On this date, in 1804 there was a very famous duel. Stupid things, duels. Often they were “honor” challenges where nobody dies. Both participants shoot for effect, not for death. But this was one where shots were fired to kill and one very famous person died. We forget that the duel involved the current Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr. And on the other side was the former first US Secretary of the Treasury, and the principal author of the Federalist Papers, the chief proponent of ratification of the US Constitution, Alexader Hamilton. Not a couple of ruffians with nothing to lose but their honor. Sadly Hamiton died. And Burr went on to do nothing much but to be tried for treason in another matter.

There were a number of notables born on this date: Scottish king Robert the Bruce in 1274, 6th US President John Quincy Adams in 1767, American painter James Abbott McNeil Whistler in 1834, and American author E.B.White of Charlottes Web and Stuart Little fame in 1899.

Besides Alexander Hamilton those who also died on this date include pianist and composer George Gershwin (1937) at just 38 of a brain tumor, actor Laurence Olivier (1989), and First Lady Lady Bird Johnson (2007).

Starting in 1989 this is recognized as World Population Day, to draw attention to the problems of overpopulation.