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This Day in History: September 4


1781 – Los Angeles is founded as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola) by 44 Spanish settlers.

1812 – War of 1812: The Siege of Fort Harrison begins when the fort is set on fire.

1862 – American Civil War Maryland Campaign: General Robert E. Lee takes the Army of Northern Virginia, and the war, into the North.

1882 – Thomas Edison flips the switch to the first commercial electrical power plant in history, lighting one square mile of lower Manhattan. This is considered by many as the day that began the electrical age.

1886 – American Indian Wars: After almost 30 years of fighting, Apache leader Geronimo, with his remaining warriors, surrenders to General Nelson Miles in Arizona.

1888 – George Eastman registers the trademark Kodak and receives a patent for his camera that uses roll film.

1923 – Maiden flight of the first U.S. airship, the USS Shenandoah.

1941 – World War II: A German submarine makes the first attack against a United States ship, the USS Greer.

1949 – The Peekskill riots erupt after a Paul Robeson concert in Peekskill, New York.

1950 – Darlington Raceway is the site of the inaugural Southern 500, the first 500-mile NASCAR race.

1951 – The first live transcontinental television broadcast takes place in San Francisco, from the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference.

1957 – American Civil Rights Movement: Little Rock Crisis: Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas, calls out the National Guard to prevent African American students from enrolling in Central High School.

1957 – The Ford Motor Company introduces the Edsel.

1967 – Vietnam War: Operation Swift begins when U.S. Marines engage the North Vietnamese in battle in the Que Son Valley.

1971 – Alaska Airlines Flight 1866 crashes near Juneau, Alaska, killing all 111 people on board.

1972 – Mark Spitz becomes the first competitor to win seven medals at a single Olympic Games.

1977 – The Golden Dragon massacre takes place in San Francisco.


1776 – Stephen Whitney, American businessman (d. 1860)

1803 – Sarah Childress Polk, American wife of James K. Polk, 14th First Lady of the United States (d. 1891)

1846 – Daniel Burnham, American architect, designed the World's Columbian Exposition (d. 1912)

1848 – Lewis Howard Latimer, American inventor (d. 1928)

1917 – Henry Ford II, American businessman (d. 1987)

1918 – Paul Harvey, American radio host (d. 2009)

1958 – Jacqueline Hewitt, American astrophysicist and astronomer

1981 – Beyoncé, American singer-songwriter, producer, dancer, and actress


1767 – Charles Townshend, English politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer0 (b. 1725)

1864 – John Hunt Morgan, American general (b. 1825)

2014 – Joan Rivers, American comedian and television host (b. 1933)