Today In History...
In 1778 France became the first nation to recognize American independence.
In 1788 Massachusetts became the 6th U.S. state.
In 1815 The state of New Jersey issued the first American railroad charter to John Stevens.
In 1899, the Senate ratified a peace treaty between the U.S. and Spain.
In 1922 The U.S., Britain, France, Italy, and Japan signed a Washington naval arms limitation agreement.
In 1933 The 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the "lame duck" amendment, went into effect, changing the date of presidential inaugurations from March to January.
In 1943 A Los Angeles jury acquitted actor Errol Flynn of three counts of statutory rape.
In 1952 Britain's King George VI died and was succeeded to the throne by his daughter Elizabeth II.
In 1959 Fidel Castro was interviewed by Edward R. Murrow.
In 1959, the U.S. successfully test-fires a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile from Cape Canaveral, Florida, for the first time.
In 1968 Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower shot a hole-in-one.
In 1971 Astronaut Alan Shepherd hit 3 golf balls on the moon.
In 1978 Muriel Humphrey took the oath of office as a Democratic U.S. Senator from Minnesota, filling the seat of her late husband, former Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
In 1983 The 18-hour mini-series "The Winds Of War" debuted on ABC-TV.
In 1984 A second satellite launched from the space shuttle Challenger misfired and went off course in the third major failure of the mission.
In 1985 Israel's former secret service head admitted that when old World War II Nazis were tracked down, if not prosecutable, they were executed anyway.
In 1986 The commission investigating the Challenger disaster opened its hearings into the cause of the space shuttle explosion that killed all seven crew members.
In 1986 89-year-old Ed Townsend became the oldest parachute jumper.
In 1986 The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the 1,600 level for the first time, ending the day at 1,600.69.
In 1987 Two cosmonauts rocketed up to the MIR space station and set an orbital endurance record.
In 1987 Journalist Gerald Seib was released after being held for six days in Tehran and accused of spying for Israel.
In 1989 President Bush proposed that some 350 failing savings and loan companies be bailed out at $50 billion.
In 1989 Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman dies at age 77.
In 1990 Soviet Communist Party leaders extended a 2-day party session by an extra day amid controversy over Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev's proposals to revamp the country's political structure.
In 1991 Comedian and television performer Danny Thomas died at age 79.
In 1992 Sixteen people were killed when a C-130 military transport plane crashed in Evansville, Indiana.
In 1993 Tennis star Arthur Ashe died of an AIDS-related illness at age 49.
In 1994 Actor Joseph Cotten died in Los Angeles at age 88.
In 1995 Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, the alleged mastermind of a campaign of violence pleaded guilty in New York to plotting urban terrorism.
In 1995 The space shuttle Discovery flew to within 37 feet of the Russian space station Mir in the first rendezvous of its kind in 2 decades.
In 1996 A Turkish-owned Boeing 757 jetliner crashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff from the Dominican Republic, killing 189 people, mostly German tourists.
In 1998 Washington National Airport was renamed for former U.S. president Ronald Reagan.
In 1999 Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky's videotaped testimony was shown at President Clinton's impeachment trial.
In 2000 First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton launched her successful candidacy.
In 2000 for the U.S. Senate.
In 2000 An Ariana Airlines Boeing 727 was hijacked after leaving Kabul, Afghanistan, making stops in Central Asia and Russia before arriving at the Stansted airport outside London the next day.
In 2000 Nine people were killed when a train filled with Alpine ski vacationers derailed south of Cologne, Germany.
In 2000 Tarja Halonen became Finland's first female president.
In 2001 Ariel Sharon was elected Israeli prime minister.
In 2002 A federal judge ordered John Walker Lindh, the so-called "American Taliban," held without bail pending trial.
In 2004 An explosion ripped through a Moscow subway car during rush hour, killing 41 people.
In 2011 The Green Bay Packers beat Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, at SuperBowl XLV.
In 2012 Queen Elizabeth II marked her 60th anniversary of becoming a British monarch, becoming only the second to do so.