Today In History...
In 1819 Alabama becomes the 22nd U.S. state.
In 1861 Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, dies in London.
In 1911 Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen becomes the first man to reach the South Pole, beating out an expedition lead by Robert F. Scott.
In 1927 Iraq gains independence from Britain, but British troops remain.
In 1939 The Soviet Union is dropped from the League of Nations.
In 1939 Baltimore's landmark Rennert Hotel, famed for its restaurant's Maryland cuisine, closes its doors citing financial difficulties.
In 1945 Josef Kramer, known as the "Beast of Belsen," and ten others are hanged in Hameln for crimes committed at the Blesen and Auschwitz concentration camps during World War II.
In 1946 The U.N. General Assembly votes to establish U.N. headquarters in New York City.
In 1962 The U.S. space probe Mariner II approaches Venus, transmitting information about the planet's atmosphere and temperature.
In 1967 DNA is created in a lab at Stanford University.
In 1975 Six Moluccan terrorists surrender to police after holding 23 hostage for 12 days on a train near the Dutch town of Beilen.
In 1977 The film "Saturday Night Fever" premieres in New York City.
In 1981 Israel annexes the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967.
In 1983 Syrian missile sites were hit by the U.S. Battleship New Jersey's 16-inch guns after someone takes potshots at two U.S. planes.
In 1984 The Reagan administration and Cuba reach an agreement under which Cuban criminals and mental patients who had come to the U.S. as part of the 1980 "Freedom Flotilla" would be sent back.
In 1985 Baseball great Roger Maris dies at age 51.
In 1986 The experimental aircraft Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, takes off from California on the first non-stop flight around the world without refueling.
In 1987 Chrysler admits that odometers were turned back on some test and executive models.
In 1987 U.S. Supreme Court nominee Anthony M. Kennedy tells his confirmation hearing he had no hidden agenda for abortion and privacy cases.
In 1988 President Reagan authorizes the U.S. to enter into a "substantive dialogue" with the PLO after chairman Yasser Arafat renounces "all forms of terrorism."
In 1988 The original script of Orson Welles's "War of the Worlds" fetches $143,000 at an auction.
In 1989 Nobel peace prize laureate Andrei D. Sakharov dies at age 68.
In 1990 President Bush says he will nominate Lynn Martin to succeed Elizabeth H. Dole as labor secretary.
In 1991 During a meeting a Camp David, President Bush and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari renew their commitment to conclude quickly the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin loses a battle with hard-liners as he was forced to abandon his reformist prime minister, Yegor Gaidar, in favor of Communist-era technocrat Viktor Chernomyrdin.
In 1993 A Colorado judge strikes down the state's voter-approved Amendment Two prohibiting gay rights laws, calling it unconstitutional.
In 1993 United Mine Workers approve a 5-year contract, ending a strike that had reached seven states and involved some of the nation's biggest coal operators.
In 1993 Actress Myrna Loy dies in New York at age 88.
In 1995 Presidents Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia, Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia and Franjo Tudjman of Croatia sign a Bosnian peace treaty in Paris.
In 1995 AIDS patient Jeff Getty receives the first-ever bone-marrow transplant from a baboon.
In 1996 A freighter loses power on the Mississippi River and crashes into the Riverwalk complex in New Orleans. No one was killed.
In 1997 ASEAN nations meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to commemorate its 30-year anniversary.
In 1997 Cuban President Fidel Castro declares Christmas 1997 an official holiday to ensure the success of Pope John Paul II's upcoming visit to the communist country.
In 1999 Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian national, is arrested after authorities allegedly found nitroglycerin in the trunk of his car as he arrived from Canada by ferry at Port Angeles, WA.
In 1999 Charles M. Schulz announces he would retire from the "Peanuts" comic strip.
In 2000 Russian President Vladimir Putin pardons Edmond Pope, the first American convicted of espionage in Russia in 40 years, and lets him leave the country after eight months in prison.
In 2000 The Federal Trade Commission unanimously approves the $111 billion merger of America Online and Time Warner.