Mata Hari executed Mata Hari, the archetype of the seductive female spy, is executed for espionage by a French firing squad at Vincennes outside of Paris. She first came to Paris in 1905 and found fame as a performer of exotic Asian-inspired dances. She soon began touring all over Europe, telling the story of how she was born in a sacred Indian temple and taught ancient dances by a priestess who gave her the name Mata Hari, meaning “eye of the day” in Malay. In reality, Mata Hari was born in a small town in northern Holland in 1876, and her real name was Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. She acquired her superficial knowledge of Indian and Javanese dances when she lived for several years in Malaysia with her former husband, who was a Scot in the Dutch colonial army. Regardless of her authenticity, she packed dance halls and opera houses from Russia to France, mostly because her show consisted of her slowly stripping nude. She became a famous courtesan, and with the outbreak of World War I her catalog of lovers began to include high-ranking military officers of various nationalities. In February 1917, French authorities arrested her for espionage and imprisoned her at St. Lazare Prison in Paris. In a military trial conducted in July, she was accused of revealing details of the Allies’ new weapon, the tank, resulting in the deaths of thousands of soldiers. She was convicted and sentenced to death, and on October 15 she refused a blindfold and was shot to death by a firing squad at Vincennes. There is some evidence that Mata Hari acted as a German spy, and for a time as a double agent for the French, but the Germans had written her off as an ineffective agent whose pillow talk had produced little intelligence of value. Her military trial was riddled with bias and circumstantial evidence, and it is probable that French authorities trumped her up as “the greatest woman spy of the century” as a distraction for the huge losses the French army was suffering on the western front. Her only real crimes may have been an elaborate stage fallacy and a weakness for men in uniform. 1880 Chiricahua Apache leader Victorio is killed south of El Paso, Texas The warrior Victorio, one of the greatest Apache military strategists of all time, dies this day, in 1880, in the Tres Castillos Mountains south of El Paso, Texas. Born in New Mexico around 1809, Victorio grew up during a period of intense hostility between the native Apache Indians of the southwest and encroaching Mexican and American settlers. Determined to resist the loss of his homeland, Victorio began leading his small band of warriors on a long series of devastating raids against Mexican and American settlers and their communities in the 1850s. After more than a decade of evading the best efforts of the Mexican and American armies to capture him, the U.S. Army managed to convince Victorio to accept resettlement of his people on an inhospitable patch of sunburnt land near San Carlos, Arizona, in 1869. But with summer temperatures reaching 110 degrees on the San Carlos reservation (an area also known as Hell’s Forty Acres) and farming nearly impossible, Victorio decided the new reservation was unacceptable and moved his followers to more pleasant grounds at Ojo Caliente (Warm Springs), thus again becoming an outlaw in the eyes of the United States. In 1878, the U.S. Army attempted to force the Apaches back to the San Carlos reservation, but Victorio eluded capture, disappearing into the desert with 150 braves. Surviving by raiding the towns and farms of Chihuahua, Mexico, Victorio and his men began to take bloody revenge against their enemies, ambushing U.S. troops with devastating effect and killing any Mexican or American sheepherder unfortunate enough to cross their path. In 1880, a combined force of U.S. and Mexican troops finally succeeded in tracking down the wily Apache and his warriors, surrounding them in the Tres Castillos Mountains of Mexico, just south of El Paso, Texas. Having sent the American troops away, the Mexican soldiers proceeded to kill all but 17 of the trapped Apaches, though the exact manner of Victorio’s death remains unclear. Some claimed an Indian scout employed by the Mexican army killed the famous warrior. But according to the Apache, Victorio took his own life rather than surrender to the hated Mexicans. Regardless of how it happened, Victorio’s death made him a martyr to the Apache people and strengthened the resolve of other warriors to continue the fight. The last of the great Apache warriors, Geronimo, would not surrender until 1886.