1184 BC – Trojan War: Troy is sacked and burned, according to calculations by Eratosthenes. This is bad for Troy, but good for Homer and Michael Wood.
1509 – Henry VIII of England marries Catherine of Aragon. This isn’t good for a lot of people, especially Catherine of Aragon, her daughter, Mary Tudor, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Catholics in general, and Thomas More in particular. Henry’s wives and their fates: Divorced (Catherine of Aragon), beheaded (Anne Boleyn), died (Jane Seymour), banished (Anne of Cleves), beheaded (Catherine Howard), survived (Catherine Parr). After Old Harry’s death, Catherine Parr married Thomas Seymour, brother of Henry’s third wife, Anne, who would be executed for entering the chamber of Edward VI for nefarious reasons.
1776 – The Continental Congress appoints Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to the Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence. This is good for everyone.
1776 – John Constable, English painter (d. 1837). Who can look at a Constable landscape and not think of Jane Austen; that is, if you like Jane Austen?
1939 – Sir Jackie Stewart, Scottish race car driver, three-time Formula One world champion. When Jackie retired from racing, he became an announcer, and I watched Formula One racing just so that I could listen to Jackie’s Scottish accent.
1956 – Joe Montana, quarterback for the San Francisco Forty-Niners. One of the best quarterbacks ever.
323 BC – Alexander the Great, Greek King of Macedon (b. 356 BC). Conquered the known world and died at the age of 33, possibly of malaria or typhoid fever.
1979 – John Wayne (aka Marion Morrison), American actor (b. 1907). What can I say, Pilgrim? He’s an American icon.