In 1787, English historian Edward Gibbon completed work on his six-volume work, “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.”
In 1844, Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois.
In 1846, New York and Boston were linked by telegraph wires.
In 1922, the first Newberry Medal, recognizing excellence in children’s literature, was awarded in Detroit to “The Story of Mankind” by Hendrik Willem van Loon.
In 1944, during World War II, American forces liberated the French port of Cherbourg from the Germans.
In 1950, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling on member nations to help South Korea repel an invasion from the North.
In 1957, more than 500 people were killed when Hurricane Audrey slammed through coastal Louisiana and Texas.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy spent the first full day of a visit to Ireland, the land of his ancestors, stopping by the County Wexford home of his great-grandfather, Patrick Kennedy, who’d emigrated to America in 1848.
In 1974, President Richard Nixon opened an official visit to the Soviet Union.
In 1984, the Supreme Court ended the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s monopoly on controlling college football telecasts, ruling such control violated antitrust law.
In 1988, at least 56 people were killed when a commuter train ran into a stationary train at the Gare de Lyon terminal in Paris.
In 1991, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black jurist to sit on the nation’s highest court, announced his retirement. (His departure led to the contentious nomination of Clarence Thomas to succeed him.)
Ten years ago: NATO leaders gathered in Turkey closed ranks on a pledge to take a bigger military role in Iraq; President George W. Bush declared that the alliance was poised to “meet the threats of the 21st century.” Insurgents threatened to behead Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun (wah-SEF’ ah-LEE’ hah-SOON’), a U.S. Marine who’d vanished in Iraq, in a videotape that aired on Arab television. (However, Hassoun contacted American officials in his native Lebanon the following month; after being reunited with his family in Utah, Hassoun disappeared in December 2004. Suspected of desertion, he has not been heard from since.)
Five years ago: Dr. Conrad Murray, the cardiologist who was with Michael Jackson during the pop star’s final moments two days earlier, sat down with investigators for the first time to explain his actions. Actress Gale Storm, 87, died in Danville, California.
One year ago: The Senate passed, 68-32, comprehensive legislation offering the hope of citizenship to millions of immigrants living illegally in America’s shadows. (The House has yet to act on any element of the legislation.) President Barack Obama visited Senegal, where he urged African leaders to extend equal rights to gays and lesbians but was bluntly rebuked by Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, who said his country “still isn’t ready” to decriminalize homosexuality. Kevin Rudd was sworn in as Australian prime minister a day after toppling rival Julia Gillard.
Today’s Birthdays: Business executive Ross Perot is 84. Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is 76. Singer-musician Bruce Johnston (The Beach Boys) is 72. Fashion designer Vera Wang is 65. Actress Julia Duffy is 63. Actress Isabelle Adjani is 59. Country singer Lorrie Morgan is 55. Actor Brian Drillinger is 54. Writer-producer-director J.J. Abrams is 48. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., is 46. Olympic gold and bronze medal figure skater Viktor Petrenko is 45. TV personality Jo Frost (TV: “Supernanny”) is 44. Actor Yancey Arias is 43. Actor Christian Kane is 40. Actor Tobey Maguire is 39. Gospel singer Leigh Nash is 38. Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian (kar-DASH’-ee-uhn) is 30. Actor Drake Bell is 28. Actor Sam Claflin (Film: “Hunger Games”) is 28. Actor Ed Westwick is 27. Actress Madylin Sweeten is 23. Actor Chandler Riggs is 15.