Today In History...
In 1797 Nathan Briggs of New Hampshire receives a patent for the washing machine.
In 1799 New York State abolishes slavery.
In 1834 The U.S. Senate votes to censure President Andrew Jackson for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United States.
In 1854 During the Crimean War, Britain and France declare war on Russia.
In 1866 The first hospital ambulance goes into service.
In 1867 The U.S. begins the official purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million.
In 1881 "The Greatest Show On Earth" is formed by P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey.
In 1930 Turkey renames two of its cities: Constantinople becomes Istanbul and Angora becomes Ankara.
In 1939 The Spanish Civil War ends as Madrid fell to the forces of Francisco Franco.
In 1941 Novelist and critic Virginia Woolf dies in Lewes, England.
In 1942 During World War II, British naval forces raid the Nazi-occupied French port of St. Nazaire.
In 1953 Athlete Jim Thorpe dies in Lomita, California.
In 1963 Con man Billie Sol Estes is convicted of swindling Texas banks out of $24 million in loans based on non-existent fertilizer.
In 1969 Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th U.S. president, dies in Washington at age 78.
In 1979 America's worst commercial nuclear accident occurs when a reactor at Three Mile Island near Middletown, Pennsylvania, had a partial meltdown, resulting in the leakage of radioactivity.
In 1980 The Prime Interest Rate hits 19.5%.
In 1982 Voters in El Salvador give a victory to the Christian Democrats, led by President Jose Napoleon Duarte, in a constituent assembly election.
In 1983 Unionized workers in Argentina, demanding higher wages, begin a 24-hour general strike paralyzing the country.
In 1984 Two dozen tornados, in North and South Carolina, kill 62 people and injure more than 800.
In 1985 The U.S. Senate approves a resolution urging President Reagan to take retaliatory trade measures against Japan unless the Japanese opened new markets to U.S. goods.
In 1986 Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi presides over a rally in which he proclaimed victory over the U.S. in a just-ended confrontation in the Gulf of Sidra.
In 1987 Maria von Trapp, whose life inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music," dies in Vermont at age 82.
In 1989 Former Attorney General Ed Meese testifies at Oliver North's trial that there had been times when White House insiders thought that President Reagan might be impeached over the Iran/Contra Affair.
In 1990 British customs officials announce they had foiled an attempt to supply Iraq with 40 American-made devices for triggering nuclear weapons.
In 1991 Tens of thousands of supporters of Boris N. Yeltsin march in Moscow in defiance of President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's ban on rallies.
In 1991 Former President Reagan declares his support for the so-called "Brady Bill" requiring a 7-day waiting period for handgun purchases.
In 1992 Democratic presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown clash over Brown's flat-tax proposal.
In 1993 About 10,000 people march in Dublin, Ireland, to protest an IRA bombing that claimed the lives of two young boys.
In 1994 Violence in Johannesburg kills over 50 when a march by Zulu nationalists explodes in chaos.
In 1994 Absurdist playwright Eugene Ionesco dies in Paris at age 81.
In 1995 In Japan, Mitsubishi Bank and the Bank of Tokyo agree to a merger to create what was then the world's largest bank.
In 1996 The U.S. Congress passes the line-item veto.
In 1997 A medical examiner says that some members of the Heaven's Gate cult had been castrated before committing suicide in a California mansion in apparent pursuit of the group's ideal of androgynous immortality.
In 1998 During a visit to South Africa, President Clinton visits Soweto, a landmark in the bloody uprising against apartheid.
In 1999 The Baltimore Orioles beat a Cuban all-star team, 3-2, in Havana.
In 2001 A federal appeals court in San Francisco threw out a record $107 million verdict against anti-abortion activists, ruling that a web site branding abortion doctors "baby butchers" and criminals was protected by the First Amendment.
In 2001 A book on the Oklahoma City bombing said Timothy McVeigh had shown no remorse, and called the 19 children who died "collateral damage."
In 2003 Japan launches its first spy satellites to monitor communist neighbor North Korea's missile development and suspected nuclear weapons programs.
In 2004 Oscar-winner Sir Peter Ustinov ("Spartacus," "Topkapi") dies at 82.