This Day in History: September
01: September 12, 490 BC: Athens Wins the Battle of Marathon
One of the most famous military matchups of ancient history was that of the Battle of Marathon, where a vastly outnumbered Athenian army managed to emerge victorious. Join a noted historian to understand how this happened.
02: 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.
03: September 28, 1928: Alexander Fleming Discovers Penicillin
Dig into the history of penicillin and see how a dirty petri dish changed the face of modern pharmaceuticals.
04: September 2, 1945: Japan Surrenders
Though the war in Europe had ended in April, Japan continued to hold out for several more months. Faced with the choice of either invading Japan or using the deadly new atomic bomb, US President Harry S. Truman made the momentous decision that would lead to the end of World War II.
05: September 15, 1890: Agatha Christie Is Born
In her many novels, stories, and plays, Agatha Christie would create some of the world’s most popular detectives, including Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Christie redefined the mystery genre, and her gift for shocking plot twists helped make her the best-selling fiction author of all time.
06: September 29, 1901: Enrico Fermi Is Born
After fleeing fascism in 1938, Enrico Fermi joined America’s Manhattan Project and would later be dubbed the “architect of the nuclear age.”
07: September 14, 1741: Handel Completes Messiah
After much anticipation, George Frideric Handel completed his greatest oratorio, Messiah. But not everyone recognized its greatness right away. While the beauty of the music and the inspirational lyrics won over many listeners, other reactions were confused or downright negative—partially because not everyone was sure exactly what it was supposed to be!
08: September 23, 1932: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Is Formed
In 1932, Ibn Saud established the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The formation of this Middle Eastern monarchy was a story of regional rivalry and international entanglement that played out over 30 years at the beginning of the 20th century.
09: September 7, 1940: The London Blitz Begins
Shift your attention across the English Channel, where Britain faced the Nazi war machine alone as the German air force began dropping bombs on London. Get a glimpse of that terrifying time through the eyes of one young Londoner.
10: September 20, 1519: Magellan Begins His Voyage around the World
Follow the path of Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, whose expedition in service of Spain became the first to circumnavigate the world, inaugurating our ability to think globally and accomplishing what Columbus had promised to do—reaching Asia by sailing west from Europe. See how his journey bound together the world economy, creating consequences down to our own times.