Today In History...
In 1775 The American Revolutionary War begins with the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
In 1782 The Netherlands recognize American independence.
In 1824 English romantic poet Lord Byron dies in Missolonghi, Greece.
In 1892 The prototype of the first commercially successful American automobile is completed in Springfield, MA, by Charles E. Duryea and his brother Frank.
In 1893 The Oscar Wilde play "A Woman of No Importance" opens at the Haymarket Theatre in London.
In 1897 The first American Marathon Race is run from Hopkinton, MA, to Boston. The winner, John J. McDermott, ran the course in 2 hours, 55 minutes and 10 seconds.
In 1910 After weeks of being viewed through telescopes, Halley's Comet is reported visible to the naked eye in Curacao.
In 1933 The U.S. abandons the gold standard.
In 1934 Shirley Temple's first movie, "Stand Up And Cheer," premieres.
In 1939 Connecticut finally approves the Bill of Rights (148 years late).
In 1943 During World War II, thousands of Jews living in the Warsaw Ghetto begin a futile but valiant battle against Nazi occupation forces.
In 1951 General Douglas MacArthur, relieved of his command by President Harry Truman, bids farewell to Congress, quoting a line from a ballad: "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away."
In 1956 In a church wedding, Prince Rainier III of Monaco wed actress Grace Kelly in "The Wedding Of The Year." She was the first American woman to wed a prince. A civil ceremony took place the day before.
In 1967 "Casino Royale," a James Bond spoof starring Peter Sellers, is released in theaters.
In 1975 India announces it had launched its first satellite, from the Soviet Union atop a Soviet rocket.
In 1977 The U.S. Supreme Court rules spanking school children is not "cruel and unusual punishment."
In 1978 Yitzhak Navron is elected the 5th president of Israel.
In 1982 Astronauts Sally Ride and Guion Bluford Jr. become the first woman and first black to be selected for U.S. space missions.
In 1984 A federal judge in Chicago holds Standard Oil of Indiana and two subsidiaries liable for damages caused by the massive 1978 oil spill from the tanker Amoco Cadiz off the French coast.
In 1985 The space shuttle Discovery lands at Cape Canaveral, FL, after a mission that was marred by a deployed satellite that failed to operate properly.
In 1985 A record-setting 22-inch bubblegum bubble is blown.
In 1986 2000 volunteers build the world's tallest sandcastle in Treasure Island, Florida (52 feet, 9 inches).
In 1986 American flags are burned at protest demonstrations in Europe after the U.S. raids on Libya.
In 1988 Republican George Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis handily win the New York presidential primaries.
In 1989 A gun turret explosion kills 47 aboard the U.S.S. Iowa north of Puerto Rico.
In 1989 Democracy rallies begin in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in China.
In 1989 A female investment banker jogging in New York's Central Park is brutally beaten and raped (six teen-agers were charged in the near-fatal attack; five were convicted.)
In 1990 Nicaragua's nine-year-old civil war appears near an end when a truce is called and a deadline is set for rebels to disarm.
In 1991 Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev arrives in South Korea for talks with President Roh Tae-woo.
In 1991 Evander Holyfield wins an unanimous decision over George Foreman to retain boxing's heavyweight title in Atlantic City, NJ.
In 1992 After six days, engineers plug the tunnel leak under the Chicago River that caused an underground flood that virtually shut down business in the heart of the city.
In 1993 The 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, ends as fire destroyed the structure after federal agents began smashing their way in; dozens of people, including David Koresh, were killed.
In 1993 South Dakota Governor George S. Mickelson dies in an Iowa plane crash; he was 52.
In 1994 Rodney King is awarded $3.8 million in damages resulting from 1991 police beating.
In 1994 The U.S. Supreme Court outlaws the practice of excluding people from juries because of their gender.
In 1995 A truck bomb explodes outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK, killing 168 people, and injuring 500. Timothy McVeigh was later convicted on federal murder charges and sentenced put to death on May 16, 2001.
In 1997 More than 50,000 residents abandon Grand Forks, ND, as the Red River overruns sandbags.
In 1997 India's coalition government ends weeks of political turmoil by naming Inder K. Gujral as prime minister.
In 1998 Wang Dan, a leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, is freed by China.
In 1998 Mexican poet-philosopher Octavio Paz dies at age 84.
In 1999 The German parliament inaugurates its new home in the restored Reichstag in Berlin, its pre-war capital.
In 1999 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that a federal law aimed at limiting e-mail smut does not violate free-speech rights.
In 2000 The dedication of memorials is held honoring 168 dead on fifth anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
In 2004 A Russian rocket blasts off into space carrying an American, a Russian and a Dutchman to the international space station on the third manned mission since the halt of the U.S. shuttle program.