AOL merged with Time Warner. (2000) The multi-billion dollar merger was one of the largest media mergers in history, and left time AOL-Time Warner with significant influence in virtually every type of media.
The Treaty of Versailles was ratified, ending World War I. (1920) This was the first act of the League of Nations, which had its first meeting on this day. The Treaty had been several years in the making, and ended up having long-term consequences when it threw Germany into economic shambles. This would later become a key reason for Hitler's ease in rising to power, and the beginning of World War II.
The London Underground opened. (1863) The "Tube" was the world's first underground railroad, and remains a symbol of British culture. Passengers can still ride the original line, which ran between the London Paddington station and the Farringdon station.
The first major oil source was discovered in America. (1901) The first Texas "gusher" was discovered in Beaumont, Texas, marking the beginning of the American oil industry. Before the oil was discovered, petroleum was used only as a lamp fuel and occasional lubricant. The discovery of huge amounts of oil in Texas led the world's first trillion dollar industry.
US President Franklin Roosevelt introduced the Lend-Lease program to Congress. (1941) The program was intended to provide supplies and support the Allied forces in World War II without directly involving America. Over the next five years, America supplied more than $50 billion US Dollars (USD) worth of supplies to the UK, France, China and the USSR.
French emperor Napoleon divorced Josephine. (1810) Napoleon decided to end his marriage with Josephine because they had been unable to produce an heir. The divorce was unpopular with the people, and also strained Napoleon's relationship with church officials, especially after he quickly remarried an Austrian duchess.
Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river, beginning a civil war in Rome. (49 BC) The act was staggering to people at the time, since no general was allowed to march on Rome. It was the beginning of Caesar's rise to power as the sole leader of Rome. The phrase, "crossing the Rubicon," is still used to refer to committing to an extremely risky course of action with no chance of turning back.
American author Thomas Paine published Common Sense. (1776) The pamphlet outlined compelling arguments for American independence, and became an instant classic. It has been described as "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era."
The Vatican and the US began full diplomatic relations. (1984) The relationship was renewed by President Reagan and John Paul II after 117 years. Before that, relations had lapsed in 1870, and the Vatican was accused of being un-American on and off for the next hundred or so years, though some presidents had sent personal envoys to the Holy See.
Masterpiece Theatre premiered on PBS. (1971) The show became America's longest-running weekly primetime drama series. It primarily showed adaptations of novels and biographies, but was also known for being one of the only sources of British television in America.