Today in History ...

538 – Vitiges, king of the Ostrogoths ends his siege of Rome and retreats to Ravenna, leaving the city in the hands of the victorious Byzantine general, Belisarius. 1550 – Several hundred Spanish and indigenous troops under the command of Pedro de Valdivia defeat an army of 60,000 Mapuche at the Battle of Penco during the Arauco War in present-day Chile. 1622 – Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier, founders of the Jesuits, are canonized as saints by the Catholic Church. 1689 – The Williamite War in Ireland begins. 1811 – Peninsular War: A day after a successful rearguard action, French Marshal Michel Ney once again successfully delayed the pursuing Anglo-Portuguese force at the Battle of Redinha. 1864 – American Civil War: The Red River Campaign begins as a US Navy fleet of 13 Ironclads and 7 Gunboats and other support ships enter the Red River. 1868 – Henry O'Farrell attempts to assassinate Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. 1868 – Basutoland, today called Lesotho, is annexed by the United Kingdom. 1881 – Andrew Watson makes his Scotland debut as the world's first black international football player and captain. 1885 – Tonkin Campaign: France captures the citadel of Bắc Ninh. 1894 – Coca-Cola is bottled and sold for the first time in Vicksburg, Mississippi, by local soda fountain operator Joseph Biedenharn. 1910 – Greek cruiser Georgios Averof is launched at Livorno. 1912 – The Girl Guides (later renamed the Girl Scouts of the USA) are founded in the United States. 1913 – Canberra Day: The future capital of Australia is officially named Canberra. (Melbourne remains temporary capital until 1927 while the new capital is still under construction.) 1918 – Moscow becomes the capital of Russia again after Saint Petersburg held this status for 215 years. 1920 – The Kapp Putsch begins when the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt is ordered to march on Berlin. 1921 – İstiklâl Marşı is adopted in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. 1922 – Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan form The Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic 1928 – In California, the St. Francis Dam fails; the resulting floods kill over 600 people. 1930 – Mahatma Gandhi leads a 200-mile march, known as the Salt March, to the sea in defiance of British opposition, to protest the British monopoly on salt 1933 – Great Depression: Franklin D. Roosevelt addresses the nation for the first time as President of the United States. This is also the first of his "fireside chats". 1934 – Konstantin Päts and General Johan Laidoner stage a coup in Estonia, and ban all political parties. 1938 – Anschluss: German troops occupy and absorb Austria. 1940 – Winter War: Finland signs the Moscow Peace Treaty with the Soviet Union, ceding almost all of Finnish Karelia. Finnish troops and the remaining population are immediately evacuated. 1942 – Pacific War: The Battle of Java ends with an Allied surrender to the Japanese Empire. 1947 – The Truman Doctrine is proclaimed to help stem the spread of Communism. 1950 – The Llandow air disaster occurs near Sigingstone, Wales, in which 80 people die when their aircraft crashed, making it the world's deadliest air disaster at the time. 1961 – First winter ascent of the North Face of the Eiger. 1967 – Suharto takes over from Sukarno to become Acting President of Indonesia. 1968 – Mauritius achieves independence from the United Kingdom. 1971 – The March 12 Memorandum is sent to the Demirel government of Turkey and the government resigns. 1992 – Mauritius becomes a republic while remaining a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. 1993 – Several bombs explode in Bombay (Mumbai), India, killing about 300 and injuring hundreds more. 1993 – North Korea nuclear weapons program: North Korea says that it plans to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and refuses to allow inspectors access to its nuclear sites. 1993 – The Blizzard of 1993: Snow begins to fall across the eastern portion of the US with tornadoes, thunder snow storms, high winds and record low temperatures. The storm lasts for 30 hours. 1993 – Janet Reno is sworn in as the United States' first female attorney general. 1994 – The Church of England ordains its first female priests. 1999 – Former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland join NATO. 2003 – Zoran Đinđić, Prime Minister of Serbia, is assassinated in Belgrade. 2004 – The President of South Korea, Roh Moo-hyun, is impeached by its National Assembly: The first such impeachment in the nation's history. 2005 – Karolos Papoulias becomes President of Greece. 2009 – Financier Bernard Madoff pleads guilty in New York to scamming $18 billion, the largest in Wall Street history. 2011 – A reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant melts and explodes and releases radioactivity into the atmosphere a day after Japan's earthquake. 2014 – An explosion in the New York City neighborhood of East Harlem kills 8 and injures 70 others.


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