On this date, 41 A.D., Gaius Caesar, better known as Caligula, was cut down by his own Praetorian Guards. Senators who had conspired with the guards and hoped to use this opportunity to return to Republican rule were thwarted by the Guards, who pronounced Caligula's uncle, Claudius, as his successor.
Caligula ruled a scant 4 years. The first two were said to have been moderate and promising, with Caligula still young. An illness nearly took his life and, apparently, rendered him mentally unstable to say the least. The next two years were so tyrannical that he was murdered as a result.
In 1776, Henry Knox completed the brutal task of hauling overland nearly 60 heavy cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston. Using oxen and sleds in the harsh New England winter, the arrival of these cannon, and their emplacement on Dorchester Heights overlooking Boston and the harbor, rendered the position of the British and their fleet indefensible. They promptly left.
1848. James Wilson Marshall finds gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California, setting off the Gold Rush.
1961. The Goldboro incident. A B-52 Stratofortress heavy bomber carrying two hydrogen bombs breaks up in the air near Goldboro, North Carolina, dropping its payload in the process. One weapon nearly detonates, with three out of four necessary steps to activate the weapon having been successfully triggered. The other weapon plunged into the ground at 700 mph and broke up, and portions of it (including portions containing uranium), have never been found. Recovery attempts in teh boggy marsh were abandoned due to groundwater issues. The air force bought the site of the landing and left it so no one would interfere, and conducts regular radiation tests there. To date, none has been found.
1972. Love this one. Japanese Stg. Shoichi Yokoi is found in the jungles of Guam and convinced to surrender. He had known the war was over, but said he didn't much like his relatives so he decided to stay to "get even with them" by living in his cave for 28 years. He returns to Japan and is instantly famous, becoming the subject of a documentary and becoming a TV personality. He receives -- get this -- $300 in back pay!
Here's the kicker -- by surrendering in 1972 he becomes the THIRD to last Japanese soldier to surrender after the end of WWII.
1984. The first Apple Macintosh goes on sale.