Today In History...
In 1520 Pope Leo X threatens to excommunicate Martin Luther if he did not recant his religious beliefs.
In 1752 Benjamin Franklin discovers electricity with a kite and key.
In 1775 The Second Continental Congress votes unanimously to appoint George Washington commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
In 1785 The first man to fly, Jean Pilatre de Rozier dies when his balloon crashes during an English Channel crossing.
In 1804 The 12th Amendment to the U.S. constitution is ratified defining the manner in which the President and Vice President are chosen.
In 1836 Arkansas becomes the 25th U.S. state.
In 1844 Charles Goodyear receives a patent for the vulcanization of rubber.
In 1846 The U.S. and Britain sign a treaty settling the boundary between Canada and the United States in the Pacific Northwest.
In 1849 James Polk, the 11th U.S. president, dies in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1864 Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton signs an order designating a site
in what became Arlington, Virginia, as a military cemetery.
In 1904 More than 1000 die when fire erupts aboard the steamboat "General Slocum" in New York's East River.
In 1924 Native Americans are proclaimed U.S. citizens.
In 1940 France surrenders to Hitler during World War II.
In 1944 American forces begin their successful invasion of Saipan in the Central Pacific during World War II.
In 1944 B-29 Superfortresses make their first raids on Japan, attacking a plant on Kyushu.
In 1960 The Billy Wilder movie "The Apartment," starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, opens in New York.
In 1967 Governor Ronald Reagan signs a liberalized California abortion bill.
In 1975 Soyuz 19 is launched.
In 1977 Spain holds its first free elections since 1936.
In 1978 King Hussein of Jordan marries 26-year-old American Elizabeth Halaby, and proclaimed his bride Queen Noor al-Hussein.
In 1981 The Agriculture Department announces that there will be a shortage of farmland by the year 2000 due to urbanization.
In 1985 On day two of the hijacking of TWA Flight 847, gunmen force the jetliner to fly from Algeria to Lebanon, where the hijackers kill passenger Robert S. Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver.
In 1987 The U.S. Supreme Court rules the impact of a murder on the victim's family may not be considered when a convicted killer faces a possible death sentence.
In 1988 Hong Kong announces a clampdown on "boat people," saying Vietnamese refugees would be returned to Vietnam if they could not prove that they had fled religious or political persecution.
In 1989 Three Chinese workers in Shanghai are sentenced to death for helping to set fire to a train during recent pro-democracy protests.
In 1990 The film "Dick Tracy" starring Warren Beatty and Madonna opens nationally.
In 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin arrives in the U.S. for a summit with President Bush.
In 1992 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the government may kidnap criminal suspects from a foreign country for prosecution.
In 1992 Vice President Dan Quayle erroneously instructs a Trento, New Jersey, elementary school student to spell "potato" as "potatoe" during a spelling bee.
In 1992 Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin arrives in the U.S. for a summit with President Bush.
In 1992 The U.S. Supreme Court rules the government may kidnap criminal
In 1992 uspects from a foreign country for prosecution.
In 1992 Vice President Dan Quayle, relying on a faulty flash card, erroneously instructed a Trenton, NJ, elementary school student to spell "potato" as "potatoe" during a spelling bee.
In 1993 Former Texas Governor John Connally, who had been wounded in the gunfire that killed President Kennedy, dies at age 76.
In 1994 The largest study ever of breast implants turns up no evidence they cause serious illness.
In 1994 Israel and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations.
In 1994 Former President Jimmy Carter arrives in North Korea on a private mission to try to reduce tensions with the communist nation.
In 1995 President Clinton meets with Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama on the opening day of a Group of Seven summit in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In 1995 At the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Simpson struggled to put on a pair of gloves that prosecutors said were worn the night Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were killed.
In 1996 An Explosives-laden truck blows up in a retail district in central Manchester, England, injuring more than 200. The Irish Republican Army claims responsibility.
In 1996 A truck bomb blows up in a retail district of Manchester, England, injuring more than 200 people in an attack claimed by the Irish Republican Army.
In 1997 Leaders of eight developing Muslim nations inaugurate an economic cooperation group to fight poverty.
In 1997 Israel's Supreme Court rejects an appeal to charge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with fraud in an influence-peddling scandal that had threatened to topple his government.
In 1998 Two U.S. fighter jets join NATO in a show of power to persuade Yugoslav leaders to back down in Kosovo.
In 1998 The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously that state prison inmates are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In 1999 Vessels from North Korea and South Korea clash on the Yellow Sea. about 30 North Korean sailors are believed to have died.
In 1999 A 6.7 earthquake in central Mexico kills at least 17 people.
In 2000 Vice President Al Gore names Commerce Secretary William Daley to take over his presidential campaign.
In 2002 A Houston jury convicts accounting firm Arthur Andersen of obstruction of justice, in connection with the collapse of energy-trader Enron.
In 2004 Tim Berners-Lee receives the $1.2 million Millennium Technology Prize in Helsinki, Finland, for creating the World Wide Web.