Today In History...
In 1616 English poet and dramatist William Shakespeare dies at age 52.
In 1616 Spanish poet Cervantes dies in Madrid, Spain.
In 1662 Connecticut is chartered as an English colony.
In 1789 President-elect George Washington and wife Martha move into the first executive mansion, the Franklin House in New York City.
In 1851 The first postage stamps are issued in Canada.
In 1896 The "Vitascope" system for projecting movies onto a screen is demonstrated at a music hall in New York City.
In 1904 The Academy of Arts and Letters is founded.
In 1940 200 people die in a dance hall fire in Natchez, Mississippi.
In 1954 Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves hits the first of his 755 major-league home runs, in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 1962 The first satellite launched from Cape Canaveral reaches the moon.
In 1965 The first Soviet communications satellite is launched.
In 1968 The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merge to form the United Methodist Church.
In 1969 Sirhan Sirhan is sentenced to death for killing New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The sentence is later reduced to life in prison.
In 1972 Apollo XVI astronauts explore the moon's surface.
In 1975 The evacuation of Vietnam is approved by Congress.
In 1983 President Reagan solemnly welcomes home the bodies of 16 Americans killed in the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
In 1985 The Coca Cola company announces it was changing the secret flavor formula for Coke, the world's best-selling soft drink. (Adverse public reaction forced the company to resume selling the original version.)
In 1986 President Reagan, addressing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the recent raid on Libya showed "no one can kill Americans and brag about it."
In 1986 Movie director Otto Preminger dies at age 80.
In 1987 28 construction workers are killed when an apartment complex being built in Bridgeport, CT, collapsed.
In 1988 A federal ban on smoking during domestic airline flights of two hours or less goes into effect.
In 1990 Freed American hostage Robert Polhill enjoys his first full day of freedom at the U.S. Air Force Hospital in Wiesbaden, West Germany.
In 1991 NASA scrubs the launch of the space shuttle Discovery after a sensor on one of the main engines failed during fueling.
In 1992 McDonalds opens its first fast-food restaurant in the Chinese capital of Beijing.
In 1992 Fighting erupts in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo just hours after the warring parties signed a truce amid sniper fire.
In 1993 Labor leader Cesar Chavez dies in San Luis, AZ, at age 66.
In 1994 Mourners from around the world leave red roses, burning candles and cards at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda, CA, in memory of the 37th U.S. president of the United States, who had died the day before at age 81.
In 1994 The Libertarian party nominates Howard Stern for Governor of New York.
In 1995 The U.S. observes a national day of mourning for the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.
In 1995 Sportscaster Howard Cosell dies in New York at age 77.
In 1996 A Bronx civil-court jury orders Bernhard Goetz to pay $43 million to paralyzed Darrell Cabey, one of four young men he shot on a subway car in 1984.
In 1996 A 3-night auction of the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' possessions begins at Sotheby's in New York.
In 1997 Doctors at University of Southern California say a child was born in late 1996 to a 62-year-old woman on hormone therapy; the mother is the oldest known to deliver a healthy infant.
In 1997 Police seized 6.6 tons of cocaine near the U.S. border, the largest such seizure in Mexico since 1993.
In 1997 Golfer Fuzzy Zoeller, again apologizing for racial comments about Masters winner Tiger Woods, withdraws from the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic.
In 1998 James Earl Ray, serving life sentence for assassinating Martin Luther King Jr., dies at 70.
In 2000 Rebels abduct 21 people from Malaysia's Sipadan resort. Two Americans manage to escape.
In 2001 USS Greenville Commander Scott Waddle is given a letter of reprimand as punishment for the submarine collision that killed nine people aboard a Japanese fishing vessel off Hawaii.
In 2002 American cardinals open a meeting with Vatican officials to discuss a sex abuse scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S.