Today In History...
In 1596 English navigator Sir Francis Drake dies during a voyage off the coast of Panama.
In 1613 Galileo unknowingly views the undiscovered planet Neptune.
In 1807 London's Pall Mall is the first street lighted by a gaslight.
In 1821 Bellingshausen discovers Alexander Island off Antarctica.
In 1860 Britain formally returns Mosquito Coast to Nicaragua.
In 1871 France surrenders in the Franco-Prussian War.
In 1878 George W. Coy is hired as the first full-time telephone operator in New Haven, CT.
In 1878 The first college newspaper, the Yale Daily News, is published.
In 1902 The Carnegie Institute is established in Washington, DC.
In 1909 The United States ends direct control over Cuba.
In 1915 The U.S. Coast Guard is established by an act of Congress.
In 1916 Louis D. Brandeis is appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming its first Jewish member.
In 1932 Wisconsin enacts the first U.S. state unemployment insurance act.
In 1938 The first ski tow begins operations in Vermont.
In 1945 During World War II, Allied supplies begin reaching China over the newly reopened Burma Road.
In 1953 J. Fred Muggs (the chimp) joins the "Today Show."
In 1960 The first photograph is bounced off the moon.
In 1973 A cease-fire officially goes into effect for the Vietnam war.
In 1977 Comedian Freddie Prinze commits suicide.
In 1978 Fire kills 20 in the historic Coates House Hotel in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
In 1980 Six U.S. diplomats who avoided being taken hostage at the embassy in Tehran fly out of Iran with the help of Canadian diplomats.
In 1982 Italian anti-terrorism forces storm an apartment in Padua and rescue U.S. Brigadier General James L. Dozier, 42 days after he had been kidnapped by the Red Brigades.
In 1983 Jim Purol sets the smoking record, smoking 142 cigarettes at the same time for five minutes.
In 1986 The space shuttle "Challenger" explodes 73 seconds after takeoff from Cape Canaveral, FL, killing all seven crew members.
In 1987 The State Department prohibited travel to Lebanon on U.S.passports, giving Americans already in Lebanon 30 days to get out.
In 1988 The Supreme Court of Canada strikes down the nation's restrictive abortion law.
In 1988 A 13-day standoff in Marion, Utah, between police and a polygamist clan ends in gunfire that killed a state corrections officer and seriously wounded the group's leader, Addam Swapp.
In 1990 The San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos, 55-10, in Super Bowl XXIV.
In 1991 The U.S. military reports that more than 60 Iraqi fighter bombers had taken refuge in Iran, where they were impounded by the Iranian government.
In 1992 A multi-national Middle East peace conference opens in Moscow.
In 1993 The Israeli Supreme Court unanimously upholds the deportations of 400 Palestinians from the occupied territories to Lebanon.
In 1993 Funeral services are held in Washington for former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
In 1994 In Los Angeles a mistrial is declared in the case of Lyle Mendez, just over two weeks after a mistrial was declared in the case of Lyle's brother Erik. They were later retried, convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
In 1995 President Clinton hosts a five-and-a-half-hour "work session" of governors, legislators and local officials, both Democrats and Republicans, to discuss welfare reform.
In 1996 France sets off a 6th underground nuclear blast in the South Pacific, the last in a series of atomic tests that generated protests worldwide.
In 1996 The Dallas Cowboys capture their third Super Bowl victory in four years, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17.
In 1997 O.J. Simpson's fate is placed in the hands of a civil court jury to decide if he should be held liable for the slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. (The jury found that Simpson was liable, and ordered him to pay $33.5 million.)
In 1998 A bomb at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, AL, kills an off-duty police officer and injures a counselor.
In 2001 Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants, 34-7, in Super BowlXXXV.
In 2002 Hamid Karzai becomes the first Afghan leader to visit Washington in 39 years.
In 2002 An Ecuadorean jetliner crashes in the Andes across the border in Colombia, killing all 92 aboard.
In 2003 John Philp Thompson, who expanded his family's business into the nationwide 7-Eleven chain, dies at age 77.