Today in History Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017


Today is Saturday, Feb. 11, the 42nd day of 2017. There are 323 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 11, 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.

On this date:

In 660 B.C., tradition holds that Japan was founded as Jimmu ascended the throne as the country’s first emperor.

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 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 canceled 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 2011, Egypt exploded with joy after pro-democracy protesters brought down President Hosni Mubarak (HOHS’-nee moo-BAH’-rahk), whose resignation ended three decades of authoritarian rule.

In 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation during a routine morning meeting of Vatican cardinals. (The 85-year-old pontiff was succeeded by Pope Francis.)

Ten years ago: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (ah-muh-DEE’-neh-zhahd), marking the 28th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, vowed his country would not give up uranium enrichment. The Dixie Chicks won five Grammys, including Album of the Year for “Taking the Long Way” and Record and Song of the Year for “Not Ready to Make Nice,” in a defiant comeback after being shunned over their anti-President George W. Bush comments about the Iraq war. Harvard University named historian Drew Gilpin Faust its first female president.

Five years ago: Whitney Houston, 48, who ruled as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice was ravaged by drug use and her regal image was tarnished by erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, was found dead in a hotel room in Beverly Hills, California. Mitt Romney eked out a narrow win in Maine’s Republican caucuses.

One year ago: Surrounded by FBI agents in armored vehicles, the last four occupiers of a national nature preserve in Oregon surrendered, ending a 41-day standoff that left one man dead. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled for the crucial backing of black and Hispanic voters during a Democratic debate in Milwaukee. The White House announced that President Barack Obama would nominate Dr. John B. King Jr. to lead the Education Department.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Conrad Janis is 89. Fashion designer Mary Quant is 83. Actor Burt Reynolds is 81. Actress Tina Louise is 79. Actor Sonny Landham is 76. Bandleader Sergio Mendes is 76. Actor Philip Anglim is 65. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is 64. Actress Catherine Hickland is 61. Rock musician David Uosikkinen (aw-SIK’-ken-ihn) (The Hooters) is 61. Actress Carey Lowell is 56. Singer Sheryl Crow is 55. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is 53. Actress Jennifer Aniston is 48. Actor Damian Lewis is 46. Actress Marisa Petroro is 45. Singer D’Angelo is 43. Actor Brice Beckham is 41. Rock M-C/vocalist Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) is 40. Singer-actress Brandy is 38. Country musician Jon Jones (The Eli Young Band) is 37. Actor Matthew Lawrence is 37. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kelly Rowland is 36. Actress Natalie Dormer is 35. Singer Aubrey O’Day is 33. Actress Q’orianka (kohr-ee-AHN’-kuh) Kilcher is 27. Actor Taylor Lautner is 25.

Thought for Today: “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” — Sylvia Plath (1932-1963).

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