In 1859, English naturalist Charles Darwin's “The Origin of the Species,” which suggested humans evolved from apes, was published amid great controversy.


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In 1639, astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks first observed the transit of Venus across the Sun.


In 1642, Dutch mariner Abel Tasman discovered Tasmania, a triangular-shaped island lying to the southeast of Australia.


In 1713, Father Junipero Serra, a Spanish missionary to western America, was born. From 1769, he established nine of the first 21 Franciscan missions founded along the Pacific coast, and baptized some 6,000 native Americans before his death in 1784.


In 1784, a mail route was established between Montreal and Quebec.

In 1807, Joseph Brant (1742-1807), chief of the Six Nations Indians, died at Burlington, Ont. He fought on the British side in the War of American independence and later led his tribe to Ontario's Grand River Valley. He was a Christian and translated Anglican services and scripture into Mohawk.

In 1837, Sir Francis Bond Head resigned as lieutenant governor of Upper Canada.

In 1838, Canadian Sulpician missionary Francois Blanchet first arrived in the Oregon Territory. A native of Quebec, he spent 45 years planting churches in the U.S. northwest, and is remembered today as the Apostle of Oregon.

In 1859, English naturalist Charles Darwin's “The Origin of the Species,” which suggested humans evolved from apes, was published amid great controversy.

In 1864, French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born in Albi.

In 1892, Sir John Abbott, third Prime Minister of Canada and the first PM born in Canada, stepped down and was succeeded by Sir John S. D. Thompson.

In 1903, a patent for the automobile's electric starter was granted to Clyde Coleman.

In 1905, Edmonton obtained its first direct transcontinental railway service when the Canadian Northern Railway was completed.

In 1937, the Canadian Authors Association set up the Governor General's Literary Awards.

In 1944, during the Second World War, U.S. bombers based on Saipan attacked Tokyo in the first raid against the Japanese capital by land-based planes.

In 1947, John Steinbeck's novel “The Pearl” was first published.

In 1956, the first Canadian members of the UN peacekeeping force arrived in Egypt.

In 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy two days before, was shot to death by nightclub owner Jack Ruby while being transferred between jails in Dallas.

In 1969, “Apollo 12” splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean.

In 1971, a hijacker called Dan Cooper -- who came to be known erroneously as “D.B. Cooper” -- parachuted from a Northwest Airlines 727 over Washington state with $200,000 in ransom -- his fate remains unknown.

In 1973, Australia granted the vote to Aborigines.

In 1973, William Richards Bennett, son of former B.C. premier W. A. C. Bennett, was elected B.C. Social Credit leader.

In 1976, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on Richter scale hit a wide area of eastern Turkey killing 5,300 people.

In 1980, Moretta (Molly) Reilly, the first woman in Canada to get an airline transport pilot's licence and member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, died in Edmonton at the age of 58. She joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942 as a photographer, and served until 1946. As a pilot with Peter Bawden Drilling Services in Calgary, she became the first to pilot a DC-3 in extensive periods of darkness, in extreme weather conditions, often without radio communication or navigation aids, in Canada's north.

In 1981, the Metric Commission of Canada announced the full conversion to the metric system in food stores across Canada. The changeover from Imperial units to metric was implemented simultaneously in 21 areas across Canada in January, 1982 and covered the rest of the country within two years.

In 1981, members of Parliament unanimously agreed to remove limits on sexual-equality guarantees in the new constitution.

In 1983, Graham Spry, a journalist, diplomat and broadcasting lobbyist who achieved his goal of getting an act passed to establish the CBC, died in Ottawa at age 83.

In 1984, a founding convention of the Representative Party, then Alberta's newest political organization, was held in Red Deer. Raymond Speaker, a former Social Credit cabinet minister and then an Independent member of the provincial legislature, was chosen party leader.

In 1985, Egyptian commandos stormed an Egyptair jetliner that was hijacked a day earlier shortly after takeoff from Athens and diverted to Valetta, Malta. Hijackers retaliated by throwing phosphorus grenades among the passengers, killing 60 of 98 people on board including passengers, crew and five hijackers.

In 1987, Jehane Benoit, called Canada's first lady of cuisine who published 25 cookbooks and was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1973, died at age 83.

In 1987, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to scrap short- and medium-range missiles in the first superpower treaty to eliminate an entire class of nuclear weapons.

In 1988, power was restored to people living in northeastern New Brunswick following a three-day blackout, one of the worst power disruptions in the province's history.

In 1989, Czechoslovakia's Communist Party leadership resigned after more than a week of huge pro-democracy protests.

In 1990, British author Dodie Smith, whose “The One Hundred and One Dalmations” was turned into a Walt Disney feature cartoon, died at 94.

In 1991, the Toronto Argonauts beat the Calgary Stampeders 36-21 in Winnipeg in the coldest Grey Cup game on record, -27 C.

In 1992, a Chinese Boeing 737 slammed into a mountain and crashed near Yangti, about 50 kilometres south of Guilin in a popular tourist area, killing all 141 people on board including one Canadian.

In 1993, two 11-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, were convicted of kidnapping and murdering two-year-old James Bulger of Liverpool, England. They were sentenced to indefinite detention, but released in 2001 after serving eight years.

In 1995, Ireland voted to legalize divorce by a narrow margin.

In 1997, John Sopinka, a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, died at age 64.

In 1997, Yamaichi Securities, one of Japan's largest brokerages, closed down because of dip in the stock market and a payoff scandal. It was the largest Japanese company to collapse since the Second World War.

In 1998, America Online confirmed it was buying Netscape Communications in a dramatic $4.21 billion deal.

In 1998, the woman at the centre of Canada's most sensational political sex scandal died in Munich at 69. It was revealed in 1966 that Gerda Munsinger, a German-born prostitute, was considered a security risk a few years earlier because of her relationship with then-federal cabinet minister Pierre Sevigny. A federal royal commission found no security breach, and Munsinger always denied ever being a spy.

In 1999, Reform MP Jack Ramsay was found guilty of attempting to rape a native 14-year-old girl at the Pelican Narrows police station where he was an RCMP corporal in command 30 years earlier.

In 2002, the Montreal Alouettes downed the Edmonton Eskimos 25-16 to win their first Grey Cup since 1977. According to A.C. Nielsen overnight ratings, the CBC pulled in 4.244 million viewers for its telecast of the game, making it the most watched Grey Cup game on record.

In 2002, Quebec Premier Bernard Landry announced that the May 24th Quebec holiday, “La fete de Dollard,” would henceforth be known as “La Journee nationale des Patriotes.” The name was changed to honour the movement that contributed to the Rebellions of 1837-38 in Lower Canada and became an early symbol of French-Canadian nationalism.

In 2003, a court-appointed monitor probing the collapse of Enron Corp. said the Toronto Dominion Bank “aided and abetted” Enron executives in manipulating financial statements.

In 2004, Arthur Hailey, novelist, author of blockbusters like “Airport,” “Hotel” and “The Moneychangers,” died in the Bahamas at the age of 84.

In 2005, a $5 billion deal for First Nations was announced at a meeting of first ministers and aboriginal leaders in Kelowna, B.C.

In 2007, the Labour Party led by Kevin Rudd won Australia's general election.

In 2007, former chief justice Antonio Lamer died at age 74.

In 2008, John Cruickshank resigned from the top job at CBC News to take the position of publisher of the “Toronto Star,” replacing Jagoda Pike, who left in October to become president of Ontario's successful bid for the 2015 Pan Am Games.