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• On Sept. 2, 1666, the Great Fire of London breaks out in the house of King Charles II's baker near London Bridge. When the Great Fire finally was extinguished on Sept. 6, more than 80% of London was destroyed and 100,000 people were left homeless.
• On Sept. 10, 1813, in the first unqualified defeat of a British naval squadron in history, U.S. Capt. Oliver Hazard Perry leads a fleet of nine American ships to victory over a squadron of six British warships. After the battle, Perry sent a famous dispatch to U.S. Gen. William Henry Harrison that read, "We have met the enemy, and they are ours."
• On Sept. 3, 1939, Britain and France declare war on Germany. The first casualty of that declaration was the British ocean liner Athenia, which was sunk by a German U-30 submarine.
• On Sept. 9, 1939, audiences at the Fox Theater in Riverside, California, get a surprise showing of "Gone with the Wind." The film became an instant hit, breaking all box office records. It was nominated for more than a dozen Oscars and won nine.
• On Sept. 6, 1943, a new high-speed train traveling between New York City and Washington, D.C., derails, killing 79 people and seriously injuring 100 more. The Congressional Limited traveled at a then-unprecedented speed of 65 mph.
• On Sept. 8, 1945, U.S. troops land in Korea to begin their postwar occupation of the southern part of that nation, one month after Soviet troops had entered northern Korea to begin their own occupation. The division of Korea quickly became permanent.
• On Sept. 12, 1951, former middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson defeats Randy Turpin to win back the belt after losing to Turpin two months prior. Robinson knocked Turpin down with a right to the jaw in the 10th round.
• On Sept. 4, 1957, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus enlists the National Guard to prevent nine Black students from entering Central High School in Little Rock. The armed Arkansas militia troops surrounded the school while an angry crowd of some 400 whites jeered, booed and threatened to lynch the frightened teenagers.
• On Sept. 11, 1965, the 1st Cavalry Division begins to arrive in South Vietnam, bringing U.S. troop strength to more than 125,000. The unit was the first full U.S. Army division deployed to Vietnam.
• On Sept. 5, 1969, Lt. William Calley is charged with premeditated murder in the deaths of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in March 1968. Calley, a platoon leader, had led his men in a massacre that was only stopped when a pilot landed his helicopter between the Americans and the fleeing South Vietnamese.
• On Sept. 1, 1972, American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer defeats Russian Boris Spassky during the World Chess Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland. Fischer became the first American to win the competition since its inception in 1866.
• On Sept. 20, 1973, in a highly publicized "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match, top women's player Billie Jean King, 29, beats Bobby Riggs, 55, a former No. 1 ranked men's player. Riggs had boasted that women were inferior, and that even at his age he could beat any female player. King beat Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
• On Sept. 7, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signs a treaty that will give Panama control over the Panama Canal beginning in the year 2000. A 1904 agreement had given the U.S. the right to build the canal and a renewable lease.
• On Sept. 13, 1980, country music artist Willie Nelson and his band perform at the White House with President Jimmy Carter in attendance. Later that night, unbeknownst to the president, Nelson allegedly retired to the White House roof to smoke a marijuana cigarette.
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