What happened on this day in history: "The Star-Spangled Banner" author Francis Scott Key is born, Anne Frank writes her final diary entry before being captured, and more.
1589: Henry III Of France Is Assassinated
Henry III of France is assassinated by Jacques Clément. Fifteen years earlier, the previous king of France, Henry’s brother Charles IX, had suddenly died without producing an heir, leaving 22-year-old Henry ripe for ascension. Henry III accepted the throne, but was quickly faced with confronting France’s mounting social tensions.
In the late 16th century, France was internally battling over the issue of religion. Catholics fought against Protestants, and joint Catholic-Protestant groups fought against the oftentimes tyrannical power of the French king. Henry III believed that a religiously tolerant monarchy could bring peace to France, but before he could see that vision come true, he was assassinated by Jacques Clément, a Catholic fanatic. Posing as a courier, Clément gained access to the king’s chamber, then stuck a knife in his abdomen before being immediately killed by the guards.
1779: Francis Scott Key Is Born
Francis Scott Key, best known for writing the lyrics to America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is born in Frederick County, Maryland. Key graduated from St. John’s College before going on to study law under his uncle, who he assisted in Aaron Burr’s conspiracy trial. Though he was only an amateur poet, the lines he wrote at dawn on September 14, 1814, while watching the bombardment of American forces at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812’s Battle of Baltimore, have become perhaps the best-known verses in American history.
1714: Queen Anne Of England Dies
Queen Anne, the last Stuart ruler of England, dies after a series of strokes. She became known as the “barren Queen” when she was unable to produce a living heir after 17 pregnancies and her one child to survive infancy died at age 11. Because of this, Parliament passed the Act of Succession of 1701, excluding any Catholics from inheriting the throne after the Protestant queen’s death. The Stuart line died with Anne, and her cousin George I of the House of Hanover ushered in the Georgian Era.
1944: Anne Frank Writes Her Final Diary Entry
Anne Frank makes a final entry in her diary three days before the Gestapo capture her and her family. The 15-year-old girl wrote, “I… keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if… if only there were no other people in the world.” After her capture, Frank was sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she died in February or March 1945.
1996: George R.R. Martin’s A Game Of Thrones Is Published
A Game of Thrones, the first novel in George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy saga is released. Martin would go on to write a total of five books for his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, which was later adapted into the HBO hit show Game of Thrones. The author has said he intends to release two more books to finish the series.
Further Events That Happened On This Day In History
1774: English scientist Joseph Priestley discovers oxygen.
1781: British troops under General Charles Cornwallis occupy Yorktown, Virginia, where they would be defeated less than three months later, prompting the end of the Revolutionary War.
1793: France becomes the first country to use the metric system.
1819: American author Herman Melville, most famous as the author of Moby-Dick, is born in New York City.
1831: London Bridge officially opens to traffic.
1834: Britain abolishes the slave trade throughout the Empire.
1932: The American quarter featuring George Washington’s face goes into circulation.
1936: The Summer Olympics, now famous for the feats of American track and field star Jesse Owens, begin in Berlin, soon dashing Adolf Hitler’s hopes of using the games to showcase Aryan supremacy.
1943: The American patrol boat PT-109 is sunk by a Japanese destroyer during the Solomon Islands campaign of World War II, with its crew largely surviving thanks to the heroics of boat commander and future U.S. president John F. Kennedy.
1966: Charles Whitman kills 16 people and wounds 31 in Austin, Texas, first murdering his wife and mother, then shooting at random passersby from the clock tower at the University of Texas at Austin.
1972: The first article exposing the Watergate scandal by reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein appears in The Washington Post.
1981: MTV begins broadcasting, with The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” the first video to air.
1984: Peat cutters in Cheshire, England stumble upon a 2,000-year-old preserved bog body now known as the Lindow Man.