The first modern Olympic games were held. (1896) The games took place in Athens, and 13 nations competed in events including archery, wrestling, and fencing. A few of the contestants were actually tourists who had come to see the games and were allowed to compete.
America formally entered World War I. (1917) The House of Representatives upheld the Senate's endorsement to go to war, and America officially entered the war, though American troops would not go to Europe until the end of June.
The Rwandan Genocide began. (1994) The genocide began with the assassination of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana. It lasted a little more than 100 days, but claimed over 800,000 lives.
The Beach Boys were banned from performing on the Washington Mall. (1983) The band was originally slated to play at a Fourth of July celebration on the Washington Mall, but the Interior Secretary James Watt banned them. He said that rock and roll bands like the Beach Boys attracted the "wrong element."
Congress opened all American ports for trading. (1776) The ports were opened to all international trade that did not come from British-controlled areas. It was a major step towards functioning as a country, and a necessary one after losing the trade relationship with Britain during the revolution.
Robert Peary's expedition allegedly reached the North Pole. (1909) Though whether the expedition reached the actual dead center of the North Pole or were actually several miles short has been debated, Peary's expedition certainly got much farther than any of the previous ones. The first person to undisputedly reach the exact North Pole was Joseph Fletcher in 1952.
Celluloid was patented. (1869) It became an immediate hit as a cheap material for jewelry, horn products, and even dolls. Early celluloid was actually called ivorine or French ivory to make it more appealing.
The first Tony Awards were presented. (1947) The equivalent of the Oscars for theater, the Tony awards are actually named after Antoinette Perry, the co-founder of the American Theatre Wing, which founded the awards.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was founded. (1830)Joseph Smith founded the Mormon church in New York on this day after reportedly receiving a revelation from an angel. The church was controversial since its inception, and later moved West to avoid persecution.
Raphael was born. (1483) Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known as Raphael, was a major Renaissancepainter. Though he died at the early age of 37, his body of work was impressive, and included The School of Athens and numerous portraits.