Today in History

  • Tuesday, December 17, 2013 1:01pm
  • Life

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 18, the 352nd day of 2013. There are 13 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On Dec. 18, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect by Secretary of State William H. Seward.

On this date:

In 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1863, in a speech to the Prussian Parliament, Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck declared, “Politics is not an exact science.”

In 1892, Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In 1912, fossil collector Charles Dawson reported to the Geological Society of London his discovery of supposedly fragmented early human remains at a gravel pit in Piltdown. (More than four decades later, Piltdown Man was exposed as a hoax.)

In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson, widowed the year before, married Edith Bolling Galt at her Washington home.

In 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered secret preparations for Nazi Germany to invade the Soviet Union. (Operation Barbarossa was launched in June 1941.)

In 1958, the world’s first communications satellite, SCORE (Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment), nicknamed “Chatterbox,” was launched by the United States aboard an Atlas rocket.

In 1971, the Rev. Jesse Jackson announced in Chicago the founding of Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity).

In 1972, the United States began heavy bombing of North Vietnamese targets during the Vietnam War. (The bombardment ended 11 days later.)

In 1980, former Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin died at age 76.

In 1998, the House debated articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton. South Carolina carried out the nation’s 500th execution since capital punishment resumed in 1977.

In 2011, the last convoy of heavily armored U.S. troops left Iraq, crossing into Kuwait in darkness in the final moments of a nine-year war.

Ten years ago: Two federal appeals courts ruled the U.S. military could not indefinitely hold prisoners without access to lawyers or American courts. A jury in Chesapeake, Va., convicted teenager Lee Boyd Malvo of two counts of capital murder in the Washington-area sniper shootings (he was later sentenced to life in prison without parole). A judge in Seattle sentenced confessed Green River Killer Gary Ridgway to 48 consecutive life terms. Michael Jackson was formally charged with molesting a cancer-stricken boy at his Neverland Ranch; Jackson was acquitted at trial.

Five years ago: A U.N. court in Tanzania convicted a former Rwandan army colonel, Theoneste Bagosora, of genocide and crimes against humanity for masterminding the killings of more than half a million people in a 100-day slaughter in 1994. (Bagosora was sentenced to life in prison, but had his sentence reduced in 2011 to 35 years.) W. Mark Felt, the former FBI second-in-command who’d revealed himself as “Deep Throat” three decades after the Watergate scandal, died in Santa Rosa, Calif., at age 95. “Star Trek” actress Majel Barrett Roddenberry, widow of series creator Gene Roddenberry, died in Los Angeles at age 76.

One year ago: Classes resumed in Newtown, Conn., except at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the scene of a massacre four days earlier. Two bank robbers pulled off a daring escape from downtown Chicago’s high-rise jail by scaling down 17 stories using a makeshift rope. (Kenneth Conley and Jose Banks were later recaptured.) Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to be voted The Associated Press Player of the Year in college football.

Associated Press

More in Life

Marysville theater stages Noel Coward’s timeless ‘Blithe Spirit’

The cast and crew at the Red Curtain Arts Center do a fine job with the 1940s British play.

Stringed instruments get workout at Cascade Symphony concert

Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings” is the orchestra’s first concert of the season.

Animating Van Gogh paintings proves to be trippy yet flawed

“Loving Vincent” relates the circumstances of the great painter’s death.

Confusing, muddled thriller confounds talented director, cast

“The Snowman,” based on a Scandinavian crime novel, suffers from catastrophic storytelling problems.

‘Breathe’ ignores all the inspirational movie cliches

It tells the story of a polio patient and his wife who helped change attitudes about the disabled.

New Edmonds bakery showcases owner’s mastery of pastry

Desserts are the highlight at Ganache Patisserie and Cafe on Main Street near the theater.

What you’ll see Thursday night on Everett, Edmonds art walks

Third Thursday evenings in Everett and Edmonds offer chances for interesting strolls.… Continue reading

Fur & Feathers: 4 lovable dogs need homes

Meet Lola, Sadie, Scooter and Chance

British Film Institute strips Harvey Weinstein of highest honor

He was awarded a BFI Fellowship in 2002 for his contribution to British cinema.

Most Read