Today In History...

In 1541 Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reaches the Mississippi River.

In 1794 Antoine Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry, is executed on the guillotine during France's Reign of Terror.

In 1794 The U.S. Post Office is established.

In 1842 The first train wreck occurs as 53 people are killed near Bellevue, France.

In 1846 The first major battle of the Mexican War is fought at Palo Alto, TX, resulting in a victory for General Zachary Taylor's forces.

In 1878 Paul Hines makes the first unassisted triple play in baseball.

In 1886 Atlanta pharmacist John Styth Pemberton invents the syrup for a beverage that becomes known as "Coca Cola."

In 1902 Mt. Pelee volcano errupts killing 40,000 on Martinique Island.

In 1944 The first eye bank is established, in New York City.

In 1945 President Harry Truman announces in a radio speech that World War II had ended in Europe (V-E Day).

In 1958 Vice President Nixon is shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.

In 1960 The USSR and Cuba regain diplomatic relations.

In 1961 Astronaut Alan Shepard receives NASA's Distinguished Service Medal.

In 1962 The musical comedy "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" opens at the Alvin Theatre in New York.

In 1963 Sean Connery debuts as James Bond in the film "Dr. No" in North America.

In 1970 Helmeted construction workers break up an anti-war protest on Wall Street in New York City.

In 1973 Militant American Indians who had held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrender.

In 1978 David Berkowitz pleads guilty in a Brooklyn courtroom to six murder charges against him in the "Son of Sam" shootings that had terrified New Yorkers.

In 1980 Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino is released after 7 1/2 years of detention.

In 1983 U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz wraps up a 2-week tour of the Middle East, during which he had discussed a plan for withdrawing foreign troops from Lebanon.

In 1984 The USSR refuses to participate in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, charging the U.S. did not provide proper security.

In 1984 The Quebec Legislature is invaded by a Canadian soldier with a submachine gun killing 3 and wounding 13.

In 1985 President Reagan addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. About a third of the deputies walked out, waved protest signs or booed as Reagan criticized the Soviet Union.

In 1986 The premier of Soviet Ukraine, Alexander Lyashko, tells reporters that 84,000 people had been evacuated from settlements near the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

In 1987 Gary Hart, dogged by questions about his personal life, including his relationship with Donna Rice, withdraws from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In 1988 Science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein dies at age 80.

In 1988 French President Francois Mitterrand is elected to a second seven-year term, defeating conservative challenger Jacques Chirac.

In 1989 Former President Carter, a leader of an international team observing Panama's elections, declares that the armed forces were defrauding the opposition of victory.

In 1990 A fire aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Conyngham kills one crewman and injures 18 others.

In 1991 CIA Director William H. Webster announces his retirement.

In 1991 General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of American forces in the Gulf War, received a hero's welcome as he addressed Congress.

In 1992 After touring riot-ravaged Los Angeles for 2 days, President Bush promises to enact a "common-sense agenda" to help urban America.

In 1994 The U.S. reverses policy to allow political asylum for Haitian refugees.

In 1995 On the 50th anniversary of Nazi Germany's capitulation in World War

II, leaders representing the victorious powers gather in Berlin to remember the dead and pledge peace for the future.

In 1995 A tremendous storm dumps 18 inches of rain on southeast Louisiana, flooding homes and killing five people.

In 1996 Postal inspectors wrap up a 2-year sting operation in 36 states against the nation's biggest child pornography ring.

In 1996 South Africa takes another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for blacks and whites.

In 1996 Julie Andrews declines her Tony Award nomination after her show, "Victor/Victoria," was snubbed for Best Musical.

In 1997 After months of railing against Democrats for taking foreign money, Republicans announce contributions from a Hong Kong company would be returned.

In 1999 NATO expresses regret for a mistaken attack on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, but pledges to pursue the bombing campaign.

In 1999 The Citadel, South Carolina's formerly all-male military school, graduates its first female cadet, Nancy Ruth Mace.

In 2000 The San Francisco Board of Supervisors votes to ban discrimination based on weight or height.

In 2001 China said it would refuse to let the U.S. fly out a crippled Navy spy plane.

In 2001 Pope John Paul II begins the final leg of a historic pilgrimage as he arrived in Malta.


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