrupt and incompetent, but no one was ever held accountable for the greatest maritime disaster in U.S. history.
1940 Reichsführer-SS Himmler ordered the establishment of Auschwitz Concentration Camp, the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp. Between 1.2 and 1.6 million people lost their lives there.
1945 Italian partisans captured fleeing dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress as they attempted to slip into Switzerland. The two and their entourage were shot the next day.
1950 The apartheid government of South Africa passed the Group Areas Act No. 41. Creating different residential areas for each race, it forced physical separation and segregation between races to maintain dominance by the white minority. It was not repealed until 1990. This day in 1994 marked the second day of voting in the first post-apartheid general election in South Africa, when everyone over 18 was allowed to vote regardless of race.
1978 Members of the Soviet-backed People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan began the takeover of the city of Kabul, attacking government buildings and media outlets. Around midnight revolutionists assassinated self-proclaimed Afghan president Daoud and his family. The Saur Revolution established the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and began a continuous series of armed conflicts there.
1978 Safford Federal Correctional Prison in Arizona released Domestic Affairs Adviser to President Nixon John D. Ehrlichman after he served 18 months of a 2- to 8- year sentence for Watergate-related crimes. He became a successful novelist after his release.
1982 John W. Hinckley Jr. went on trial in Washington, D.C., on attempted murder charges in the shooting of President Ronald Reagan. (He was charged with 13 offenses and found not guilty by reason of insanity.)
1986 An operations engineer at the Central Florida Teleport uplink station in Ocala, Florida jammed the Home Box Office satellite signal for almost five minutes to protest HBO's rates for satellite dish owners. The FCC tracked down John R. MacDougall (aka "Captain Midnight") and he received a $5,000 fine, one-year supervised probation, and a one-year suspension of his amateur radio license.
1987 The U.S. Justice Department barred Austrian president Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States. He was accused of aiding in the execution of thousands of Jews in World War II as a German army officer.
1989 In the largest instance of defying the state since 1949 and with widespread public support, as many as 200,000 students from Beijing universities marched on Tiananmen Square to protest an editorial published the previous day accusing the student movement of destabilizing the party and the country. Protests demanding reforms broke out in other Chinese cities as well. The demonstrations did trigger a dialogue between government and student leaders, but premier Li Peng soon forcibly suppressed all protests, declared martial law, and backed the military action that led to the massacre on June 4.
1993 A plane carrying the Zambian national team crashed into the sea off Gabon as the team headed to Senegal for a 1994 World Cup qualifier, killing all 25 passengers and five crew members. After a lengthy court battle, in 2002 the government of Zambia was ordered to pay the families of the victims $4 million. The official investigation, not concluded until 2003, found that the overworked pilot had shut down the wrong engine following an engine fire and his instrument panel was faulty.
2012 Four home-made bombs hidden in concrete waste bins exploded in different locations in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, injuring at least 27 people. The attacks were blamed on random acts of violence, feuding oligarchs from Ukraine's criminal underworld, al-Qa'eda, and the Russian secret services in an attempt to foment panic, fear, and confusion.
2018 Mass protests occurred in Spain after a court cleared five men of gang rape charges stemming from an attack on a teenage girl that occurred during the running of the bulls in Pamplona in 2016. The men in the "Wolf Pack" case were sentenced to nine years for sexual abuse.
2019 Armed with an AR-15 style rifle, John Timothy Earnest burst into the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California, and opened fire. Lori Lynn Gilbert-Kaye was killed protecting her rabbi and three others, including the rabbi, were injured. Earnest fled the scene when his gun jammed and called 9-1-1 to report the shooting. He was charged with one count of murder, three counts of attempted murder, one count of arson (for setting an earlier mosque fire), and 108 federal hate crime and civil rights violation charges.