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09-01-1945

United States invades Luzon in Philippines

On this day, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the American 6th Army land on the Lingayen Gulf of Luzon, another step in the capture of the Philippine Islands from the Japanese.The Japanese controlled the Philippines from May 1942, when the defeat of American forces led to General MacArthur's departure. But in October 1944, more than 100,000 American soldiers landed on Leyte Island to launch one of one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific war-and herald the beginning of the end for Japan.

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1493

Columbus mistakes manatees for mermaids

On this day in 1493, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, sees three "mermaids" - in reality manatees - and describes them as "not half as beautiful as they are painted." Six months earlier, Columbus (1451-1506) set off from Spain across the Atlantic Ocean with the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, hoping to find a western trade route to Asia. Instead, his voya... Read more >

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1768

First modern circus

On this day, English cavalryman Philip Astley stages the first modern circus in London. Trick riders, acrobats, clowns, trained animals, and other familiar components of the circus have existed throughout recorded history, but it was not until the late 18th century that the modern spectacle was born. Astley found that if he galloped in a tight circle, centrifugal force allowed him to perform se... Read more >

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1924

Virginia Woolf buys a house in Bloomsbury

On this day in 1924, Virginia Woolf and her husband buy a house at 52 Tavistock Square, in the Bloomsbury district of London near the British Museum. Woolf had been associated with the district since 1902, when she took a house in the area with her three siblings after their father's death. She had remained in the neighborhood, becoming a central character of the "Bloomsbury Group," a set of wr... Read more >