Today In History...
In 1719 The first recorded sighting of the Aurora Borealis takes place in New England.
In 1792 France's King Louis XVI goes on trial accused of treason. (Convicted and condemned, Louis was sent to the guillotine.)
In 1816 Indiana becomes the 19th U.S. state.
In 1872 America's first black governor takes office as Pickney Benton Stewart Pinchback becomes acting governor of Louisiana.
In 1892 The first public basketball game is played in Springfield, MA.
In 1928 Police in Buenos Aires prevent an attempt to kill President-elect Herbert Hoover.
In 1936 King Edward VIII of England abdicates the throne in order to marry 2-time American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.
In 1937 Italy withdraws from the League of Nations.
In 1941 Germany and Italy declare war on the United States.
In 1946 The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is established.
In 1950 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that people can not be forced to testify against themselves in criminal cases (5th Amendment decision).
In 1953 KTVA/Anchorage becomes Alaska's first TV station.
In 1961 A U.S. aircraft carrier carrying Army helicopters arrives in Saigon, the first dirrect American military intervention in Vietnam.
In 1975 First Class Mail now costs 13 cents (had been 10 cents).
In 1980 President Carter signs into law legislation creating a $1.6 billion enviromental "superfund" to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps.
In 1981 The U.N. Security Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru to be the fifth secretary-general of the world body.
In 1983 Isamu Furugen sets the world marathon skating record at 344 hours and 18 minutes in Okinawa.
In 1983 Pope John Paul II visits a Lutheran church in Rome, the first visit by a Roman Catholic pontiff to a Protestant church in his own diocese.
In 1985 The U.S. House of Representatives joins the U.S. Senate in giving final congressional approval to the Gramm-Rudman deficit-reduction law.
In 1986 The government of South Africa drastically expands its 6-month-old media restrictions by imposing prior censorship and banning coverage of a wide range of peaceful anti-apartheid protests.
In 1987 NATO allies urge the U.S. Senate to ratify the intermediate-range missile treaty, and pledge to let the Soviet Union inspect missile bases in five European countries.
In 1988 Fireworks sold illegally at a market in Mexico City explode, starting a runaway fire that kills 62.
In 1990 Hundreds of foreigners fly out of Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, ending four months of captivity following Iraq's invasion of its oil-rich neighbor.
In 1990 Ivana Trump is divorced from real estate mogul Donald Trump after 12 years of marriage.
In 1991 A jury in West Palm Beach, FL, acquits William Kennedy Smith of sexual assault and battery, rejecting the allegations of Patricia Bowman, who said Smith had raped her.
In 1992 President-elect Clinton names Robert Reich as labor secretary and Donna Shalala as secretary of Health and Human Services.
In 1994 Thousands of Russian troops backed by armored columns and jets roll into breakaway republic of Chechnya.
In 1994 Leaders of 34 Western Hemisphere nations sign a free-trade declaration in Miami.
In 1995 Utah Congresswoman Enid Greene Waldholtz holds an emotional news conference in which she publicly addressed the scandal surrounding her personal and campaign finances.
In 1996 A China-organized committee of 400 Hong Kong notables elects shipping tycoon Tung Chee-hwa to be the first post-colonial leader of Hong Kong.
In 1997 Suspected Hutu rebels attack a Tutsi refugee camp in northwestern Rwanda, killing as many as 200 people.
In 1997 Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams is first political ally of the IRA in 76 years to meet a British prime minister.
In 1997 Henry Cisneros, Clinton's first housing secretary, is indicted for conspiracy, obstructing justice and making false statements about payments to his former mistress.
In 1998 The first global conference on "Year 2000 bug" opens at the United Nations.
In 1999 Ron Dayne, Wisconsin's record-setting tailback, wins the Heisman.
In 2000 Shortstop Alex Rodriguez agrees to $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers, by far the most lucrative contract with any sports team.
In 2001 In the first criminal indictment stemming from the September 11 attacks, federal prosecutors charge Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, with conspiring to murder thousands in the suicide hijackings.