What happened on this day in history: Catherine the Great becomes Empress of Russia, President Zachary Taylor dies of a baffling illness, and more historical events from July 9th.
1762: Catherine The Great Becomes Empress
Catherine II is proclaimed Empress of Russia after convincing the army to support her over her husband, Emperor Peter III. Later known as Catherine the Great, the monarch ruled over Russia for the next 34 years and was the country’s longest-ruling female leader.
She succeeded in expanding Russian territory, bringing the country closer to Europe, and championing the arts before her death in 1796.
1850: President Zachary Taylor Dies
President Zachary Taylor dies in Washington, D.C. at the age of 65. In office for just over four months, Taylor allegedly grew ill after consuming cherries and iced milk during Fourth of July celebrations at the future site of the Washington Monument.
Some have claimed that President Taylor was actually assassinated with arsenic, but a test of his bones in 1991 found low levels of the poison.
1856: Nikola Tesla Is Born
Famed scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla is born in Croatia. Tesla studied engineering and mathematics before emigrating to the United States in 1884. Tesla set up laboratories in New York City where he worked on various electrical and mechanical contraptions, one of which earned him a substantial amount of money. He was particularly interested in developing wireless power sources. Though Tesla died in poverty and anonymity in 1943, today he is known as an historic inventor who was decades ahead of his time.
1877: The First Wimbledon Tournament Takes Place
The first Wimbledon Tournament is held on a croquet lawn at the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club in London. Since then, the annual tennis tournament has occurred every summer.
1993: Garry Hoy Accidentally Jumps To His Death
Canadian lawyer Garry Hoy falls from the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower after trying to demonstrate the strength of the building’s windows. The 38-year-old threw himself against the windows in front of law students interested in apprenticing at his firm, Holden Day Wilson.
Though the window held as expected the first time, the frame popped out when Hoy repeated his trick, and he fell through the window and to his death.