What happened on this day in history: Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address in 1863, cult leader Charles Manson dies in 2017, and more.
1703: The “Man In The Iron Mask” Dies
An unidentified prisoner known only as the “Man in the Iron Mask” dies in the Bastille in Paris, France. Legend has it that the man wore a black velvet mask for the 34 years he was imprisoned, and no one ever saw his face.
Upon his arrest in 1669, the prisoner was placed in a special cell with double doors so no guards would see him while delivering food. His true identity remains a mystery to this day, though French philosopher Voltaire claimed that he was an illegitimate older brother of King Louis XIV.
1863: Abraham Lincoln Delivers The Gettysburg Address
President Abraham Lincoln gives a two-minute speech during the dedication of the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania battlefield cemetery that’s now known as the Gettysburg Address. Even at just 272 words, the speech is one of the most recognizable in American history. Lincoln wrote the words to commemorate the more than 3,000 Union deaths during the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.
1961: Michael Rockefeller Vanishes
Michael Rockefeller, the great-grandson of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller, disappears off the coast of Dutch New Guinea. Two days prior, the dugout canoe he was in had overturned three miles from shore, and after drifting for hours, Rockefeller decided to swim for land. He told his companion, “I think I can make it” — and was never seen again. His body was never found, and he was declared legally dead in 1964.
2002: The Department of Homeland Security Is Created
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the United States is created following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Prior to 2002, the U.S. had the Office of Homeland Security in the White House. In November of 2002, the Homeland Security Act by Congress created the Department of Homeland Security responsible for protecting the United States from internal and external threats. Alongside protecting U.S. borders, the DHS is active in the cybersecurity field and in the financial system.
2017: Charles Manson Dies
Cult leader Charles Manson dies while serving life in prison for the Manson Family murders. Though there’s no proof that Manson ever killed anyone himself, he was charged with first-degree murder for all seven of the Tate-LaBianca deaths. After 45 years in prison, he died from cardiac arrest from respiratory failure that was brought on by colon cancer at a Bakersfield, California hospital while still in custody.