This Day In History, June 19th

What happened on this day in history: King George V changes the royal surname, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed, and more events that happened on June 19th throughout history.

1846: The First Official Baseball Game Is Played

The New York Mutuals play the Knickerbockers at New Jersey’s Elysian Fields in the first baseball game ever officially recorded. The Mutuals won, 23-1, over the course of four innings. Baseball grew in popularity in the decades that followed, though the first World Series would not happen until 1903.

1865: The End Of Slavery Is Announced In Texas

Juneteenth Celebration

Public DomainA group of people attending a Juneteenth celebration in Texas in 1900.

Federal troops arrive in Texas two months after the end of the Civil War and officially declare the abolition of slavery. General Gordon Granger announced: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” The date, dubbed “Juneteenth,” became an annual celebration in Texas that soon spread to other states and later became a federal holiday in 2021.

1867: Emperor Maximillian Of Mexico Is Executed

Emperor Maximillian of Mexico is executed by the Mexican Republic. Maximillian was an Austrian archduke who reigned as emperor of the Second Mexican Empire. Under his rule, Maximillian issued new laws concerning different aspects of government, including infrastructure and immigration. He also issued laws granted all Mexicans the right to freedom of speech and created a public education system. Growing republican forces threatened Maximillian, and he was eventually taken as prisoner. Seen as a foreign influence over Mexico, Maximillian was not well liked by republicans looking to end monarchism in Mexico. A firing squad executed Maximillian early in the morning.

1917: King George V Changes The Royal Surname

King George V of Britain changes the royal surname from “Saxe-Coburg-Gotha” to “Windsor.” Though some members of the British royal family had German roots, King George V was sensitive to the anti-German sentiment that had arisen during World War I. Three years into the conflict, he renamed the family “Windsor” after Windsor Castle, since the royal family was already affiliated with the name.

1953: Julius And Ethel Rosenberg Are Executed

Julius And Ethel Rosenberg

Public DomainJulius and Ethel Rosenberg’s trial captivated the nation.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed by electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York. They’d been found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage in 1951 after allegedly planning to pass on American atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Both Rosenbergs, however, refused to admit any wrongdoing and maintained their innocence until their deaths.