Today in History

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on

Have a great Woodstock kind of day! I can’t believe I was only seven years old. Stay hydrated. M


Pope Sixtus IV consecrates a chapel in Rome after painters, including Botticelli, have finished their frescos. The ceiling, however, still needs a little work, and 25 years later a new pope will hire Michelangelo to paint what will be considered one of the greatest artworks of all time.


Thirty-three years of toil comes to a close as one of the greatest engineering achievements in human history, a 51-mile-long channel carved through the Isthmus of Panama, opens to maritime traffic. The new shortcut between the Pacific and Atlantic will speed transport and remake the global economy.


British Crown Rule ends in one of the most populous places on the planet, the vast, diverse country of India. Although the Dutch, Danish, and French were there before them, Britain has had a presence on the vast subcontinent since 1612. Today, however, India gains its freedom.


Max Yasgur’s farm fills with masses of music lovers as the Woodstock Music and Art Fair kicks off its first day. Before the event is through, 400,000 will revel in rainstorms and mud, some of history’s best rock bands will jam, and a counterculture will consider itself transformed.

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