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Today in History

Congress issues Continental currency

On June 22, 1775, Congress issues $2 million in bills of credit. By the spring of 1775, colonial leaders, concerned by British martial law in Boston and increasing constraints on trade, had led their forces in battle against the crown. But, the American...

General Lee strikes back at Petersburg

On June 22, 1864, Union forces attempt to capture a railroad that had been supplying Petersburg, Virginia, from the south, and extend their lines to the Appomattox River. The Confederates thwarted the attempt, and the two sides settled into trenches for a nine-month...

Henry Hudson set adrift by mutineers

After spending a winter trapped by ice in present-day Hudson Bay, the starving crew of the Discovery mutinies against its captain, English navigator Henry Hudson, and sets him, his teenage son, and seven supporters adrift in a small, open boat. Hudson and the eight...

Battle of Okinawa ends

During World War II, the U.S. 10th Army overcomes the last major pockets of Japanese resistance on Okinawa Island, ending one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. The same day, Japanese Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, the commander of Okinawa’s defense,...

FDR signs G.I. Bill

FDR signs G.I. Bill

On June 22, 1944, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the G.I. Bill, an unprecedented act of legislation designed to compensate returning members of the armed services–known as G.I.s–for their efforts in World War II.As the last of its sweeping New Deal...

Zong slave ship trial

Hearing arguments in the case of the Zong, a slave ship, the Chief Justice of the King’s Bench in London states that a massacre of enslaved African “was the same as if Horses had been thrown over board” on June 22, 1783. The crew of the Zong had thrown at least 142...

Arthur Miller refuses to name communists

Playwright Arthur Miller defies the House Committee on Un-American Activities and refuses to name suspected communists.Miller’s defiance of McCarthyism won him a conviction for contempt of court, which was later reversed by the Supreme Court. His passport had already...

Earthquake devastates Iran

An earthquake near the Caspian Sea in Iran kills an estimated 50,000 and injures another 135,000 people on June 21, 1990. The 7.7-magnitude tremor wrecked havoc on the simply constructed houses in the area. Thirty minutes past midnight, with most people sleeping in...

U.S. Constitution ratified

New Hampshire becomes the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making the document the law of the land.By 1786, defects in the post-Revolutionary War Articles of Confederation were apparent, such as the lack of...

General Santa Anna dies in Mexico City

Embittered and impoverished, the once mighty Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna dies in Mexico City.Born in 1792 at Jalapa, Vera Cruz, Mexico, Santa Anna was the son of middle-class parents. As a teen, he won a commission in the Spanish army and might have been expected to...

West Virginia enters the Union

During the Civil War, West Virginia is admitted into the Union as the 35th U.S. state, or the 24th state if the secession of the 11 Southern states were taken into account. The same day, Arthur Boreman was inaugurated as West Virginia’s first state governor.Settlement...

Mountain man Joe Meek dies

A skilled practitioner of the frontier art of the tall tale, the mountain man Joe Meek dies on his farm in Oregon. His life was nearly as adventurous as his stories claimed.Born in Virginia in 1810, Meek was a friendly and relentlessly good-humored young man, but he...

“Jaws” released in theaters

On June 20, 1975, Jaws, a film directed by Steven Spielberg that made countless viewers afraid to go into the water, opens in theaters. The story of a great white shark that terrorizes a New England resort town became an instant blockbuster and the highest-grossing...

Boxer Rebellion begins in China

In response to widespread foreign encroachment upon China’s national affairs, Chinese nationalists launch the so-called Boxer Rebellion in Peking. Calling themselves I Ho Ch’uan, or “the Righteous and Harmonious Fists,” the nationalists occupied Peking, killed several...

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