1755: Marie Antoinette is born an archduchess of Austria at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria. She would later marry Louis-Auguste, the heir apparent to the French throne, and eventually become the queen of France. However, after Louis XVI was deposed during the French Revolution and executed in January 1793, she too would be imprisoned, convicted for treason and executed by guillotine on Oct. 16, 1793.
1783: In Rocky Hill, N.J., U.S. Gen. George Washington disbands his troops following the Revolutionary War and gives his "Farewell Address to the Army."
1795: James K. Polk, who would become the 11th president of the United States (1845–1849), is born in what is now Pineville, N.C.
1852: The Democratic presidential ticket of Franklin Pierce and William R. King defeats the Whig Party ticket of Winfield Scott and William A. Graham by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin in the popular vote and 254 to 42 in the electoral vote to win the U.S. presidency.
1865: Warren G. Harding, who would become the 29th president of the United States (1921–1923), is born in Blooming Grove, Ohio.
1880: Republican Party candidate James A. Garfield is elected U.S. president over Civil War Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock. Despite capturing fewer than 2,000 more popular votes than Hancock, Garfield was easily elected, capturing 214 of the 369 electoral votes cast. It is to date the smallest popular vote victory in American presidential election history.
1887: Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind, one of the most highly regarded singers of the 19th century, dies at age 67 in Wynd's Point, Herefordshire, England. Known as the "Swedish Nightingale," her popularity exploded when she undertook a concert tour of America at the invitation of showman P. T. Barnum in 1850.
1889: The Dakota Territory is split up with North Dakota and South Dakota being admitted as the 39th and 40th U.S. states.
1898: University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell leads the crowd at a football game with a cheer of "Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-u-mah, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!" The event is recognized as the official birth date of organized cheerleading, making Campbell the very first cheerleader. Soon after, the University of Minnesota organized a "yell leader" squad of six male students, who still use Campbell's original cheer.
1913: Actor Burt Lancaster, best known for roles in movies such as "From Here to Eternity," "The Birdman of Alcatraz," "Atlantic City" and "Elmer Gantry," the last of which he won an Oscar for in 1961, is born in Manhattan, N.Y.
1931: The DuPont company announces the first synthetic rubber. It's initially known as DuPrene, but DuPont would discontinue that trade name on Dec. 16, 1936, in favor of the generic "neoprene" to signify that the material is an ingredient, not a finished consumer product. Today, neoprene is used in a wide variety of applications, such as laptop sleeves, orthopedic braces, electrical insulation and automotive fan belts.
1936: The British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, the world's first regular, "high-definition" (then defined as at least 200 lines) service. Renamed BBC1 in 1964, the channel still runs to this day. Pictured is a replica of an Emitron camera used to make the earliest 405-line programs broadcast on the channel.
1942: Actress Stefanie Powers, best known for her role opposite Robert Wagner in the 1980s TV drama "Hart to Hart," is born under the birth name Stefanie Zofya Paul in Hollywood, Calif.
1947: In Long Beach, Calif., Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the H-4 Hercules, the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built, remaining airborne at 70 feet off the water at a speed of 135 mph for around a mile. Built from wood because of wartime restrictions on the use of aluminum and concerns about weight, its critics nicknamed it the "Spruce Goose," despite it being made almost entirely of birch rather than spruce.
1948: Incumbent U.S. President Harry S. Truman defeats New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey for re-election in one of the greatest election upsets in American history. The Chicago Tribune would publish an early edition with the now infamous headline "Dewey Defeats Truman." Truman won the electoral vote by a 303-189 majority over Dewey and Dixiecrat candidate Strom Thurmond, though a swing of just a few thousand votes in Ohio, Illinois and California would have produced the predicted Dewey victory.
1950: Irish writer George Bernard Shaw dies at age 94 in Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England. Shaw is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938), for his contributions to literature and for his work on the film "Pygmalion," an adaptation of his play of the same name, respectively.
1959: "Twenty One" game show contestant Charles Van Doren (center) admits to the House Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight that he had been given questions and answers in advance while on the show. Van Doren had been made famous by a winning streak over several months on the game show in early 1957 that ultimately earned him more than $129,000.
1960: In the trial R v. Penguin Books Ltd. in London, England, Penguin Books is found not guilty of obscenity for publishing D. H. Lawrence's novel "Lady Chatterley's Lover," a book that became notorious for its story of the physical relationship between a working-class man and an upper-class woman, its explicit descriptions of sex, and its use of words then viewed by many as unprintable.
1961: Singer-songwriter k.d. lang, who has won both Juno Awards and Grammy Awards for her musical performances, including hits like "Constant Craving" and "Miss Chatelaine," is born under the birth name Kathryn Dawn Lang in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
1961: Humorist James Thurber, best known for his cartoons and short stories, published mainly in The New Yorker magazine, dies due to complications from pneumonia at age 66 in New York City. Among his classic short stories are "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," "The Catbird Seat," "The Dog That Bit People" and "The Night the Bed Fell."
1963: South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem (seen here shaking hands with U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957) is assassinated during a military coup by a group of Army of the Republic of Vietnam officers who disagreed with his handling of both the Buddhist crisis, a campaign of civil resistance led mainly by Buddhist monks, and the Vietcong threat. The coup started on Nov. 1, with Diem being captured and executed the next day along with his brother and adviser Ngo Dinh Nhu.
1966: Actor David Schwimmer, best known for portraying Ross Geller in the TV sitcom "Friends" and for voicing Melman the giraffe in the animated "Madagascar" movies, is born in Flushing, Queens, New York City.
1973: John Lennon releases the album "Mind Games," his fourth post-Beatles album, in the United States. The album, which would be released two weeks later in the United Kingdom, reached No. 13 in the U.K. and No. 9 in the U.S., where it went gold.
1974: The Atlanta Braves trade home run king Hank Aaron to Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Dave May and minor league pitcher Roger Alexander. Aaron, who started his Hall of Fame career playing for the Milwaukee Braves before they moved to Atlanta, would retire two seasons later with 755 career home runs.
1974: Rapper Nelly, who began his solo career in 2000 with his debut album "Country Grammar," the title track of which was a top-10 hit, and also recorded the No. 1 hits "Hot in Herre" and "Dilemma," is born under the birth name Cornell Iral Haynes Jr. in Austin, Texas.
1976: Former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter defeats Republican incumbent President Gerald R. Ford, becoming the first U.S. president from the Deep South since the Civil War. Although Ford did carry a majority of the states, 27 to Carter's 23 plus Washington, D.C., he lost the electoral vote battle 240 to 297.
1983: President Ronald Reagan signs a bill establishing a federal holiday on the third Monday of January in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The holiday would be first observed on Jan. 20, 1986.
1984: Velma Barfield is executed at Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C., becoming the first woman executed in the United States since 1962. Barfield, who was convicted in 1978 of killing Stuart Taylor, her fiance, by putting poison in his beer, is also the first woman to be executed by lethal injection. She had also confessed to the fatal poisoning of her mother and two elderly people for whom she had been hired to care, although she was not tried for those slayings.
1984: The British drama "The Killing Fields," starring Sam Waterston, John Malkovich and Haing S. Ngor (pictured), premieres in New York City. The movie is about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. It would go on to earn seven Academy Award nominations, with Ngor, who was himself a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime and their labor camps, winning Best Supporting Actor. The film also won for Best Editing and Best Cinematography.
1992: Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson aborts a planned comeback to the NBA, citing controversy over his return as some players, such as Utah's Karl Malone, were vocal about competing against a player who had tested HIV-positive.
1992: Film director and producer Hal Roach, best known for his Hal Roach Studios, which produced movies with Harold Lloyd, Will Rogers, the "Our Gang" kids and, most famously, Laurel and Hardy, dies from pneumonia at age 100 in Bel Air, Calif.
2000: The international space station gets its first residents as an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts arrive aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule for a four-month stay.
2001: The animated movie "Monsters, Inc." premieres in theaters. The film, the fourth produced by Pixar Animation Studios, would record the best debut ever for an animated film and the sixth best of all time and earn a total of more than $525 million worldwide.
2003: Sean "P. Diddy" Combs runs in the New York City Marathon after just two months of training, finishing in 4 hours, 14 minutes and 54 seconds. He raised $2 million for two children's charities and New York City public schools.
2004: President George W. Bush is elected to a second term, winning 50.7 percent of the popular vote to defeat the Democratic challenger, U.S. Sen. John Kerry. Bush received 286 electoral votes to Kerry's 251.
2006: The Rev. Ted Haggard resigns as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after a man claims they had had sexual trysts together and that Haggard bought crystal methamphetamine from him and they used it together. Haggard, who also stepped down as pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., initially admitted to buying drugs from the man, but denied the other accusations. Haggard, who had been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, would eventually acknowledge almost all of the allegations against him, including using meth.
2010: Californians reject a ballot measure that would have made their state the first to legalize marijuana for recreational use, with 53.5 percent of California voters voting "No" and 46.5 percent voting "Yes." The measure also would have allowed local governments to regulate and tax the newly created cannabis market.
2013: Basketball Hall of Fame center Walt Bellamy, who spent 14 years in the NBA, dies at age 74 in College Park, Georgia. After winning a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics, Bellamy won NBA Rookie of the Year in 1962 after his first year with the Chicago Packers. He also played for the Baltimore Bullets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Jazz during his career before retiring in 1974 with career totals of 20,941 points and 14,241 rebounds.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters are camped out on major highways in the heart of Hong Kong, defying government attempts to both coerce and cajole them into giving up their extraordinary demonstration.
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