4th September In History

English writer H.G. Wells once said that human history is often a race between education and catastrophe. Perhaps 'wisdom and folly' would be more befitting in this context. Every time folly outruns wisdom, catastrophe strikes. And every time wisdom gets the better of folly, great things happen. Take for instance, the curious case of September 4. The day has witnessed some remarkable events throughout history. While some of these were remarkable for all the wrong reasons, the day has not been without its merits. In instances where folly outran wisdom, ignoble incidents like the Peekskill Riots (1949), The Little Rock Crisis (1957) and the Golden Dragon Massacre (1977) happened. And in cases where wisdom managed to subdue the reptilian brain, things took a turn for the better. Indeed, it was on this very same day that Edison's light bulbs brightened up the New York City for the first time (1882), thus ushering in a sea change that would mark the birth of modern times. More than a century later, another great discovery would redefine our times, courtesy of two Stanford University graduates - yes, we are talking about Google here. Here is a comprehensive list of the good, bad and the ugly that September 4 bore witness to. For better or worse, these events most certainly did shape human history as we know it today.


HISTORICAL EVENTS ON 4th September



1870

Politics

Napoleon III Deposed

Napoleon III is mostly remembered as an inept, womanizing, authoritarian ruler who achieved very little during his reign. Often ridiculed by his illustrious contemporaries like Victor Hugo and Karl Marx, Napoleon’s was ousted on this day in 1870, following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War.


1886

Politics

Geronimo Surrenders

On this day in 1886, the legendary Native American warrior and Apache chief Geronimo surrendered before the U.S. government after three decades of courageous resistance. Geronimo’s quest for vengeance began in late 1850’s, when his family was murdered by a group of Mexican soldiers and his tribe marginalized by the settlers.


1894

Politics

Tailors’ Protest In New York City

The streets of New York were shaken by a massive labor strike by 12,000 tailors on this day in 1894. The strike was against the inhuman working conditions prevalent in the sweatshops, and the tailors’ demands included clearly defined working hours, assured minimum wages and weekly paydays.


1949

Politics

The Peekskill Riots

The Peekskill riots of 1949 were spurred by the announcement of a Paul Robeson concert in the Westchester County, New York. Fueled by anti-black, anti-Semitic and anti-communist sentiments, they sought to disrupt the program and attacked the concert-goers, catalyzing a major riot. Paul Robeson, a bass singer and actor by profession, was a vocal advocate of Communism and the Civil Rights Movement.


1957

Politics

The Little Rock Crisis

Yet another significant chapter in the history of Civil Rights Movement unfolded on this day in 1957, at the all-white Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. On the school reopening day, nine teen students - who came to be known as the Little Rock Nine - were stopped from entering the precincts by the Arkansas National Guard deployed by Governor Orval Flaubus. A series of dramatic events and international outrage followed, and on September 23, the Little Rock Nine finally enrolled. Throughout the academic year, the teens were guarded by federal troops for the sake of their safety.


1970

Politics

Political Asylum For Natalia Makarova

Natalia Makarova is often hailed as one of the finest ballerinas of the 20th century. On this day in 1970, the renowned dancer – then at the peak of her career – defected to Britain in a bid to advance her career. Makarova’s illustrious repertoire has since featured associations with the American Ballet Theatre (New York) and Royal Ballet (London).


1970

Politics

Salvador Allende Becomes President Of Chile

Salvador Allende is remembered as the first Latin American Marxist to be democratically elected to the office of President of Chile. The socialist leader’s progressive policies and reforms were instrumental in the emancipation of the underprivileged Chileans. However, Allende’s term was cut short by a 1973 coup, during which he allegedly committed suicide.


1977

Politics

Golden Dragon Massacre In San Francisco

The gang-wars between two prominent Chinatown gangs in San Francisco – the Joe Boys and the Wah Ching – spiraled into a major shootout on this day in 1977. All the five killed in the shootout were innocent civilians, and earned the Golden Dragon Restaurant lasting notoriety.


1987

Politics

Mathias Rust Sentenced To Four Years

In May 1987, Mathias Rust, a young German aviator, set out with a mission to ease the tension between the Cold War nations. The ‘peace mission’ was fraught with danger, as he flew from Helsinki and landed at Moscow’s Red Square, braving the threat of being shot down any minute. He was immediately arrested, tried and sentenced to four years in a labor camp, though the sentence was subsequently reduced.


1993

Politics

Pope John Paul II’s Maiden Visit To Former USSR

Following the fall of Communism and disintegration of the Soviet Union, Pope John Paul II visited Lithuania – a former USSR territory – on this day in 1993. During his historic visit, the Pope urged people to see “neither winners nor losers, but rather men and women who need to be helped to leave error behind.”


1995

Politics

Fourth World Conference On Women Begins

The fourth edition of United Nations Conference on Women began on this day in 1995, with Beijing hosting the event. The conference was a significant milestone in the course of women’s empowerment and gender equality, and came up with a global agenda through the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Platform for Action. The keynote address was delivered by Aung San Suu Kyi.


1996

Politics

Netanyahu Meets Arafat

In a bid to improve the deteriorating relations between the two nations, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting in Erez on this day in 1996. The meeting - which came three months after Netanyahu’s election - was fraught with tension and closely watched by the international community. Earlier, Netanyahu had openly denounced Arafat’s policies and went on to call him a terrorist; and the Palestinian Press, in turn, had vilified Netanyahu as “more Nazi than Hitler”.


1998

Politics

Clinton’s Apology In Ireland

The infamous Lewinsky scandal of 1998 took the world by storm and nearly ended the political career of the then-President, Bill Clinton. After months of silence over the matter, Clinton finally responded to the allegations on this day in 1998, during a visit to Ireland. Clinton’s exact words were, “I made a bad mistake. It was indefensible. And I'm sorry about it,'' but it did little to pacify the outcry for his impeachment.


2003

Politics

Bush Signs PREA Into Law

In a bid to curb the rapes rampant in the United States prisons, President George Bush signed the Prison Rape Elimination Act into law on this day in 2003. The bill – which had been passed unanimously by both the Houses and swiftly signed into law – received a major amendment in 2007, courtesy of the Second Chance Act.


1944

Wars

Finland Exits The Continuation War

The Continuation War between Finland and Soviet Union lasted for three years. The war was triggered by Finland’s rejection of Soviet demands to cede territory, and while the Germans actively backed Finland, the Soviet offensive was supported by the United Kingdom. On this day in 1944, the war ended with a decisive Soviet victory, after Finland’s capitulation.


1944

Wars

British Troops Liberate Antwerp

On this day in 1944 – two days after the start of the Allied mission to liberate Belgium – the British forces liberated Antwerp from the Germans. In February 1945, Belgium was entirely freed from German occupation, after five months of joint operation by the USA, Canada, Britain and Poland.


1945

Wars

U.S. Regains Possession Of Wake Island

During the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Japanese forces took hold of the Wake Island under the command of Shigematsu Sakaibara. The invasion proved to be a blunder in the long run, with more than 1,000 Japanese soldiers dying from starvation following a U.S. bid to cut off the occupiers from the island. Four years later, the United States launched an offensive to regain the island, and on this day in 1945, the Japanese surrendered unconditionally.


1967

Wars

Operation Swift Begins

Operation Swift was a rescue operation launched by the U.S. 1st Marine Division to rescue the ambushed Marine companies from the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN). The mission, which began on this day in 1967, ended with the U.S. Army forcing the PAVN out of their stronghold in Que Son Valley.


1978

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Floods In Northern India

One of the worst floods (in the history of the Indian Subcontinent) ravaged the northern parts of the country on this day in 1978. With some areas in West Bengal going 18 feet under water and the river Yamuna inundating beyond the safe level, millions were left homeless and thousands died in the disaster.


2010

Disasters & Natural Calamities

The Canterbury Earthquakes

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand’s South Island on this day in 2010. This was followed by a series of aftershocks, the most devastating of which struck six months later, in February 2011. While the first earthquake didn’t result in any casualties, the February 2011 earthquake left 185 dead. The total loss from the calamity was estimated to be around 40 billion NZD.


1950

Sports

First Edition Of Southern 500

Prior to the arrival of the Dayton 500, Southern 500 was the biggest NASCAR racing event in the U.S. The inaugural edition of Southern 500, which took place at the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, consisted of 400 laps (800kms) and was won by Johnny Mantz. Interestingly, Mantz had been the slowest in the qualifier and started off after popping two aspirins to cure his hangover from a party the night before.


1972

Sports

Mark Spitz’s Rare Olympic Feat

U.S. Swimmer Mark Spitz set an incredible Olympic record on this day in 1972, when he became the first athlete to win seven Olympic gold medals in the same year. Spitz’s incredible feat remained unsurpassed for 36 years, and was bettered by fellow-American Michael Phelps at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


1985

Sports

Igor Paklin Sets High Jump World Record

At the 1985 World Student Games held in Japan, Soviet Union’s Igor Paklin set the high jump world record when he registered a 2.41 metre (7.9 feet) jump at the event. Paklin’s record was broken two years later by Sweden’s Sjoberg (2.42m). Cuba’s Javier Sotomayer currently holds the record for the highest jump (2.45m).


1993

Sports

Jim Abbott’s No-Hitter

Yankees’ one-handed pitcher Jim Abbott created history when he pitched a no-hitter (4-0) against the Cleveland Indians on this day in 1993. The no-hitter has since gone down as one of the most memorable moments in Yankees history. Post-retirement, Abbott published his autobiography, ‘Imperfect: An Improbable Life’, and went on to become a motivational speaker.


1923

Literature & Entertainment

Premiere Of ‘London Calling!’

Musical revue ‘London Calling’ - which opened on this day in 1923 at London’s Duke of York Theatre - is famous for being Noel Coward’s first publicly produced musical work. The revue was a moderate success, and the song, ‘Parisian Pierrot’ (sung by Gertrude Lawrence) became a runaway hit.


1950

Literature & Entertainment

Beetle Bailey Announces His Arrival

One of the most beloved comic strip characters in America made his debut on this day in 1950. Created by Mort Walker, the comic chronicles the hilarious incidents in the life and times of Beetle Bailey – an army recruit who is a perpetual slacker famous for his insubordination. Enriched by a host of colorful characters, the comic strip is one among the oldest comic strips still being produced by the original creator.


1959

Literature & Entertainment

‘Mack The Knife’ Banned From Radio

Originally composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, ‘Die Moritat von Mackie Messer’, or ‘The Ballad of Mack the Knife’, was introduced in the United States by Louis Armstrong. A more popular version – recorded by Bobby Darrin – was banned by the New York-based WABC radio station on this day in 1959. The ban came in the wake of a series of recent stabbings in the city, and the rather gruesome nature of the song lyrics (On a sidewalk, blue Sunday mornin’/Lies a body just oozin’ life) made it an unpopular choice under the circumstances.


1962

Literature & Entertainment

The Beatles Record ‘How Do You Do It’ And ‘Love Me Do’

The recording session for EMI on this day in 1962 was a first for the Beatles in many ways. Besides being their first real session (the 6th July session was more of an audition), this was also Ringo Starr’s first outing with the group. ‘Love Me Do’ was the band’s first single, and was released in the United Kingdom on 5th October, 1962.


1967

Literature & Entertainment

Final Episode Of Gilligan’s Island

On this day in 1967, popular television sitcom, Gilligan’s Island, aired its final episode. Though its original run on television lasted only three seasons, Gilligan’s Island had such an impact on American pop culture that it spawned numerous films sequels and spin-offs. Gilligan, the protagonist, has since become a cultural icon in the country.


1972

Literature & Entertainment

‘The Price Is Right’ Returns With Bob Barker

Popular entertainment magazine ‘TV Guide’ once named ‘The Price is Right’ as the greatest game show of all time. The show, which premiered on this day in 1972, was hosted by Bob Barker from 1972 till his retirement in 2007. With over 8,000 episodes since its debut, ‘The Price is Right’ is also the longest-running game show in television history. The show is currently hosted by Drew Carey.


1983

Literature & Entertainment

‘Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ Ends Its Broadway Run

On this day in 1983, hit musical ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ ended its Broadway run. The musical, which made its Broadway debut in January 1982, ran for 747 performances and garnered rave reviews from the critics and audience alike. With little spoken dialogue and an array of catchy tunes, the musical humorously reinterpreted the Biblical story of Joseph, which features in the Book of Genesis.


1993

Literature & Entertainment

Herve Villechaize Commits Suicide

Herve Villechaize is best remembered for his roles in the hit TV series ‘Fantasy Island’ and the 1974 James Bond movie, ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. Villechaize, who had been battling with several dwarfism-related health problems and depression, finally gave up the fight and committed suicide on this day in 1993.


2002

Literature & Entertainment

Kelly Clarkson Becomes The First American Idol

Kelly Clarkson’s life changed forever on this day in 2002. The Texan - who had variously worked as a cocktail waitress and telemarketer prior to her heydays - became the first American idol after millions voted in her favor in the grand finale. Clarkson has since gone on to establish a successful music career.


1609

Trivia

Henry Hudson Begins His Exploration Of Manhattan

English Sea Explorer Henry Hudson discovered the island of Manhattan on this day in 1609. Hudson, who was sailing aboard the Dutch ship, ‘The Half Moon/Halve Maen’, had originally set out to find an easterly route to Asia. Manhattan got its name thanks to an officer in Hudson’s crew – Robert Juet – whose 1609 logbook first referred to the island as ‘Manna-hatta’.


1781

Trivia

Los Angeles Founded

The City of Angeles was founded on this day in 1781 by the Spanish settlers, who originally named it, ‘El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula’, which translates to ‘The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Porciúncula River’. Besides being the capital of the American entertainment industry, L.A. is also the second most populous city in the country.


1807

Trivia

Fulton’s Steamboat Starts Passenger Service

Contrary to popular belief, Robert Fulton didn’t invent the steamboat. But he most certainly did invent the first commercially viable steamboat, ‘North River’. Derisively nicknamed by the skeptics as ‘Fulton’s Folly’, the steamboat made its maiden voyage on 7th August, 1807. Three weeks later, on 4th September, ‘North River’ began passenger service as scheduled, thus marking the beginning of a new era in transportation.


1833

Trivia

Barney Flaherty Becomes The First Newspaper Boy

On this day in 1833, a 10-year old New York boy, Barney Flaherty, became the first newspaper boy after he answered an ad in the New York Sun. The paper boy went on to become an iconic role, defining generations of youngsters who lived in the golden age of printed newspapers.


1838

Trivia

Henriette D'Angeville Ascends Mt. Blanc

On this day in 1838, mountaineer Henriette d’Angeville became the second woman to climb Mt. Blanc – at the age of 44. Technically, d’Angeville was the first to scale the peak on her own, since her predecessor, Maria Paradis, had been carried on the shoulder of her guides during her ascent. In honor of d’Angeville’s achievement, a street in Eastern France was named after her.


1842

Trivia

Work On Cologne Cathedral Resumes

Commissioned in 13th century and completed in 19th century, the Cologne Cathedral in Germany is the country’s most visited landmark, and was the tallest in the world from 1880 to 1884. On this day in 1842, the work on the ancient Cathedral resumed after a hiatus of almost three centuries. It took another 38 years before the Cathedral was completed according to the original plan.


1882

Trivia

Edison Lights Up New York

After years in R&D, The Edison Illuminating Company’s Pearl Street Station finally lit up New York City on this day in 1882. The big technological leap came two years after Edison invented and patented the light bulb, and would go down in the history books as one among the most significant moments in modern human history.


1885

Trivia

First Self-Service Cafeteria In The U.S.

The first self-service restaurant/cafeteria in the United States opened its doors to an exclusively male clientele near the New York Stock Exchange on this day in 1885. The ‘Exchange Buffet’ was an instant favorite despite its ‘men only’ policy, and continued to thrive for almost a century. The last Exchange Buffet in the country closed in mid-20th century, with the company declaring bankruptcy.


1888

Trivia

Kodak Trademark For Eastman

This day in 1888 marked the foundation of the Kodak Company, with George Eastman patenting his roll-film camera model and registered the name, ‘Kodak’. The famous tagline, ‘You press the button, we do the rest’, was also registered by Eastman on the same day. The original model, which had a fixed focal length, was capable of carrying enough film for hundred exposures.


1923

Trivia

Maiden Flight Of USS Shenandoah

Besides being the first transcontinental U.S. flight, the USS Shenandoah was also the first rigid airship commissioned in the U.S. Navy. The airship, which made its maiden flight on this day in 1923, was christened after an American Indian term which translated as “daughter of the stars”. Two years later, in 1925, the USS Shenandoah crashed on her 57th flight, killing 14 crew members.


1950

Trivia

First Helicopter Rescue Of An American Pilot

The Korean War, which broke out in 1950, was the first major war where helicopters were employed. On this day in 1950, the maiden rescue mission using a helicopter was carried out by the American forces, when Captain Robert E. Wayne was shot down behind the enemy lines. The rescue helicopter (Sikor-sky H-5) was piloted by Lieutenant Paul W. Van Boven.


1951

Trivia

Truman Makes First Live Transcontinental Television Broadcast

President Harry S. Truman made a speech at a conference in San Francisco on this day in 1951. The speech is now remembered for the nature of its broadcast rather than its content. Truman’s speech - which formalized the end of America’s Post-Second World War occupation of Japan - was the first television program to be broadcast live transcontinentally.


1957

Trivia

Edsel Arrives In Showrooms

A week after its formal unveiling, Ford’s Edsel model arrived in showrooms on this day in 1957. Highly publicized and highly anticipated, Edsel proved to be a massive commercial failure and cost the company a fortune. Two years later, in 1959, Edsel was discontinued.


1985

Trivia

Buckminsterfullerene Discovered

On this day in 1985, Buckminsterfullerene - a spherical fullerene molecule (formula C60) - was discovered by a group of scientists at Houston’s William Marsh Rice University. For their pioneering the discovery of Buckminsterfullerene, Harry Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley were awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996.


1985

Trivia

Titanic Wreck Captured On Film For The First Time

Seventy-three years after the disastrous iceberg collision that sunk RMS Titanic, a US-French exploration team led by Robert Ballad located the wreck of the ill-fated ship on September 1, 1985. Three days later, on September 4th, enhanced color images of the wreck were captured on film for the first time. Numerous artifacts have since been recovered from the site of the wreck and displayed at exhibitions.


1998

Trivia

Google Founded

On this day in 1998, internet giant Google – then basically a startup venture – was officially incorporated. Initially named BackRub, Google was co-founded by two Stanford University grads - Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Developed originally as a search engine, Google Inc. soon diversified to offer a range of services including e-mail, maps, browsers, social networks and synchronization services.


2001

Trivia

Tokyo Disney Sea Opens

Owned and operated by ‘The Oriental Land Company’, the Tokyo DisneySea is one of the most popular theme parks in the world. DisneySea - which was ranked the fourth most visited in the world in 2013 - opened on this day in 2001, at a cost of 335 billion yen.


People Born This Day

Anthony De Mello
(1931-1987)
Authored books related to spirituality, lectures and spiritual conferences [ Indian ]
Geoffrey Chaucer
(1903-1400)
Poet [ British ]
Sir Clive William John Granger
(1934-2009)
Economist [ British ]
Anton Bruckner
(1824-1896)
Composer [ Austrian ]
Antonin Artaud
(1896-1948)
[ French ]
Dawn Fraser
(1937-)
Swimmer [ Australian ]
Richard Wright
(1908-1960)
[ American ]
Daniel Burnham
(1846-1912)
Architect, Urban Designer [ American ]
Beyonce Knowles
(1981-)
[ American ]
Dallas Willard
(1935-2013)
[ American ]
Dadabhai Naoroji
(1825-1917)
[ Indian ]
Edward Bates
(1793-1869)
Lawyer [ American ]
Joan Aiken
(1924-2004)
Writer [ American ]
Paul Harvey
(1918-2009)
Radio Broadcaster [ American ]
Maryna Linchuk
(1987-)
Fashion Model [ Belarusian ]
Gilles de Rais
(1404-1440)
Serial Killer of Children [ French ]
Max Delbrück
(1906-1981)
Biophysicist [ German ]
Stanford Moore
(1913-1982)
Biochemist [ American ]
Edward Dmytryk
(1908-1999)
Film Director [ Canadian ]
Brandon Ryan Rowland
(2002-)
Instagram star, YouNow star, Musical.ly & Vine personality, model. [ American ]
Josh Zerker
(1992-)
YouTuber, Vlogger [ British ]
Damon Wayans
(1960-)
Actor [ American ]
Brandon Rowland
(2002-)
Instagram star [ American ]
Gelila Bekele
(1986-)
Model [ Ethiopian ]
Andrew McCollum
(1983-)
Co-founder of Facebook [ American ]


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