Today In History...
In 1831 Naturalist Charles Darwin set out on a voyage to the Pacific aboard the H.M.S. Beagle. Darwin's discoveries during the trip helped form the basis for his theories on evolution.
In 1845 Anesthesia (ether) is first used for childbirth.
In 1892 The cornerstone was laid for the Cathedral Church of St. John the Devine in New York City.
In 1900 Militant prohibitionist Carry Nation performed her first public smashing of a bar at the Carey Hotel in Wichita, Kansas.
In 1927 Josef Stalin's faction won an All-Union Congress in the USSR.
In 1941 During World War II, Japan bombed Manila even though it was declared an "open city."
In 1945 28 nations signed an agreement creating the World Bank.
In 1947 Buffalo Bob and Howdy Doody debuted in "Puppet Playhouse" on NBC.
In 1949 Queen Juliana of the Netherlands signed an act granting sovereignty to Indonesia after more than three centuries of Dutch rule.
In 1968, Apollo VIII returned to Earth after orbiting the moon, making a safe nighttime splashdown in the Pacific.
In 1970 "Hello Dolly!" closes on Broadway after a run of 2,844 performances.
In 1979 5000 Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan and seized control. President Hafizullah Amin, who was overthrown and executed, was replaced by Babrak Karmal.
In 1983 A propane gas fire devastated 16 square blocks of Buffalo, NY.
In 1983 The rolling skating record was 344 hours, 18 minutes.
In 1983 Pope John Paul II met with the man who had shot him, Mehmet Ali Agca and forgave him.
In 1984 Amid rumors he was seriously ill, Soviet President Konstantin U. Chernenko re-appears in public to give out several literature awards.
In 1985 American naturalist Dian Fossey, a leading authority on gorillas was hacked to death at her Rwanda camp in Africa.
In 1985 Palestinian terrorists opened fire inside the Rome and Vienna airports, killing 20 and wounding 110.
In 1987 Sportscaster Gayle Stevens broadcasted the first female play-by-play of an NFL game on NBC (Kansas City 41, Seattle 20).
In 1988 Hundreds of Lockerbie, Scotland residents paid silent tribute to five of the Americans killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
In 1989 President Bush, on a visit to Beeville, Texas, told a gathering he was determined to bring deposed Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega to justice "for poisoning the children of the U.S." with illegal drugs.
In 1990 Gennady I. Yanayev was approved as the Soviet Union's first vice president on the last day of a stormy, 10-day session of the Congress of People's Deputies.
In 1991 The U.S. and the Philippines announced that the United States would abandon the Subic Bay naval base by the end of 1992.
In 1992 The U.S. shot down an Iraqi fighter jet during what the Pentagon described as a confrontation between a pair of Iraqi warplanes and U.S. F-16 jets in the UN-restricted airspace over southern Iraq.
In 1993 U.S. officials announced that Strobe Talbott would take over the number two spot at the State Department.
In 1994 Four Roman Catholic priests were shot to death in their rectory in Algiers, a day after French commandos killed four radicals who had hijacked an Air France jet from Algiers to Marseille.
In 1997 Billy Wright, Northern Ireland's most notorious Protestant militant, was shot to death by three Irish National Liberation Army members at the Maze Prison outside Belfast.
In 1998 A week after she was born, weighing just 10.3 ounces, the smallest of the Houston octuplets, Chijindu Chidera, died.
In 2000 Software engineer Michael McDermott pleads innocent to 7 counts of murder in the shooting deaths of 7 of his co-workers the day before at an Internet consulting company in Wakefield, MA.
In 2016 Carrie Fisher, known for her role as Princess Leia in "Star Wars," died of a heart attack at age 60.