Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Today is Wednesday, Oct. 18, the 291st day of 2017. There are 74 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 18, 1767, the Mason-Dixon line, the boundary between colonial Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware, was set as astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon completed their survey.

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On this date:

In 1685, King Louis XIV signed the Edict of Fontainebleau, revoking the Edict of Nantes that had established legal toleration of France’s Protestant population, the Huguenots.

In 1867, the United States took formal possession of Alaska from Russia. The cornerstone was laid for Baltimore City Hall.

In 1892, the first long-distance telephone line between New York and Chicago was officially opened (it could only handle one call at a time).

In 1922, the British Broadcasting Co., Ltd. (later the British Broadcasting Corp.) was founded.

In 1931, inventor Thomas Alva Edison died in West Orange, New Jersey, at age 84.

In 1944, Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia during World War II.

In 1954, Texas Instruments unveiled the Regency TR-1, the first commercially produced transistor radio.

In 1967, the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine (which carried a cover date of Nov. 9) was published.

In 1969, the federal government banned artificial sweeteners known as cyclamates (SY’-kluh-maytz) because of evidence they caused cancer in laboratory rats.

In 1977, West German commandos stormed a hijacked Lufthansa jetliner on the ground in Mogadishu, Somalia, freeing all 86 hostages and killing three of the four hijackers.

In 1982, former first lady Bess Truman died at her home in Independence, Missouri, at age 97.

In 1997, a monument honoring American servicewomen, past and present, was dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery.

Ten years ago: Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan, ending eight years of self-imposed exile; a suicide bombing in a crowd welcoming her killed more than 140 people, but Bhutto escaped unhurt. (However, she was slain in Dec. 2007.) Former Joint Chiefs chairman William Crowe (krow) died in Bethesda, Maryland, at age 82.

Five years ago: In a case that would reach the U.S. Supreme Court, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional and said the gay population had “suffered a history of discrimination.” The Detroit Tigers completed a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees, winning the finale of the American League Championship Series 8-1. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 8-3 to take a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series.

One year ago: President Barack Obama hosted his final state dinner as he welcomed Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini, to the White House. The Toronto Blue Jays staved off elimination in the American League Championship Series, beating the Cleveland Indians 5-1 in Game 4. In the National League contest, the Los Angeles Dodgers took a 2-1 series lead by defeating the Chicago Cubs 6-0.

Today’s Birthdays: Sportscaster Keith Jackson is 89. Actress Dawn Wells is 79. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka is 78. Singer-musician Russ Giguere is 74. Actor Joe Morton is 70. Actress Pam Dawber is 67. Author Terry McMillan is 66. Writer-producer Chuck Lorre is 65. Gospel singer Vickie Winans is 64. Director-screenwriter David Twohy (TOO’-ee) is 62. International Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova is 61. International Hall of Fame boxer Thomas Hearns is 59. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is 57. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is 56. Actor Vincent Spano is 55. Rock musician Tim Cross is 51. Tennis player Michael Stich (shteek) is 49. Singer Nonchalant is 44. Actress Joy Bryant is 43. Rock musician Peter Svenson (The Cardigans) is 43. Actor Wesley Jonathan is 39. Rhythm-and-blues singer-actor Ne-Yo is 38. Country singer Josh Gracin is 37. Country musician Jesse Littleton (Marshall Dyllon) is 36. Olympic gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn is 33. Jazz singer-musician Esperanza Spalding is 33. Actress-model Freida Pinto is 33. Actor Zac Efron is 30. Actress Joy Lauren is 28. TV personality Bristol Palin is 27. Actor Tyler Posey is 26. Actor Toby Regbo is 26.