Thursday, June 17, 2010

On This Day in History: June 17

1631 – Mumtaz Mahal (born Arjumand Banu Bob) dies while giving birth to her fourteenth child.  Her husband, Emperor Shah Jahan I of the Mughal Empire, spends the next 23 years building a sarcophagus to commemorate his love for her in Agra, India.  The end result became known as the Taj Mahal.

1775 – Three months into the American Revolution, the Battle of Bunker Hill takes place in the Charlestown area of Boston, MA between the British Army and colonial militias from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.  Considered a Pyrrhic victory for England, a British officer after the battle was quoted, "We have ... learned one melancholy truth, which is, that the Americans, if they were equally well commanded, are full as good soldiers as ours."  The war itself would not be decided for eight years.

1885 – Given to the United States to represent the friendship established between America and France during the American Revolution, the Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor.

1963 – The United States Supreme Court rules, 8-1, in Abington School District v. Schempp (consolidated with Murray v. Curlett), 374 U.S. 203 (1963), against allowing the recital of Bible verses and the Lord's Prayer in public schools.  It's been downhill ever since.

1972 – Five Republican White House operatives -- Virgilio González, Bernard Barker, James W. McCord, Jr., Eugenio Martínez, and Frank Sturgis -- are arrested for burglary in an attempt to illegally wiretap the offices of the Democratic National Committee.  The ensuing Watergate scandal ultimately resulted in President Richard Nixon's resignation two years later.

1994 – Following a nationally televised low-speed highway chase, O.J. Simpson (pictured) is arrested for the murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.  The resulting trial, often referred to as "the trial of the century," ended on October 3, 1995 with a not guilty verdict that was watched by over half the American populace.

A year and four months later, Simpson was found liable for the wrongful death of Ronald Goldman, and battery against Nicole Brown Simpson.  Although only a small portion of the $33.5 million judgment was ever collected, O.J. ended up in prison, nevertheless, for criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, robbery, and using a deadly weapon in Las Vegas.  Found guilty exactly 13 years after his infamous not guilty verdict, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison (with the possibility of parole in about nine years) and is now serving his sentence as inmate #1027820 at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Pershing County, Nevada.

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