Even before the tragic attacks of 2001, some pretty noteworthy events had occurred on September 11th. While our brains will forever link the calendar date to the 2001 attacks - and rightly so - let's take a look at some other notable September 11th happenings from previous years.
William Wallace defeats forces of the English crown in the Battle of Stirling Bridge. As anyone who's seen Braveheart knows, the party doesn't last long for Wallace, but the Scots do regain their independence in 1328.
English explorer Henry Hudson sails up a river on the coast of northeastern America aboard the Dutch vessel Halve Maen (Half Moon). In the process he discovers the island of Manhattan. He successfully navigates the river which now bears his name all the way to present-day Albany.
Alexander Hamilton receives his appointment as first secretary of the U.S. Treasury. One of his first acts is to suggest that the federal government assume the debt incurred by the states during the Revolutionary War. He proposes a whiskey tax that inspires a rebellion a few years later—an insurrection he personally accompanies federal troops to stamp out.
During the early days of the French Revolution, the Hope Diamond (originally known as the Blue Diamond of the French Crown) is stolen while Louis XVI is under house arrest at the Tuileries Palace. Although rumors abound about what happens to the diamond in the intervening years, it cannot be definitively placed again until 1812. In September of that year it surfaces in London, almost twenty years to the day from its disappearance and two days after a statute of limitations on revolutionary crimes expires. The diamond is hardly as good as new, though; over the course of two decades, someone had lopped the stone in half!
In the War of 1812, the Battle of Plattsburgh ends in a decisive American victory. This marks the end of a British invasion into the northern states of the U.S. The redcoats retreat into Canada. The two sides sign a peace treaty in Ghent several months later.
The Mountain Meadows massacre occurs: Utah residents viciously attack a band of westward-bound settlers from the American South. After several days under siege, the settlers allow several members of the Utah militia inside their defenses. Despite assuring the settlers of their safety, the militia kills over 100 unarmed people. Seventeen children are spared and taken to live with local Mormon families. Controversy continues to this day about whether Brigham Young had a hand in the events.
The U.S. government breaks ground on construction of the Pentagon.
The Beatles record the third and final version of what will be their first single, "Love Me Do," at EMI Studios on Abbey Road. The first two recordings are deemed unsatisfactory due to Ringo Starr's drumming. His replacements on the other recordings are Pete Best and Andy White. On the third and final cut, Ringo is relegated to playing tambourine.
Salvador Allende, a democratically elected president, is overthrown in Chile with the help of the CIA (who disdain his Marxism). Taking his place is General Augusto Pinochet, who becomes known as one of the most malevolent dictators in the history of the Western hemisphere. The event becomes a major blight on the reputation of Henry Kissinger.
During a game against the San Diego Padres, Pete Rose breaks the record for all-time number of hits with a single to left-center. It is his 4192nd hit, breaking the mark previously set by Ty Cobb. Less than four years later, Major League Baseball bans Rose for betting on games.
Independent Council Kenneth Starr releases the infamous Starr Report, which details his investigation into the Whitewater controversy, during the course of which he began investigating President Clinton's sexual impropriety. Remember when our biggest problems were philandering politicians?
Finally, more than a few notable people were born on September 11th. They include: Carl Zeiss (1816), O. Henry (1862), Bear Bryant (1913), Brian De Palma (1940), Bashar al-Assad (1965), Moby (also '65), and Ludacris (1977).