What Happened on September 23?
- US President Harry S. Truman publicly announced the US had lost its monopoly on nuclear weapons. (1949) President Truman asked his military scientists to double check the reported data indicating the Soviet Union had detonated a nuclear bomb underground. They confirmed the reports. The bomb explosion was detected by seismic activity recorded by US scientists on September 3rd. Other reports indicate the Soviet Union first exploded a nuclear bomb on August 29th that year.
- The first major victory in the Greek War of Independence took place. (1821) The Greeks, fighting for independence from the Ottoman Empire, stormed the city of Tripolitsa, Greece, killing 30,000 Turks and gaining control of the city. Greece gained its independence in 1832.
- Naval Commander John Paul Jones won a major American Revolution battle in English waters. (1779) Jones won the "Battle of Flamborough Head" on his US ship Bonhomme Richard against two British ships. After an intense battle in which Jones' ship was severely damaged, one of the British captains asked if he was ready to surrender. Jones famously replied, "I have not yet begun to fight!" Three hours later, he had won the battle. The Bonhomme Richard sank the following day.
- Harvard College graduated its first students. (1642) At the time, only a school identified as a "university" could graduate students; a college was considered a place that provided room, board and education to teachers and scholars. Harvard held commencements without regard to the terminology technicality. The college — essentially Harvard's undergraduate program — is now the oldest school at Harvard University.
- Neptune was discovered. (1846) Astronomers John Couch Adams from England and Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier from France discovered Neptune — the eighth planet in the Solar System to be discovered. Johann Gottfried Galle, a German astronomer, verified the findings.
- The first gas chamber tests at Auschwitz were performed. (1941) Several million people were killed in these gas chambers by the German Nazis during World War II.
- Richard Nixon made the "Checkers" speech. (1952) Nixon was a California Senator at the time and hoping to run for US President. He had been accused of campaign fund improprieties and addressed US television audiences in order to defend himself. He famously mentioned that he would keep the small dog his children had named "Checkers," which had been a gift. The public rallied and Nixon not only ended up on the presidential ticket, but won the US presidency.
- More than $1 billion US Dollars in treasure was lost at sea. (1641) The Merchant Royal was carrying the treasure when it was lost at sea off the coast of Cornwall, England. The shipwreck has never been found, but many presume the treasure was take by the crew on the Dover Merchant who came to the rescue of the drowning shipmen.
- The "Karlstad Treaty" was signed, making Sweden and Norway independent nations. (1905) Negotiations to dissolve the union between the two countries ended on this day with the signing of the treaty. The separation was peaceful, though both sides had military forces waiting in the wings.
- The US occupation of the Dominican Republic ended. (1922) US Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes signed the Hughes-Peynado agreement, effectively ending the US occupation.
- The Mozilla Firefox browser was first made available to the public. (2002) The first version was called Phoenix 0.1. The Mozilla Foundation later changed the name to Mozilla Firebird due to trademark issues with Phoenix Technologies. Further pressure from developers resulted in the final name change to Mozilla Firefox on February 9, 2004.
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