Today In History...

In 1321 Italian poet Alighieri Dante, author of the "Divine Comedy," dies.

In 1716 The first U.S. lighthouse begins operations in the Boston Harbor.

In 1807 Former Vice President Aaron Burr is acquitted of a misdemeanor charge two weeks after he was found innocent of treason.

In 1812 The Russians set fire to Moscow after an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte's troops.

In 1814 Francis Scott Key writes his famous poem "The Star-Spangled Banner" after witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland.

In 1847 U.S. forces under General Winfield Scott take control of Mexico City.

In 1886 The typewriter ribbon is patented.

In 1901 President William McKinley dies of an assassin's bullet and Theodore Roosevelt becomes the 26th U.S. President.

In 1927 Modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan dies in Nice, France, when her scarf became entangled in a wheel of her sports car.

In 1940 Congress passes the Selective Service Act, providing for the first peacetime draft in U.S. history.

In 1948 Milton Berle starts his TV career on "Texaco Star Theater."

In 1959 The Soviet space probe Luna II becomes the first man-made object to reach the moon as it crashed on the lunar surface.

In 1960 The first OPEC meeting is held.

In 1963 Mary Ann Fischer of Aberdeen, South Dakota, gives birth to America's first surviving quintuplets, four girls and a boy.

In 1964 Walt Disney is awarded the Medal of Freedom at the White House.

In 1965 "F-Troop" premieres on ABC-TV.

In 1974 Charles Kowal discovers Leda, the 13th satellite of Jupiter.

In 1975 Pope Paul VI declares Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton the first U.S.-born saint.

In 1981 "Entertainment Tonight" premieres in syndication.

In 1982 Princess Grace of Monaco, formerly actress Grace Kelly, dies at age 52 of injuries she'd suffered in a car crash the day before.

In 1982 Bashir Gemayel, 34-year-old president-elect of Lebanon, dies when a bomb explodes at his party's headquarters in Beirut.

In 1984 Joe Kittinger begins the first solo balloon flight across the Atlantic ascending from Maine.

In 1984 Israel's new coalition government came into being, with Shimon Peres of the Labor Party as prime minister and Yitzhak Shamir of the Likud bloc as foreign minister.

In 1986 5 are killed in a bombing by North Korean terrorists in Seoul.

In 1987 Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole resigns to devote herself to the presidential campaign of her husband, Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole.

In 1988 Hurricane Gilbert slams into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula after forcing thousands of residents to flee.

In 1989 Former HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce Jr. refused to answer a congressional committee's questions for "fraud and mismanagement."

In 1989 Joseph T. Wesbecker, a 47-year-old pressman on disability for mental illness, shoots and kills eight people and wounded 12 others at a printing plant in Louisville, KY, before taking his own life.

In 1989 During the Persian Gulf crisis, the Navy reports that American troops had fired a warning shot at an Iraqi tanker, then boarded it briefly before allowing it to proceed.

In 1992 Germany cuts key interest rates for the first time in five years.

In 1993 British tourist Gary Colley is shot and killed, his female companion wounded, at a highway rest stop in Florida.

In 1993 Israel and Jordan sign framework for negotiations, a day after the signing of a PLO-Israeli peace accord.

In 1994 With no end of the baseball strike in sight, acting baseball commissioner Bud Selig announces the 1994 season is over.

In 1995 Pope John Paul II starts his 11th visit to Africa in Cameroon. Rouge rebel leader widely blamed for involvement in deaths of up to 2 million people in 1970s.

In 1997 Despite threats of violence, Bosnians flood polling stations to vote in local elections.

In 1998 Prosecutors charge 10 people in what they call largest Cuban spy ring uncovered in U.S.

In 1999 Indonesian soldiers loot the abandoned UN mission in East Timor, just hours after 110 UN personnel and 1,300 East Timorese were evacuated and flown to safety to end a 10-day siege.

In 1999 Hurricane Floyd clobbers the Bahamas, toppling power lines, ripping roofs off homes and pushing a roiling sea into streets before heading toward the southeastern U.S.

In 2000 U.S. government scientists narrowly reject proposal to ease the ban on gay male blood donors, citing the AIDS risk.

In 2002 President Bush says the U.S. was willing to take on Iraq alone if  the UN failed to "show some backbone" by confronting Saddam Hussein.

In 2003 An older half-sister of tennis stars Venus & Serena Williams,  Yetunde Price, is shot to death in Compton, California.


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