On This Day in History, July 18

In 387 BC, Roman forces were handily routed by Gallic troops at the Battle of Allia, north of Rome. The Gallic force continued south and sacked the city shortly after. Rome weathered the sack and was deeply affected by the Gallic sack. In the following decades, the Roman military known to the modern world would be developed. They would eventually expand, facing fellow Latins, the Carthaginians, and then finally the Gallics.

In 1925, political prisoner Adolf Hitler had the first volume of his autobiographical manifesto Mein Kampf published in Germany. While the book would sell during the later half of the 1920s, it wouldn’t become the infamous bestseller it has become until Hitler’s rise to power as the German Chancellor in 1933.

In 2013, the city of Detroit, Michigan filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, possessing about $18-20 billion dollars of debt. The massive amount of debt was accumulated in part due to the large decrease in the population from the a peak of 1.8 million people in 1950 down to a populous of 700,000 people at the time of the bankruptcy filing.

A Notable Birth

1918 – Nelson Mandela (d. 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid activist who spent several years in prison. When the system of apartheid was brought to an end, he was elected the first President of South Africa and sought healing in a land with deep racial divides.

A Notable Death

1817 – Jane Austin (b. 1775) was an English novelist who is best known for her works critical of the British gentry lifestyle of her time. Her best-known works are Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma—all published in the span of five years.

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