Today in History – February 18

1735 – The ballad opera called Flora, or Hob in the Well, went down in history as the first opera of any kind to be produced in North America (Charleston, S.C.)

1791 – Congress passed a law admitting the state of Vermont to the Union, effective 4 March, after it had existed for 14 years as a de facto independent largely unrecognized state.

1797 – French Revolutionary Wars: Sir Ralph Abercromby and a fleet of 18 British warships invaded Trinidad.

1861 – In Montgomery, Alabama, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the provisional President of the Confederate States of America.

1878 – John Tunstall was murdered by outlaw Jesse Evans, sparking the Lincoln County War in Lincoln County, New Mexico.

1879 – Sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi was awarded a patent for his design for the Statue of Liberty.

1885 – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain was published in the United States.

1901 – H. Cecil Booth patented a dust removing suction cleaner.

1901 – Winston Churchill maee his maiden speech in the British House of Commons.

1902 – Opera “Hunchback of Notre Dame” premiered in Monte Carlo.

1908 – The first US postage stamps in rolls were issued.

1911 – The first official flight with airmail took place from Allahabad, United Provinces, British India (now India), when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivered 6,500 letters to Naini, about 6.2 miles away.

1930 – While studying photographs taken in January, Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto.

1930 – Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft and also the first cow to be milked in an aircraft.

1942 – World War II: The Imperial Japanese Army began the systematic extermination of perceived hostile elements among the Chinese in Singapore.

1946 – Sailors of the Royal Indian Navy mutiny in Bombay harbour, from where the action spreads throughout the Provinces of British India, involving 78 ships, twenty shore establishments and 20,000 sailors.

1954 – The first Church of Scientology was established in Los Angeles.

1968 – British guitarist David Gilmour joined progressive rock group Pink Floyd.

1970 – The Chicago Seven were found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

1972 – The California Supreme Court, in the case of People v. Anderson, (6 Cal.3d 628), invalidated the state’s death penalty and commuted the sentences of all death row inmates to life imprisonment.

1972 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono ended a week of co-hosting the syndicated “Mike Douglas Show”, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1977 – The Space Shuttle Enterprise test vehicle was carried on its maiden “flight” on top of a Boeing 747.

1977 – George Harrison released music single “True Love”, from his “33-1/3” album.

1977 – American rock band KISS played their first concert in their hometown venue of Madison Square Garden in New York City.

1979 – Richard Petty won a then-record sixth Daytona 500 after leaders Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough crashed on the final lap of the first NASCAR race televised live flag-to-flag.

1983 – Thirteen people died and one was seriously injured in the Wah Mee massacre in Seattle. It is said to be the largest robbery-motivated mass-murder in U.S. history.

1986 – Anti-smoking ad aired for first time on TV, featuring Yul Brynner. (He died of smoking-induced lung cancer on October 10, 1985.)

1989 – “A Better Man” single was released by Clint Black (Billboard Song of the Year 1989).

2001 – FBI agent Robert Hanssen was arrested for spying for the Soviet Union. He was ultimately convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

2001 – NASCAR Champion Dale Earnhardt died from an accident on the final lap of the Daytona 500.

2010 – WikiLeaks published the first of hundreds of thousands of classified documents disclosed by the soldier now known as Chelsea Manning.

2013 – Armed robbers stole a haul of diamonds worth $50 million during a raid at Brussels Airport in Belgium.

2019 – A 25-year old murder of a woman was solved when police in Minnesota ran DNA though a genealogy site and located the suspect.

2021 – Perseverance, a Mars rover designed to explore Jezero crater on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, landed successfully.

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