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Today in History
Famous Birthdays
 Encyclopaedia Britannica

*1931Born this day in 1931, Mikhail Gorbachev, the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1985–91) and president of the Soviet Union (1990–91), instituted reforms that led to the end of the Cold War.  
2004NASA announced that the Mars rover Opportunity had discovered evidence that water had existed on Mars in the past.  
2003Over the Sea of Japan, there was a confrontation between four armed North Korean fighter jets and a U.S. RC-135S Cobra Ball. No shots were fired in the encounted in international airspace about 150 miles off North Korea's coast. The U.S. Air Force announced that it would resume reconnaissance flights on March 12.  
2000In Great Britain, Chile's former President Augusto Pinochet Ugarte was freed from house arrest and allowed to return to Chile. Britain's Home Secretary Jack Straw had concluded that Pinochet was mentally and physically unable to stand trial. Belgium, France, Spain and Switzerland had sought the former Chilean leader on human-rights violations.  
1998Images from the American spacecraft Galileo indicated that the Jupiter moon Europa has a liquid ocean and a source of interior heat.  
1998The U.N. Security Council endorses U.N. chief Kofi Annan's deal to open Iraq's presidential palaces to arms inspectors.  
1995Nick Leeson was arrested for his role in the collapse of Britain's Barings Bank.  
1995Russian anti-corruption journalist Vladislav Listyev was killed by a gunman in Moscow.  
1989Representatives from the 12 European Community nations all agreed to ban all production of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) by the end of the 20th century.  
1986Corazon Aquino was sworn into office as president of the Philippines. Her first public declaration was to restore the civil rights of the citizens of her country.  
1985The U.S. government approved a screening test for AIDS that detected antibodies to the virus that allowed possibly contaminated blood to be kept out of the blood supply.  
1984The first McDonald's franchise was closed. A new location was opened across the street from the old location in Des Plaines, IL.  
1974Postage stamps jumped from 8 to 10 cents for first-class mail.  
1969In Toulouse, France, the supersonic transport Concorde made its first test flight.  
1962Wilt 'The Stilt' Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks 169-147. Chamberlain broke several NBA records in the game.  
1962American basketball player Wilt Chamberlain scored a record 100 points in a National Basketball Association (NBA) game. 
1956The North African country of Morocco, situated directly across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain, proclaimed independence from France this day in 1956, with the sultan Muhammad V forming its first government.  
1949The B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II landed in Fort Worth, TX. The American plane had completed the first non-stop around-the-world flight.  
1946Ho Chi Minh was elected President of Vietnam.  
1939The Massachusetts legislature voted to ratify the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. These first ten amendments had gone into effect 147 years before.  
1933The motion picture King Kong had its world premiere in New York.  
1930English novelist D.H. Lawrence died in Vence, France (his ashes were moved in 1935 to Taos, New Mexico, where he once had lived). 
1929The U.S. Court of Customs & Patent Appeals was created by the U.S. Congress.  
1925State and federal highway officials developed a nationwide route-numbering system and adopted the familiar U.S. shield-shaped, numbered marker.  
1917Citizens of Puerto Rico were granted U.S. citizenship with the enactment of the Jones Act.  
1917The Russian Revolution began with Czar Nicholas II abdicating.  
1917The Jones Act took effect, designating Puerto Rico as a territory of the United States, “organized but unincorporated,” and conferring U.S. citizenship collectively on Puerto Ricans. 
1911Maurice Maeterlinck's "The Bluebird" opened in Paris.  
1908In New York, the Committee of the Russian Republican Administration was founded.  
1908In Paris, Gabriel Lippmann introduced three-dimensional color photography at the Academy of Sciences.  
1907In Hamburg, Germany, dock workers went on strike after the end of the night shift. British strike breakers were brought in. The issue was settled on April 22, 1907.  
1906A tornado in Missouri killed 33 and did $5 million in damage.  
1903The Martha Washington Hotel opened for business in New York City. The hotel had 416 rooms and was the first hotel exclusively for women.  
1901The first telegraph company in Hawaii opened.  
1901The U.S. Congress passed the Platt amendment, which limited Cuban autonomy as a condition for withdrawal of U.S. troops.  
1900The U.S. Congress voted to give $2 million in aid to Puerto Rico.  
1899Mount Rainier National Park in Washington was established by the U.S. Congress.  
1899U.S. President McKinley signed a measure that created the rank of Admiral for the U.S. Navy. The first admiral was George Dewey.  
1897U.S. President Cleveland vetoed legislation that would have required a literacy test for immigrants entering the country.  
1887The American Trotting Association was organized in Detroit, MI.  
1877In the U.S., Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential election by the U.S. Congress. Samuel J. Tilden, however, had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876.  
1867Over U.S. President Andrew Johnson's veto, Radical Republicans in Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, forbidding the president to remove civil officers without senatorial consent. 
1866Excelsior Needle Company began making sewing machine needles.  
1865Confederate forces under General Jubal A. Early suffered a decisive defeat that ended Southern resistance in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, during the American Civil War, and the Confederacy collapsed the following month. 
1861The U.S. Congress created the Territory of Nevada.  
1836Texas declared its independence from Mexico and an ad interim government was formed.  
1807The U.S. Congress passed an act to "prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States... from any foreign kingdom, place, or country."  
1498Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama and his fleet reached the island of Mozambique on their first voyage to India. 
Asterisks (*) denotes birthday

Famous Birthdays
1982 - Ben RoethlisbergerNFL Quarterback
1981 - Bryce Dallas HowardActress
1977 - Chris Martin
1968 - Daniel Craig
1963 - Alvin YoungbloodBlues Singer-Musician
1962 - Jon Bon Jovi
1959 - Larry StewartCountry Singer (Restless Heart)
1958 - Kevin CurrenTennis Player
1952 - Laraine Newman
1951 - Cassie YatesActress
1950 - Karen Carpenter
1944 - Lou Reed
1942 - John IrvingAuthor
1931 - Mikhail Gorbachev
1930 - John CullumActor
1930 - Tom WolfeAuthor
1919 - Jennifer Jones
1917 - Desi Arnaz
1904 - Dr. Seuss
1824 - Bedrich Smetana

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