Year
1847

U.S. forces land at Vera Cruz

During the Mexican-American War, U.S. forces under General Winfield Scott invade Mexico three miles south of Vera Cruz. Encountering little resistance from the Mexicans massed in the fortified city of Vera Cruz, by nightfall the last of Scott’s 10,000 men came ashore without the loss of a single life. It was the largest amphibious landing in U.S. history and not surpassed until World War II.

The Mexican-American War began with a dispute over the U.S. government’s 1845 annexation of Texas. In January 1846, President James K. Polk, a strong advocate of westward expansion, ordered General Zachary Taylor to occupy disputed territory between the Nueces and Rio Grande Rivers. Mexican troops attacked Taylor’s forces, and on May 13, 1846, Congress approved a declaration of war against Mexico. In March 1847, General Scott’s forces landed near Vera Cruz, and by March 29, with very few casualties, the Americans had taken the fortified city and its massive fortress, San Juan de Ulua. In April, Scott began his devastating march to Mexico City, which ended on September 14, when U.S. forces entered the Mexican capital and raised the American flag over the Hall of Montezuma.

In February 1848, representatives from the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, formally ending the Mexican War, recognizing Texas as part of the United States and extending the boundaries of the United States west to the Pacific Ocean.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Pancho Villa raids U.S.

In the early morning of March 9, 1916, several hundred Mexican guerrillas under the command of Francisco “Pancho” Villa cross the U.S.-Mexican border and attack the small border town of Columbus, New Mexico. Seventeen Americans were killed in the raid, and the center of town was ...read more

Battle of the Ironclads

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Supreme Court rules on Amistad mutiny

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Barbie makes her debut

On this day in 1959, the first Barbie doll goes on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City. Eleven inches tall, with a waterfall of blond hair, Barbie was the first mass-produced toy doll in the United States with adult features. The woman behind Barbie was Ruth ...read more

Firebombing of Tokyo

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Marines continue to land at Da Nang

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Bobby Fischer born

On this day in 1943, Bobby Fischer is born in Chicago, Illinois. Fischer went on to become the only American ever to win the chess world championship. He also became well-known for his strange behavior, which paranoia and anti-Semitic and anti-American rants, in spite of his ...read more

Japanese power plant leaks radioactive waste

A nuclear accident at a Japan Atomic Power Company plant in Tsuruga, Japan, exposes 59 workers to radiation on this day in 1981. As seems all too common with nuclear-power accidents, the officials in charge failed to timely inform the public and nearby residents, endangering ...read more

Rapper Notorious B.I.G. is killed in Los Angeles

Christopher Wallace, a.k.a Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G., is shot to death at a stoplight in Los Angeles. The murder was thought to be the culmination of an ongoing feud between rap music artists from the East and West coasts. Just six months earlier, rapper Tupac ...read more

Republican senators criticize Joseph McCarthy

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U.S.S. Monitor battles C.S.S. Virginia

On this day in 1862, one of the most famous naval battles in American history occurs as two ironclads,the U.S.S.Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginiafight to a draw off Hampton Roads, Virginia. The ships pounded each other all morning but their armor plates easilydeflected the cannon ...read more