Wednesday, December 8, 2010
65 B.C. – Future poet Quintus Horatius "Horace" Flaccus is born, the son of a freed slave at Venusia in southern Italy. Few poetic phrases will ever become as overworked as his "carpe diem."
1660 – Margaret Hughes becomes the first professional actress in English history, appearing as Desdemona in Shakespeare's Othello. She will also become the mistress of Prince Rupert, the "German prince" of Paradine v. Jane. (Right: Margaret Hughes with an early wardrobe malfunction.)
1765 – Eli Whitney is born at Westborough, Massachusetts. His nvention of the cotton gin will make untold millions for Southern planters and Northern mill owners, he will lose nearly all his money in litigation and die broke.
1869 – Thirty-seven year-old Ecuadoran seamstress Narcisa de Jesús Martillo y Morán dies of a fever in Lima, Peru, In 2008 she will be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI.
1954 – Future Yale Law School dean and State Department lawyer Harold Hongju Koh is born at Boston.
1980 – Former Beatle John Lennon is shot and killed outside his home in the exclusive and fabulously expensive Dakota apartment building in New York City, where 5-bedroom apartments can today be had for as little as $19.5 million.
1991 – Meeting in the ancient Belavezhskaya Forest, leaders of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine sign the agreement dissolving the Soviet Union and creating the new Commonwealth of Independent States.
1993 – President Bill Clinton signs the North American Free Trade Agreement. Critics claim that at least 1 million U.S. jobs have subsequently fled to Mexico, while at least 6 million Mexican workers have fled to the United States.
2004 – Meeting at Cuzco in Peru, delegations from 12 nations create the Union of South American Nations, one of the goals of which is creation of a free trade zone in South America.