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Aceasta zi in istorie - This day in history

Infamous gangster Bugsy Siegel began his criminal career extorting peddlers in New York City and soon graduated to bootlegging, gambling schemes, and contract killing. In 1937, he was sent to develop rackets on the West Coast, which he did with much success. In 1945, he began building the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Originally budgeted at $1.5 million, the cost was driven to $6 million due to his skimming, angering his mob bosses. Months after the opening, Siegel was killed by whom? Discuss
In the 1860s, France sought to establish an empire in Mexico. Ferdinand Maximilian, an Austrian navy chief and member of the Habsburg dynasty, accepted Napoleon III's offer of the throne, naively believing that the Mexicans had voted him their king. In reality, Maximilian's only support came from the French army, and the empire was doomed. In 1866, Napoleon withdrew his troops. Maximilian refused to abdicate and was captured and executed, ending the empire. What were his last words? Discuss
Prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution, the approximately 1 million Iranian Baha'is had generally prospered, despite widespread societal discrimination. Under the Iranian Islamic republic, which regards the religion as heresy, Baha'i was banned, Baha'i property was confiscated, thousands were imprisoned, and several hundred were executed. Among the youngest victims was 17-year-old Mona Mahmudnizhad, who was arrested in 1982 and hanged after several months in prison. What were the official charges? Discuss
Thousands of dusky seaside sparrows once inhabited the natural salt marshes around Merritt Island and the area along the St. Johns River in southern Florida. The non-migratory birds lived exclusively in this small area, and this proved to be their undoing. From the 1940s onward, pesticides, pollution, and habitat loss caused the subspecies' population to decline precipitously. By 1979, just six males remained. Why were the remaining birds eventually relocated to Walt Disney World theme park? Discuss
In 1974, the South African government passed a decree making it mandatory for black schools to split instruction between English and Afrikaans—a language that many associated with the segregationist apartheid government. Two years later, at least 10,000 people—most of them young students—marched to Orlando Stadium in the city of Soweto to protest the change. Violence erupted when police began firing shots, and the resulting Soweto Riots continued for months. How many died during the riots? Discuss
With an approximate area of just 45 sq mi (117 sq km), the island of Saipan was the site of some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific theater of World War II. The US invasion in mid-June surprised the Japanese, who had expected an attack farther south. After a month of brutal fighting, the US captured Saipan and made the island a base for air attacks on the Japanese mainland. About 22,000 Saipan civilians—the majority of the population—died during the battle. Why did many commit suicide? Discuss
Both Argentina and Britain had long claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean when, despite ongoing negotiations, Argentina invaded the islands with 10,000 troops in April 1982. About 250 British soldiers and about 700 Argentines died before Argentina surrendered, ending the undeclared, 74-day war. The defeat discredited Argentina's military government and helped lead to the restoration of civilian rule in 1983. Who claims sovereignty over the islands today? Discuss
For budding boxer James J. Braddock, 1929 was a bad year. The promising pugilist narrowly lost a 15-round championship fight and, months later, the Great Depression struck. Braddock, struggling to support his family and losing many more bouts than he won, eventually gave up boxing to work the docks. In 1934, he returned to the ring, and a year later, he landed a title shot against Max Baer. Braddock was a 10-to-1 underdog but won in a stunning upset. Who beat Braddock for the title in 1937? Discuss
In 1889, a Sunday school train excursion in Armagh, Ireland, turned tragic when the train stalled while climbing a steep hill. The crew decoupled the cars, intending to climb the hill with the first few cars and then pull the remaining cars separately, but the back section had insufficient brakes and rolled down into an oncoming train. At least 78 people were killed in the crash, including many children. What had the crew put behind the wheels to prevent the train cars from rolling backwards? Discuss
The legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans motor race was created in 1923, when cars' top speeds hovered around 60 mph (97 km/h). Thirty years later, top speeds had more than tripled, with little change to the course. In the 1955 race, a narrow pass near the pit stop caused racer Pierre Levegh to hit another car from behind while traveling at about 150 mph (240 km/h). Levegh's Mercedes went airborne, and parts flew into the stands, killing Levegh and more than 80 spectators. Why did the race continue? Discuss
When tens of thousands of pedestrians crossed the Thames River via London's Millennium Bridge on its opening day in 2000, many felt the steel suspension bridge sway, and the vibrations worsened as people adjusted their gaits to the motion. Nicknamed the "wobbly bridge" by Londoners, it closed just two days later for modifications to eliminate the sway and did not reopen until 2002. What prompted the bridge to close again in 2007 over concerns that pedestrians were in danger of being blown off? Discuss
Thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat was the first US Triple Crown champion in 25 years, setting records in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes that still stand today. In fact, in the 40 years since, only one Derby winner has even come close to matching Secretariat's time of 1:59.40. Secretariat advanced from last to first to win the Preakness and won the Belmont Stakes by an unprecedented 31 lengths. What controversy arose regarding the time calculations of the 1973 Preakness? Discuss
During the Reign of Terror, leading French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre devised the Cult of the Supreme Being as the official state religion in an attempt to counter the atheistic Cult of Reason. The deist religion, which avowed patriotism and the immortality of the soul, was celebrated with a huge festival in Paris in 1794. However, other revolutionaries soon sought to end Robespierre's growing power, and he was guillotined less than two months later. What became of the religion? Discuss
With a summit elevation of 20,320 ft (6,194 m), Alaska's Mt. McKinley is the tallest mountain in North America. James Wickersham led the first recorded climbing attempt in 1903 but turned back at 8,000 ft (2,438 m). In 1910, a group known as the Sourdough expedition claimed to have summited its lower, northern peak. Three years later, explorer Hudson Stuck and three others made the first successful ascent of the South Summit—its true summit. How did Stuck's ascent verify the Sourdough climb? Discuss
In 1822, St. Martin, a Canadian fur trapper, was accidentally shot with a musket at close range, leaving a fist-sized hole in his stomach. Dr. William Beaumont, a US Army surgeon, saved his life. However, the wound never healed properly, and the small hole that remained enabled Beaumont to experiment on digestion by inserting and removing food to study the effects of gastric juices. Why, when St. Martin died at age 86, did his family wait to bury him until his body began to decompose? Discuss
On June 3, 1976, engineers noticed two small leaks in the earthen Teton Dam, built on Idaho's Teton River. Two days later, the newly created reservoir was filled for the first time, holding a large amount of runoff. Water began seeping out, and the major leak that followed caused the dam—which had been constructed on permeable and fissured rock—to collapse. The reservoir drained in less than six hours, flooding nearby towns and farmland. How many deaths are attributed to the Teton Dam failure? Discuss
Zhang was a Chinese warlord who became ruler of Manchuria with the tacit support of the Japanese after his militia backed them in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904–05. By the mid-1920s, his Fengtien army had gained power in Beijing, but Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Nationalists forced him out in 1928, and the Japanese began to doubt his authority over his Chinese countrymen. He was assassinated during his retreat to Shenyang when his train was bombed. Who planted the bomb, and why? Discuss
On the morning of June 3, 1998, the Munich-Hamburg Inner City Express train derailed near the village of Eschede, Germany, while traveling at 124 mph (200 km/h). One of the train cars hit a bridge, causing it to collapse. The cars behind jackknifed into the wreckage, while the front part of the train detached, coming to a stop well past the Eschede station. More than 100 people died as a result of the crash. Investigators later determined that the crash had been caused by what single problem? Discuss
During World War II, Italy was a monarchy in chaos. King Victor Emmanuel III had appointed Benito Mussolini prime minister in 1922 to avoid revolt, but, when war came, the two fought on opposite sides—Mussolini with the Axis and Victor Emmanuel with the Allies. Victor Emmanuel's history with Mussolini made the monarch unpopular after the war, and he abdicated in favor of his son, who ruled for 40 days before the Italian Republic was created by a referendum. Whom did it exile until 2002? Discuss
Born into slavery in New York, Baumfree had four different masters before escaping with her infant daughter in 1826, one year before the state abolished slavery. She traveled and championed abolition, changing her name in 1843. Her dictated memoirs were published as The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave. In 1851, she delivered what is now known as the "Ain't I a Woman?" speech at the Women's Rights Convention. How did the first report of the speech differ from later accounts? Discuss
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