Historic World Events / Historic Events

Historic Events

Gorbachev re-elected as head of Communist Party

Gorbachev re-elected as head of Communist Party

In a vindication of his sweeping economic and political reforms, Mikhail Gorbachev withstands severe criticisms from his opponents and is re-elected head of the Soviet Communist Party by an overwhelming margin. Gorbachev’s victory was short-lived, however, as the Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991. Gorbachev came to power in the …

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North Vietnamese launch major attack on An Loc

North Vietnamese launch major attack on An Loc

Three North Vietnamese divisions attack An Loc with infantry, tanks, heavy artillery and rockets, taking half the city after a day of close combat. An Loc, the capital of Binh Long Province, was located 65 miles northwest of Saigon. This attack was the southernmost thrust of the three-pronged Nguyen Hue …

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Parliament passes the Tea Act

Parliament passes the Tea Act

On this day in 1773, the British Parliament passes the Tea Act, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company from bankruptcy by greatly lowering the tea tax it paid to the British government and, thus, granting it a de facto monopoly on the American tea trade. Because …

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Frank Duryea wins first U.S. horseless-carriage race

Frank Duryea wins first U.S. horseless-carriage race

On November 28, 1895, Frank Duryea wins the first motor-car race in the United States, a 54-mile loop along the lakeshore from Chicago to Waukegan and back again. The race was a harrowing one–It was held during one of Chicago’s great snowstorms, and the contestants’ cars got stuck in snowdrifts, …

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Tsunami hits Hawaii

Tsunami hits Hawaii

A tsunami caused by an earthquake off the coast of Chile travels across the Pacific Ocean and kills 61 people in Hilo, Hawaii, on this day in 1960. The massive 8.5-magnitude quake had killed thousands in Chile the previous day. The earthquake, involving a severe plate shift, caused a large …

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France to surrender

France to surrender

With Paris fallen and the German conquest of France reaching its conclusion, Marshal Henri Petain replaces Paul Reynaud as prime minister and announces his intention to sign an armistice with the Nazis. The next day, French General Charles de Gaulle, not very well known even to the French, made a …

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Edwards declares the Texas Republic of Fredonia

Edwards declares the Texas Republic of Fredonia

In an act that foreshadowed the American rebellions to come, Benjamin Edwards rides into Mexican-controlled Nacogdoches, Texas, and proclaims himself the ruler of the Republic of Fredonia. The brother of a corrupt backer of an American colony in Texas, Benjamin Edwards made the bold (and perhaps foolish) decision to rebel …

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Kennedy and Nixon debate Cold War foreign policy

Kennedy and Nixon debate Cold War foreign policy

In the second of four televised debates, Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon turn their attention to foreign policy issues. Three Cold War episodes, in particular, engendered spirited confrontations between Kennedy and Nixon. The first involved Cuba, which had recently come under the control of …

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British troops liberate Mandalay, Burma

British troops liberate Mandalay, Burma

On this day, the 14th Army, under British Gen. William J. Slim, captures the Burmese city of Mandalay from the Japanese, bringing the Allies one step closer to liberating all of Burma. Mandalay, a city on the Irrawaddy River in central Burma (now Myanmar), was the center of the communications …

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