On This Day in:
1500 – Vicente Yáñez Pinzón discovered Brazil.
1784 – In a letter to his daughter, Benjamin Franklin expressed unhappiness over the eagle as the symbol of America. He wanted the symbol to be the turkey.
1788 – The first European settlers in Australia, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, landed in what became known as Sydney. The group had first settled at Botany Bay eight days before. This day is celebrated as Australia Day.
1802 – The U.S. Congress passed an act calling for a library to be established within the U.S. Capitol.
1827 – Peru seceded from Colombia in protest against Simón Bolívar's alleged tyranny.
1837 – Michigan became the 26th state to join the United States.
1841 – Britain formally occupied Hong Kong, which the Chinese had ceded to the British.
1848 – James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter's Mill in northern California. The discovery led to the gold rush.
1861 – In the U.S., Louisiana seceded from the Union.
1870 – The state of Virgina rejoined the Union.
1875 – George F. Green patented the electric dental drill for sawing, filing, dressing and polishing teeth.
1905 – The Cullinan diamond, at 3,106.75 carats, was found by Captain Wells at the Premier Mine, near Pretoria, South Africa.
1911 – Inventor Glenn H. Curtiss flew the first successful seaplane.
1922 – Christian K. Nelson patented the Eskimo Pie.
1930 – Primo Carnera made his American boxing debut by knocking out Big Boy Patterson one minute into the opening round.
1934 – The Apollo Theatre opened in New York City.
1939 – In the Spanish Civil War, Franco's forces took Barcelona.
1942 – The first American expeditionary force to go to Europe during World War II went ashore in Northern Ireland.
1950 – India officially proclaimed itself a republic as Rajendra Prasad took the oath of office as president.
1950 – The American Associated Insurance Companies, of St. Louis, MO, issued the first baby sitter’s insurance policy.
1952 – Vincent Massey was the first Canadian to be appointed governorgeneral of Canada.
1955 – The rules committee of major league baseball announced a plan to strictly enforce the rule that required a pitcher to release the ball within
20 seconds after taking his position on the mound.
1961 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy appointed Dr. Janet G. Travell as the first woman to be the 'personal physician to the President'.
1962 – The U.S. launched Ranger 3 to land scientific instruments on the moon. The probe missed its target by about 22,000 miles.
1969 – California was declared a disaster area two days of flooding and mudslides.
1972 – In Hermsdorf, Czechoslovakia, a JAT Yugoslav Airlines flight crashed after the detonation of a bomb in the forward cargo hold killing
27 people. The bomb was believed to have been placed on the plane by a Croatian extremist group. Vesna Vulovic, a stewardess, survived after falling 33,000 feet in the tail section. She broke both legs and became paralyzed from the waist down.
1979 – The ‘Gizmo’ guitar synthesizer was first demonstrated.
1992 – Russian president Boris Yeltsin announced that his country would stop targeting U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.
1994 – In Sydney, Australia, a young man lunged at and fired two blank shots at Britain's Prince Charles.
1996 – U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton testified before a grand jury concerning the Whitewater probe.
1998 – U.S. President Clinton denied having an affair with a former White House intern, saying 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.'
1999 – Saddam Hussein vowed revenge against the U.S. in response to air-strikes that reportedly killed civilians. The strikes were U.S. planes defending themselves against anti-aircraft fire.
2001 – In Colorado Springs, CO, Patrick Murphy Jr. and Donald Newbury were taken into custody after a 5-minute phone interview was granted with a TV station. They were the remaining fugitives of the 'Texas 7.'
2002 – The U.S. Congress began a hearing on the collapse of Enron Corp.
“So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.”
— Romans 14:12-13 (ESV)