On This Day March 30

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1814 – European forces allied against Napoleonic France march triumphantly into Paris, formally ending a decade of French domination on the continent.

1842 – Anesthesia is used for the first time in an operation by Dr. Crawford Long. 

1858 – The first wooden pencil featuring a built-in rubber eraser on top is patented by Philadelphia inventor Hymen Lipman, who later sells his patent for $100,000 (about $2 million in today’s market). In 1875, The Supreme Court invalidates the patent, ruling that because the pencil combined two existing devices, it was not a legitimate invention. Nevertheless, this is observed as National Pencil Day.

1867 – U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signs a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase is ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s Folly.” 

1964 – The popular game show “Jeopardy!” premieres on NBC with host Art Fleming. Alex Trebek takes over in 1984 and continues hosting until his death in 2020.

1981 – President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John Hinckley, Jr., who claims he was seeking to gain the attention of actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a psychiatric hospital until 2016, when he is allowed to live with his mother in her Virginia home. Reagan is released from the hospital less than two weeks after the attempted assassination.

2009 – President Barack Obama issues an ultimatum to struggling American automakers General Motors (GM) and Chrysler: In order to receive additional bailout loans from the government, he says, the companies need to dramatically change the way they run their businesses. 

On This Day March 12

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On This Day September 16

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On This Day September 1

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On this Day May 14

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1804 – The Lewis & Clark expedition leaves St. Louis, Missouri, on a mission to explore the Northwest from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. President Thomas Jefferson commissioned his private secretary Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, an army captain, to make the journey.

1904 – The Third Olympiad of the modern era, and the first Olympic Games to be held in the United States, opens in St. Louis, Missouri. However, it is far from the international affair of more recent deacdes. Only 12 countries attend, with Americans accounting for 523 of the 630 participating athletes.

1948 – British rule in Palestine comes to an end as the Jewish National Council proclaims the establishment of the State of Israel. Within hours, Arab forces attack the fledgling nation.

1955 – The Soviet Union and seven Eastern European countries sign a treaty establishing the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense organization that puts the Soviets in command of the armed forces of its partners. The move is aimed at counterbalancing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Pact officially disbands in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

1969 – After nine years of production, the last Chevy Corvair rolls off the assembly line. That’s the rear-engine compact car that consumer advocate Ralph Nader took to task citing safety concerns.

1973 – Skylab, America’s first space station, is successfully launched on a mission to observe and photograph the sun as well as to study the biological effects of life in space.