Today In History...

In 1502 Christopher Columbus leaves Cadiz, Spain, on his fourth and final trip to the Western Hemisphere.
In 1689 English King Willem III declares war on France.
In 1754 The first American newspaper cartoon is published in Benjamin Franklin's "Pennsylvania Gazzette."
In 1899 The lawn mower is patented.
In 1913 The 17th Amendment to the U.S constitution is ratified providing for the election of U.S. senators by popular vote rather than selection by state legislatures.
In 1925 The cornerstone for Hebrew University is laid in Jerusalem.
In 1926 Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett become the first men to make an airplane flight over the North Pole.
In 1936 Italy annexes Ethiopia as Benito Mussolini celebrated in Rome.
In 1940 Vivien Leigh makes her American stage debut starring with Laurence Olivier in "Romeo & Juliet."
In 1945 U.S. officials announce that the midnight entertainment curfew, issued during World War II, would be lifted immediately.
In 1947 The first TV variety show, NBC's "Hour Glass," premieres.
In 1960 Nigeria becomes a member of the British Commonwealth.
In 1960 The FDA approves the sale of birth control pills.
In 1961 In a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, FCC chairman Newton Minow condemned television programming as a "vast wasteland."
In 1974 The House Judiciary Committee begins its hearings on whether to recommend the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.
In 1978 The bullet-riddled body of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro, who had been abducted by the Red Brigades, is found in an automobile in Rome.
In 1980 35 motorists are killed when a Liberian freighter rammed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay in Florida, causing a 1,400-foot section of the bridge to collapse.
In 1983 British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher calls a general election for June 9, eleven months earlier than she was required to. The result was a larger Conservative majority in Parliament.
In 1985 Capping a 10-day European tour with a speech before Portugal's assembly in Lisbon, President Reagan lashed out at the leaders of the Soviet Union and Nicaragua.
In 1986 The Soviets announce that concrete would be poured around the core of the Chernobyl reactor.
In 1987 All 183 people aboard a Polish jetliner are killed when the New York-bound plane crashes in Warsaw as the pilot was making an emergency return.
In 1988 Education Secretary William J. Bennett announces he would leave his position in mid-September.
In 1989 President Bush calls for worldwide pressure on General Manuel Antonio Noriega to step down as military leader of Panama.
In 1990 President Bush and U.S. congressional leaders announce plans for emergency budget talks, with tax increases and spending cuts on the negotiating table.
In 1991 President Bush meets at the White House with U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who relayed Iraq's rejection of a U.S.-backed proposal for a U.N. civilian force in northern Iraq.
In 1991 William Kennedy Smith is charged with raping Patricia Bowman, nearly six weeks she accused him of attacking her at the Kennedy family estate in West Palm Beach. He was acquitted at trial.
In 1992 President Bush, back in Washington after touring riot-torn Los Angeles, promises to work with the Democrat-controlled Congress to help American cities.
In 1994 Actor George Peppard dies of pneumonia at age 65.
In 1994 Nelson Mandela is elected the first black president of South Africa.
In 1995 The city of Kinshassa, Zaire, is placed under quarantine after an outbreak of the Ebola virus.
In 1995 The U.S. returns 13 Cuban boat people to their homeland, the first refugees to be sent back under a new policy that ended 35 years of open arms.
In 1995 President Clinton arrives in Moscow for a summit with Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
In 1996 The U.S. agrees to pay $2 million to North Korea for the cost of recovering 162 sets of remains of U.S. servicemen lost during Korean War.
In 1996 A military transport helicopter undergoing a flight check before it was to be added to the White House fleet crashes and burns at Sikorsky Aircraft in Connecticut killing all four crew members.
In 1997 During a visit to a rain forest in Costa Rica, President Clinton urges nations not to sacrifice their environment in pursuit of economic gain.
In 1999 A chartered bus carrying members of a casino club on a Mother's Day gambling excursion flipped off a highway in New Orleans, killing 22.
In 2000 Former 4-term Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards is convicted of extortion schemes to manipulate the licensing of Louisiana riverboat casinos.
In 2001 A stampede at a soccer match in Ghana kills 126 people.
In 2003 The U.S. and its allies asks the UN Security Council to give its stamp of approval to their occupation of Iraq.
In 2004 Comedian/actor Alan King dies in New York at age 76.


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