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This Day in History



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Last Build Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:00:00 GMT

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The Calaveras Skull Hoax Begins (1866)

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 05:00:00 GMT

(image) What began as a practical joke became a famous, decades-long scientific hoax when a prominent geologist not only fell for it, but vigorously defended it as real. After miners in Calaveras County, California, claimed to have found a human skull deep within a mine, Harvard University Professor Josiah Whitney—then the State Geologist of California—announced that it was the earliest evidence of humans on the continent. Where might the miners who planted the skull have obtained it in the first place? Discuss



Diocletian Publishes Edict Calling for Persecution of Christians (303 CE)

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 05:00:00 GMT

(image) Though the Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered the persecution of Christians several times, his so-called Great Persecution began with an official edict. Churches were razed, scriptures burned, and practitioners executed. A few years later, he became the first Roman emperor to voluntarily abdicate, after which he retired to Croatia to grow cabbages in peace. The reign of Constantine soon made Christianity the empire's preferred religion. When asked to return to the throne, how did Diocletian reply?




Fri, 23 Feb 2018 05:00:00 GMT

(image) The first American attack on Japanese soil during WWII, the Battle of Iwo Jima lasted more than a month and claimed tens of thousands of Japanese and American lives. Just days into the campaign, photographer Joe Rosenthal witnessed a group of American soldiers struggling to raise their flag on Iwo Jima's highest point and took what would become the most reproduced photograph in history. It was the second flag-raising that day. How many of the six men shown in the photograph survived the battle?