June 15th is the 166th day of the year (167th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 199 days remaining until the end of the year.
763 BC – Assyrians record a solar eclipse that is later used to fix the chronology of Mesopotamian history.
1184 – Magnus Erlingsson dies, King of Norway (b. 1156)
1215 – King John of England puts his seal to the Magna Carta.
1381 – John Cavendish dies, English lawyer and judge (b. 1346)
1389 – Battle of Kosovo: The Ottoman Empire defeats Serbs and Bosnians.
1520 – Pope Leo X threatens to excommunicate Martin Luther in Exsurge Domine.
1648 – Margaret Jones is hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1667 – The first human blood transfusion is administered by Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys.
1752 – Benjamin Franklin proves that lightning is electricity (traditional date, the exact date is unknown).
1775 – American Revolutionary War: George Washington is appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
1776 – Delaware Separation Day: Delaware votes to suspend government under the British Crown and separate officially from Pennsylvania.
1804 – New Hampshire approves the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratifying the document.
1836 – Arkansas is admitted as the 25th U.S. state.
1843 – Edvard Grieg born, Norwegian pianist and composer (d. 1907)
1844 – Charles Goodyear receives a patent for vulcanization, a process to strengthen rubber.
1846 – The Oregon Treaty establishes the 49th parallel as the border between the United States and Canada, from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
1849 – James K. Polk dies, American lawyer and politician, 11th President of the United States (b. 1795)
1859 – Pig War: Ambiguity in the Oregon Treaty leads to the “Northwestern Boundary Dispute” between United States and British/Canadian settlers.
1864 – Arlington National Cemetery is established when 200 acres (0.81 km2) around Arlington Mansion (formerly owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee) are officially set aside as a military cemetery by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
1877 – Henry Ossian Flipper becomes the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy.
1878 – Eadweard Muybridge takes a series of photographs to prove that all four feet of a horse leave the ground when it runs; the study becomes the basis of motion pictures.
1888 – Crown Prince Wilhelm becomes Kaiser Wilhelm II; he will be the last Emperor of the German Empire. Due to the death of his predecessors Wilhelm I and Frederick III, 1888 is the Year of the Three Emperors.
1896 – The deadliest tsunami in Japan’s history kills more than 22,000 people.
1904 – A fire aboard the steamboat SS General Slocum in New York City’s East River kills 1,000.
1916 – United States President Woodrow Wilson signs a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America, making them the only American youth organization with a federal charter.
1919 – John Alcock and Arthur Brown complete the first nonstop transatlantic flight when they reach Clifden, County Galway, Ireland.
1932 – Mario Cuomo born, American lawyer and politician, 52nd Governor of New York (d. 2015)
1934 – The United States Great Smoky Mountains National Park is founded.
1937 – Waylon Jennings born, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2002)
1940 – World War II: Operation Ariel begins: Allied troops start to evacuate France, following Germany’s takeover of Paris and most of the nation.
1941 – Harry Nilsson born, American singer-songwriter (d. 1994)
1944 – World War II: Battle of Saipan: The United States invade Japanese-occupied Saipan.
1944 – In the Saskatchewan general election, the CCF, led by Tommy Douglas, is elected and forms the first socialist government in North America.
1953 – Xi Jinping born, Chinese engineer and politician, General Secretary of the Communist Party and President of China
1954 – Jim Belushi born, American actor
1963 – Helen Hunt born, American actress, director, and producer
1964 – Courteney Cox born, American actress and producer
1969 – Ice Cube born, American rapper, producer, and actor
1970 – Charles Manson goes on trial for the Sharon Tate murders.
1973 – Neil Patrick Harris born, American actor and singer
1978 – King Hussein of Jordan marries American Lisa Halaby, who takes the name Queen Noor.
1985 – Rembrandt’s painting Danaë is attacked by a man (later judged insane) who throws sulfuric acid on the canvas and cuts it twice with a knife.
1991 – In the Philippines, Mount Pinatubo erupts in the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th Century. In the end, over 800 people die.
1996 – Ella Fitzgerald dies, American singer and actress (b. 1917)
2003 – Hume Cronyn dies, Canadian-American actor (b. 1911)
2012 – Nik Wallenda becomes the first person to successfully tightrope walk directly over Niagara Falls.
2014 – Casey Kasem dies, American radio host, producer, and voice actor, co-created American Top 40 (b. 1932)
For the history you didn’t learn in school, check out Liberty Classroom: