Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Today is Wednesday, July 18, the 199th day of 2018. There are 166 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 18, 1940, the Democratic National Convention at Chicago Stadium nominated President Franklin D. Roosevelt (who was monitoring the proceedings at the White House) for an unprecedented third term in office; earlier in the day, Eleanor Roosevelt spoke to the convention, becoming the first presidential spouse to address such a gathering.

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On this date:

In A.D. 64, the Great Fire of Rome began, consuming most of the city for about a week. (Some blamed the fire on Emperor Nero, who in turn blamed Christians.)

In 1536, the English Parliament passed an act declaring the authority of the pope void in England.

In 1817, English novelist Jane Austen died in Winchester at age 41.

In 1863, during the Civil War, Union troops spearheaded by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, made up of black soldiers, charged Confederate-held Fort Wagner on Morris Island, S.C. The Confederates were able to repel the Northerners, who suffered heavy losses; the 54th’s commander, Col. Robert Gould Shaw, was among those who were killed.

In 1918, South African anti-apartheid leader and president Nelson Mandela was born in the village of Mvezo.

In 1932, the United States and Canada signed a treaty to develop the St. Lawrence Seaway.

In 1944, Hideki Tojo was removed as Japanese premier and war minister because of setbacks suffered by his country in World War II. American forces in France captured the Normandy town of St. Lo.

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed a Presidential Succession Act which placed the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore next in the line of succession after the vice president.

In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden and French Premier Edgar Faure held a summit in Geneva.

In 1969, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., left a party on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha’s Vineyard with Mary Jo Kopechne (koh-PEHK’-nee), 28; some time later, Kennedy’s car went off a bridge into the water. Kennedy was able to escape, but Kopechne drowned.

In 1984, gunman James Huberty opened fire at a McDonald’s fast food restaurant in San Ysidro (ee-SEE’-droh), California, killing 21 people before being shot dead by police. Walter F. Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in San Francisco.

In 1994, a bomb hidden in a van destroyed a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 85. Tutsi rebels declared an end to Rwanda’s 14-week-old civil war.

Ten years ago: One of the world’s largest mobile cranes collapsed at a refinery in southeast Houston, killing four people and injuring seven others. Two French humanitarian aid workers were kidnapped in Afghanistan’s Day Kundi province. (They were released about two weeks later.) The epic Batman sequel “The Dark Knight,” starring Christian Bale as the caped crusader and Heath Ledger as the Joker, premiered.

Five years ago: Once the very symbol of American industrial might, Detroit became the biggest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy, its finances ravaged and its neighborhoods hollowed out by a long, slow decline in population and auto manufacturing.

One year ago: President Donald Trump declared that it was time to “let Obamacare fail” after the latest Republican effort to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law was blocked in the Senate. President Donald Trump announced that he would nominate former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to be U.S. ambassador to Russia. The Trump administration slapped new sanctions on 18 Iranian individuals, groups and networks, a day after certifying to Congress that Iran was technically complying with the nuclear deal and could continue enjoying nuclear sanctions relief.

Today’s Birthdays: Skating champion and commentator Dick Button is 89. Olympic gold medal figure skater Tenley Albright is 83. Movie director Paul Verhoeven is 80. Musician Brian Auger is 79. Singer Dion DiMucci is 79. Actor James Brolin is 78. Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre is 78. Singer Martha Reeves is 77. Pop-rock musician Wally Bryson (The Raspberries) is 69. Country-rock singer Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League) is 69. Business mogul Richard Branson is 68. Actress Margo Martindale is 67. Singer Ricky Skaggs is 64. Actress Audrey Landers is 62. World Golf Hall of Famer Nick Faldo is 61. Rock musician Nigel Twist (The Alarm) is 60. Actress Anne-Marie Johnson is 58. Actress Elizabeth McGovern is 57. Rock musician John Hermann (Widespread Panic) is 56. Rock musician Jack Irons is 56. Talk show host-actress Wendy Williams is 54. Actor Vin Diesel is 51. Actor Grant Bowler is 50. Retired NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway is 47. Bluegrass musician Jesse Brock (The Gibson Brothers) is 46. Alt-country singer Elizabeth Cook is 46. Actor Eddie Matos is 46. MLB All-Star Torii Hunter is 43. Dance music singer-songwriter M.I.A. is 43. Rock musician Daron Malakian (System of a Down; Scars on Broadway) is 43. Actress Elsa Pataky (“The Fast and the Furious” films) is 42. Rock musician Tony Fagenson (Eve 6) is 40. Movie director Jared Hess is 39. Actor Jason Weaver is 39. Actress Kristen Bell is 38. Actor Michiel Huisman (MIHK’-heel HOWS’-man) is 37. Rock singer Ryan Cabrera is 36. Actress Priyanka Chopra is 36. Christian-rock musician Aaron Gillespie (Underoath) is 35. Actor Chace Crawford is 33. Actor James Norton is 33. Musician Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) is 32. Actor Travis Milne is 32. Bluegrass musician Joe Dean Jr. (Dailey & Vincent) is 29.