Today In History...
In 1519 Cortez lands in Mexico.
In 1639 Harvard University is named for clergyman John Harvard.
In 1781 The planet Uranus is discovered by Sir William Herschel.
In 1852 The New York Lantern publishes the first cartoon showing the character "Uncle Sam" based on a real U.S. officer who served in the war of 1812, Samuel Wilson.
In 1861 Confederate president Jefferson Davis signs bill authorizing the use of slaves as soldiers.
In 1868 The impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson begins in the U.S. Senate.
In 1877 Maine teenager Chester Greenwood patents the earmuffs.
In 1884 Standard Time is adopted throughout the United States.
In 1901 Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd U.S. president, dies in Indianapolis.
In 1906 American suffragist, Susan B. Anthony dies in Rochester, NY.
In 1925 A Tennessee law goes into effect prohibiting the teaching of evolution.
In 1928 400 die when the St. Francis Dam bursts, flooding San Francisquito Valley in California.
In 1930 Clyde Tombaugh announces the discovery of the planet Pluto at Lowell Observatory.
In 1933 U.S. banks begin to re-open after a "holiday" declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1938 Famed attorney Clarence S. Darrow dies in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1964 38 New York city residents heard but failed to respond to the cries of Kitty Genovese, who is fatally stabbed on her way home.
In 1969 Apollo IX returns to Earth, ending a mission that included the successful testing of the Lunar Module.
In 1980 Ford Motor Chairman Henry Ford II announces that he will step down.
In 1980 A jury in Winamac, Indiana, finds Ford Motor Company innocent of reckless homicide in the fiery deaths of 3 women in a Ford Pinto.
In 1985 Funeral services are held in Moscow for leader Konstantin Chernenko, after which Vice President George Bush met with new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
In 1986 Soyuz T-15 is launched.
In 1986 Philippine investigators discover a secret $800 million bank account belonging to exiled President Ferdinand Marcos.
In 1986 The Soviet Union launches a Soyuz spacecraft with two cosmonauts aboard in the first manned space mission since America's Challenger disaster.
In 1987 The president of Ecuador said his country had suspended payments on its foreign debt after earthquakes killed hundreds of people and ruptured the country's main oil pipeline.
In 1988 Gallaudet University in Washington, a liberal arts college for the deaf, replaces Elizabeth Ann Zinser, a hearing woman, with I. King Jordon, the University's first deaf president.
In 1990 The Soviet Congress of People's Deputies approve Mikhail Gorbachev's proposals for a multi-party political system.
In 1990 President Bush lifts trade sanctions against Nicaragua in a show of support for President-elect Violeta Chamorro.
In 1991 Exxon Corp. agrees to pay a $100 million criminal fine and more than $900 million in civil damages in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. But, the deal fell apart when the Alaska House rejected it. A new settlement was reached later.
In 1992 The U.S. House of Representatives votes unanimously to publicly identify 355 current and former members who had overdrawn their accounts at the House bank.
In 1994 A South African diplomat takes over as leader of Bophuthatswana as the black homeland's president, Lucas Mangope, was deposed.
In 1994 The Israeli Cabinet outlaws two Jewish extremist groups, Kach and Kahane Lives, branding them terrorist organizations.
In 1995 President Clinton declares emergencies in more than half the counties in California as one of the worst winter storms this century pelts the coast with rain.
In 1995 Two Americans working for the McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Kuwait are seized by Iraq after they stray across the border; sentenced to eight years in prison, both were freed the following July.
In 1996 A man bursts into Scottish elementary school with four handguns and opens fire on class of kindergartners, killing 16 children and one teacher and wounding 12 students before killing himself.
In 1996 World leaders, including President Clinton, hold a summit in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, to support for the Mideast peace process.
In 1997 A Jordanian soldier shoots and kills seven Israeli junior high school girls on a field trip. (The soldier, Corporal Ahmed Daqamseh, was sentenced by a military court to life in prison.)
In 1998 The U.S. sends a $1.7 billion aid package to Thailand, including jet fighters.
In 1998 U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II says he will not seek a seventh term.
In 1998 Sgt. Major Gene McKinney, once the Army's top enlisted man, is acquitted of pressuring military women for sex, but convicted of trying to persuade chief accuser to lie.
In 1999 Evander Holyfield, the WBA and IBF champion, and Lennox Lewis, the WBC champion, keep their respective titles after fighting to a controversial draw in New York.
In 1999 Playwright Garson Kanin dies in New York at age 86.
In 2000 U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen arrives in Hanoi to push the pace of reconciliation.
In 2001 France announces its first case of foot-and-mouth disease, prompting the U.S. to suspend meat imports from the European Union.
In 2004 Iran freezes inspections of its nuclear facilities after the U.N. atomic agency censured Tehran for hiding suspect activities.