What happened on this day in history: Harland David Sanders — better known today as Colonel Sanders — is born, Mao Zedong dies, and other noteworthy events from September 9th throughout history.
1087: William The Conqueror Dies
William the Conqueror dies around the age of 59. Weeks earlier, his horse had reared up during a battle in France, pushing the king’s saddle pommel into his abdomen. It caused an infection that proved fatal, and after he was placed in a tomb too small for his body, his corpse exploded during his funeral.
1890: Colonel Sanders Is Born
Harland David Sanders, popularly known as Colonel Sanders, is born in Henryville, Indiana. A businessman who sold insurance, tires, and gas, Sanders eventually started selling fried chicken at a gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. The chicken was a hit and led to the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, which has over 24,000 outlets today.
1930: American Gangster Frank Lucas Is Born
American gangster Frank Lucas is born in North Carolina. Lucas would earn the nickname “Superfly” as he operated a heroin empire in Harlem, New York. His modus operandi, as he states, included smuggling heroin into the United States through Vietnam, packing coffins of deceased American soldiers with his own brand of “Blue Magic,” a potent and destructive type of heroin.
After a relatively short stint in prison, Lucas lived out the rest of his life in relative peace, dying of natural causes at the age of 88. His story is immortalized in the film American Gangster.
1971: The Attica Prison Riot Begins
The Attica Prison Riot begins at Attica Correctional Facility near Buffalo, New York. The inmates — frustrated by overcrowding, censorship, and policies like having only one roll of toilet paper per month — started the uprising by overpowering prison guards.
Despite negotiations, the prisoners refused to yield for four days, at which point state police and prison officers raided the facility, killing 10 hostages and 29 inmates, and injuring 89 others.
1976: Mao Zedong Dies
Mao Zedong dies at the age of 82 in Bejing, China, following three heart attacks and ongoing struggles with Parkinson’s disease. The leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Mao rose to power in 1949 and set out to develop China as a communist country and an economic powerhouse. Though some of his policies, like the Great Leap Forward, killed millions, Mao is largely viewed favorably in China today.