Today In History...
In 1831 Former slave Nat Turner led a violent insurrection against slavery in Virginia. (He is later executed.)
In 1841 John Hampson patented the Venetian blind.
In 1858 The famous debates between Senatorial contenders Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas began.
In 1878 A group of lawyers, judges, and law professors established the American Bar Association at the Saratoga, New York, town hall.
In 1911 The Leonardo da Vinci painting "Mona Lisa" was stolen from Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
In 1931 Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees hit his 600th home run.
In 1940 The first contingent of English children arrived in the U.S. to escape German air attacks in London during World War II.
In 1940 Exiled Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky died in Mexico City from wounds inflicted by an assailant.
In 1944 The U.S., Britain, the Soviet Union, and China opened talks at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington that helped pave the way for the establishment of the United Nations.
In 1945 President Truman ended the Lend-Lease program that had shipped some $50 billion in aid to American allies during World War II.
In 1959 Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state.
In 1963 Martial law was declared in South Vietnam as police and army troops began a crackdown on Buddhist anti-government protesters.
In 1965 Gemini V was launched into Earth orbit with 2 astronauts.
In 1968 William Dana reached 80 km in the last high-altitude X-15 flight.
In 1972 The U.S. orbiting astronomy observatory Copernicus was launched.
In 1981 Convicted spy Christopher Boyce, who had escaped from prison in 1980, was recaptured in Port Angeles, WA. (Boyce, convicted of selling secrets to the Soviets, was the subject of the book "The Falcon and the Snowman."
In 1982 Palestinian terrorists were dispersed from Beirut, Lebanon.
In 1983 Philippines political opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino, ending a self-imposed exile in the U.S., was shot and killed moments after stepping off a plane at Manila International Airport.
In 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro appeared before reporters in Queens, New York, to field questions about her family's finances.
In 1986 A volcanic eruption in Cameroon released poisonous gas, killing 2000.
In 1987 Sgt. Clayton Lonetree, the first Marine ever court-martialed for spying, is convicted in Quantico, VA, of passing secrets to the KGB after becoming romantically involved with a Soviet woman while serving as a U.S. Embassy guard in Moscow.
In 1989 The U.S. space probe Voyager II fired its thrusters to bring it closer to Neptune's mysterious moon Triton.
In 1991 The hard-line coup against Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev collapsed in the face of a popular uprising led by Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin.
In 1993 In a severe setback for NASA, engineers lost contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft as it was about to reach the Red Planet on a $980 million mission. Its fate remains unknown.
In 1995 ABC News settled a $10 billion libel suit by apologizing to Philip Morris Cos. for reporting the tobacco giant had manipulated the amount of nicotine in its cigarettes.
In 1995 A suicide bomber set off an explosion that tore through two crowded Israeli commuter buses, killing five others.
In 1995 A commuter plane crashed near Carrollton, GA, killing nine people.
In 1996 President Clinton signed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, aimed at making health insurance easier to obtain and keep.
In 1997 The Hudson Foods Co. plant in Nebraska closed and agreed to destroy some 25 million pounds of hamburger after the largest meat recall in U.S. history.
In 1997 Philip Morris Chairman/CEO Geoffrey Bible said cigarettes "might have" killed 100,000 Americans, the company's first acknowledgment of the possible link between smoking and death.
In 1998 Former South African president P.W. Botha was fined for failing to testify about apartheid atrocities.
In 2000 Rescue efforts to reach a sunken Russian nuclear submarine ended with divers announcing none of the 118 sailors survived.
In 2001 Federal authorities working with McDonald's broke up a crime ring that allegedly rigged their "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" games.