Today In History...

In 1181 A supernova is observed by Chinese and Japanese astronomers.
In 1787 The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia begins to debate the articles contained in a draft of the U.S. Constitution.
In 1806 The Holy Roman Empire ceases to exist as Emperor Francis I abdicates.
In 1825 Bolivia declares its independence from Peru.
In 1890 The electric chair is used for the first time as convicted killer William Kemmler is executed at Auburn State Prison in New York.
In 1890 Cy Young gains the first of his 511 major-league victories as he pitched Cleveland to a 6-1 win over Chicago.
In 1914 During World War I, Austria-Hungary declares war against Russia; Serbia declares war against Germany.
In 1926 New York's Gertrude Ederle is the first woman to swim the English Channel, in some 14 1/2 hours.
In 1926 Warner Brothers premieres its Vitaphone sound-on-disc movie system in New York.
In 1934 U.S. troops leave Haiti, which had been occupied since 1915.
In 1942 Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands becomes the first reigning queen to address a joint session of Congress, saying that despite Nazi occupation, her people's motto remained, "No surrender."
In 1945 The U.S. drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing an an estimated 140,000 people in the first use of a nuclear weapon during warfare.
In 1948 Bob Mathias wins the decathlon at the London Olympics.
In 1961 Gherman S. Titov is the second Russian in space aboard Vostok 2.
In 1962 Jamaica gains independence from Britain.
In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signs the Federal Voting Rights Act into law, guaranteeing black voting rights.
In 1974 An explosion destroys Great Northern Railroad yard in Wenatchee, WA.
In 1978 Pope Paul VI dies of a heart attack at age 80.
In 1985 Nineteenth Space Shuttle Mission: Challenger 8 returns to Earth.
In 1985 Major League baseball players go on strike.
In 1986 William J. Schroeder, the world's longest-surviving recipient of a permanent artificial heart, dies after living 620 days with a Jarvik-7 manmade pump.
In 1990 The U.N. Security Council orders a worldwide embargo on trade with Iraq to punish the Baghdad regime for invading Kuwait.
In 1990 The president of Pakistan dismisses Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto
In 1990 and her government, alleging rampant corruption, and declared a state of emergency.
In 1991 "60 Minutes" newsman Harry Reasoner dies at age 68.
In 1991 The U.S. Justice Department joins forces with the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue in fighting a federal judge's order to keep two abortion clinics in Wichita, KS, open.
In 1992 President Bush grants full diplomatic recognition to the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia and Croatia.
In 1992 Americans led by Carl Lewis sweep the long jump at the Barcelona Summer Olympics, while Kevin Young won the 400-meter hurdles and Mike Marsh the 200 meters.
In 1994 In Wedowee, AL, an apparent arson fire destroys Randolph County High School, which had been the focus of tensions over the principal's stand against interracial dating.
In 1995 Thousands of people in Hiroshima, Japan, set glowing lanterns afloat in rivers, capping a day of tributes on the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing.
In 1996 Officials announce that the Air Force had punished 16 officers in connection with the crash that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others the previous April.
In 1997 Rescuers pull charred bodies from wreckage of Korean Air jet in Guam. Of 254 on board, only 29 survive.
In 1997 British Prime Minister Tony Blair shakes hands with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams in first meeting in 76 years between a British leader and the IRA's allies.
In 1999 In Canton, TX, a 36-year-old woman who faces lifelong heart problems she blames on the diet drug combination fen-phen was awarded $23.3 million in the first such lawsuit to reach a jury.
In 1999 Tony Gwynn becomes the 22nd major leaguer to reach 3000 hits.
In 2000 Workers at Verizon, the nation's largest local telephone company, begin an 18-day strike over working conditions and union representation.
In 2001 Ending months of speculation, former President Clinton said he would write his much sought-after memoirs for publisher Alfred A. Knopf.
In 2002 One-year-old Guatemalan twins joined at the head are separated at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center.
In 2011 A helicopter containing members of Navy SEAL 6 is shot down in Afghanistan killing 38.
In 2012 Mount Tongariro, New Zealand, erupts for the first time in a century.

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