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211 - Roman Emperor Septimius Severus dies, leaving the Roman Empire in the hands of his two quarrelsome sons, Caracalla and Geta.

362 - Roman Emperor Julian promulgates an edict that recognizes equal rights to all the religions in the Roman Empire.

1454 - In the Thirteen Years' War, the Secret Council of the Prussian Confederation sends a formal act of disobedience to the Grand Master.

1703 - In Edo (now Tokyo), 46 of the Forty-Seven Ronin commit seppuku (ritual suicide) as recompense for avenging their master's death.

1783 - American Revolutionary War: The United Kingdom formally declares that it will cease hostilities with the United States of America.

1789 - George Washington is unanimously elected to be the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.

1792 - George Washington is unanimously elected to a second term as President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.

1794 - The French legislature abolishes slavery throughout all territories of the French Republic.

1801 - John Marshall is sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States.

1810 - British Navy seizes Guadeloupe.

1836 - Dade County, Florida is formed.

1859 - Codex Sinaiticus discovered in Egypt.

1861 - American Civil War: In Montgomery, Alabama the Confederate States of America is formed by delegates from six break-away United States.


1862 - Bacardi, one of the world's largest spirits company, is founded as a small distillery in Santiago de Cuba in eastern Cuba.

1899 - The Philippine-American War begins.

1915 - Germany establishes a submarine blockade around the UK and declares any vessel in it a legitimate target.

1927 - The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson is released.

1932 - World War II: Japan occupies Harbin, China.

1932 - 1932 Winter Olympics open in Lake Placid, New York.

1936 - Radium E. becomes the first radioactive element to be made synthetically.

1938 - Thornton Wilder's play Our Town opens (New York City).

1938 - Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released, and it went on to become a major box-office success, making more money than any other motion picture in 1938.

1941 - World War II: The United Service Organization (USO) is created to entertain American troops.

1943 - Battle of Stalingrad ends.

1945 - World War II: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin begin the Yalta Conference.

1948 - Ceylon (later renamed Sri Lanka) becomes independent within the British Commonwealth.


1957 - USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine, logs her 60,000th nautical mile, matching the endurance of the fictional Nautilus described in Jules Verne's novel "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea".

1960 - Lorraine, Quebec is founded.

1962 - Ian Fleming's The Living Daylights first published.

1966 - All Nippon Airways Boeing 727 jet plunges into Tokyo Bay, killing 133.

1968 - Bowie Kuhn becomes the fifth commissioner of Major League Baseball, replacing William Eckert.

1969 - Yasser Arafat takes over as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

1974 - The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patty Hearst in Berkeley, California.

1976 - In Guatemala and Honduras an earthquake kills more than 22,000.

1976 - 1976 Winter Olympics open in Innsbruck, Austria.

1977 - Fleetwood Mac releases one of the biggest-selling albums of all time, Rumours.

1980 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini names Abolhassan Banisadr as president of Iran.

1984 - The Youth of the Left Socialists (VSU) founded in Denmark.

1991 - The Baseball Hall of Fame votes to ban Pete Rose.

1996 - Major snowstorm paralyzes Midwestern United States, Milwaukee, Wisconsin ties all-time record low temperature at -26°F. (-32°C)

1997 - O. J. Simpson is found to be civilly liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

1997 - En route to Lebanon, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 troop-transport helicopters collide in mid-air over northern Galilee, Israel killing 73.

1997 - After at first contesting the results, Serbian President Slobodan Milo?evi? recognizes opposition victories in the November 1996 elections.

1998 - An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale in northeast Afghanistan kills more than 5,000.

1999 - Hugo Chávez Frías, Venezuelan military and politician, is elected President of Venezuela.

1999 - Unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo is shot dead by four plainclothes New York City police officers on an unrelated stake-out, inflaming race-relations in the city.

2000 - German extortionist Klaus-Peter Sabotta is jailed for life for attempted murder and extortion in connection with sabotage of German railway lines.

2003 - The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is officially renamed to Serbia and Montenegro and adopts a new constitution.

2006 - Anders Fogh Rasmussen cartoons published in response to the affair of the Muhammad drawings.

2006 - A stampede occurs in the ULTRA Stadium near Manila killing at least 74.


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