This Day in History: Sept. 16

Exxon Corp. is ordered to pay $5B for the Exxon Valdez oil spill; O.J. Simpson arrested for armed robbery

On this day, Sept. 16 …

2018: Some Republican senators considering the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh express concern over a woman's allegation that a drunken Kavanaugh had groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers.

Also on this day:

  • 1810: Mexico begins its revolt against Spanish rule.
  • 1893: More than 100,000 settlers swarmed onto a section of land in Oklahoma known as the "Cherokee Strip."
  • 1910: Bessica Medlar Raiche of Mineola, N.Y., makes the first accredited solo airplane flight by a woman in the United States.
  • 1940: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Selective Training and Service Act. 
  • 1940: Samuel T. Rayburn of Texas is elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • 1974: President Gerald R. Ford announces a conditional amnesty program for Vietnam War deserters and draft evaders.
  • 1976: The Episcopal Church, at its General Convention in Minneapolis, formally approves the ordination of women as priests and bishops.
  • 1987: Two dozen countries sign the Montreal Protocol, a treaty designed to save the Earth's ozone layer by calling on nations to reduce emissions of harmful chemicals by the year 2000.
  • 1994: A federal jury in Anchorage, Alaska, orders Exxon Corp. to pay $5 billion in punitive damages for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (the U.S Supreme Court would later reduce that amount to $507.5 million). 
  • 2007: Contractors for the U.S. security firm Blackwater USA guarding a U.S. State Department convoy in Baghdad open fire on civilian vehicles, mistakenly believing they were under attack; 14 Iraqis die. 


  • 2007: O.J. Simpson is arrested in the alleged armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in Las Vegas. (Simpson would be convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery and sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison.)
  • 2013: Aaron Alexis, a former U.S. Navy reservist, goes on a shooting rampage inside the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 victims before being shot dead by police.
  • 2014: President Obama declares the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could threaten security around the world and orders 3,000 U.S. troops to the region for emergency aid.
  • 2014: After a day of public pressure from angry fans and concerned sponsors, the Minnesota Vikings reverse course and place star running back Adrian Peterson on the exempt-commissioner's permission list while he addresses a felony charge of child abuse in Texas.
  • 2018: At least 17 people are confirmed dead from Hurricane Florence, and the North Carolina city of Wilmington is cut off by still-rising waters as catastrophic flooding spread across the Carolinas.