Today in History

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 2, 2018

Today is Friday, March 2, the 61st day of 2018. There are 304 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 2, 1943, the three-day Battle of the Bismarck Sea began in the southwest Pacific during World War II; U.S. and Australian warplanes were able to inflict heavy damage on an Imperial Japanese convoy.

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On this date:

In 1793, the first (and third) president of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, was born near Lexington, Virginia.

In 1836, the Republic of Texas formally declared its independence from Mexico.

In 1867, Howard University, a historically black school of higher learning in Washington, D.C., was founded. Congress passed, over President Andrew Johnson’s veto, the first of four Reconstruction Acts.

In 1877, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential election over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, even though Tilden had won the popular vote.

In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship as President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act.

In 1933, the motion picture “King Kong” had its world premiere at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and the Roxy.

In 1939, Roman Catholic Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (puh-CHEL’-ee) was elected pope on his 63rd birthday; he took the name Pius XII. The Massachusetts legislature voted to ratify the Bill of Rights, 147 years after the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution had gone into effect. (Georgia and Connecticut soon followed.)

In 1958, a multinational expedition led by British explorer Vivian Fuchs completed the first overland crossing of Antarctica by way of the South Pole in 99 days.

In 1965, the movie version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music,” starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, had its world premiere in New York.

In 1978, the remains of comedian Charles Chaplin were stolen by extortionists from his grave in Cosier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland. (The body was recovered near Lake Geneva 11 weeks later.)

In 1989, representatives from the 12 European Community nations agreed to ban all production of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), the synthetic compounds blamed for destroying the Earth’s ozone layer, by the end of the 20th century.

In 1995, the Internet search engine website Yahoo! was incorporated by founders Jerry Yang and David Filo.

Ten years ago: Dmitry Medvedev, Vladimir Putin’s hand-picked successor, scored a crushing victory in Russia’s presidential election.

Five years ago: The day after $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts went into effect, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans refused to concede any culpability for failing to stave off the sequester. Alaska’s 41st Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race kicked off with a festive ceremonial start in Anchorage.

One year ago: Under intensifying pressure, Attorney General Jeff Sessions abruptly agreed to recuse himself from any investigation into Russian meddling in America’s 2016 presidential election, acting after revelations he twice spoke with the Russian ambassador during the campaign and failed to say so when pressed by Congress. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was confirmed as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development on a Senate vote of 58-41; a few hours later, the Senate backed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be energy secretary, 62-37.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor John Cullum is 88. Author Tom Wolfe is 88. Former Soviet President and Nobel peace laureate Mikhail S. Gorbachev is 87. Actress Barbara Luna is 79. Author John Irving is 76. Actress Cassie Yates is 67. Actress Laraine Newman is 66. Former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., is 65. Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is 63. Singer Jay Osmond is 63. Pop musician John Cowsill (The Cowsills) is 62. Tennis player Kevin Curren is 60. Country singer Larry Stewart (Restless Heart) is 59. Rock singer Jon Bon Jovi is 56. Blues singer-musician Alvin Youngblood Hart is 55. Actor Daniel Craig is 50. Actor Richard Ruccolo is 46. Rock musician Casey (Jimmie’s Chicken Shack) is 42. Rock singer Chris Martin (Coldplay) is 41. Actress Heather McComb is 41. Actress Rebel Wilson is 38. Actress Bryce Dallas Howard is 37. NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 36. Musician Mike “McDuck” Olson (Lake Street Dive) is 35. Actor Robert Iler is 33. Actress Nathalie Emmanuel is 29. Singer-rapper-actress Becky G is 21.