This Day in History
1: January 11, 49 BC: Julius Caesar Crosses the Rubicon
Julius Caesar was known as a decisive general. When he chose to step forward, cross the Rubicon, and march on Rome with nothing but a single legion, this was one of the riskiest decisions in military history. Ultimately it resulted in the end of the Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.
2: January 15, 1929: Martin Luther King Jr. Is Born
January 15, 1929: Martin Luther King Jr. is born. From this tiny beginning came huge change. Follow his footsteps through his involvement with the NAACP and the tremendous impact Ida B. Wells had on his leadership within the civil rights movement.
3: February 11, 1990: Nelson Mandela Freed from Prison
February 11, 1990, may have felt like an ordinary day for many of us, but it marks an extraordinary and often overlooked event in world history. On this date, South African revolutionary Nelson Mandela was freed from prison after 27 years of captivity. Join Professor Douglas Linder, the Elmer Powell Peer Professor of Law at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law, as he walks you through the astounding—and not too distant—story of blatant racism and apartheid, persistence and courage, and how this day in history marked the emergence of a real-life hero who changed our world for the better.
7: April 9, 1865: Robert E. Lee Surrenders
Award-winning professor Gary Gallagher reveals some astounding details about Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant, who led the Union Army. Look at the factors that went into making the decision of surrender, the fallout for the Confederates after the surrender, and the ramifications this one day had on the future of American democracy.
9: April 24, 1479 BC: Queen Hatshepsut Seizes Power
Follow a truly fascinating tale of the king who was a woman as you delve into the story of Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt for 22 years and then was erased from history. Follow an Egyptologist as he sorts through history, hieroglyphs, and hearsay to bring you the story of this amazing figure.
16: July 19, 1799: Rosetta Stone Discovered
The Rosetta Stone—a rock inscribed with parallel passages of ancient Greek writing, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Demotic script—has had quite a history. Follow this chapter of its transient story involving Napoleon and what the black basalt slab meant to him.
19: August 18, 1920: American Women Gain Voting Rights
The ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution occurred on August 18, 1920. It took three years in the making and was the result of decades of work to ensure that women’s roles and rights in American society would dramatically change. Join an esteemed professor of history to walk through the activities and actions of the women’s suffrage movement.
21: August 30, 1797: Mary Shelley Is Born
Celebrate the author of the beloved novel Frankenstein and discover how, at just 18 years old, Mary Shelley is often credited with starting the modern science fiction tradition, while giving a poignant commentary on the dangers of unbridled scientific education.
23: September 22, 1862: Lincoln Issues the Emancipation Proclamation
Discover how President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation reflected not only his desire to ensure a Union victory in the Civil War, but also his deepening conviction that the end of American slavery was the very will of God.
27: November 9, 1989: The Berlin Wall Falls
More than just symbolizing the beginning of the end to the Cold War, when the Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989, it changed the world profoundly. And the most amazing part? It was due to an accident. Join Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius to trace the circumstances and oversights that led to the downfall of the Iron Curtain.
30: December 7, 1941: Japan Bombs Pearl Harbor
Take a unique look at one of the most well-known events in military history to better understand how the bombing of Pearl Harbor ultimately marked the beginning of the end for the Japanese empire. Professor Mark J. Ravina examines the reasons why Japan embarked on a war they were not prepared to finish—let alone, win—and the plethora of disastrous miscalculations based on flawed assumptions made under the guidance of a leader with no military experience.