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24-Sep-1789: The First Supreme Court

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The Judiciary Act of 1789 is passed by Congress and signed by President George Washington, establishing the Supreme Court of the United States as a tribunal made up of six justices who were to serve on the court until death or retirement. That day, President Washington nominated John Jay to preside as chief justice, and John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison, and James Wilson to be associate justices. On September 26, all six appointments were confirmed by the […]

17-Sep-1862: Battle of Antietam

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Beginning early on the morning of this day in 1862, Confederate and Union troops in the Civil War clash near Maryland’s Antietam Creek in the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. The Battle of Antietam marked the culmination of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the Northern states. Guiding his Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River in early September 1862, the great general daringly divided his men, sending half of them, under the command of General […]

10-Sep-1897: First drunk driving arrest

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On this day in 1897, a 25-year-old London taxi driver named George Smith becomes the first person ever arrested for drunk driving after slamming his cab into a building. Smith later pled guilty and was fined 25 shillings. In the United States, the first laws against operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol went into effect in New York in 1910. In 1936, Dr. Rolla Harger, a professor of biochemistry and toxicology, patented the Drunkometer, a balloon-like […]

03-Sep-1783: Treaty of Paris Signed

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The American Revolution officially comes to an end when representatives of the United States, Great Britain, Spain and France sign the Treaty of Paris on this day in 1783. The signing signified America’s status as a free nation, as Britain formally recognized the independence of its 13 former American colonies, and the boundaries of the new republic were agreed upon: Florida north to the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast west to the Mississippi River. The events leading up to […]

Sep 2016 Wallpapers

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Each month Smashing Magazine releases free desktop wallpapers for use. Give your desktop some variety, and visit their website to learn more about web development. You can find them here.

27-Aug-1883: Krakatu explodes

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The most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history occurs on Krakatau (also called Krakatoa), a small, uninhabited volcanic island located west of Sumatra in Indonesia, on this day in 1883. Heard 3,000 miles away, the explosions threw five cubic miles of earth 50 miles into the air, created 120-foot tsunamis and killed 36,000 people. Krakatau exhibited its first stirrings in more than 200 years on May 20, 1883. A German warship passing by reported a seven-mile high cloud of ash […]

20-Aug-1911: First around-the-word telegram sent

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On this day in 1911, a dispatcher in the New York Times office sends the first telegram around the world via commercial service. Exactly 66 years later, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sends a different kind of message–a phonograph record containing information about Earth for extraterrestrial beings–shooting into space aboard the unmanned spacecraft Voyager II. The Times decided to send its 1911 telegram in order to determine how fast a commercial message could be sent around the world […]

13-Aug-1961: Berlin is divided

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Shortly after midnight on this day in 1961, East German soldiers begin laying down barbed wire and bricks as a barrier between Soviet-controlled East Berlin and the democratic western section of the city. After World War II, defeated Germany was divided into Soviet, American, British and French zones of occupation. The city of Berlin, though technically part of the Soviet zone, was also split, with the Soviets taking the eastern part of the city. After a massive Allied airlift in […]