On Jan. 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Roe v. Wade decision, legalized abortions using a trimester approach. Former President Lyndon B. Johnson died at his Texas ranch at age 64.
On this date:
In 1498, during his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus arrived at the present-day Caribbean island of St. Vincent.
In 1901, Britain's Queen Victoria died at age 81.
In 1912, the Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad, which connected the Keys with the mainland, went into service.
In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson pleaded for an end to war in Europe, calling for "peace without victory." (By April, however, America also was at war.)
In 1922, Pope Benedict XV died; he was succeeded by Pius XI.
In 1938, Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town" was performed publicly for the first time in Princeton, N.J.
In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces began landing at Anzio, Italy.
In 1953, the Arthur Miller drama "The Crucible" opened on Broadway.
In 1968, the fast-paced sketch comedy series "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" premiered on NBC-TV.
In 1973, a Boeing 707 chartered by Nigeria Airways crashed while attempting to land at Kano International Airport; 176 of the 202 people aboard were killed. George Foreman upset reigning heavyweight champion Joe Frazier with a second round TKO in their match in Kingston, Jamaica.
In 1984, the Los Angeles Raiders defeated the Washington Redskins 38-9 to win Super Bowl XVIII (18), played at Tampa Stadium in Florida. (The game broadcast on CBS-TV featured Apple Computer's famous "1984" ad introducing the Macintosh computer.)
In 1998, Theodore Kaczynski pleaded guilty in Sacramento, Calif., to being the Unabomber in return for a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Ten years ago: Countering blunt talk of war by the Bush administration, France and Germany defiantly stated they were committed to a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis. Opponents and supporters of abortion rights rallied on the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling. Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Bill Mauldin, who'd immortalized World War II soldiers with his characters Willie and Joe, died in Newport Beach, Calif., at age 81.
Five years ago: Actor Heath Ledger, 28, was found dead of an accidental prescription overdose in a New York City apartment. Jose Padilla, once accused of plotting with al-Qaida to blow up a radioactive "dirty bomb," was sentenced by a U.S. federal judge in Miami to 17 years and four months on other terrorism conspiracy charges. Republican Fred Thompson quit the race for the White House after a string of poor finishes in early primary and caucus states.
One year ago: Longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who'd won more games than anyone in major college football but was fired amid a child sex abuse scandal that scarred his reputation, died at age 85. The New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 in the AFC championship game. The New York Giants defeated the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in the NFC championship game.
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