This Day In History, January 15th

What happened on this day in history: The Boston Molasses Disaster leaves 21 dead, Martin Luther King Jr. is born, the 'Black Dahlia' is killed in Los Angeles, and more.

1559: Elizabeth I Is Crowned Queen Of England

Today In History January 15

Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth I ruled England for 44 years.

Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England at Westminster Abbey. The second daughter of King Henry VIII, Elizabeth went on to rule for 44 years until her death in 1603. She’s considered an important English monarch, and the four decades of the “Elizabethan Era” produced artists like William Shakespeare.

1876: The First Afrikaans Newspaper Is Published In South Africa

The first newspaper written in Afrikaans is published in South Africa. Called the Die Afrikaanse Patriot, it faced criticism from those who didn’t believe that Afrikaans was a “real language.” Yet subscriptions to the paper quickly grew from 50 to 3,000 over three years, and the newspaper remained in circulation until it shut down in 1904.

1919: The Boston Molasses Flood Takes Place

Boston Molasses Disaster

Boston Public Library/FlickrThe disaster made headlines the following day, superseding news of the latest U.S. state to ratify prohibition. The death toll eventually rose to 21.

A fifty-foot-tall tank of molasses explodes in Boston’s North End neighborhood. Within seconds, a tidal wave of molasses pummeled the surrounding area, ultimately killing 21 people and injuring 150. Dubbed the Boston Molasses Flood, this bizarre disaster left a sticky mess in the city’s streets that took six months to clean up.

1929: Martin Luther King Jr. Is Born

Martin Luther King Jr

Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty ImagesMartin Luther King Jr. was the most prominent leaders of the American civil rights movement.

Martin Luther King Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia. A pastor, writer, and one of the leaders of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. preached nonviolent protest as well as ideas like ending poverty. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968.

1947: The “Black Dahlia” Is Found Dead

Black Dahlia

Bettmann/Getty ImagesElizabeth Short was just 22 years old when she was gruesomely murdered in Los Angeles in 1947.

The mutilated body of 22-year-old aspiring actress Elizabeth Short is discovered in a vacant lot in Los Angeles, California.

Listen above to the History Uncovered podcast, episode 11: The Black Dahlia, also available on iTunes and Spotify.

Dubbed the Black Dahlia, Short’s gruesome murder drew intense interest from the police and the public alike. Despite investigations, books, and articles on her death, however, no one knows for sure who killed Elizabeth Short to this day.

1974: The ‘BTK Killer’ Murders His First Victims

Dennis Rader kills his first victims, Joseph and Julie Otero, along with their two children Josephine and Joseph, in Witchita, Kansas. Known as the BTK Killer — for his method of binding, torturing, and killing his victims — Rader went on to kill six more.

2009: The ‘Miracle On The Hudson’ Takes Place

Pilot Sully Sullenberger safely lands United Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River near New York City after the plane hit a flock of geese in the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson.”