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1994–Netscape Communications Corporation announces that it is offering its new “Netscape Navigator” free to users via the Internet. The Internet browser, developed by the six-month-old Silicon Valley company led by Silicon Graphics founder, Jim Clark, and NCSA Mosaic creator, Marc Andreessen, was available for free downloading by “individual, academic, and research users.”

54–Roman Emperor, Claudius, dies of poisoning in Rome, Italy, at age 63. There are many questions about the acutal cause of his death, however, which to this day remain unanswered.

409–Vandals and Alans cross the Pyrenees and appear in Hispania.

467–Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei is born Tuoba Hong in China.

982–Emperor Jing Zong of the Liao dynasty dies on his way back from a hunting trip, at age 34.

1162–Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile, is born at Domfront Castle in Normandy. She was the sixth child and second daughter of Henry II, King of England, and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

1269–The present church building at Westminster Abbey is consecrated in London, England.

1282–Nichiren Daishonin, founder of the Nichiren School of Buddhism, dies in Ota Ikegami Daibo Hongyoji, Japan, at age 60. His ashes are interred at Taisekiji Temple.

1307–Hundreds of Knights Templar in France are simultaneously arrested by agents of Phillip the Fair, to be later tortured into a "confession" of heresy.

1332–Rinchinbal Khan, Emperor Ningzong of Yuan, becomes the Khagan of the Mongols and Emperor of the Yuan dynasty, reigning for only 53 days.

1499–Claude of France is born in Romorantin-Lanthenay, Loir-et-Cher, France.

1582–Due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, this day does not exist in this year in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain.

1644–A Swedish-Dutch fleet defeats the Danish fleet at Fehmarn and captures about 1,000 prisoners.

1687–Astronomer, Geminiano Montanari, dies in Padua, Italy, at age 54. A crater on the Moon, at 45.8S, 20.6W, is named after him.

1710–Port Royal, the capital of French Acadia, falls in a siege by British forces.

1773–The Whirlpool Galaxy is discovered by Charles Messier.

1775–The United States Continental Congress orders the establishment of the Continental Navy (later renamed the United States Navy).

1792–The cornerstone of the United States Executive Mansion (known as the White House since 1818) is laid in Washington, D.C.

1792–Old Farmer’s Almanac begins publication.

1793–During the French Revolutionary Wars, there is an Austro-Prussian victory over Republican France at the First Battle of Wissembourg.

1812–In the War of 1812, as part of the Niagara campaign in Ontario, Canada, U.S. forces, under General Stephen Van Rensselaer, are repulsed from invading Canada by British and native troops, led by Sir Isaac Brock.

1821–The Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire is publicly proclaimed.

1843–In New York City, Henry Jones and 11 others found B'nai B'rith (the oldest Jewish service organization in the world).

1845–A majority of voters in the Republic of Texas approve a proposed constitution that, if accepted by the U.S. Congress, will make Texas a state.

1853–Actress and singer, Lillie Langtry, is born Emilie Charlotte Le Breton in Jersey, near the coast of Normandy, France. Her looks and personality attracted interest, commentary, and invitations from artists and society hostesses. By 1881, she had become an actress and starred in many plays in the U.K. and America, including She Stoops to Conquer, The Lady of Lyons, and As You Like It.

1872–Businessman, Leon Leonwood Bean, is born in Greenwood, Maine. He founded L.L. Bean.

1884–Greenwich, in England, is established as the universal time meridian of longitude from which standard times throughout the world are calculated (Greenwich Mean Time).

1885–The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is founded in Atlanta, Georgia.

1892–Edward Emerson Barnard discovers D/1892 T1, the first comet discovered by photographic means.

1903–The Boston Red Sox win the first modern World Series, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth game.

1909–Jazz pianist, Art Tatum, is born Arthur Tatum, Jr. in Toledo, Ohio. He was hailed for the technical proficiency of his performances, which set a new standard for jazz piano virtuosity.

1911–Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, becomes the first Governor General of Canada of royal descent.

1914–In Major League Baseball's World Series, the Boston Braves defeat the Philadelphia Athletics, at Fenway Park in Boston, completing the first World Series sweep in history.

1915–The Battle of the Hohenzollern Redoubt marks the end of the Battle of Loos in northern France, during World War I.

1917–The "Miracle of the Sun" is witnessed by an estimated 70,000 people in the Cova da Iria in Fátima, Portugal. According to many witnesses, after a period of rain, the dark clouds broke and the sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disc in the sky. It was said to be significantly duller than normal, and to cast multicolored lights across the landscape, the people, and the surrounding clouds. The sun was then reported to have careened towards the Earth before zig-zagging back to its normal position.

1917–Puppeteer, (Franklin) Burr Tillstrom, is born in Chicago, Illinois. He was the creator of Kukla, Fran and Ollie. From 1947 through 1957, Tillstrom was involved with the Kukla, Fran and Ollie TV show, which starred his puppets and Fran Allison. It is widely regarded as being the first children’s show to appeal to both children and adults, and counted Orson Welles, John Steinbeck, Tallulah Bankhead, Adlai Stevenson, and James Thurber among its many adult fans.

1920–Actress, Laraine Day, is born La Raine Johnson in Roosevelt, Utah. She appeared in the films Stella Dallas, Foreign Correspondent, Mr. Lucky, The Locket, Tycoon, My Dear Secretary, and The High and the Mighty. She was married to baseball manager, Leo Durocher.

1921–The Soviet republics of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia sign the Treaty of Kars with the Grand National Assembly of Turkey to establish the contemporary borders between Turkey and the South Caucasus states.

1923–Ankara replaces Istanbul as the capital of Turkey.

1925–Comedian, Lenny Bruce, is born Leonard Alfred Schneider in Mineola, New York. He became one of the most controversial entertainers of the 1950s and 1960s. He first appeared as a nightclub performer in Brooklyn, New York. He gained national attention from a spot on The Arthur Godfrey Show. But his humor sparked controversy wherever he performed. His act was largely improvised, and he included such taboo subjects as religion, sex, and politics. In 1961, Bruce was imprisoned on obscenity charges, and in 1963, he was refused permission to enter Britain. He was banned from performing in Australia, and was arrested and found guilty of illegal possession of drugs. In 1964, Bruce was once again arrested after a performance in a New York nightclub. Nevertheless, two criminal court judges found that Bruce's performances were “patently offensive to the average person in the community, as judged by present-day standards.” Nightclub owners, afraid of trouble with the law, stopped hiring him, and his career collapsed. Regardless, he paved the way for future outspoken counterculture-era comedians, and his trial for obscenity is seen as a landmark for freedom of speech in the United States.

1925–Margaret Thatcher, the first female British Prime Minister, is born Margaret Hilda Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England. She was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century. A Soviet journalist dubbed her the "Iron Lady," a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As prime minister, she implemented policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.

1926–Jazz musician, Ray Brown, is born Raymond Matthews Brown in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was a double bassist and cellist, known for extensive work with Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald. Brown, along with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, drummer Kenny Clarke, and pianist John Lewis, formed The Modern Jazz Quartet.

1938–Cartoonist, E.C. Segar, dies of leukemia and liver disease in Santa Monica, California, at age 43. He created the “Popeye” comic strip. Segar is widely regarded as one of the most influential and talented cartoonists of all time, among the first to combine humor with long-running adventures.

1941–Neil Aspinall is born in Liverpool, England. He first worked for The Beatles as a road manager, then later ran their business, Apple Corps.

1941–Singer-songwriter, Paul Simon, is born in Newark, New Jersey. He grew up in Queens, New York, and attended Forest Hills High School where he met fellow musician, Art Garfunkel. In 1957, the duo, performing under the name “Tom and Jerry,” had their first big hit: Hey Schoolgirl. It sold 100,000 copies and got them an appearance on American Bandstand. For the first of many times, the two then went their separate ways: Simon to law school and Garfunkel to study architecture. In 1965, without the duo's knowledge, Columbia Records added a folk-rock background to their song Sounds of Silence (from an earlier album), and it became a #1 hit. During their collaboration, Simon would write some of the most memorable songs of the rock era, including Mrs. Robinson and Bridge Over Troubled Water. After the breakup of the duo, he went on to a successful solo career.

1943–Italy declares war on its former Axis partner, Germany, in World War II.

1944–During World War II, Riga, the capital of Latvia, is occupied by the Red Army.

1945–Businessman, Milton S. Hershey, dies of pneumonia in Cherry, Pennsylvania, at age 88. He founded the Hershey Chocolate Company and the "company town" of Hershey, Pennsylvania.

1946–France adopts the constitution of the Fourth Republic.

1947–The children’s show, Kukla, Fran & Ollie, debuts on American television.

1947–Weeki Wachee Springs opens north of Tampa, Florida. The park is an amusement attraction featuring Mermaid shows in a bottomless spring. The mermaids perform synchronized ballet moves underwater while breathing through the air hoses hidden in the scenery. Sights at the park include the orchid gardens, jungle cruises, and an Indian encampment. Thousands of people (including stars like Elvis Presley) have come to watch the Mermaid shows for over 60 years. Today, the city of Weeki Wachee is one of the nation’s smallest, with a population of nine, including the Mayor who is a former Mermaid.

1950–Chef, cookbook author, and artist, Mollie Katzen, is born in Rochester, New York. Katzen is the author of three well-known vegetarian cookbooks: The Moosewood Cookbook (based on the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York), The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, and Still Life with Menu. She also lectures on nutrition, and has hosted a vegetarian cooking show on PBS.

1958–Paddington Bear, a character from English children's literature, makes his debut.

1960–A chart topper: Save the Last Dance for Me by The Drifters.

1961–A chart topper: Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles.

1962–Drama critics applaud the opening in New York City of Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1962–The Pacific Northwest experiences a cyclone the equal of a Category 3 hurricane. Winds measure above 150 mph at several locations and 46 people are killed.

1963–The Beatles perform live on the Associated TeleVision program Val Parnell’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium. This is their most important TV appearance yet, on one of Britain’s most popular programs (with about 15 million viewers). The Beatles top the bill, and their performance gives the British public their first glimpse of Beatlemania. The screaming fans in the crowd blocking Argyll Street is covered extensively by delighted reporters and photographers. The press, in search of a term to use to define the phenomenon, actually coin the word “Beatlemania,” which will be used from then on. The Beatles perform From Me to You, I’ll Get You, She Loves You, and Twist and Shout. Unnerved by their inability to announce songs before playing them, John Lennon shouts “Shut Up!” at the screaming fans, causing the adults in the audience to applaud. After the show, there is absolutely no question in anyone’s mind: The Beatles are BIG!

1967–The first game in the history of the American Basketball Association is played as the Anaheim Amigos lose to the Oakland Oaks 134-129 in Oakland, California.

1968–A promotional video of The Beatles performing Revolution is broadcast on U.S. television, on the CBS-TV show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

1968–Actress, Bea Benaderet, dies of lung cancer in Los Angeles, California, at age 62. Her second husband, Eugene Twombly, died of a heart attack on the day of her funeral (four days after her death), and was interred beside her. She is best known for the role of Kate Bradley on the TV sitcoms Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.

1972–An Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-62 crashes outside Moscow, Russia, killing 174 people.

1972–Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashes in the Andes mountains, near the border between Argentina and Chile. By December 23, 1972, only 16 out of 45 people had lived long enough to be rescued.

1974–Television host, Ed Sullivan, dies of esophageal cancer in New York, New York, at age 73. A longtime syndicated columnist for the New York Daily News and the Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate. He is principally remembered as the creator and host of the television variety program The Toast of the Town, later renamed The Ed Sullivan Show. Broadcast for 23 years from 1948 to 1971, it set a record as the longest-running variety show in U.S. broadcast history. In the 1950s and 1960s, Sullivan was a respected starmaker because of the number of performers who became household names after appearing on the show. He had a knack for identifying and promoting top talent and paid a great deal of money to secure that talent for his show. Among his discoveries are Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

1976–A Bolivian Boeing 707 cargo jet crashes in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, killing 100 people; 97, mostly children, are killed on the ground.

1976–The first electron micrograph of an Ebola viral particle is obtained by Dr. F.A. Murphy, now at U.C. Davis, who was then working at the C.D.C.

1977–Four Palestinians hijack Lufthansa Flight 181 to Somalia and demand release of 11 members of the Red Army Faction.

1983–Ameritech Mobile Communications (now AT&T) launches the first U.S. cellular network in Chicago, Illinois.

1990–At the end of the Lebanese Civil War, Syrian forces launch an attack on the free areas of Lebanon, removing General Michel Aoun from the presidential palace.

1992–An Antonov An-124 operated by Antonov Airlines registered CCCP-82002, crashes near Kiev, Ukraine, killing eight people.

1994–Netscape Communications Corporation announces that it is offering its new “Netscape Navigator” free to users via the Internet. The Internet browser, developed by the six-month-old Silicon Valley company led by Silicon Graphics founder, Jim Clark, and NCSA Mosaic creator, Marc Andreessen, was available for free downloading by “individual, academic, and research users.”

1996–Actress, Beryl Reid, dies of pneumonia and osteoporosis in South Buckinghamshire, England, at age 77. She appeared in the films Two-Way Stretch, Inspector Clouseau, Star!, The Killing of Sister George, The Assassination Bureau, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Psychomania, No Sex Please, We're British, Joseph Andrews, Yellowbeard, and The Wind in the Willows.

1995–Joseph Rotblat, a nuclear physicist who devoted his life to trying to ban the bomb he helped create, wins the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize.

2000–Musicians Eddie Vedder, Ani DiFranco, and Patti Smith perform at a Madison Square Garden rally in New York City for Green Party Presidential candidate, Ralph Nader.

2000–Actress, Jean Peters, dies of leukemia in Carlsbad, California, at age 73. She appeared in the films Captain from Castile, It Happens Every Spring, Viva Zapata!, O. Henry’s Full House, Niagra, Pickup on South Street, A Blueprint for Murder, and Three Coins in the Fountain.

2009–Super-centenarian, Grietje Jansen-Anker, dies in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, at age 112 (and 31 days).

2009–Singer, Al Martino, dies at his childhood home in Springfield, Pennsylvania, at age 82. He had his greatest success as a singer between the early 1950s and mid-1970s, being described as "one of the great Italian American pop crooners."

2010–The Copiapó mining accident in Copiapó, Chile, comes to an end as all 33 miners arrive at the surface after surviving a record 69 days underground awaiting rescue.

2012–Actor, Gary Collins, dies of natural causes in Biloxi, Mississippi, at age 74. He was cast in many televisions shows, including Perry Mason, Ironside, Hawaii Five-O, McCloud, The Sixth Sense, and The Bionic Woman. He appeared in the films Stranded, Angel in My Pocket, Airport, Hanger 18, and Beautiful.

2013–A stampede breaks out on a bridge near the Ratangarh Mata Temple in Datia district, Madhya Pradesh, India, during the Hindu festival Navratri, killing 115 people and injuring more than 110 others.

2016–Negotiations between the Nigerian president's administration and Islamist militants frees 21 of the 270 schoolgirls kidnapped in 2014 by Boko Haram in Chibok, Nigeria.

2016–The Maldives leaves the Commonwealth of Nations after 34 years, claiming that it has been "unfairly and unjustly" treated by the intergovernmental organization.

2016–Singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan, wins the Nobel Prize in Literature.

2016–King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, dies at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, at age 88. He was the world's longest currently serving monarch.

PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Roman Emperor, Claudius; Geminiano Montanari; the L.L. Bean logo; Burr Tillstrom with Kukla, Fran and Ollie; This Is Ray Brown LP; Paul Simon; Mollie Katzen; The Beatles Revolution video; Beryl Reid; and Al Martino.

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