On Jan. 7, 1789, America held its first presidential election as voters chose electors who, a month later, selected George Washington to be the nation's first chief executive.
On this date:
In 1610, astronomer Galileo Galilei began observing three of Jupiter's moons (he spotted a fourth moon almost a week later).
In 1800, the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, was born in Summerhill, N.Y.
In 1894, one of the earliest motion picture experiments took place at the Thomas Edison studio in West Orange, N.J., as Fred Ott was filmed taking a pinch of snuff and sneezing.
In 1927, commercial transatlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and London.
In 1942, the Japanese siege of Bataan began during World War II. (The fall of Bataan three months later was followed by the notorious Death March.)
In 1949, George C. Marshall resigned as U.S. Secretary of State; President Harry S. Truman chose Dean Acheson to succeed him.
In 1953, President Harry S. Truman announced in his State of the Union message to Congress that the United States had developed a hydrogen bomb.
In 1963, the U.S. Post Office raised the cost of a first-class stamp from 4 to 5 cents.
In 1973, sniper Mark Essex laid siege at a Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge in downtown New Orleans for about 10 hours, killing seven people before being slain by police sharpshooters.
In 1979, Vietnamese forces captured the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge government.
In 1989, Emperor Hirohito of Japan died in Tokyo at age 87; he was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Akihito.
In 1999, for the second time in history, an impeached American president went on trial before the Senate. President Bill Clinton faced charges of perjury and obstruction of justice; he was acquitted.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush proposed legal status, at least temporarily, for millions of immigrants improperly working in the U.S. Swedish actress Ingrid Thulin died in Stockholm at age 77.
Five years ago: President-elect Barack Obama met at the White House with America's four living presidents: George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Russia shut off all its gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine in a price and payment dispute; the cutoff lasted nearly two weeks.
One year ago: President Barack Obama announced he would nominate former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary, calling him "the leader our troops deserve"; Obama also chose White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide rolled top-ranked Notre Dame 42-14 for the BCS championship.
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