Today In History...

In 1784, In a letter to his daughter, Benjamin Franklin expressed unhappiness over the eagle's choice as the symbol of America and described his preference: the turkey.
In 1788 The first European settlers in Australia, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney. (The party included 700 convicts from England.)
In 1802 Congress passed an act calling for establishing a library within the U.S. Capitol.
In 1837 Michigan became the 26th U.S. state.
In 1841 Hong Kong is proclaimed a sovereign territory of Britain.
In 1861 Louisiana becomes 6th state to secede from the union.
In 1870 Virginia rejoins the Union.
In 1871 The American income tax is repealed.
In 1875 The first electric dental drill is patented.
In 1939 Principle photography begins for David O. Selznick's movie version of "Gone With The Wind."
In 1942 The first American expeditionary force to arrive in Europe during World War II went ashore in Northern Ireland.
In 1950 India became a republic, ceasing to be a British dominion as Rajendra Prasad took the oath of office as president.
In 1954 Groundbreaking begins on Disneyland.
In 1961 J.G. Travell became the first female physician to the president.
In 1962 The U.S. launched Ranger III to land scientific instruments on the moon, but the probe missed the target by some 22,000 miles.
In 1972 Vesna Vulovik sets the record for surviving the most prolonged fall without a parachute, 33,000 feet, when a DC-9 explodes over Czechoslovakia.
In 1979 Former U.S. vice president Nelson A. Rockefeller died at age 70.
In 1981 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that states may allow TV cameras to cover criminal court trials.
In 1983 Paul "Bear" Bryant, one of the winningest coaches in college football history, dies in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at age 69.
In 1984 The one-minute ice cream eating record is 3 lbs, 6 oz.
In 1985 Pope John Paul II arrives in Caracas, Venezuela, to begin a tour of South America.
In 1986 The Chicago Bears defeat the New England Patriots, 46-10, in Super Bowl XX.
In 1986 Voyager II relays information about the rings and moons of Uranus.
In 1987 President Reagan condemned the kidnappings of three Americans in west Beirut two days earlier.
In 1988 A published study reports aspirin cuts the risk of heart disease.
In 1988 Australians celebrate the 200th anniversary of their country with a grand parade of tall ships sailing in Sydney Harbor, re-enacting the voyage of the first European settlers.
In 1989 Virginia Lt. Governor L. Douglas Wilder launched his successful campaign to become the first elected black governor of a U.S. state.
In 1990 Attorneys for deposed Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega challenge the jurisdiction of the U.S. court system to try their client on drug trafficking charges.
In 1992 The Washington Redskins win Super Bowl XXVI, defeating the Buffalo Bills 37-24.
In 1992 Actor Jose Ferrer dies in Coral Gables, Florida.
In 1992 Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, acknowledge "causing pain in my marriage" on CBS's "60 Minutes."
In 1993 Former Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel is elected president of the new Czech Republic.
In 1993 UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali calls on the Security Council to take "whatever measures are necessary" to compel Israel to readmit 400 deported Palestinians.
In 1994 During a visit to Sydney, Australia, by Britain's Prince Charles, a young man lunged at the prince, firing two blank shots from a starter's pistol.
In 1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin accepts the resignation of Finance Minister Boris Fyodorov, who warned of economic collapse and social unrest.
In 1995 The U.S. House endorses a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution designed to eliminate chronic federal deficits.
In 1996 First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies in secret to a grand jury investigating her link to the Whitewater probe.
In 1996 Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz is shot and killed at the suburban Philadelphia estate of John E. du Pont; du Pont surrenders 48 hours later.
In 1997 In Super Bowl XXXI, the Green Bay Packers defeated the New England Patriots 35-21.
In 1998 President Clinton denies having an affair with a White House intern, telling reporters, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
In 1998 Northwest and Continental Airlines merge routes.
In 1999 President Clinton welcomed Pope John Paul II in St. Louis as the pontiff began his seventh pilgrimage to the U.S.
In 1999 King Hussein turned over the temporary operation of Jordan to his eldest son and returned to the U.S. for urgent medical care.
In 2002 Jennifer Capriati makes the most remarkable comeback in a Grand Slam final to overcome Martina Hingis and defend her Australian Open title.
In 2003 The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their first NFL championship, routing the Oakland Raiders, 48-21, in Super Bowl XXXVII.
In 2004 Lionel Tate, the Florida teen who'd killed a 6-year-old playmate and became the youngest defendant in the U.S. to receive life, is released after three years behind bars.
In 2005 Condoleezza Rice is sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State, becoming the first African American woman to hold the post.
In 2008 Christian Brando (son of the late Marlon Brando) dies in Los Angeles. He was 49.


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