Today in History….December 13

On this day in . . .

  1636, the Massachusetts Bay Colony organizes three militia regiments to defend the colony against the Pequot Indians. This organization is recognized today as the founding of the United States National Guard 

  1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted present-day New Zealand

  1809, Dr. Ephraim McDowell performed the first ovariotomy, removing a twenty-two pound tumor

  1862, Union forces suffered a major defeat to the Confederates at the Battle of Fredericksburg

  1918, President Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office 

  1921, United States, Britain, France and Japan sign Washington Treaty to respect each others’ rights over insular possessions in Pacific 

  1937, Japanese troops take Nanking in China and proceed to massacre an estimated 300,000 Chinese civilians  

  1944, during World War II, the U.S. cruiser Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze attack that claimed more than 130 lives  1949, the Knesset votes to move the capital of Israel to Jerusalem 

  1978, the Philadelphia Mint began stamping the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which went into circulation in July 1979 

  1981, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski declares martial law in Poland to prevent dismantling of the communist system by Solidarity (Martial law formally ended in 1983.)

  1988, Yasser Arafat, ym”sh, gives a speech at the UN general assembly in the Swiss city of Geneva after the US authorities refused to give him a visa to enter New York 

  2000, Republican George W. Bush claimed the presidency a day after the U.S. Supreme Court shut down further recounts of disputed ballots in Florida; Democrat Al Gore conceded, delivering a call for national unity 

  2001, The Pentagon publicly released a captured videotape of Osama bin Laden in which the al-Qaida leader said the deaths and destruction achieved by the Sept. 11 attacks exceeded his “most optimistic” expectations. ALSO: Five terrorists, practitioners of that “religion of peace”, killed nine people in an attack on India’s parliament before being killed themselves AND: President Bush served formal notice that the United States was pulling out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia 

  2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit 

  2004, former Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet is put under house arrest, after being sued under accusations over 9 kidnapping actions and manslaughter. The house arrest is lifted the same day on appeal 

  2005, Crips gang co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams was executed in California for killing four people in robberies. ALSO: Iraqis living abroad began voting in the country’s parliamentary elections

  2009, the Senate passed, 57-35, a $1.1 trillion spending bill with increased budgets for vast areas of the federal government, including health, education, law enforcement and veterans’ programs

  2010, President Barack Obama’s historic health care overhaul hit its first major legal roadblock as a federal judge in Richmond, Va.

2012, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew from consideration to replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Rice had run into opposition from Republicans angry over her explanation of the September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Rice had said the attack stemmed from a protest over an anti-Islamic video, which later proved incorrect

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