Today In History...

In 1799 George Washington, the first U.S. president, died at age 67, nearly three years after leaving office.
In 1819 Alabama became the 22nd U.S. state.
In 1861 Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria died in London.
In 1911 Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole, beating out an expedition led by Robert F. Scott.
In 1927 Iraq gained independence from Britain, but British troops remained.
In 1939 The Soviet Union was dropped from the League of Nations.
In 1939 Baltimore's landmark Rennert Hotel, famed for its restaurant's Maryland cuisine, closes its doors, citing financial difficulties.
In 1945 Josef Kramer, known as the "Beast of Belsen," and ten others were hanged in Hameln for crimes committed at the Belsen and Auschwitz concentration camps.
In 1946 The U.N. General Assembly voted to establish U.N. headquarters in New York City.
In 1962 The U.S. space probe Mariner II approached Venus, transmitting information about the planet's atmosphere and temperature.
In 1967 DNA was created in a lab at Stanford University.
In 1975 Six Malukan terrorists surrendered to police after holding 23 hostages for 12 days on a train near the Dutch town of Beilen.
In 1977 The film "Saturday Night Fever" premieres in New York City.
In 1981 Israel annexed the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967.
In 1983 Syrian missile sites were hit by the U.S. Battleship New Jersey's 16-inch guns after someone took potshots at two U.S. planes.
In 1984 , the Reagan administration and Cuba reached an agreement under which Cuban criminals and mental patients who had come to the U.S. as part of the 1980 "Freedom Flotilla" would be sent back.
In 1985 Baseball great Roger Maris dies at age 51.
In 1986 , the experimental aircraft Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, took off from California on the first non-stop flight without refueling.
In 1987 Chrysler admits that odometers were turned back on some test and executive models.
In 1987 U.S. Supreme Court nominee Anthony M. Kennedy told his confirmation hearing he had no hidden agenda for abortion and privacy cases.
In 1988 President Reagan authorized the U.S. to enter into a "substantive dialogue" with the PLO after chairman Yasser Arafat renounced "all forms of terrorism."
In 1988 Orson Welles's "War of the Worlds" original script fetched $143,000 at an auction.
In 1989 Nobel peace prize laureate Andrei D. Sakharov dies at age 68.
In 1990 President Bush said he would nominate Lynn Martin to succeed Elizabeth H. Dole as labor secretary.
In 1991 during a Camp David meeting, President Bush and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari renewed their commitment to quickly conclude the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin lost a battle with hard-liners as he was forced to abandon his reformist prime minister, Yegor Gaidar, in favor of Communist-era technocrat Viktor Chernomyrdin.
In 1993 A Colorado judge struck down the state's voter-approved Amendment Two prohibiting gay rights laws, calling it unconstitutional.
In 1993 United Mine Workers approved a 5-year contract, ending a strike that had reached seven states and involved some of the nation's biggest coal operators.
In 1993 Actress Myrna Loy died in New York at age 88.
In 1995 Presidents Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia, Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, and Franjo Tudjman of Croatia signed a Bosnian peace treaty in Paris.
In 1995 AIDS patient Jeff Getty received the first-ever bone-marrow transplant from a baboon.
In 1996 A freighter lost power on the Mississippi River and crashed into the Riverwalk complex in New Orleans. No one was killed.
In 1997 ASEAN nations met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to commemorate its 30th anniversary.
In 1997 Cuban President Fidel Castro declared Christmas 1997 an official holiday to ensure the success of Pope John Paul II's upcoming visit to the communist country.
In 1999 Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian national, was arrested after authorities allegedly found nitroglycerin in the trunk of his car as he arrived from Canada by ferry at Port Angeles, WA.
In 1999 Charles M. Schulz announced he would retire from the "Peanuts" comic strip.
In 2000 Russian President Vladimir Putin pardons Edmond Pope, the first American convicted of espionage in Russia in 40 years, and lets him leave the country after eight months in prison.
In 2000 The Federal Trade Commission unanimously approved the $111 billion mergers of America Online and Time Warner.

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