This Day In History
Thursday, September 20, 2018
On This Day

Events

in 1863

The H. L. Hunley,...
The H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a ship, sinks during a test, killing its inventor, Horace L. Hunley. Though he was not part of the crew, Hunley decided to take command during a routine exercise. The vessel again sank, and this time all eight crew members were killed, including Hunley himself. The vessel was later raised and used again in the first successful sinking of an enemy vessel by a submarine in naval history.
American Civil War, submarine

in 1910

Airship America launched from...
Airship America launched from New Jersey in the first attempt to cross the Atlantic by a powered aircraft. On October 15, 1910 takeoff was made from Atlantic City. Condensing water on the airship's skin added excess weight, and it was difficult to gain height. A passing storm also made forward navigation difficult. The engines failed 38 hours into the flight, apparently due to contamination by beach sand, and America drifted. The crew jettisoned all excess weight, including one of the defunct engines. The ship had gone as far as a point east of New Hampshire and south of Nova Scotia before floating generally south. After another 33 hours, and having now traveled a total distance of 1,370 miles (2,200 km) from launching, they sighted the Royal Mail steamship Trent west of Bermuda. After attracting the ship's attention by a signaling lamp using Morse code, Irwin made the first aerial distress call by radio. The crew, and mascot cat "Kiddo", got into the lifeboat and, after opening the gas valves on the airship, abandoned the America. America drifted out of sight and was never seen again. Trent, having barely avoided running down the lifeboat in a high crosswind, was able to rescue the crew and returned them to New York. The first successful aerial crossings of the Atlantic came nine years later.
airship

in 2001

Io
Io
NASA's Galileo spacecraft passes within 112 miles of Jupiter's moon Io. The radiation environment near Io in particular was very unhealthy for Galileo's systems, and so these flybys were saved for the extended mission when loss of the spacecraft would be more acceptable.
Io, NASA, Galileo spacecraft, spacecraft, space





Births

in 1814
Mikhail Lermontov

Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter, sometimes called "the poet of the Caucasus", has become the most important Russian poet after Alexander Pushkin's death in 1837. Lermontov is considered the supreme poet of Russian literature side by side with Pushkin and the greatest figure of Russian Romanticism. His influence on later Russian literature is still felt in modern times, not only through his poetry, but also through his prose, which has founded the tradition of Russian psychological novel.
in 1881
P G Wodehouse

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was a British humorist, whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics, and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years and his many writings continue to be widely read.
in 1981
Elena Dementieva

Elena Viatcheslavovna Dementieva is a retired Russian professional tennis player. Dementieva is most notable for winning the singles gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She won 16 WTA singles titles and reached the finals of the 2004 French Open and 2004 US Open. Dementieva achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 3, which was accomplished on 6 April 2009. She announced her retirement on 29 October 2010, after her final match at the 2010 WTA Tour Championships. Dementieva ended her career ranked World No. 9.

Deaths

in 1917
Mata Hari

Mata Hari was the stage name of Margaretha Geertruida "Grietje" Zelle, a Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan, and accused spy, although possibly innocent, who was executed by firing squad in France for espionage for Germany during World War I.
in 1964
Cole Porter

Cole Albert Porter was an American composer and songwriter. Born to a wealthy family in Indiana, he defied the wishes of his domineering grandfather and took up music as a profession. Classically trained, he was drawn towards musical theatre. After a slow start, he began to achieve success in the 1920s, and by the 1930s he was one of the major songwriters for the Broadway musical stage. Unlike most successful Broadway composers, Porter wrote both the lyrics and the music for his songs.
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