Today in History

Published 12:01 am Monday, February 11, 2019

Today is Monday, Feb. 11, the 42nd day of 2019. There are 323 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 11, 1990, South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.

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On this date:

In 1531, the Church of England grudgingly accepted King Henry VIII as its supreme head.

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

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 1968, New York City’s fourth and current Madison Square Garden, located on Manhattan’s West Side at the site of what used to be the Pennsylvania Station building, opened with a “Salute to the USO” hosted by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. (The same evening, the New York Rangers played their final game at the third Garden, tying the Detroit Red Wings 3-3.)

In 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran.

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 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded Harry Whittington, a companion during a weekend quail-hunting trip in Texas.

In 2008, the Pentagon charged Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other detainees at Guantanamo Bay with murder and war crimes in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks.

In 2012, pop singer Whitney Houston, 48, was found dead in a hotel room bathtub in Beverly Hills, California.

In 2013, with a few words in Latin, Pope Benedict XVI did what no pope had done in more than half a millennium: announced his resignation. The bombshell came during a routine morning meeting of Vatican cardinals. (The 85-year-old pontiff was succeeded by Pope Francis.)

Ten years ago: The nation’s top bankers went before the House Financial Services Committee, pledging to build public trust with greater lending and fewer perks. All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about steroids in baseball. (He was sentenced to a year’s probation.) Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who first went to Congress in 1955, became the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives. President Robert Mugabe swore in longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai as Zimbabwe’s prime minister.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama, during a joint White House news conference with French President Francois Hollande, vowed to come down like “a ton of bricks” on businesses that violated Iranian sanctions while nuclear negotiations were under way, and conceded “enormous frustration” with stalled Syrian peace talks. At the Sochi Games, Carina Vogt of Germany won women’s ski jumping’s first-ever Olympic gold medal.

One year ago: A Russian passenger plane crashed into a snowy field six minutes after taking off from Moscow, killing all 65 passengers and six crew members; investigators would blame human error, saying the pilots had received flawed air speed readings after failing to turn on a heating unit for the measurement equipment. Amid swirling winds, 17-year-old snowboarder Red Gerard won the United States’ first gold medal of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, capturing the men’s slopestyle event. Singer Vic Damone, who possessed what Frank Sinatra once called “the best pipes in the business,” died in Florida at the age of 89.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Conrad Janis is 91. Fashion designer Mary Quant is 85. Actress Tina Louise is 81. Bandleader Sergio Mendes is 78. Actor Philip Anglim is 67. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is 66. Actress Catherine Hickland is 63. Rock musician David Uosikkinen (The Hooters) is 63. Actress Carey Lowell is 58. Singer Sheryl Crow is 57. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is 55. Actress Jennifer Aniston is 50. Actor Damian Lewis is 48. Actress Marisa Petroro is 47. Singer D’Angelo is 45. Actor Brice Beckham is 43. Rock M-C/vocalist Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) is 42. Singer-actress Brandy is 40. Country musician Jon Jones (The Eli Young Band) is 39. Actor Matthew Lawrence is 39. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kelly Rowland is 38. Actress Natalie Dormer is 37. Singer Aubrey O’Day is 35. Actress Q’orianka Kilcher is 29. Actor Taylor Lautner is 27.