On April 30, 1789, George Washington took the oath of office in New York as the first president of the United States.
On this date:
In A.D. 311, shortly before his death, Roman Emperor Galerius issued his Edict of Toleration ending persecution of Christians.
In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for 60 million francs, the equivalent of about $15 million.
In 1812, Louisiana became the 18th state of the Union.
In 1864, Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ 5-year-old son, Joseph Evan Davis, died in a fall at the Confederate White House in Richmond, Va.
In 1900, engineer John Luther “Casey” Jones of the Illinois Central Railroad died in a train wreck near Vaughan, Miss., after staying at the controls in a successful effort to save the passengers.
In 1939, the New York World’s Fair officially opened with a ceremony that included an address by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1945, as Russian troops approached his Berlin bunker, Adolf Hitler committed suicide along with his wife of one day, Eva Braun.
In 1958, the American Association of Retired Persons (later simply AARP) was founded in Washington, D.C., by Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus.
In 1968, New York City police forcibly removed student demonstrators occupying five buildings at Columbia University.
In 1973, President Richard Nixon announced the resignations of top aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, Attorney General Richard G. Kleindienst and White House counsel John Dean, who was actually fired.
In 1988, Gen. Manuel Noriega, waving a machete, vowed at a rally to keep fighting U.S. efforts to oust him as Panama’s military ruler.
In 1993, top-ranked women’s tennis player Monica Seles was stabbed in the back during a match in Hamburg, Germany, by a man who described himself as a fan of second-ranked German player Steffi Graf. (The man, convicted of causing grievous bodily harm, was given a suspended sentence.)
Ten years ago: Arabs expressed outrage at graphic photographs of naked Iraqi prisoners being humiliated by U.S. military police; President George W. Bush condemned the mistreatment of prisoners, saying “that’s not the way we do things in America.” On ABC’s “Nightline,” Ted Koppel read aloud the names of 721 U.S. servicemen and women killed in the Iraq war (the Sinclair Broadcast Group refused to air the program on seven ABC stations). Michael Jackson pleaded not guilty in Santa Maria, Calif., to a grand jury indictment that expanded the child molestation case against him. (Jackson was acquitted at trial.) Former NBA star Jayson Williams was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter in the shotgun slaying of a limousine driver at his New Jersey mansion, but found guilty of trying to cover up the shooting. (The jury deadlocked on the second major charge, reckless manslaughter; Williams later pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and served 18 months.)
Five years ago: Riding a crest of populist anger, the House approved, 357-70, a bill to restrict credit card practices and eliminate sudden increases in interest rates and late fees. Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection; the federal government pledged up to $8 billion in additional aid and to back warranties. The Iraq war formally ended for British forces as they handed control of the oil-rich Basra area to U.S. commanders. A man drove his car into a crowd of parade spectators in Amsterdam, killing seven people in an attempt to attack the Dutch royal family (the attacker, Karst Tates, died of his injuries).
One year ago: President Barack Obama said he wanted more information about chemical weapons use in the Syrian civil war before deciding on escalating U.S. military or diplomatic responses, despite earlier assertions that use of such weapons would be a “game-changer.” The FDA lowered to 15 the age at which girls and women could buy the Plan B emergency contraceptive without a prescription, and said it no longer had to be kept behind pharmacy counters. Willem-Alexander became the first Dutch king in more than a century as his mother, Beatrix, abdicated after 33 years as queen.
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