Two big fires began on this date. The great fire of Rome began today in 64 AD and burned for 6 days, destroying half the city. Despite rumors and accusations it was not started by Christians, nor emperor Nero, who accused each other (and he wasn’t fiddling because the fiddle wasn’t invented for centuries after). In 1845 the Great New York City fire began and ended on this date, killing 4 firefighters and 26 civilians and destroying 345 homes.

This was the day of the attempted coronation of Lady Jane Grey as Queen in 1553 – which collapsed after just 9 days when Mary I became Queen – and the successful coronation of King George IV in 1821. This was the start of the two-day Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls New York in 1848, the start of the Franco-Prussian War, when France declared war on Prussia (France lost, btw), and the opening of the Olympic Winter Games in Helsinki Finland in 1952.

This was the birthdate of French painter Edgar Degas (1834), microwave inventor Percy Spencer (1894), and Senator and Presidential candidate George McGovern (1922) who, despite being smeared as soft on defense flew 35 missions over occupied Europe in WWII. It was also the birthdate for Queen singer-songwriter and guitarist Brian May (1947) who also is an astrophysicist, and actor Benedict Cumberbatch(1976) with roles as divergent as strongman Khan in Star Trek and the title role in Sherlock Holmes.

Those who departed this world on this date include Italian poet and scholar Petrarch (1374), South Korean strongman and first president Syngman Rhee (1965), actor James Garner (2014), and actor, director, and producer Garry Marshall (2018) who brought us Happy Days, among other shows and movies.

Today is Sandinista Day or Liberation Day in Nicaragua, since this date in 1979 the Sandinista rebels ousted the Somoza family which had brutally ruled the country for decades.