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This Week in History: June 16–21


June 16 1963
Valentina V. Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space
The Soviet cosmonaut, later named a Hero of the Soviet Union, was launched into orbit aboard the spacecraft Vostok 6 and landed on June 19.

June 18 1815
Napoleon is defeated in the Battle of Waterloo
Fought during the Hundred Days of Napoleon’s restoration, this battle ended 23 years of recurrent warfare between France and the other powers of Europe.

June 19 1953
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed for espionage
The husband and wife became the first American civilians to be executed for espionage and the first to suffer that penalty during peacetime.

June 20 1789
France’s Third Estate gathers for the “Tennis Court Oath”
In this dramatic act, representatives of the nation’s nonprivileged classes vowed never to separate until a written constitution was established for France.

June 21 1945
Japanese defenses are destroyed on Okinawa
The Battle of Okinawa was one of the deadliest in World War II’s Pacific Campaign, claiming the lives of more than 12,000 Americans and 100,000 Japanese.
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