Today In History...

In 1492 Columbus establishes the first Spanish settlement in the New World.

In 1776 General George Washington's troops captured 1,000 Hessian soldiers in a major defeat for the British during the Revolutionary War.

In 1799 The late George Washington is eulogized by Colonel Henry Lee as "first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

In 1862 38 Santee Sioux Indians are hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, for their roles in an uprising that had claimed lives of hundreds of white settlers.

In 1865 James A. Nason of Franklin, MA, patents the first coffee percolator.

In 1917 The Federal government temporarily takes control of America's Railroads for the duration of World War I.

In 1941 Winston Churchill becomes the first British prime minister to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, warning that the Axis Powers would "stop at nothing."

In 1943 The Chicago Bears defeat the Washington Redskins, 41-21, to win the national football championship game.

In 1944 Tennessee Williams' play "The Glass Menagerie" is first performed publicly at the Civic Theatre in Chicago.

In 1944 During World War II's Battle of the Bulge, the embattled U.S. 101st Airborne Division, surrounded by German forces in Belgium, is relieved by units of the Fourth Armored Division.

In 1947 Heavy snow blankets the Northeast, burying New York City under 25.8 inches of snow in 16 hours. That same day, Los Angeles reached a high temperature of 84 degrees.

In 1972 Harry Truman, the 33rd U.S. president, dies at age 88.

In 1973 Soyuz 13 returns to Earth.

In 1974 Comedian Jack Benny dies in Los Angeles at age 80.

In 1975 The Soviet Union inaugurates the world's first supersonic transport service with a flight of its Tupolev-144 airliner from Moscow to Alma-Ata.

In 1980 Iranian television footage is broadcast in the U.S., showing a dozen of the American hostages sending messages of encouragement to their families.

In 1983 Ailing Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov fails to appear at a key meeting of the Communist Party Central Committee.

In 1984 Friends and families of the 27 miners killed in the Wilberg Mine fire a week earlier gather for a memorial service in Castle Dale, Utah.

In 1985 Ford Motor Company begins selling its Taurus and Sable sedans and station wagons.

In 1987 A bomb explodes at a USO bar in Barcelona, Spain, killing one U.S. sailor and injuring nine others.

In 1989 The U.S. Justice Department asked that all nations freeze the bank accounts of deposed Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega.

In 1989 Romanian TV broadcasts videotape showing ousted President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, at their secret trial as well as footage of the former leader's body following his execution.

In 1990 Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev nominates Gennady I. Yanayev to be the Soviet Union's first vice president.

In 1990 Nancy Cruzan, the young woman in an irreversible vegetative state whose case led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the right to die, dies at a Missouri hospital.

In 1991 The Dow-Jones average rises to a then-record high of 3,082.96.

In 1991 President Bush nominates businesswoman Barbara Franklin to become U.S. commerce secretary.

In 1992 Time Magazine announces it had chosen President-elect Bill Clinton its 1992 "Man of the Year."

In 1993 In Russia, a four-day kidnap drama ends as four masked kidnappers, who had abducted eleven teen-agers, free hostages and fled with $10 million in ransom. The four men were captured the next morning.

In 1994 French commandos stormed a hijacked Air France jetliner on the ground in Marseille, killing four Algerian hijackers and freeing 170 hostages.

In 1995 Israel turns dozens of West Bank villages over to the Palestinian Authority in a smooth transfer of power.

In 1996 JonBenet Ramsey, a 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant, is found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family's home in Boulder, CO. To date, the slaying remains unsolved.

In 1998 President Clinton urges Congress to lower the blood-alcohol limit for drunken driving nationwide to 0.08 percent to conform with 17 states and the District of Columbia. The other 33 states had 0.10.

In 2000 A heavily armed employee opens fire at an Internet consulting company in Wakefield, MA, killing seven people.

In 2000 Actor Jason Robards dies in Bridgeport, CT, at age 78.

In 2001 Hundreds of Iraqi Kurds, Afghans, Iranians and other refugees from a Red Cross center in France begin two days of trying to cross illegally into Britain shutting down train traffic.

In 2003 An earthquake strikes the historic Iranian city of Bam, killing at least 26,000 people.

In 2004 Reggie White, a legendary defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, dies at age 43.

In 2004 A tsunami (giant tidal wave) -- spawn by a 9.0 earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean in Sumatra -- kills over 500,000 people in 10 countries. The 35-foot waves traveling 500mph over 3000 miles.

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