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Today in History: Feb. 11

A look at things that have happened on this date in history.

Today is Sunday, Feb. 11, the 42nd day of 2018.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 11, 1968, New York City’s fourth and current Madison Square Garden, located on Manhattan’s West Side at the site of what used to be the Pennsylvania Station building, opened with a “Salute to the USO” hosted by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. (The same evening, the New York Rangers played their final game at the third Garden, tying the Detroit Red Wings 3-3.)

On this date:

In 1531, the Church of England grudgingly accepted King Henry VIII as its supreme head.

In 1812, Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting law favoring his Democratic-Republican Party – giving rise to the term “gerrymandering.”

In 1858, a French girl, Bernadette Soubirous (soo-bee-ROO’), reported the first of 18 visions of a lady dressed in white in a grotto near Lourdes. (The Catholic Church later accepted that the visions were of the Virgin Mary.)

In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson began in Tennessee. (Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant captured the fort five days later.)

In 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.

In 1937, a six-week-old sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.

In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement, in which Stalin agreed to declare war against Imperial Japan following Nazi Germany’s capitulation.

In 1963, American author and poet Sylvia Plath was found dead in her London flat, a suicide; she was 30.

In 1972, McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. and Life magazine scrapped plans to publish what turned out to be a fake autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.

In 1986, Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky was released by the Soviet Union after nine years of captivity as part of an East-West prisoner exchange.

In 1990, South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.

In 2012, pop singer Whitney Houston, 48, was found dead in a hotel room bathtub in Beverly Hills, California.

Ten years ago: The Pentagon charged Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (HAH’-leed shayk moh-HAH’-med) and five other detainees at Guantanamo Bay with murder and war crimes in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks. (Charges against one were later dropped; proceedings against the other five have stalled in part over allegations they were tortured.) Yahoo Inc. rejected Microsoft Corp.’s unsolicited takeover bid. Tom Lantos, a 14-term California congressman who was a forceful voice for human rights, died in Bethesda, Maryland, at age 80.

Five years ago: With a few words in Latin, Pope Benedict XVI did what no pope had done in more than half a millennium: announced his resignation. The bombshell came during a routine morning meeting of Vatican cardinals. (The 85-year-old pontiff was succeeded by Pope Francis.)

One year ago: A massive crowd energized in opposition to President Donald Trump and to a North Carolina law limiting LGBT rights streamed into the capital, Raleigh, for an annual civil rights march. Yale University announced it would change the name of a residential college honoring 19th-century alumnus and former U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun, who was an ardent supporter of slavery. At the NAACP Image Awards, “Hidden Figures,” the fact-based movie about the contributions of black female mathematicians to the U.S. space program, won the award for best movie.

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© 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.