Today In History...
In 1577 Sir Frances Drake of England departs on a voyage around the world.
In 1777 The Continental Congress approves the Articles of Confederation, a precursor to the Constitution of the United States.
In 1806 Explorer Zebulon Pike sights the mountaintop in Colorado now known as "Pikes Peak."
In 1864 Confederate General Sherman sets Atlanta, Georgia, on fire.
In 1869 Free postal delivery is formally inaugurated.
In 1881 The American Federation of Labor (AFL) is founded in Pittsburgh.
In 1889 Brazil's King Pedro II abdicates, and Brazil is proclaimed a republic.
In 1901 The first electric hearing aid, "the Acousticon," is patented.
In 1920 The League of Nations holds its first meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 1926 The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) goes on-the-air with a network of 24 radio stations.
In 1937 Air conditioning is installed in the House and Senate chambers.
In 1939 The Social Security Administration approves the first unemployment check.
In 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt lays the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.
In 1940 The first 75,000 men are called to armed forces duty under peacetime conscription.
In 1948 William Lyon Mackenzie King retires as prime minister of Canada after 21 years; he was succeeded by Louis St. Laurent.
In 1954 Regularly scheduled flights over the North Pole begin.
In 1956 The United Nations Emergency Force arrives in Egypt.
In 1964 Mickey Wright shoots a 62, the lowest golf score for a woman pro.
In 1966 The flight of Gemini XII ends successfully when astronauts James A. Lovell and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. splash down in the Atlantic.
In 1969 500,000 protesters peacefully demonstrate against the Vietnam War in Washington, DC, and other major cities.
In 1976 The Syrian army takes full control of Beirut, in effect ending an 18-month civil war in Lebanon.
In 1977 President Jimmy Carter greets the Shah of Iran.
In 1977 Israel sends a formal invitation to Egypt's President Anwar Sadat to visit Jerusalem and address Israeli Parliament.
In 1979 The British government publicly identifies Sir Anthony Blunt as the "fourth man" of a Soviet spy ring which included Guy Burgess,Donald Maclean and Kim Philby.
In 1980 Pope John Paul II begins a 5-day visit to West Germany.
In 1982 Funeral services held in Moscow's Red Square for the late Soviet President Leonid I. Brezhnev.
In 1984 Baby Fae, the month-old infant who had received a baboon's heart to replace her own congenitally deformed one, dies at a California medical center almost three weeks after the transplant.
In 1985 Britain and Ireland sign an accord giving Dublin an official consultative role in governing the troubled British-ruled province on Northern Ireland.
In 1987 28 of the 82 people aboard a Continental Airlines DC-9, including the pilot and co-pilot, are killed the the jetliner crashes after takeoff from Denver's Stapleton International Airport.
In 1988 At the close of a 4-day conference in Algiers, the PLO proclaims the establishment on an independent Palestinian state.
In 1988 The Soviet Union launches its first space shuttle, Buran, on an unmanned, three-and-a-half hour flight.
In 1989 American lawmakers cheer solidarity leader Lech Walesa as he told a joint meeting of Congress that U.S. aid to Poland "will not be wasted, and will never be forgotten."
In 1990 Leningrad decides to ration food due to extreme shortages in the Soviet Union.
In 1990 The first major U.S.-Saudi military exercise prior to the Gulf War, "Imminent Thunder" begins.
In 1990 The U.S. Senate Ethics Committee begins hearings on the Keating Five, senators accused of going too far in helping failed savings-and-loan owner Charles H. Keating Jr.
In 1990 The space shuttle Atlantis is launched on a secret military mission.
In 1991 U.S. Secretary of State Jim Baker arrives in China for talks on trade, human rights and arms proliferation.
In 1991 A federal appeals court throws out former National Security Adviser John M. Poindexter's felony convictions in the Iran-Contra affair.
In 1993 A judge in Mineola, NY, sentences Joey Buttafuoco to six months in jail for the statutory rape of Amy Fisher, who was serving a prison sentence for shooting and wounding Buttafuoco's wife, Mary Jo.
In 1993 The State Department announces that Secretary Warren M. Christopher would travel to the Mideast to try to mediate differences between Israel and the PLO.
In 1994 U.S. experts visit North Korea's main nuclear complex for first time in line with the accord aimed at opening such sites to outside inspections.
In 1994 The 18-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group concludes a 2-day summit in Indonesia.
In 1995 A partial government shutdown enters its second day.
In 1996 Texaco agrees to pay $176.1 million dollars to settle a 2-year-old race discrimination suit.
In 1998 Kwame Ture, the civil rights activist formerly known as Stokely Carmichael, dies in Guinea at age 57.
In 1999 U.S. and Chinese negotiators reach a breakthrough agreement to remove trade barriers, clearing the biggest hurdle to China's entry into the World Trade Organization.
In 2000 Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore makes a surprise proposal for a statewide hand recount of Florida's 6 million ballots - an idea immediately rejected by George W. Bush.
In 2002 Hu Jintao replaces Jiang Zemin as China's Communist Party leader.
In 2003 A gangway on the cruise ship Queen Mary II collapses in St. Nazaire, France, killing 15 people.
In 2003 Kathleen Blanco (D) is elected the first female governor ofLouisiana.
In 2003 Billionaire Laurence Tisch dies at age 80.
In 2004 The White House announced that Secretary of State Colin Powell was leaving President George W. Bush's Cabinet.