The African slave trade was abolished in America. (1807) Though slaves could still be sold in the US, it was no longer permitted to import them from Africa, though slaves were still imported from Cuba and Brazil until the 1860s. It was a major step for abolitionists, but had little practical effects, since the children of slaves remained slaves in the US, making the slave trade self-sustaining.
Rutherford B. Hayes became president despite losing the popular vote. (1877) The election was fraught with fraud, and the legitimacy of the vote was debated for weeks. A special voting commission decided on Hayes in an extremely controversial decision that was challenged by filibuster for days.
CD players were first released in the US. (1983) Before this day CD players and CDs were only available in Japan. In the first year, about 3 million CD players were sold in the US, along with about 53 million CDs.
Dr. Seuss was born. (1904) Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was an immensely popular children's book author, known for The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. He wrote almost 50 books in total, and sold well over 200 million copies.
Queen Victoria escaped an assassination attempt. (1882) Roderick Maclean took a shot at Victoria as her carriage pulled away from a railway station after she refused to accept one of his poems. He was beaten back by two schoolboys with umbrellas, and later acquitted on the grounds of insanity.
Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship. (1917) Jones-Shafroth Act became law this day, making Puerto Ricans US citizens. They were almost immediately recruited for fighting in World War I, and some 20,000 Puerto Ricans were drafted for the war.
Grave robbers stole Charlie Chaplin's body. (1978)Charlie Chaplin was a cultural icon as the Little Tramp, and was one of the first truly successful cinema actors. His widow received a ransom note for the body from the two auto mechanics who had stolen it, which she refused to pay since she said her husband would have considered the demand "ridiculous." The body was later retrieved and reburied in concrete.
The first women-only hotel opened. (1903) The Martha Washington Hotel in New York opened on this day as the first hotel exclusively for women. The hotel was the home of poetess Sarah Teasdale, and Hollywood star Veronica Lake worked there during a rough patch in her career.
The first ballet was performed in England. (1717) "The Loves of Mars and Venus" was the first ballet to be performed in England, and one of the first serious works of dance, which up until that point had been primarily comedic.
Texas declared independence. (1836) The Republic of Texas declared independence from Mexico on this day, and was recognized as such by US President Andrew Jackson a year later. It existed as an independent nation for ten years until it was annexed by the US.