On this day in 1846 the United States captured San Francisco during the Mexican-American war. The as of yet small city was the northern most outpost of Mexican California and held strategic value only to the United States in it would allow them claim to the greater part of California after winning the war.
On this day in 1850 Zachary Taylor died a little over a year into his term as 12th president of the United States. His death was ruled due to cholera, but for 140 years rumors suggested something more sinister. It wasn't until his body was exhumed and test were done that any foul play could be ruled out.
On this day in 1941 British cryptologists were able to break the German enigma code on the eastern front of Europe. Germany thought their enigma machine and its code were unbreakable. The machine looked like a typewriter, but contained a cypher that would change almost daily to prevent the code from being cracked. They never figured out that the British had broken the code as early as the invasion of Poland. But with the invasion of Russia the allies were in dire need to break the code in the east to have total surveillance on the Nazis.
On this day in 1948 Leroy "Statchel" Paige made his major league baseball debut at the age of 42. Regarded as the best pitcher in the Negro league, Page was unable to integrate into the all-white MLB until after Jackie Robinson. Well past his prime, Page actually made the all-star team in the American League in 1952 and 1953, at age 47! He pitched for the Kansas City A's in the 1965 season, he was 59 years old!