Today In History...

In 1492 A contract is signed between Christopher Columbus and a representative of Spain's King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, giving Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia.
In 1521 The Great Reformer Martin Luther goes before the Diet of Worms to face charges stemming from his religious writings.
In 1524 Present-day New York Harbor is discovered by Giovanni Da Verrazano.
In 1790 American statesman, diplomat, author and inventor Benjamin Franklin dies at age 84 in Philadelphia.
In 1861 The Virginia State Convention votes to secede from the Union.
In 1895 The Treaty of Shimonoseki is signed, ending the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-95).
In 1922 A postcard which disappeared during a Indiana tornado was found 124 miles away in Mt. Cory, Ohio.
In 1941 Yougoslavia surrenders to Germany during World War II.
In 1961 About 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launch the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro.
In 1964 Ford Motor Company unveils the Mustang.
In 1964 Jerrie Mock of Columbus, Ohio, becomes the first woman to complete a solo airplane flight around the world.
In 1969 Sirhan Sirhan is convicted of assassinating Democratic presidential candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy. (Sirhan was sentenced to death, but the sentence was reduced to life in prison after California's death penalty was overturned.)
In 1969 Czechoslovakian Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubcek is deposed.
In 1970 The astronauts of Apollo XIII splash down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft.
In 1975 Phnom Penh falls to Communist insurgents, ending Cambodia's 5-year war.
In 1979 KHJ/Los Angeles becomes the first AM station to broadcast in stereo.
In 1984 Machine-gun fire from Libya's Embassy in London rakes a crowd during a protest of Gadhafi's goverment killing a police officer.
In 1985 Lebanon's prime minister, Rashid Karami, and the country's 1-year-old national unity cabinet resign amid fierce fighting between rival militias for control of mostly Muslim west Beirut.
In 1986 The bodies of American librarian Peter Kilburn and Britons Leigh Douglas and Philip Padfield are found near Beirut; the three hostages had been slain in retaliation for the U.S. raid on Libya.
In 1986 At London's Heathrow Airport, a bomb is discovered in a bag carried by an Irish woman about to board an El Al jetliner; she had been tricked into carrying the bomb by her Jordanian boyfriend.
In 1987 President Reagan places $300 million in punitive duties on imported Japanese computers, television sets and power tools, in retaliation for Japan's alleged violation of a computer chip trade agreement.
In 1988 Louise Nevelson, the Russian-born sculptor who became one of the world's best-known women artists, dies in New York at age 88.
In 1989 According to a House Ethics report, then-House Speaker Jim Wright is accused of taking $145,000 in improper gifts.
In 1990 President Bush warns the Soviet Union against carrying out a blockade of Lithuania.
In 1990 Ralph D. Abernathy, civil rights activists and top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, dies in Atlanta at age 64.
In 1991 The Dow Jones industrial average closes above 3,000 for the first time, ending the day at 3,004.46.
In 1991 The U.S. Congress votes to put a quick end to a day-old nationwide strike by 235,000 rail workers.
In 1993 A federal jury in Los Angeles convicts two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King; two other officers were acquitted.
In 1993 Turkish President Turgut Ozal dies at age 66.
In 1995 Cheyenne Brando, the daughter of actor Marlon Brando, commits suicide.
In 1995 An Air Force jet explodes and crashes in a wooded area in eastern Alabama, killing eight people, including an assistant Air Force secretary and a two-star general.
In 1995 President Clinton signs an executive order stripping the classified label from most national security documents at least 25 years old.
In 1996 President Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto sign a joint declaration establishing new U.S.-Japan ties for a "stable and prosperous" Asia.
In 1996 A jury in Los Angeles opted to spare Erik and Lyle Menendez the death penalty, recommending that the brothers instead serve life in prison without parole for gunning down their wealthy parents.
In 1997 City officials order that the remaining section of the Berlin wall to be preserved.
In 1997 Former Israeli president Chaim Herzog dies in Tel Aviv at age 78.
In 1998 Scientists report the loss of a 75-square-mile chunk of the Larsen Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula.
In 1999 The first of 3 bombs to explode in London within a 2-week period went off in Brixton, a racially-mixed neighborhood, injuring 39.
In 2001 Mississippi residents vote to keep the Confederate emblem on their state flag.
In 2001 San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds becomes the 17th major leaguer ever to reach 500 career home runs.
In 2004 Israel assassinates Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi with a missile strike on his car.


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