On This Day … 04 June


  • 1615 – Siege of Osaka: Forces under Tokugawa Ieyasu take Osaka Castle in Japan.
  • 1745 – Battle of Hohenfriedberg: Frederick the Great’s Prussian army decisively defeated an Austrian army under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine during the War of the Austrian Succession.
  • 1760 – Great Upheaval: New England planters arrive to claim land in Nova Scotia, Canada, taken from the Acadians.
  • 1783 – The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrate their montgolfière (hot air balloon).
  • 1792 – Captain George Vancouver claims Puget Sound for the Kingdom of Great Britain.
  • 1825 – General Lafayette, a French officer in the American Revolutionary War, speaks at what would become Lafayette Square, Buffalo, during his visit to the United States.
  • 1855 – Major Henry C. Wayne departs New York aboard the USS Supply to procure camels to establish the US Camel Corps.
  • 1859 – Italian Independence wars: In the Battle of Magenta, the French army, under Louis-Napoleon, defeat the Austrian army.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: Confederate troops evacuate Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee.
  • 1878 – Cyprus Convention: The Ottoman Empire cedes Cyprus to the United Kingdom but retains nominal title.
  • 1896 – Henry Ford completes the Ford Quadricycle, his first gasoline-powered automobile, and gives it a successful test run.
  • 1916 – World War I: Russia opens the Brusilov Offensive with an artillery barrage of Austro-Hungarian lines in Galicia.
  • 1920 – Hungary loses 71% of its territory and 63% of its population when the Treaty of Trianon is signed in Paris.
  • 1928 – The President of the Republic of China, Zhang Zuolin, is assassinated by Japanese agents.
  • 1932 – Marmaduke Grove and other Chilean military officers lead a coup d’état establishing the short-lived Socialist Republic of Chile.
  • 1939 – The Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, in the United States, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, more than 200 of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps.
  • 1940 – World War II: The Dunkirk evacuation ends: British forces complete evacuation of 338,000 troops from Dunkirk in France. To rally the morale of the country, Winston Churchill delivers, only to the House of Commons, his famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech.
  • 1942 – World War II: The Battle of Midway begins. The Japanese Admiral Chūichi Nagumo orders a strike on Midway Island by much of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  • 1943 – A military coup in Argentina ousts Ramón Castillo.
  • 1944 – World War II: A hunter-killer group of the United States Navy captures the German submarine U-505: The first time a US Navy vessel had captured an enemy vessel at sea since the 19th century.
  • 1944 – World War II: The United States Fifth Army captures Rome, although much of the German Fourteenth Army is able to withdraw to the north.
  • 1961 – Cold War: In the Vienna summit, the Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev sparks the Berlin Crisis by threatening to sign a separate peace treaty with East Germany and ending American, British and French access to East Berlin.
  • 1970 – Tonga gains independence from the United Kingdom.
  • 1979 – Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings takes power in Ghana after a military coup in which General Fred Akuffo is overthrown.
  • 1986 – Jonathan Pollard pleads guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.
  • 1989 – Ali Khamenei is elected as the new Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Assembly of Experts after the death and funeral of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
  • 1989 – The Tiananmen Square protests are suppressed in Beijing by the People’s Liberation Army, with between 241 and 1,000 dead (an unofficial estimate).
  • 1989 – Solidarity’s victory in the first (somewhat) free parliamentary elections in post-war Poland sparks off a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe, leads to the creation of the so-called Contract Sejm and begins the Autumn of Nations.
  • Birthday of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim & Flag Day celebration of the Finnish Defence Forces (Finland).
  • Emancipation Day or Independence Day, commemorates the abolition of serfdom in Tonga by King George Tupou in 1862, and the independence of Tonga from the British protectorate in 1970. (Tonga).

People (Births)

  • 1744 – Patrick Ferguson, Scottish soldier, designed the Ferguson rifle (d. 1780).
  • 1754 – Miguel de Azcuénaga, Argentinian soldier (d. 1833).
  • 1867 – Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, Finnish general and politician, 6th President of Finland (d. 1951).
  • 1885 – Arturo Rawson, Argentinian general and politician, 26th President of Argentina (d. 1952).
  • 1910 – Christopher Cockerell, English engineer, invented the hovercraft (d. 1999).
  • 1930 – George Chesworth, English air marshal and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Moray (d. 2017).
  • 1967 – Robert S. Kimbrough, American colonel and astronaut.
  • 1971 – Joseph Kabila, Congolese soldier and politician, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

People (Deaths)

  • 1453 – Andronikos Palaiologos Kantakouzenos, Byzantine commander.
  • 1622 – Péter Révay, Hungarian soldier and historian (b. 1568).
  • 1830 – Antonio José de Sucre, Venezuelan general and politician, 2nd President of Bolivia (b. 1795).
  • 1928 – Zhang Zuolin, Chinese warlord (b. 1873).
  • 1941 – Wilhelm II, German Emperor (b. 1859).
  • 1942 – Reinhard Heydrich, German SS officer and politician (b. 1904).

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