What Happened on September 16?

  • The "Mayflower" set sail for the New World. (1620) The ship began its journey in Plymouth, England, and headed for Virginia. Storms, however, blew it off course, and the 102 passengers disembarked in Massachusetts.

  • Settlers began the largest land run in US history, claiming stakes in the Oklahoma Cherokee Strip. (1893) A starting pistol shot sent more than 100,000 settlers scurrying on horses and in carriages toward the best parcels of land, which had previously been occupied by Native American Indians. The Native Americans were forced onto reservations.

  • US President Gerald Ford offered a "re-entry" program for those who had deserted during the Vietnam War or who had evaded the draft. (1974) President Ford's amnesty program allowed draft evaders and deserters to work in public service for up to two years in exchange for turning themselves in and re-declaring allegiance to the US.

  • The "Montreal Protocol" treaty was signed by 24 countries to help preserve the Earth's ozone layer. (1987) The international treaty calls for countries to reduce emissions and reduce or ban substances deemed harmful to the ozone layer.

  • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi began a fast to protest new British government class policies. (1932) While imprisoned, Gandhi fasted to protest the move by the British government to divide India's electorate system by social class, believing this would only push the lower classes further down. The British government gave in six days later, reversing the decision.

  • A "car" bomb on Wall Street in New York City killed 38 people. (1920) The bomb was planted in a horse-drawn wagon and blew up in front of the J.P. Morgan building. 38 people were killed and more than 400 injured in what was the deadliest peacetime bombing in US history at the time.

  • The US Selective Training and Service Act — basically, a military draft — went into effect. (1940) US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the order into law, establishing the first military draft during peace time in US history.

  • The Village of Shawmut got a new name: Boston. (1630) Puritan settlers from England founded the new town and named it after a town in England called Boston, Lincolnshire.

  • General Motors (GM) was founded by a man who hated cars. (1908) William Crapo Durant founded GM in Flint, Michigan, incorporating the company for $2,000 US Dollars. Durant previously had made a good deal of money from producing horse-drawn carriages. Ironically, Durant found cars to be smelly and dangerous — but this didn't stop him from creating what would become one of largest automotive companies in the US.

  • An earthquake hit Tabas, Iran, killing more than 26,000 people. (1978) The 7.7-magnitude earthquake lasted three minutes, completely destroying the city of Tabas. The capital city of Tehran, Iran, about 600 miles (965 kilometers) from Tabas, is located on top of about 100 fault lines — earthquakes in that country are not rare. In 2003, an earthquake in Bam, Iran, killed more than 30,000 people.

Discussion Comments


Also Mexican Independence Day.

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