Today In History...

In 1512 Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sights Florida.

In 1625 Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, ascends to the throne upon the death of James I.

In 1794 President Washington and Congress authorize creation of U.S. Navy.

In 1836 The first Morman temple is dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio.

In 1855 Abraham Gesner receives a patent for kerosene.

In 1855 Congress spends $30,000 to import camels for use by the army in Texas and the southwest.

In 1860 M.L. Byrn of New York receives a patent for the corkscrew.

In 1866 Andrew Rankin received a patent for the urinal.

In 1884 The first long-distance telephone call is made, between Boston and New York.

In 1912 The first Japanese cherry trees are planted in Washington, DC.

In 1917 The Seattle Metropolitans become the first U.S. team to win the Stanley Cup, defeating the Montreal Canadiens.

In 1933 The U.S. Farm Credit Administration is authorized.

In 1942 American servicemen are granted free mailing privileges.

In 1945 During World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower declares the German defenses on the Western Front had been broken.

In 1955 Color TV is broadcast coast-to-coast for the first time.

In 1958 Nikita Khrushchev becomes the Soviet premier as well as the first secretary of the Communist Party.

In 1964 A 8.6 earthquake kills 117 people in Alaska.

In 1968 Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit earth, dies in a plane crash.

In 1972 Venera 8 is launched to Venus.

In 1973 Marlon Brando refuses an Oscar for his performance in "The Godfather" as a gesture of support for the Indians occupying the Wounded Knee reservation in South Dakota.

In 1977 582 die when a KLM 747 attempting to take off, crashes into a Pan Am 747 on a runway on the Canary Island of Tenerife.

In 1979 The U.S. Supreme Court rules, 8-1, that police could not stop motorists at random to check licenses and registrations unless there was reason to believe a law had been broken.

In 1980 Mount St. Helens becomes active after 123 years.

In 1980 137 workers die when a North Sea floating oil platform capsizes.

In 1981 13 million workers strike in Poland, protesting the beatings of Solidarity activists.

In 1983 An angry crowd shouting "Go home!" forces Chicago mayoral candidate Harold Washington to cut short a campaign appearance with former vice president Walter F. Mondale in the city's North Side.

In 1984 In a controversial statement, Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm says elderly, terminally ill people have a "duty to die and get out of the way" instead of prolonging their life through artificial means.

In 1985 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that police can't shoot at fleeing suspects unless they are armed and dangerous.

In 1985 A grand jury in New York City indicts Bernhard Goetz on charges including attempted murder for the shooting of four black youths on a subway train. (Goetz was acquitted of attempted murder, but convicted of violating weapons laws.)

In 1986 The ships and planes of the Sixth Fleet withdraw from the Gulf of Sidra off Libya as American officials declared the U.S. had accomplished its mission of defending freedom of the seas.

In 1987 The Marine Corps charged that Sgt. Clayton J. Lonetree escorted Soviet agents through the U.S. Embassy in Moscow -- an accusation that was dropped, although Lonetree was convicted of espionage.

In 1990 The U.S. begins test broadcasts of TV Marti to Cuba, which promptly jammed the signal.

In 1991 President Bush publicly disagrees with Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who claimed he had urged further fighting in the Persian Gulf War at the time Bush ordered a cease-fire. (Schwarzkopf later apologized.)

In 1992 Democratic presidential front-runner Bill Clinton, campaigning in New York, apologizes for recently golfing at an all-white club.

In 1992 German Chancellor Helmut Kohl meets with Austrian President Kurt Waldheim in Munich, a meeting denounced by Jewish groups because of Waldheim's alleged involvement with Nazi persecution during WWII.

In 1994 Violent thunderstorms tear through the Southeast, killing 20 and injuring at least 90 people in a Piedmont, Alabama, church, and a total of 44 in storm's path.

In 1994 Ukraine holds its first parliamentary elections since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 1995 Former President Jimmy Carter announces he has brokered a two-month cease-fire between Sudan's Islamic government and rebels.

In 1995 "Forrest Gump" wins six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and a second consecutive Best Actor Oscar for Tom Hanks. Jessica Lange wins Best Actress for "Blue Sky."

In 1996 Yigal Amir is convicted of assassination of Israeli Prime Minister
Rabin, and sentenced to life in prison.

In 1997 About 17 million Russian workers stage a nationwide strike in demand for wages months overdue.

In 1998 The FDA approves the prescription drug Viagra, saying it helps about two-thirds of impotent men.

In 1998 The top civilian aircraft makers of France, Spain, Germany and Britain agree to create a single European aerospace and defense company.

In 1999 Maria Butyrskaya of Russia wins the World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki, Finland; defending champion Michelle Kwan of the U.S. finished second.

In 2001 An empty train riding on the wrong side of the tracks crashes into a crowded commuter train in central Belgium, killing eight people.

In 2002 Actor/comedian Milton Berle, who became known "Mr. Television" in the 1940's, dies at age 93.


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