Today In History

In 1521 Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippines, where he was killed by natives the following month.

In 1792 Sweden's King Gustav III was shot and mortally wounded during a masquerade party; he died 13 days later.

In 1802 Congress authorized the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

In 1827 The first newspaper edited for and by blacks, the "Freedom Journal," was published in New York.

In 1836 The Republic of Texas approved a constitution.

In 1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" is published.

In 1915 The Federal Trade Commission was organized.

In 1916 U.S. and Canada signed a migratory bird treaty.

In 1926 Robert Goddard tested the first liquid fuel space rocket.

In 1935 Adolf Hitler scrapped the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1945 During World War II, the U.S. declared Iwo Jima secured.

In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson made his "War on Poverty" declaration.

In 1966 Gemini VIII was launched.

In 1968 The My Lai Massacre took place in Vietnam. American troops, commanded by Lt. William L. Calley Jr., carry out the killings of 347 men, women, and children in an undefended village.

In 1975 U.S. Mariner X made the third and final flyby of Mercury.

In 1978 Soyuz 26 returned to Earth.

In 1978 Aldo Moro, one of Italy's most influential politicians, was kidnapped and later murdered by left-wing urban guerrillas.

In 1982 Claus Von Bulow was found guilty in Newport, Rhode Island, of charges he tried to kill his wife, Martha, with insulin.

In 1983 Radio and TV star Arthur Godfrey died in New York at age 79.

In 1984 William Buckley, CIA station chief in Beirut, was kidnapped; he died in captivity more than a year later.

In 1984 Senator John Glenn dropped out of the Democratic presidential race.

In 1985 Associated Press Mideast correspondent Terry Anderson was kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon. He was released seven years later, in December 1991.

In 1987 Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In 1988 Former National Security Advisor John Poindexter, fired White House aide Oliver North and retired Air Force Major General Richard Secord are indicted on charges related to the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1989 The Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee approved sweeping agricultural reforms and elected the party's 100 members to the Congress of People's Deputies, a new legislative body.

In 1990 South African President F.W. de Klerk announced that exiled African National Congress leaders could return home for talks with the white-led government.

In 1991 New York City Mayor David Dinkins was booed as he marched with an Irish gay group during the city's St. Patrick's Day parade.

In 1992 Robert J. Eaton, head of General Motors' profitable European operations, joined Chrysler Corp. as Chairman Lee Iacocca's future successor.

In 1993 President Clinton met with ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, then announced he was sending a special envoy to Haiti to seek a return to democracy.

In 1994 Tonya Harding pleaded guilty in covering up the attack on Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan, avoiding jail but drawing a $100,000 fine and effectively ending her competitive skating career.

In 1995 NASA astronaut Norman Thagard became the first American to visit Mir's Russian space station.

In 1996 For the first time, ordinary citizens were allowed inside the central archives of the former East German secret police, the hated Stasi security agency.

In 1997 Jordan's King Hussein visited Israel to re-establish credibility as a peacemaker.

In 1998 Rwanda, with 125,000 suspects for 500,000 murders, began mass trials for the 1994 genocide.

In 1998 The Vatican released a document expressing remorse for the cowardice of some Christians during the Holocaust but defended the actions of Pope Pius XII.

In 1999, the entire 20-member European Commission resigned following a critical report on sloppy management and cronyism.

In 2000 Independent Counsel Robert Ray says he found no credible evidence that Hillary Rodham Clinton or senior White House officials sought FBI background files of Republicans.

In 2002 Gunmen killed Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino, a prominent critic of Colombia's leftist guerrillas, in Cali.

In 2003 Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein warned that if Iraq is attacked, it will take the war anywhere in the world "wherever there is sky, land or water."

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