79 AD – Vesuvius
After centuries of dormancy, Mount Vesuvius erupts in Italy, devastating Roman cities Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing thousands. In the 18th century, the sites were excavated, providing an archaeological record of everyday life of an ancient civilisation.
1911 – Mona Lisa
Early one day, Vincenzo Perugia walked into the Louvre, removed da Vinci’s Mona Lisa from the wall, hid it beneath his clothes, and escaped.
When Perugia attempted to receive a ransom for the painting, he was captured. The painting was unharmed.
1922 – Ambush
Irish revolutionary Michael Collins was part of Sinn Fein, a political party dedicated to independence for Ireland. In January 1922, Sinn Fein founder Arthur Griffith was elected president of the Irish Free State, and Collins, his finance minister. He held the post until he was assassinated by Republican extremists in an ambush.
1970 – Lou Reed
Arguably the most influential bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Velvet Underground had an impact on modern rock bigger than the popularity they achieved in their heyday. That heyday, came to an end on this day in 1970, when singer and songwriter Lou Reed played his last gig with them at rock club Max’s Kansas City.
1989 – Menendez
Lyle and Erik Menendez shoot their parents to death in the family’s California home. They dump their shotguns and buy tickets from a movie theatre as an alibi.
The murders became a national sensation when the trial was broadcast on TV in 1993. In March 1996, both brothers were sentenced to life in prison without parole.