Today is the 181st day of 2022. There are 184 days left in the year.
1997: The Union Jack is lowered for the last time over Government House in Hong Kong as Britain prepares to hand the colony back to China at midnight after ruling it for 156 years.
1859: French acrobat Charles Blondin walks back and forth on a tightrope above the gorge of Niagara Falls as thousands of spectators watched.
1892: Small frogs rain down on Moseley, England, south of Birmingham. (According to an account quoted in the US Agriculture Department’s Monthly Weather Review for May 1917, the frogs, described as “almost white in colour”, were found “scattered about several gardens” and had “evidently been absorbed in a small waterspout” during a storm.)
1908: The Tunguska Event takes place in Russia as an asteroid exploded above Siberia, leaving 800 square miles of scorched or blown-down trees. An enormous aerial explosion, presumably caused by a comet fragment colliding with Earth, flattens approximately 2,000 square km (500,000 acres) of pine forest near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in central Siberia.
1930: Britain recognises independence of Iraq.
1934: Night of Long Knives: hundreds of leading Nazis are murdered on Hitler’s orders.
1936: American author Margaret Mitchell publishes Gone with the Wind, a sweeping romance set during the Civil War; the novel later wins a Pulitzer Prize and is adapted into a hugely successful film.
1937: The world’s first emergency telephone number (999) is launched in London.
1952: The Guiding Light, later a popular radio programme, begins a 57-year television run on CBS.
1956: Leeward Islands Federation is dissolved to enable islands to enter Caribbean Federation.