June 17, 2005
Today in history -- June 17
1579: Sir Francis Drake claims California, which he calls Nova Albion, for England. Nobody recognizes the claim.
1696: King John III Sobieski of Poland, the man who drove back the last major Islamic invasion of Europe at the Battle of Vienna, dies at Blois in France.
1789: The bourgeoisie who control the Third Estate declare that they are now the sole national assembly, ending particpation from the First and Second Estates (the clergy and nobility, respectively).
1856: The new Republican Party, made up of former Whigs and antislavery Democrats, meets for its first convention In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1867: In Glasgow, Scotland, Joseph Lister becomes the first suregon to operate under antiseptic conditions.
1870: George Cormack is born. As chief miller of the Washburn Crosby Co., he will in 1924 develop a crispy wheat cereal sturdy enough to survive in a cardboard box. The new stuff will be called "Wheaties."
1885: The disassembled Statuw of Liberty arrives in New York City. The model is said to be the widow of American sewing machine tycoon Isaac Merritt Singer, himself the son of a German immigrant.
1930: President Hoover signs the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act into law. It's credited by many with launching a trade-protectionist battle that worsened and lengthened the Great Depression.
1941: WNBT, channel 4 in New York City, becomes the first commercial television station to be awarded an operating permit. Owned by RCA, it will later change its call letters to WRCA and then WNBC.
1943: Newton Leroy Gingrich, one of the few college professors to become major political figures, is born at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
1947: Pan American Airlines rolls out its first around-the-world service. The fare is $1,700.
1963: The Supreme Court knocks out prayer in public schools with Abington Township School District v. Schempp.
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