This day in history changed the political landscape of the world as one war ended but another began. It was also a day of discoveries, as an English explorer made his way to North America, and humans landed a spacecraft on Mars.
Here are some of the significant events that took place on September 3.
1609: Henry Hudson Voyages to North America
While searching for the Northwest Passage, English explorer Henry Hudson found a waterway now known as the Hudson River. He and the crew of the Half Moon followed the river for 150 miles, eventually arriving in what would become Albany, New York. The Dutch later colonized the area.
1783: Treaty of Paris Signed
The last battle of the American Revolution took place in 1781 in Yorktown, Virginia. Although Britain surrendered, it didn’t recognize American independence until two years later. On September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed at the Hotel d’York, formally ending the war.
1939: Britain Declares War on Germany
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced Britain’s declaration of war on Germany on September 3, 1939, marking the start of World War II. Two days earlier, Germany had invaded Poland and refused to withdraw its troops. More people died during the Second World War than any other war in history.
1950: First-Ever Formula One Champion Crowned
Italian race car driver Emilio Giuseppe “Nino” Farina drove his Alfa Romeo across the finish line in the final race of the 1950 World Drivers’ Championship on September 3, 1950. Winning three of seven races during the season, he became the first Formula One champion.
1976: NASA Lands a Spacecraft on Mars
NASA’s Viking 2 spacecraft gave us a close-up look at the Red Planet on September 3, 1976. After landing on Mars, Viking 2 transmitted the first color photograph of the planet. The craft spent more than three years on Mars, collecting scientific data and discovering the presence of elements such as carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen — all of which are required for life on Earth. Viking 2’s final transmission was in April, 1980.
1995: eBay is Founded
On September 3, 1995, entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar developed a website called Auction Web and listed its first item for sale: a broken laser pointer for $1. This project would soon evolve into a multinational online shopping platform for all kinds of goods and services. Now known as eBay, the site has 14,000 employees and revenues that exceeded $10.7 billion in 2018. This e-commerce giant later purchased PayPal and Skype.
1875: Ferdinand Porsche
Inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996, Ferdinand Porsche was an influential automotive engineer who worked on the Mercedes S and SSK, the Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche automobiles. He was also a member of the Nazi party and contributed significantly to German war efforts. After World War II, he was imprisoned by France as a war criminal for 22 months.
1965: Charlie Sheen
American actor Charlie Sheen appeared in movies such as Platoon, Wall Street and Eight Men Out. He replaced Michael J. Fox on the television series Spin City before starring in his own sitcom, Two and a Half Men.
1991: Frank Capra
Frank Capra’s classic film It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) is a favorite for many people every Christmas. The famed director’s legacy also includes the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring Jimmy Stewart, and the screwball comedy It Happened One Night (1934), which won in all five major categories at the Academy Awards.