On this day in 1940, Operation Fork (The Invasion of Iceland) began early in the morning in the capital Reykjavik. The objective was to prevent German occupation and the promise was made to withdraw at the conclusion of the war. The British troops were relieved by American troops a year later, before the US had officially entered the war.
On this day in 1524, navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano, discovered New York Bay. Verrazzano was employed by the French king, Francis I, to find a sea route to the Pacific Ocean in order to reach China. After a failed first expedition, Verrazzano in the ‘La Dauphine,’ left France on the 17th January 1524 for the North American mainland. Once in American waters he explored the east coast of North America, including the area from North Carolina to New York. During his journey he came into contact with native American Indians and entered the Hudson River. The area explored by Verrazano was named ‘New France.’
Verrazzano is thought to have been born in 1485, south of Florence in Italy, though more recent research would suggest he was born in Lyon, France. Verrazzano died during a third trip to America, when he was killed and eaten by native Carib Indians on the island of Guadeloupe in 1528.
As with any other day, there was plenty more that happened on this day in history. Among the more important events on this day in the past were:
In 1492, Christopher Columbus signed a contract with Spain to find the Indies.
In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1534, Sir Thomas Moore was confined in the Tower of London.