The first explorers reached the South Pole. (1911) Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his expedition successfully reached the North Pole, beating out the rival expedition of British Robert Falcon Scott by almost a month. Amundsen would later become the first explorer to ever fly over the North Pole in 1926.
Arthur Kornberg and his colleague announced the first successful synthesis of DNA. (1967) Though President Johnson mistakenly reported that the researchers had "created life in a test tube," Kornberg and his colleagues had actually managed to synthetically replicate some viral DNA. This laid the groundwork for virtually all DNA discoveries afterward, since it provided significant insight into how DNA is actually formed and that DNA can be created synthetically.
Napoleon left Russia after suffering crushing losses. (1812) The Grande Armée of Napoleon I was expelled from Russian territory after losing the majority of their forces — several hundred thousand men. This was a turning point in Napoleon's plans to conquer Europe, and marked the start of the decline of Napoleonic power.
Quantum theory is said to have been born. (1900) Physicist Max Planck presented a groundbreaking study on the effects of radiation on what he termed "blackbody" matter. He asserted that radiant energy was made up of tiny parts called quantum. Planck's theories formed the basis on which quantum mechanics and mathematics was formed, and heavily influenced Niehls Bohr, Albert Einstein, and Erwin Schrödinger.
The USSR was expelled from the League of Nations. (1939) The League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations, expelled the USSR in response to the USSR's invasion of Finland. It was one of the final actions before the League of Nations collapsed altogether during the build-up to World War II.
The 47 Ronin avenged their master. (1702) A major part of Japanese history, the 47 ronin were samurai until their master was ordered to commit suicide after killing an arrogant official. In revenge, the ronin killed the official, and were then ordered to commit suicide themselves. The story of the 47 ronin remains a popular Japanese legend, and the 47 ronin are seen as examples of loyalty and faithfulness.
Christmas was declared a holiday in Cuba. (1997) Castro declared Christmas as a holiday for the first time since he came to power in the mid-1970s. He made this change in preparation for John Paul II's visit to Cuba in January 1998 — the first time a pope visited Cuba.
The first nut and bolt machine was patented. (1798) David Wilkinson of Rhode Island patented the first nut and bolt machine, which was used to cut the threads onto screws.
NASCAR was established. (1947) The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) became the largest stock car racing body in the United States.
The first state road was authorized in the US. (1793) It ran from modern-day Frankfort, Kentucky to Cincinnati, Ohio.