This Day In History : September 15

1789 United States

US Department of Foreign Affairs, renamed Department of State

In 1789, the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs was renamed the Department of State under the leadership of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. This change reflected the department's broader responsibilities in managing diplomatic relations and foreign affairs for the newly formed United States. The Department of State continues to serve as the principal agency responsible for U.S. foreign policy, diplomacy, and international relations, overseeing embassies and consulates worldwide.

Also on This Day in History September 15

Discover what happened on September 15 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, September 15
  • 1857 William Howard Taft

    American lawyer and politician who became the 27th President of the United States 

  • 1852 Jan Ernest Matzeliger

    Surinamese-Dutch-American inventor (shoe lasting machine)

  • 1824 Moritz Lazarus

    German philosopher and psychologist, who was a founder of comparative psychology

  • 1877 Max Factor

    Polish-American make-up artist, inventor and founder of cosmetics manufacturer Max Factor & Company

  • 1881 Ettore Bugatti

    Italian-French automobile designer and manufacturer (Automobiles E. Bugatti)

Deaths on This Day, September 15
  • 1924 Wilhelm Roux

    German zoologist who was a founder of experimental embryology

  • 1859 Isambard Kingdom Brunel

    British engineer (SS Great Britain, Great Western Railway)

  • 1864 John Hanning Speke

    British explorer, the first European to reach Lake Victoria in east Africa

  • 1883 Joseph Plateau

    Belgian physicist (Plateau's Law)

  • 2023 Fernando Botero

    Colombian figurative artist and sculptor known for depicting people in exaggerated large sizes


Nazi Germany adopts a new national flag bearing the swastika

Nazi Germany adopted a new national flag bearing the swastika on September 15, 1935. This flag, known as the swastika flag or Hakenkreuz flag, became one of the most recognizable symbols of the Nazi regime. It featured a black swastika rotated 45 degrees on a white circle, set against a red background.

John Bull becomes the oldest operable locomotive

John Bull is a historic steam locomotive built in 1831 by Robert Stephenson and Company in England. It was shipped to the United States, where it operated on the Camden and Amboy Railroad in New Jersey and later on other northeastern railroads. John Bull is notable as one of the oldest operable locomotives in the world, showcasing early steam locomotive design with a vertical boiler.

First use of tanks in warfare

The first use of tanks in warfare occurred during World War I, on September 15, 1916, at the Battle of the Somme. British forces deployed Mark I tanks against German positions, marking a significant shift in military strategy. Tanks played a crucial role in breaking through enemy lines and overcoming trench warfare, demonstrating their potential to revolutionize battlefield tactics.

Forbes Magazine founded by B. C. Forbes and Walter Drey

Forbes Magazine was founded by B.C. Forbes and Walter Drey in the United States in 1917. The magazine quickly became renowned for its coverage of business, finance, and industry, offering insights into the world of entrepreneurship, wealth management, and corporate leadership. Today, Forbes is one of the most widely read and influential business magazines globally.
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