Today In History...

In 1512 Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sights Florida.
In 1625 Charles I, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, ascended to the throne upon the death of James I.
In 1794 President Washington and Congress authorized the creation of the U.S. Navy.
In 1836 The first Morman temple was dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio.
In 1855 Abraham Gesner received a patent for kerosene.
In 1855 Congress spent $30,000 to import camels for the army in Texas and the southwest.
In 1860 M.L. Byrn of New York received a patent for the corkscrew.
In 1866 Andrew Rankin received a patent for the urinal.
In 1884 The first long-distance telephone call was made between Boston and New York.
In 1912 The first Japanese cherry trees were planted in Washington, DC.
In 1917 The Seattle Metropolitans became the first U.S. team to win the Stanley Cup, defeating the Montreal Canadiens.
In 1933 The U.S. Farm Credit Administration was authorized.
In 1942 American service members were granted free mailing privileges.
In 1945 During World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the German defenses on the Western Front had been broken.
In 1955 Color TV broadcast coast-to-coast for the first time.
In 1958 Nikita Khrushchev became the Soviet premier as well as the first secretary of the Communist Party.
In 1964 A 8.6 earthquake killed 117 people in Alaska.
In 1968 Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the earth died in a plane crash.
In 1972 Venera 8 was launched to Venus.
In 1973 Marlon Brando refused an Oscar for his performance in "The Godfather" as a gesture of support for the Indians occupying the Wounded Knee reservation in South Dakota.
In 1977 582 died when a KLM 747, attempting to take off, crashed into a Pan Am 747 on a runway on the Canary Island of Tenerife.
In 1979 The U.S. Supreme Court rules, 8-1, that police could not stop motorists at random to check licenses and registrations unless there was reason to believe a law had been broken.
In 1980 Mount St. Helens became active after 123 years.
In 1980 137 workers died when the North Sea floating oil platform capsized.
In 1981 13 million workers went on strike in Poland, protesting the beatings of Solidarity activists.
In 1983 An angry crowd shouting "Go home!" forced Chicago mayoral candidate Harold Washington to cut short a campaign appearance with former vice president Walter F. Mondale in the city's North Side.
In 1984 In a controversial statement, Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm said elderly, terminally ill people have a "duty to die and get out of the way" instead of prolonging their life through artificial means.
In 1985 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police can't shoot at fleeing suspects unless they are armed and dangerous.
In 1985 A grand jury in New York City indicted Bernhard Goetz on charges including attempted murder for the shooting of four black youths on a subway train. (Goetz was acquitted of attempted murder but convicted of violating weapons laws.)
In 1986 The ships and planes of the Sixth Fleet withdrew from the Gulf of Sidra off Libya as American officials declared the U.S. had accomplished its mission of defending the freedom of the seas.
In 1987 The Marine Corps charged that Sgt. Clayton J. Lonetree escorted Soviet agents through the U.S. Embassy in Moscow -- an accusation that was dropped, although Lonetree was convicted of espionage.
In 1990 The U.S. began test broadcasts of TV Marti to Cuba, which promptly jammed the signal.
In 1991 President Bush publicly disagreed with Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who claimed he had urged further fighting in the Persian Gulf War when Bush ordered a cease-fire. (Schwarzkopf later apologized.)
In 1992 Democratic presidential front-runner Bill Clinton, campaigning in New York, apologized for recently golfing at an all-white club.
In 1992 German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met with Austrian President Kurt Waldheim in Munich, a meeting denounced by Jewish groups because of Waldheim's alleged involvement with Nazi persecution during WWII.
In 1994 Violent thunderstorms tore through the Southeast, killing 20 and injuring at least 90 people in a Piedmont, Alabama, church and a total of 44 in the storm's path.
In 1994 Ukraine held its first parliamentary elections since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In 1995 Former President Jimmy Carter announced he brokered a two-month cease-fire between Sudan's Islamic government and rebels.
In 1995 "Forrest Gump" won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and a second consecutive Best Actor Oscar for Tom Hanks. Jessica Lange wins Best Actress for "Blue Sky."
In 1996 Yigal Amir was convicted of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and sentenced to life in prison.
In 1997 About 17 million Russian workers staged a nationwide strike in demand of wages months overdue.
In 1998 The FDA approved the prescription drug Viagra, saying it helps about two-thirds of impotent men.
In 1998 The top civilian aircraft makers of France, Spain, Germany, and Britain agreed to create a single European aerospace and defense company.
In 1999 Maria Butyrskaya of Russia won the World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki, Finland; defending champion Michelle Kwan of the U.S. finished second.
In 2001 An empty train riding on the wrong side of the tracks crashed into a crowded commuter train in central Belgium, killing eight people.
In 2002 Actor/comedian Milton Berle, who became known as "Mr. Television" in the 1940s, died at age 93.

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