Nicolas Jacques Pelletier was a French highwayman who had the unfortunate timing of being the first person to be executed by means of the guillotine. He was arrested for assault, robbery, and possibly rape and was issued a death sentence by decapitation. He waited in prison for three months while the guillotine was built in Strasbourg. His execution was a public spectacle with high security.
"Damn the torpedoes. Full steam ahead!" Though famous Union Admiral David Farragut wouldn't say these words for another two years (the Battle of Mobile Bay), it encompassed his general strategy for taking New Orleans from the Confederates, of which he was en route on this day in 1862. He had been given command of the Western Gulf Blockading Squadron and set his fleet of 24 wooden ships down the Mississippi River to reduce Confederate defenses. On April 24, he famously blew past Forts Jackson and St.
Today is St. George's Day, a feast day celebrated by Catholic and Anglican Churches, and nations of which St. George is the patron saint. It is the second most important National Feast in Catalonia, where it is traditional to give a rose and a book to a loved one. It's also the International Day of the Book, since 1616, the date of death and possibly anniversary of birth for William Shakespeare (Julian calendar) and Miguel de Cervantes (Gregorian calendar). In 1497, John Cabot flew the Cross of St.
Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist known for his remarkable breakthroughs in vaccinating rabies and anthrax, and for reducing mortality from fevers. He may be best remembered for the discovery that is his namesake: pasteurization, a method to stop milk, beer, and wine from causing sickness. His research showed that the growth of micro-organisms were responsible for spoiling beverages. So he invented a process in which liquids were heated to kill most the bacteria already present within.
Watching the first clip, "Good Night," which premiered on The Tracey Ullman Show 25 years ago today, it's hard to believe that the crudely drawn, kind of lackluster sketch would become something that would have such a profound influence on modern pop-culture. The dysfunctional family from Springfield holds records for longest-running American sitcom, animated program, and primetime scripted TV series. It's won 27 Emmy Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.