This Day In History, September 15th

What happened on this day in history: Charles Darwin arrives in the Galapagos Islands, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham is bombed by the KKK, and more history on September 15th.

1835: Charles Darwin Arrives In The Galapagos Islands

English naturalist Charles Darwin arrives in the Galapagos Islands aboard the HMS Beagle.

While visiting the islands, he took samples of geological and biological specimens and existing maps of the archipelago. He was surprised by the differences in animal species — specifically mockingbirds and tortoises — between each individual island. Darwin later used the information he gathered to form the foundation of his theory on evolution that he published in On the Origin of Species.

1890: Agatha Christie Is Born

Today In History September 15

Public DomainAgatha Christie as a young woman in the 1910s.

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan (née Miller) is born in Torquay, Devon, England. Over the course of her prolific writing career, Christie published 66 detective novels, 14 short story collections, and several plays and novels. In 1926, she disappeared under mysterious circumstances before turning up in a hotel months later using the surname of her husband’s mistress. She died in 1976 at the age of 85.

1911: Lea Papin, The Youngest Papin Sister, Is Born

Lea Papin, the youngest Papin sister, is born in France. Lea Papin, along with her older sister Christine, worked as live-in maids for the Lancelin family in Le Mans, France. On February 2, 1933, Lea and Christine killed two members of the Lancelin family during a scuffle. Other family members would eventually find their badly beaten and mutilated bodies in the entryway to the house. Police soon arrested the two sisters for the crime. Immediately, the two girls confessed to the murders, but claimed that they were done in self defense. Their case would divide 1930s France along class lines.

1935: The Nuremberg Race Laws Pass In Nazi Germany

The German parliament passes the Nuremberg Race Laws, two pieces of legislation that provided the legal framework for the Nazi’s persecution of Jewish people. The laws were designed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, and they stripped Jewish men, women, and children of German citizenship and forbade marriage between Jewish and German citizens. The Nuremberg Race Laws did not define a “Jew” as someone who practiced the Jewish religion but rather as someone who had three to four Jewish grandparents.

1963: The Birmingham Church Bombing

Birmingham Church Bombing

FBIThe aftermath of the Birmingham church bombing.

A bomb explodes before the Sunday morning service at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls. The predominantly Black congregation was targeted by the Ku Klux Klan because the church also served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr.

The explosion was the third bombing in 11 days in a wave of violence following a federal court order to integrate Alabama’s public school system. It would take 14 years before anyone was prosecuted for the attack.