What happened on this day in history: More than 1,700 people die in the Halifax Explosion, Meredith Hunter is killed at the infamous Altamont concert, and more important events from December 6.
1421: Henry VI Of England Is Born
Henry VI, the only child of England’s King Henry V, is born at Windsor Castle. Upon his father’s death, Henry took the throne at just nine months old. He succeeded to the French throne as well just six weeks later when his maternal grandfather Charles VI died. He is the only English monarch who also served as the King of France, and his reign was marked by the Hundred Years’ War — in which his uncle Charles VII contested his claim for the French throne — and later the Wars of the Roses.
His consistent losses during wartime and his tendency to be outmaneuvered on the domestic front earned him a reputation as one of the weaker rulers in the history of England.
1917: The Halifax Explosion Devastates Nova Scotia
A cargo ship full of explosives collides with another vessel in Nova Scotia, Canada, causing a massive blast that killed and injured thousands and destroyed part of the city of Halifax. The French SS Mont-Blanc had just entered Halifax Harbor when the captain noticed the Norwegian SS Imo less than a mile away and headed straight for the starboard side of his ship. The boats collided at 8:45 a.m., and the resulting explosion killed 1,782 people and injured 9,000 others.
1933: Ulysses Is Ruled Not Obscene
A federal judge rules that James Joyce’s Ulysses is not obscene and can be published in the United States. The novel had initially been banned in the United States after an excerpt of it that contained a masturbation scene was printed in a literary magazine and caused controversy.
However, Judge John M. Woolsey ruled that while the book contained coarse language and themes, it did not promote lust and was thus not obscene. Today, it was widely hailed as perhaps the greatest novel in the history of English literature.
1969: Meredith Hunter Is Killed At Alamont
Meredith Hunter, an 18-year-old man from Berkeley, California, is killed by a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club while attending the Altamont Speedway Free Concert. The Hells Angels were serving as security guards, and when Hunter approached the stage as the Rolling Stones performed, the men chased him off. Hunter then returned with a revolver, and Hells Angels member Alan Passaro stabbed and beat him to death. Passaro was later acquitted on the grounds of self-defense.
2009: Susan Powell Goes Missing
Susan Powell goes missing from her Utah home. Susan Powell lived with her husband, Josh Powell, and their two sons in West Valley City, Utah. After Powell failed to show up to work, police immediately began suspecting her husband. Cryptic messages left by Powell as well as mountain of forensic evidence pointed to her husband’s involvement in her disappearance and probable murder. Unfortunately, police would not be able to question her husband further after he killed himself and the couple’s two young sons in his home in 2012.
The case remains open, though many doubt whether it will ever be solved.