The Red Cross has a lengthy, distinguished history as a humanitarian organization. Originally intended to aid in wartime, the Red Cross can bring considerable resources to bear during a crisis and has a global reach. Some milestones it its history:
Feb. 9, 1863 - the International Committee of the Red Cross is founded in Geneva, Switzerland. The founder of the Red Cross movement is Henry Dunant who, after the 1859 Battle of Solferino in Italy, called for an international relief organization to aid war wounded.
Aug. 8, 1864 - The First Geneva Convention identifies a red cross on a white field as a neutral emblem and protected on the battlefield.
May 21, 1881 - Clara Barton, who aided civil war wounded and oversaw the Office of Correspondence with Friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army, establishes the American Red Cross with the help of associates.
Sept. 4, 1881 - In its first disaster relief effort, the American Red Cross aids Michigan forest fire victims.
June 20, 1898 - In its first war-related assistance to the U.S. military, the Red Cross brings supplies to aid victims of the Spanish-American War in Cuba.
Jan. 5, 1905 - The American Red Cross receives its Congressional Charter.
May 12, 1917 - American Red Cross headquarters is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
May 5, 1919 - League of Red Cross Societies is established in Paris.
March 7, 1932 - Red Cross distributes government surplus products to Dust Bowl victims.
Feb. 4, 1941 - National Blood Donor Service is begun in U.S.
June 8, 1947 - The Red Cross Central Committee is replaced by the Board of Governors.
April 5, 1955 - Fundraising policies liberalized, which now allow the organization to participate in campaigns such as the United Way.
Oct. 8, 1965 - Red Cross Movement adopts its Seven Fundamental Principals of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.
Feb. 14, 1972 - Red Cross calls for standardized practices in collecting blood donations.
May 2006 - The American Red Cross celebrates its 125th anniversary.
June 21, 2006 - The Magen David Adom and Palestine Red Crescent Society are admitted into the Red Cross and Red Crescent network.