Today in History

Today in History

Today is Friday, Dec. 11, the 346th day of 2020. There are 20 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 11, 1936, Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson; his brother, Prince Albert, became King George VI.

On this date:

In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.

In 1844, the first experimental use of an inhaled anesthetic in dentistry took place as Dr. Horace Wells of Hartford, Connecticut, under the influence of nitrous oxide, had a colleague extract one of his teeth.

In 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

In 1946, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.

In 1964, singer-songwriter Sam Cooke was shot to death by a motel manager in Los Angeles; he was 33.

In 1972, Apollo 17′s lunar module landed on the moon with astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt aboard; they became the last two men to date to step onto the lunar surface.

In 1997, more than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth’s greenhouse gases.

In 1998, majority Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pushed through three articles of impeachment against President Clinton, over Democratic objections.

In 2001, in the first criminal indictment stemming from 9/11, federal prosecutors charged Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE’-uhs moo-SOW’-ee), a French citizen of Moroccan descent, with conspiring to murder thousands in the suicide hijackings. (Moussaoui pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison.)

In 2004, doctors in Austria said that Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko had been poisoned with dioxin, which caused the severe disfigurement and partial paralysis of his face.

In 2008, former Nasdaq chairman Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out the life savings of thousands of people and wrecked charities. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.) The remains of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony were found six months after she disappeared. (Her mother, Casey Anthony, was acquitted of murder in her daughter’s death.)

In 2018, a man who had been flagged as a possible extremist sprayed gunfire near the famous Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg, killing three people and wounding 13 others; the suspect died in a shootout with police two days later. (A fourth person wounded in the attack later died.) A Virginia jury called for a sentence of life in prison plus 419 years for the man who killed a woman when he rammed his car into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (James Alex Fields Jr. received that sentence in July, 2019.)

Ten years ago: The eldest son of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, 46-year-old Mark Madoff, hanged himself in his Manhattan apartment on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest. A U.N. conference in Cancun, Mexico, adopted a modest climate deal. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama signed legislation keeping government agencies open into the following week, giving White House and congressional bargainers more time to complete sweeping deals on taxes and federal spending. Dow Chemical and DuPont announced they were merging to form a company valued at about $130 billion. Willard Scott announced he was hanging it up after 35 years as part of NBC’s “Today” show.

One year ago: Israel’s parliament failed to meet a midnight deadline to form a coalition government, triggering an unprecedented third election in a 12-month period. Saudi Arabian oil company Aramco surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable public company when its shares made their debut on the Saudi stock exchange; a 10% rally brought the company’s value to $1.88 trillion.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 90. Actor Rita Moreno is 89. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 80. Actor Donna Mills is 80. Former Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 79. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is 77. Singer Brenda Lee is 76. Actor Lynda Day George is 76. Music producer Tony Brown is 74. Actor Teri Garr is 73. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 69. Actor Bess Armstrong is 67. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 66. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 63. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 62. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 59. Actor Ben Browder is 58. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 56. Rock musician David Schools (Hard Working Americans, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic) is 56. Actor Gary Dourdan (DOOR’-dan) is 54. Actor-comedian Mo’Nique is 53. Actor Max Martini is 51. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 47. Actor Rider Strong is 41. Actor Xosha (ZOH’-shah) Roquemore is 36. Actor Karla Souza is 34. Actor Hailee Steinfeld is 24.

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