Today In History...
In 1813 Congress authorized the use of steamboats to transport mail.
In 1827 The first Mardi Gras was celebrated in New Orleans.
In 1844 The Dominican Republic gained its independence.
In 1861 In Warsaw, Russian troops fired on a crowd protesting Russian rule over Poland, killing five.
In 1879 The artificial sweetener saccharin was discovered.
In 1883 The first practical cigar-rolling machine was patented.
In 1890 Boxers Danny Needham and Patsy Kerrigan fought 100 rounds in San Francisco before the match was declared a draw.
In 1908 The design of the U.S. 46-star flag (adding Oklahoma) was officially released.
In 1919 The American Association for the Hard of Hearing was formed in New York City.
In 1922 The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that guaranteed a woman's right to vote.
In 1922 Reader's Digest began publication.
In 1932 Physicist James Chadwick proposed the existence of the neutron.
In 1933 Germany's parliament building in Berlin, the Reichstag, caught fire. The Nazis, blaming the Communists, suspended civil liberties.
In 1939 The U.S. Supreme Court outlawed sit-down strikes.
In 1945 A Ford Motor Company strike ended with an eighteen-cent hourly raise.
In 1949 Chaim Weizmann became the first Israeli president.
In 1960 The U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviets, 3-2, at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, CA. (The U.S. goes on to win the goldmedal).
In 1964 City fathers in Pisa, Italy, requested government assistance to prop up the leaning-too-far Tower of Pisa.
In 1972 President Nixon and Chinese Premier Chou En-lai issued the Shanghai Communique after Nixon visited China.
In 1973 The American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee in South Dakota. (The occupation lasts until May.)
In 1979 Jane M. Byrne upset Chicago Mayor Michael A. Bilandic to win the Democratic party's mayoral primary. She later wins the election.
In 1981 Chrysler declared losses of $1,700,000,000 over the last year.
In 1982 Wayne Williams was found guilty of murdering two of 28 blacks whose bodies were found in the Atlanta area over 22 months.
In 1984 The law prohibiting merchants from charging extra for credit card purchases expired.
In 1985 Former Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, who had served three terms as a U.S. senator and ran as the 1960 Republican vice presidential nominee, died at age 82.
In 1986 The U.S. Senate approved telecasts of its debates on a trial basis.
In 1987 Donald Reagan was removed as White House Chief of Staff and replaced by former Senator Howard H. Baker.
In 1988 Katarina Witt won the women's figure skating gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada.
In 1990 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prison officials could force inmates to take powerful anti-psychotic drugs without a judge's consent.
In 1991 Allied troops liberated Kuwait City four days after launching a ground offensive during the Gulf War.
In 1992 William Aramony resigned as president of the United Way of America amid charges of financial mismanagement and lavish spending.
In 1992 Former U.S. senator S.I. Hayakawa dies in San Francisco at age 85.
In 1993 Actress Lillian Gish died in New York at age 99.
In 1994 The Winter Olympics ended in Lillehammer, Norway, with the U.S. taking home its highest winter gold medal total, 13.
In 1994 A bomb blast in a Maronite Catholic church in Lebanon killed nine and injured 60.
In 1995 Court-appointed salvagers evaluated the remaining assets of Britain's oldest bank, Barings PLC, after 28-year-old trader Nick Leeson ruined the firm by gambling on Tokyo stock prices.
In 1997 Divorce became legal in Ireland for the first time since independence from Britain in 1921.
In 1997 Legislation banning most handguns became law in Britain.
In 1997 A jury in Fayetteville, NC, convicted former Army paratrooper James N. Burmeister of murdering a black couple so he could get a skinhead tattoo. (He was later sentenced to life in prison.)
In 1999 The Rev. Henry Lyons, president of the National Baptist Convention USA, was convicted in Largo, FL, of swindling millions of dollars from companies seeking to do business with his followers.
In 1999 Nigerians elected Olusegun Obasanjo as their new president as the country marked the final phase of its return to democracy.
In 2001 President Bush went before Congress with a $1.9 trillion spending plan that gave Americans the most significant tax cut in two decades.
In 2002 A mob of Muslims set fire to a train carrying hundreds of Hindu nationalists in Godhra, India, killing some 60 people.
In 2003 Fred Rogers, host of "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood," died at age 74.
In 2004 California Attorney General Bill Lockyer asked the state's top court to stop San Francisco from issuing same-sex marriage licenses. (The justices halted the weddings the following month.)
In 2006 President George W. Bush signed a proclamation declaring a seven-acre plot in lower Manhattan, NY, for the African Burial Ground National Monument.
In 2013 Pope Benedict XVI presented his farewell address to Vatican City.
In 2015 Leonard Nimoy, known for his iconic character Mr. Spock on "Star Trek," died at age 83.