Today in History
1513 – Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted Florida. The next day he went ashore.
1792 – The U.S. Congress passed the Coinage Act to regulate the coins of the United States. The act authorized
$10 Eagles, $5 Half Eagles, $2.50 Quarter Eagle gold coins, silver dollars, dollars, quarters, dimes and halfdimes to be minted.
1801 – During the Napoleonic Wars, the Danish fleet was destroyed by the British at the Battle of Copenhagen.
1860 – The first Italian Parliament met in Turin.
1865 – Confederate President Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, VA.
1872 – G.B. Brayton received a patent for the gas-powered streetcar.
1877 – The first Egg Roll was held on the grounds of the White House in Washington, DC.
1889 – Charles Hall patented aluminum.
1902 – The first motion picture theatre opened in Los Angeles with the name Electric Theatre.
1905 – The Simplon rail tunnel officially opened. The tun- nel went under the Alps and linked Switzerland and Italy. 1910 – Karl Harris perfected the process for the artificial synthesis of rubber. 1914 – The U.S. Federal Reserve Board announced plans to divide the country into 12 districts. 1917 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson presented a declaration of war against Germany to the U.S. Congress.
1932 – A $50,000 ransom was paid for the infant son of Charles and Anna Lindbergh. He child was not returned and was found dead the next month. 1935 – Sir Watson-Watt was granted a patent for RADAR. 1944 – The Soviet Union announced that its troops had crossed the Prut River and entered Romania. 1947 – 'The Big Story' debuted on NBC radio. It was on the air for eight years. 1951 – U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower assumed command of all allied forces in the Western Mediterranean area and Europe.
1956 – 'The Edge of Night' and 'As the World Turns' debuted on CBS-TV.
1958 – The National Advisory Council on Aeronautics was renamed NASA.
1960 – France signed an agreement with Madagascar that proclaimed the country an independent state within the French community.
1963 – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King began the first non-violent campaign in Birmingham, AL.
1966 – South Vietnamese troops joined in demonstrations at Hue and Da Nang for an end to military rule.
1967 – In Peking, hundreds of thousands demonstrated against Mao foe Liu Shao-chi.
1972 – Burt Reynolds appeared nude in 'Cosmopolitan' magazine.
1978 – The first episode of 'Dallas' aired on CBS.
1981 – In Lebanon, thirty-seven people were reported killed during fighting in the cities of Beirut and Zahle. It was the worst violence since the 1976 cease fire.
1984 – In Jerusalem, three Arab gunmen wounded 48 people when they opened fire into a crowd of shoppers.
1985 – The NCAA Rules Committee adopted the 45-second shot clock for men’s basketball to begin in the 1986 season.
1986 – On a TWA airliner flying from Rome to Athens a bomb exploded under a seat killing four Americans.
1987 – The speed limit on U.S. interstate highways was increased to 65 miles per hour in limited areas.
1988 – U.S. Special Prosecutor James McKay declined to indict Attorney General Edwin Meese for criminal wrong- doing.
1989 – General Prosper Avril, Haiti's military leader, survived a coup attempt. The attempt was apparently provoked by Avril's U.S.-backed efforts to fight drug traffick- ing.
1990 – Iraqi President Saddam Hussein threatened to incinerate half of Israel with chemical weapons if Israel joined a conspiracy against Iraq.
1995 – The costliest strike in professional sports history ended when baseball owners agreed to let players play without a contract.
1996 – Russia and Belarus signed a treaty that created a political and economic alliance in an effort to reunite the two former Soviet republics.
2002 – Israeli troops surrounded the Church of the Nativity. More than 200 Palestinians had taken refuge at the church when Israel invaded Bethlehem.
2013 – The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the international trade of conventional weapons.