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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Today in History: July 12

100 B.C.: Gaius Julius Caesar, whose patrician family can trace its descent directly from the goddess Venus, is born at Rome.

1536: Gerrit Gerritzoons , better known as "Erasmus," dies at Basel, Switzerland. During his life he consistently refused attractive academic appointments, convinced that they would interfere with his free scholarship.

1690: Catholic emancipation in England will have to wait another 150 years, as King James II’s forces are defeated by the Dutch and English Protestant troops under William III at the Battle of the Boyne.

1730: The man who will revolutionize the world’s ceramic industry, Josiah Wedgwood, is born to fa mily of potters in Bursley, Stoke, England.

1854: Inventor George Eastman is born at Waterville, New York. He’ll choose the name "Kodak" for his company because he likes the letters "K" and "D."

1864: George Washington Carver is born into slavery near Diamond Grove, Missouri. He will, among many other accomplishments, come up with 300 uses for the peanut, but one of them is not peanut butter, which had already been invented.

1920: The $347 million Panama Canal is formally dedicated.

1933: Congress passes the first national minimum wage law.

1957: U.S. Surgeon General Leroy Burney issues a report that finds a connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

1982: Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial breaks box-office records by moving past the $100 million mark after only 31 days of release.

1982: After 60 years of production the last Checker Cab rolls off the assembly line at Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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