Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 6, the 340th day of 2017. There are 25 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Dec. 6, 1917, some 2,000 people were killed when an explosives-laden French cargo ship, the Mont Blanc, collided with the Norwegian vessel Imo at the harbor in Halifax, Nova Scotia, setting off a blast that devastated the Canadian city. Finland declared its independence from Russia.

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On this date:

In 1790, Congress moved to Philadelphia from New York.

In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery, was ratified as Georgia became the 27th state to endorse it.

In 1889, Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederate States of America, died in New Orleans.

In 1907, the worst mining disaster in U.S. history occurred as 362 men and boys died in a coal mine explosion in Monongah, West Virginia.

In 1922, the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which established the Irish Free State, came into force one year to the day after it was signed in London.

In 1942, comedian Fred Allen premiered “Allen’s Alley,” a recurring sketch on his CBS radio show spoofing small-town America.

In 1947, Everglades National Park in Florida was dedicated by President Harry S. Truman.

In 1957, America’s first attempt at putting a satellite into orbit failed as Vanguard TV3 rose about four feet off a Cape Canaveral launch pad before crashing down and exploding.

In 1967, three days after the first human heart transplant took place in South Africa, a surgical team at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, led by Dr. Adrian Kantrowitz transplanted the heart of a brain-dead two-day-old baby boy into an 19-day-old infant who died six hours later.

In 1973, House minority leader Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as vice president, succeeding Spiro T. Agnew.

In 1982, 11 soldiers and six civilians were killed when an Irish National Liberation Army bomb exploded at a pub in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland.

In 1989, 14 women were shot to death at the University of Montreal’s school of engineering by a man who then took his own life.

Ten years ago: CIA Director Michael Hayden revealed the agency had videotaped its interrogations of two terror suspects in 2002 and destroyed the tapes three years later out of fear they would leak to the public and compromise the identities of U.S. questioners; the disclosure brought immediate condemnation from Capitol Hill. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, speaking at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Texas, said his Mormon faith should neither help nor hinder his quest for the White House as he vowed to serve the interests of the nation, not the church, if elected president.

Five years ago: Shocking some of his closest Republican colleagues, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina announced he would resign his seat to head Washington’s conservative Heritage Foundation think tank. Marijuana possession became legal in Washingon state, the day a measure approved by voters to regulate marijuana like alcohol took effect.

One year ago: President-elect Donald Trump officially announced he would nominate retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to be his defense secretary, bringing his pick onstage at a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina; Mattis briefly addressed the crowd as he thanked Trump for choosing him.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedy performer David Ossman is 81. Actor Patrick Bauchau is 79. Country singer Helen Cornelius is 76. Actor James Naughton is 72. Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is 72. Rhythm-and-blues singer Frankie Beverly (Maze) is 71. Former Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., is 69. Actress JoBeth Williams is 69. Actor Tom Hulce is 64. Actor Wil Shriner is 64. Actor Kin Shriner is 64. Actor Miles Chapin is 63. Rock musician Rick Buckler (The Jam) is 62. Comedian Steven Wright is 62. Country singer Bill Lloyd is 62. Singer Tish Hinojosa is 62. Rock musician Peter Buck (R.E.M.) is 61. Rock musician David Lovering (Pixies) is 56. Actress Janine Turner is 55. Rock musician Ben Watt (Everything But The Girl) is 55. Writer-director Judd Apatow is 50. Rock musician Ulf “Buddha” Ekberg (Ace of Base) is 47. Writer-director Craig Brewer is 46. Actress Colleen Haskell is 41. Actress Lindsay Price is 41. Actress Ashley Madekwe is 36. Actress Nora Kirkpatrick is 33. Christian rock musician Jacob Chesnut (Rush of Fools) is 28. Tennis player CoCo Vandeweghe is 26. NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel is 25.