Today in History

Published 12:01 am Thursday, February 7, 2019

Today is Thursday, Feb. 7, the 38th day of 2019. There are 327 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 7, 1962, President John F. Kennedy imposed a full trade embargo on Cuba.

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On this date:

In 1795, the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, dealing with states’ sovereign immunity, was ratified.

In 1812, author Charles Dickens was born in Landport, Portsmouth, England.

In 1817, America’s first public gas street lamp was lighted in Baltimore at the corner of Market and Lemon streets (now East Baltimore and Holliday streets).

In 1904, a fire began in Baltimore that raged for about 30 hours and destroyed more than 1,500 buildings.

In 1943, the government abruptly announced that wartime rationing of shoes made of leather would go into effect in two days, limiting consumers to buying three pairs per person per year. (Rationing was lifted in October 1945.)

In 1948, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower resigned as U.S. Army chief of staff; he was succeeded by Gen. Omar Bradley.

In 1964, The Beatles arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to begin their first American tour.

In 1971, women in Switzerland gained the right to vote through a national referendum, 12 years after a previous attempt failed.

In 1984, space shuttle Challenger astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart went on the first untethered spacewalk, which lasted nearly six hours.

In 1986, the Philippines held a presidential election marred by charges of fraud against the incumbent, Ferdinand E. Marcos. Haitian President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier fled his country, ending 28 years of his family’s rule.

In 1998, the Winter Olympic Games were opened in Nagano, Japan, by Emperor Akihito.

In 1999, Jordan’s King Hussein died of cancer at age 63; he was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah.

Ten years ago: A miles-wide section of ice in Lake Erie broke away from the Ohio shoreline, trapping about 135 fishermen, some for as long as four hours before they could be rescued (one man fell into the water and later died of an apparent heart attack). Walls of flame roared across southeastern Australia, leveling scores of homes, forests and farmland in the country’s worst wildfire disaster in a quarter century. Bolivia’s new constitution took effect. Death claimed jazz singer Blossom Dearie at age 84, country singer Molly Bee at age 69, and Jack Cover, inventor of the Taser stun gun, at age 88.

Five years ago: The Sochi Olympics opened with a celebration of Russia’s past greatness and hopes for future glory. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Michigan State University, signed an agriculture spending bill spreading benefits to farmers in every region of the country while trimming the food stamp program that had inspired a two-year battle over the legislation.

One year ago: St. John’s beat top-ranked Villanova, 79-75, for its second win that week over a top-five team. (St. John’s had earlier snapped an 11-game losing streak by beating fourth-ranked Duke.) Biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong struck a $500 million deal to by the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and some other publications; the deal would take effect in June.

Today’s Birthdays: Author Gay Talese is 87. Former Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., is 84. Reggae musician Brian Travers (UB40) is 60. Comedy writer Robert Smigel is 59. Actor James Spader is 59. Country singer Garth Brooks is 57. Rock musician David Bryan (Bon Jovi) is 57. Actor-comedian Eddie Izzard is 57. Actor-comedian Chris Rock is 54. Actor Jason Gedrick is 52. Actress Essence Atkins is 47. Rock singer-musician Wes Borland is 44. Rock musician Tom Blankenship (My Morning Jacket) is 41. Actor Ashton Kutcher is 41. Actress Tina Majorino is 34. Actress Deborah Ann Woll is 34. NBA player Isaiah Thomas is 30.