Today in History, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017

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Today is Wednesday, Oct. 18, the 291st day of 2017. There are 74 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 18, 1767, the Mason-Dixon line, the boundary between colonial Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware, was set as astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon completed their survey.

On this date:

In 629, Dagobert I is crowned King of the Franks.

In 1009, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a Christian church in Jerusalem, is completely destroyed by the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who hacks the Church’s foundations down to bedrock.

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In 1685, King Louis XIV signed the Edict of Fontainebleau, revoking the Edict of Nantes that had established legal toleration of France’s Protestant population, the Huguenots.

In 1867, the United States took formal possession of Alaska from Russia.

In 1892, the first long-distance telephone line between New York and Chicago was officially opened (it could only handle one call at a time).

In 1922, the British Broadcasting Co., Ltd. (later the British Broadcasting Corp.) was founded.

In 1931, inventor Thomas Alva Edison died in West Orange, New Jersey, at age 84.

In 1944, Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia during World War II.

In 1954, Texas Instruments unveiled the Regency TR-1, the first commercially produced transistor radio.

In 1967, the Soviet probe Venera 4 reaches Venus and becomes the first spacecraft to measure the atmosphere of another planet.

In 1977, West German commandos stormed a hijacked Lufthansa jetliner on the ground in Mogadishu, Somalia, freeing all 86 hostages and killing three of the four hijackers.

Today’s Birthdays:

International Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova is 61. Boxer Thomas Hearns is 59. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is 57. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is 56. Actor Vincent Spano is 55. Rock musician Peter Svenson (The Cardigans) is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer-actor Ne-Yo is 38. Olympic gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn is 33. Actor Zac Efron is 30. Actress Joy Lauren is 28.

Thought for Today:

“I do not prize the word cheap. It is not a badge of honor … it is a symbol of despair. Cheap prices make for cheap goods; cheap goods make for cheap men; and cheap men make for a cheap country!” — President William McKinley (1843-1901).