Newspaper heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped. (1974) Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a militant left-wing group that operated in America in the late 1970s. The nation was shocked when Hearst was seen helping the SLA commit crimes later, and she was eventually arrested for robbery. Psychologists consider it a classic case of Stockholm syndrome.
The Yalta Conference began. (1945) Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin began the conference at Yalta on this day to discuss the distribution of power after World War II. The conference did not end well, and laid the groundwork for the years of tension during the Cold War.
The United Service Organizations (USO) was founded. (1941) Though the USO is best known for the entertainment it provides to American soldiers overseas, it also provides support to the families of soldiers. Some of the most famous USO entertainers included Bob Hope, John Wayne and Jayne Mansfield.
Facebook was founded. (2004) Mark Zuckerberg revolutionized social media when he founded Facebook, a social networking tool, on this day. Within five years of its founding, Facebook had more than 500 million users.
The Song Dynasty was founded in China. (960) Emperor Taizu was crowned on this day, beginning the powerful Song dynasty, which would last for over three centuries. The Song is considered a high point of Chinese culture, including in the areas of painting, calligraphy, pottery, and historical research.
The Codex Sinaiticus, one of the oldest copies of the Bible, was discovered. (1859) The manuscript was discovered in Sinai by a German Bible scholar named Constantin von Tischendorf, who was under the patronage of Czar Alexander II of Russia. The Codex Sinaiticus has been widely used in Biblical translation, and also contains some fragments of extremely rare books.
The Philippine-American War began. (1899) Spain had ceded the Philippines to America a year earlier for $20 million US Dollars (USD) at the end of the Spanish-American War, but the Philippines did not recognize the American authority. Although the war officially ended later that year, the fight for Filipino independence went on unofficially until it was granted independence after World War II.
The Confederate States of America was founded. (1861) Representatives from South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas met to form the CSA, and elected Jefferson Davis as their president. When fighting broke out at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, later the same year, four additional states seceded and the American Civil War began.
George Washington was officially elected by the Electoral College. (1789, 1792) Washington won the popular vote by a clear majority, so it was no surprise when the Electoral College elected him unanimously both times. He was the first and only president to be elected unanimously.
Radium became the first synthetically created radioactive element. (1936) Dr. John Jacob Livingood was experimenting with elements when he noticed that one of his creations exhibited characteristics of radium. The element had only been isolated 20 years earlier by Marie and Pierre Curie.