June 15th in History

End of the first nonstop transatlantic flight: John Alcock and Arthur Brown crash in a bog near Clifden, Ireland, after a 16 hour flight from Newfoundland in their Vickers Vimy bomber, June 15, 1919

Today in History

  • King John of England puts his seal to the Magna Carta (1215)
  • Pope Leo X threatens to excommunicate Martin Luther (1520)
  • The first human blood transfusion is administered (1667)
  • Benjamin Franklin proves that lightning is electricity (1752 — traditional date, exact date unknown)
  • George Washington is appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army (1775)
  • Arkansas becomes a US state (1836)
  • Charles Goodyear patents vulcanized rubber (1844)
  • The Oregon Treaty establishes the 49th parallel as the border between the US and Canada (video link). (1846)
  • Arlington National Cemetery is established (1864)
  • The first African-American cadet graduates from West Point (1877)
  • Eadweard Muybridge performs a photographic study to prove that all four feet of a horse leaves the ground when it runs; the study forms the basis for motion pictures (1878)
  • Alcock and Brown complete the first nonstop transatlantic flight, crashing in a bog in Ireland (1919)
  • A man throws acid on Rembrandt’s Danaë and cuts it with a knife (1985)
  • The US Supreme Court rules that the US may forcibly extradite suspect in foreign countries and return them to the US for trial without the approval of those other countries (1992)
  • Dan Quayle attempts to correct 12-year old spelling bee contestant William Figueroa by suggesting that “potato” be spelled “potatoe” (1992)


  • Edward the Black Prince, royal heir (1330)
  • Edvard Grieg, composer (1843)
  • Sam Giancana, mobster (1908)
  • David Rose, composer and bandleader (1910)
  • Rev. W Awdry, cleric and author, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine (1911)
  • Ю́рий Андро́пов (Yuri Andropov), Soviet leader (1914 — O.S.* 2 June)
  • Saul Steinberg, New Yorker cartoonist (1914)
  • Lash LaRue, actor (191)
  • Erroll Garner, jazz pianist (1921)
  • Mario Cuomo, politician (1932)
  • Waylon Jennings, singer-songwriter (1937)
  • Billy Williams, baseball player (1938)
  • Brian Jacques, children’s fantasy author (1939)
  • Neal Adams, comic book artist (1941)
  • Harry Nilsson, singer-songwriter (1941)
  • Xaviera Hollander, the “Happy Hooker” (1943)
  • Jim Varney, comedian known as “Ernest P. Worrell” (1949)
  • Wade Boggs, baseball player (1958)
  • Helen Hunt, actress (1963)
  • Courteney Cox, actress (1964)
  • Ice Cube, rapper (1969)
  • Neil Patrick Harris, actor (1973)

* Because Russia did not convert from the “old style” Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar until 1918, well after the rest of Europe, birth and death dates of some historical figures are given in both calendar systems.



  • Wat Tyler, English revolutionary (1381)
  • James K. Polk, 11th US president (1849)
  • Wes Montgomery, jazz guitarist (1968)
  • Meredith Wilson, playwright and composer (1984)
  • Victor French, actor (1989)
  • John Connally, politician (1993)
  • Ella Fitzgerald, singer (1996)
  • Hume Cronyn, actor (2003)
  • Stan Winston, make-up artist (2008)
  • Jerry Tubbs, football player (2012)

Holidays and Celebrations

  • Arbor Day (Costa Rica)
  • Azərbaycan xalqının Milli Qurtuluş günü (National Salvation Day) (Azerbaijan)
  • Cagayan de Oro Charter Day (Cagayan de Oro, the Philippines)
  • Egyptian Day (medieval Europe)
  • Farmer’s Day (Korea)
  • Freedom Day (Malawi)
  • Global Wind Day (Global Wind Energy Council and European Wind Energy Association)
  • Magna Carta Day (UK)
  • National Electricity Day (US)
  • Native American Citizenship Day (US)
  • New Jersey Day (New Jersey)
  • Pioneer Day (Idaho)
  • Valdemarsdag, Genforeningsdag (Day of Valdemar and Reunion Day, also Flag Day) (Denmark)
  • Mangaia Gospel Day (Cook Islands)
  • Statehood Day (Arkansas)
  • Vestalia (ancient Rome)
Informal and made-up holidays include A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed Day, Fairies’ Rumor Day, Fly a Kite Day, Justice for Janitors Day, Nature Photography Day, Nursing Assistance Day, Own Your Share of America Day, Potatoe Day (in honor of Dan Quayle), and Smile Power Day.
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June 15 is the 166th day of the year (167th in leap years). There are 199 days remaining until the end of the year.