On June 15, 1775, the Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to appoint George Washington head of the Continental Army.
On this date:
In 1215, England's King John put his seal to Magna Carta ("the Great Charter") at Runnymede.
In 1219, forces led by King Valdemar II of Denmark defeated the Estonians in the Battle of Lyndanisse.
In 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state.
In 1849, James Polk, the 11th president of the United States, died in Nashville, Tenn.
In 1864, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton signed an order establishing a military burial ground, which became Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1902, the 20th Century Limited, an express passenger train between New York and Chicago, began service. (The Limited made its last run in Dec. 1967.)
In 1904, more than 1,000 people died when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York's East River.
In 1944, American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan during World War II. B-29 Superfortresses carried out their first raids on Japan.
In 1962, Students for a Democratic Society, at the conclusion of a five-day convention in Michigan, issued the Port Huron Statement calling for disarmament, enfranchisement of "publicly disinherited groups" and social change.
In 1978, King Hussein of Jordan married 26-year-old American Lisa Halaby, who became Queen Noor.
In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the northern Philippines exploded in one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, killing about 800 people.
In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle, relying on a faulty flash card, erroneously instructed Trenton, N.J., sixth-grade student William Figueroa to spell "potato" as "potatoe" during a spelling bee.
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