This Day In History, June 18th

What happened on this day in history: Anastasia Romanov is born, Alan Berg is murdered, and more momentous events through the centuries.

1812: The War Of 1812 Begins

War Of 1812 Today In History

Public DomainA depiction of the burning of Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812.

President James Madison signs a declaration of war against Great Britain, marking the start of the War of 1812. The conflict, which exploded due to tensions over trade and westward expansion, endured for about two and a half years. It ended with the Treaty of Ghent in 1815, which largely restored pre-war borders and relations while initiating a nearly uninterrupted status quo of peace and cooperation between the United States and Great Britain that has persisted ever since.

1875: The “Great Whiskey Fire” Breaks Out In Dublin

A fire breaks out at Malone’s malt house and a bonded storehouse on Chamber Street in Dublin, Ireland, which held approximately 5,000 barrels of whiskey. The blaze caused the burning whiskey to pour through the city’s streets, where it was eagerly lapped up by locals. The so-called Dublin Whiskey Fire killed 13 people who drank too much of the burning booze.

1901: Anastasia Romanov Is Born

Anastasia Romanov

World History Archive/UIG via Getty imagesAnastasia Romanov as a girl.

Anastasia Romanov is born near St. Petersburg, Russia. The youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, Anastasia died alongside her family at the age of 17 when they were executed by the Bolsheviks. Speculation endured afterward that she had managed to escape and survive, but DNA testing confirmed that Anastasia had in fact perished with her parents and siblings.

1914: William Sidis Graduates From Harvard

William James Sidis, widely called the smartest man in history, graduates from Harvard. Born in 1898, William Sidis had an IQ roughly between 250 and 300. At just 18 months old, Sidis was able to read The New York Times. By the time he was six years old, he could speak several languages. Harvard University accepted Sidis’ application when he was just nine years old, and he began attending classes at age 11. He graduated at 16 and began working random jobs around the country. By the time of his death at age 46, Sidis had largely lived his life in solitude.

1984: Alan Berg Is Murdered

Alan Berg is gunned down in the driveway of his home in Denver, Colorado. An outspoken and confrontational radio host, Berg was killed by members of the white supremacist group The Order, who disliked his abrasive interview style and the fact that he was Jewish.