2001 — The World Trade Centre is destroyed in a terrorist attack

It is the defining moment of the modern era. If you were old enough to remember it at the time, then you remember how you heard it, remember the image of the plane hitting the second building, remember it all.

Four separate planes were hijacked by terrorists belonging to Al Qaeda. One was brought down by the passengers when they realised what it was supposed to do. The other three were rammed into buildings – one into the Pentagon, one into each of the two towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City. Nearly 3000 people were killed in the attacks, and more died in the aftermath, killed trying to rescue others.

The reaction was one of shock, grief and anger. Within weeks, the world was plunged into war, first in Afghanistan, then in Iraq – a state from which it is yet to emerge.

Referenced in:
Self-Evident — Ani Di Franco

1664 — New Amsterdam is formally ceded to the British, becoming New York

The Dutch first built a settlement on Manhattan Island in 1613. It was the first European settlement on the island, located approximately at the site of the later World Trade Center complex. In 1623, the growth of the colony prompted the Dutch government to build a military post there, which was named Fort Amsterdam. The settlement grew even more, becoming known as New Amsterdam after the fort.

In 1664, the English opened the second Anglo-Dutch War by invading New Amsterdam on August 27. The official surrender of the colony took place on September 8, 1664, and the settlement and colony were renamed New York, in honour of James, brother to the English King, Charles II, and then the Duke of York. (He would later succeed his brother to the English throne, reigning from 1685 to 1688.)

Referenced in:
Istanbul (not Constantinople) — The Four Lads
Istanbul (not Constantinople) — They Might Be Giants

History does not record whether it was so nice they named it twice on this date, or whether that came later.