Today In History...
In 1854 Alfred Lord Tennyson's famous poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade," is published in England.
In 1884 Roller skates with ball bearings are patented in Chicago.
In 1892 "Widowers' Houses," George Bernard Shaw's first play, opens at the Royalty Theatre in London.
In 1907 The first Christmas Seals are sold in a Wilmington, Delaware, post office to fight tuberculosis.
In 1940 British troops open their first major offensive in North Africa during World War II.
In 1941 China declares war on Germany, Italy and Japan during World War II.
In 1942 The Aram Khachaturian ballet "Gayane," featuring the surging "Saber Dance," is first performed by the Kirov Ballet.
In 1948 The UN General Assembly unanimously approves Convention on Genocide.
In 1958 Robert H.W. Welch Jr. and 11 other men meet in Indianapolis to form the anti-communist John Birch Society.
In 1965 Nikolai V. Podgorny replaces Anastas I. Mikoyan as president of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
In 1975 President Gerald R. Ford signs a $3.2 billion seasonal loan that the officials of New York City said would prevent a city default.
In 1978 Pioneer 2 drops five probes into the atmosphere of Venus.
In 1979 The world's heaviest turkey weighs in at 77.25 pounds.
In 1979 Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, a religious broadcaster, dies at age 84.
In 1982 Leon Jaworski, the Watergate special prosecutor, dies at age 77.
In 1983 NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, call on the Soviet Union to join in a "comprehensive political dialogue" to ease world tensions.
In 1984 The five-day-old hijacking of a Kuwaiti jetliner, that claimed the lives of two Americans, ends at Tehran airport.
In 1985 Two former presidents of Argentina are convicted of murder.
In 1986 In public testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, former national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane said President Ronald Reagan had approved an "indirect" shipment of arms to Iran in August 1985.
In 1989 President Bush's national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, begins a surprise visit to Beijing, six months after China's crack-down on pro-democracy demonstrators.
In 1990 Solidarity founder Lech Walesa wins Poland's presidential runoff by a landslide.
In 1991 Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev challenges Boris Yeltsin's declaration that the Soviet Union was dead.
In 1991 European Community leaders meeting in the Dutch city of Maastricht tentatively agree to begin using a single currency by 1999.
In 1992 Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana announce their separation. (Their divorce became final August 28, 1996.)
In 1992 Former CIA spy chief Clair George is convicted of lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair. He was later pardoned by President Bush.
In 1993 The U.S. Air Force destroys the first of 500 Minuteman II missile silos marked for elimination under an arms control treaty.
In 1993 Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour complete repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope.
In 1994 President Clinton demands the resignation of Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders after learning she said masturbation should be discussed in school as part of human sexuality.
In 1995 Congressman Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) is chosen to become the new head of the NAACP.
In 1996 The United Nations gives Iraq the go-ahead to resume oil exports for first time since 1990 to buy food and medicine.
In 1996 More than 4 months after the Olympic Games bombing in Atlanta, the FBI posted a $500,000 reward.
In 1996 Archaeologist and anthropologist Mary Leakey dies at age 83.
In 2000 The U.S. Supreme Court orders a temporary halt in the Florida vote count in the presidential election.
In 2000 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak announces he would resign and call a special election.
In 2001 The U.S. discloses the existence of a videotape in which Osama bin Laden said he was pleasantly surprised by the extent of damage from the September 11 terrorist attacks.
In 2002 United Airlines files the biggest bankruptcy in aviation history after losing $4 billion in the previous two years.
In 2003 Former Senator Paul Simon dies in Springfield, IL, at age 75.