Today In History...
In 1638 America's first known earthquake shakes Plymouth Colony.
In 1770 Captain James Cook, commander of the British ship Endeavour, discovers Australia's Great Barrier Reef by running in to it.
In 1776 The Continental Congress forms a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence from Britain.
In 1859 A prospector lays claim to a silver deposit in Six Mile Canyon in Nevada that turns out to be the multi-million Comstock Lode.
In 1895 The first auto race takes place.
In 1919 Sir Barton wins the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first horse to win the Triple Crown.
In 1937 The Marx Brothers' film "A Day At The Races" is released.
In 1942 The U.S. and the Soviet Union sign a lend-lease agreement to aid the Soviet war effort during World War II.
In 1947 World War II sugar rationing comes to an end.
In 1963 Buddhist monk Quang Duc immolated himself on a street in Saigon as a protest against the South Vietnamese government.
In 1970 The U.S. presence in Libya ends with the departure of the last American troops.
In 1977 A 20-day hostage drama ends in the Netherlands when Dutch marines storm a train and a school held by South Moluccan extremists. Six gunmen and two hostages on the train were killed.
In 1978 Joseph Freeman Jr. becomes the first black Morman priest.
In 1979 Actor John Wayne dies of cancer at age 72.
In 1982 Israel and Syria stop fighting in Lebanon.
In 1982 Larry Holmes defeats Gerry Cooney to retain WBC heavyweight crown.
In 1982 "E.T.," the second biggest grossing movie of all time, is released.
In 1985 Karen Ann Quinlan, the comatose patient whose case prompted a historic right-to-die decision, dies at age 31 in a nursing home.
In 1986 The U.S. Army bans smoking in most areas.
In 1986 The U.S. Supreme Court votes, 5-4, to strike down a Pennsylvania abortion law, while reaffirming its 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion.
In 1987 Margaret Thatcher becomes the first British prime minister in 160 years to win a third consecutive term of office.
In 1990 Former national security adviser John Poindexter is sentenced to six months in prison for making false statements to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair.
In 1991 President Bush authorizes $1.5 billion in agricultural credit guarantees for the Soviet Union.
In 1991 Actress Julia Roberts and actor Kiefer Sutherland called off their wedding three days before it was to have taken place.
In 1992 President Bush's stopover in Panama en route to the Earth Summit in Brazil is disrupted when riot police fired tear gas at protesters, preventing Bush from speaking at a rally.
In 1993 United Nations forces launch a nighttime attack against the forces of Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.
In 1993 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that people who commit "hate crimes" motivated by bigotry may be sentenced to extra punishment.
In 1993 Steven Spielberg's movie "Jurassic Park" opens.
In 1994 The U.S., South Korea and Japan agree to seek punitive steps against North Korea over its nuclear program.
In 1994 A car bomb blows up outside a luxury hotel in Guadalajara, Mexico, killing five people in an apparently drug-related attack.
In 1995 In an unprecedented joint appearance, President Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich sparred politely over Medicare and other issues before an audience of senior citizens in Claremont, NH.
In 1996 Closing a congressional career that had lasted 3 1/2 decades, Bob Dole says goodbye to the Senate to begin his campaign for the presidency.
In 1997 NATO planners approve General Wesley Clark as commander of the allied forces in Europe.
In 1997 The parents of Timothy McVeigh plead for their son's life during the penalty phase of the Oklahoma City bombing trial.
In 1998 Scientists decipher the last of genetic material of bacterium that causes the disease tuberculosis.
In 1998 Pakistan announces a moratorium on nuclear testing and offers to talk with India over disputed Kashmir.
In 1999 Actor DeForest Kelley, best known as Dr. McCoy of "Star Trek" fame, dies in Woodland Hills, CA, at age 79.
In 2000 A day after the death of Syrian President Hafez Assad, his son, Bashar, is unanimously nominated to succeed his father.
In 2001 Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is put to death by lethal injection in Terre Haute, IN. He was the first federal prisoner to be executed since 1963.
In 2002 "American Idol" premieres on FOX.
In 2004 Former President Ronald Reagan's funeral is held at Washington National Cathedral.
In 2009 A Texas mother was hit by lightning while standing in her kitchen inside her Texas home. Witnesses say the lightning came through a light fixture and struck her chest and exited her foot.
In 2012 The Nobel Prize is reduced by 20% to prevent any future undermining of capital.
In 2014 Oscar-nominated actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee dies at 91.