On this day in 2002 an asteroid came within 75,000 miles of earth. That is roughly a third of the way to the moon. This doomsday scenario would have left us without the horrors of Miley Cyrus, the Jonas brothers, that annoying "Friday" song, and Bin Laden would have been killed 9 years earlier. Take that Obama!
On this day in 1215 Magna Carta was sealed. This was the document that formed the basis for modern democracy with the predecessor for trial by jury. It also stated that a king must govern under certain laws, thus taking away the god-like image of the monarchy.
On this day in 1844 Charles Goodyear receives a patent for the vulcanization of rubber. This method makes rubber strong and allows it still be stretchy. And stinky.
On this day in 1859 the Pig War began in the remnants of the Oregon Territory. Oregon became a state on Valentine's Day that year and the parts that would become Washington and Idaho were still called the Oregon Territory when this unfortunate incident occurred. In the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound a border dispute between British and United States settlers happened when a pig was shot. Both sides said the other was at fault and a war nearly broke out. The United States sent their highest ranking general, Winfield Scott to barter a treaty. Lines were drawn and tempers cooled. The pig was tasty!
Ironically enough on this day in 1846 the border between Canada and the United States was seemingly finalized along the 49th parallel. The Oregon treaty gave the United States control of all land below this parallel and the aforementioned Puget Sound, while Britain got Vancouver Island and everything north of this parallel. That is until the tasty pig.