Today in History

Today is Saturday, Jan. 4, the fourth day of 2014. There are 361 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On Jan. 4, 1964, Pope Paul VI began a visit to the Holy Land, the first papal pilgrimage of its kind.

On this date:

In 1821, the first native-born American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, died in Emmitsburg, Md.

In 1896, Utah was admitted as the 45th state.

In 1904, the Supreme Court, in Gonzalez v. Williams, ruled that Puerto Ricans were not aliens and could enter the United States freely; however, the court stopped short of declaring them U.S. citizens. (Puerto Ricans received U.S. citizenship in 1917.)

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his State of the Union address, called for legislation to provide assistance for the jobless, elderly, impoverished children and the handicapped.

In 1943, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin appeared on the cover of Time as the magazine’s 1942 “Man of the Year.”

In 1944, Ralph Bunche became the first African-American officer at the State Department as he was appointed to a post in the Near East and African Section.

In 1951, during the Korean War, North Korean and Communist Chinese forces recaptured the city of Seoul.

In 1960, author and philosopher Albert Camus died in an automobile accident in Villeblevin, France, at age 46.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered his State of the Union address in which he outlined the goals of his “Great Society.”

In 1974, President Richard Nixon refused to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.

In 1989, in an incident reminiscent of a 1981 confrontation, two U.S. Navy F-14 fighters shot down a pair of Libyan MiG-23 fighters in a clash over international waters off the Libyan coast.

In 2007, Nancy Pelosi was elected the first female speaker of the House as Democrats took control of Congress.

Ten years ago: In Iowa, seven of the nine Democratic presidential hopefuls participated in a feisty, first debate of the election year. Afghans approved a new constitution. Georgians overwhelmingly elected Mikhail Saakashvili president, two months after he’d led protests that forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down. Louisiana State University won college football’s Sugar Bowl, defeating Oklahoma 21-14.

Five years ago: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced he was withdrawing his nomination to be President-elect Barack Obama’s commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation into how some of his political donors had won a lucrative state contract. (Prosecutors later declined to bring charges against Richardson.) A female suicide bomber struck Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad, killing 38.

One year ago: The new Congress passed a $9.7 billion bill to help pay flood insurance claims to homeowners, renters and businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy. No. 10 Texas A&M beat No. 12 Oklahoma, 41-13, in the Cotton Bowl.

Associated Press

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