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This Day in History
December 13, 2013, 05:00 AM

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

In 1769, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire received its charter.

In 1862, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside launched futile attacks against entrenched Confederate soldiers during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg; the soundly defeated Northern troops withdrew two days later. (It was during this battle that Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is said to have remarked: “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.”)

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

In 1928, George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” had its premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York.

In 1937, the Chinese city of Nanjing fell to Japanese forces; what followed was a massacre of war prisoners, soldiers and citizens. (China maintains as many as 300,000 people died; Japan says the toll was far less.)

In 1944, during World War II, the U.S. cruiser Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze attack that claimed more than 130 lives.

In 1962, the United States launched Relay 1, a communications satellite which retransmitted television, telephone and digital signals.

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

In 1981, authorities in Poland imposed martial law in a crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. (Martial law formally ended in 1983.)

In 1994, an American Eagle commuter plane crashed short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, killing 15 of the 20 people on board.

Ten years ago: Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit. A summit to forge a European Union constitution collapsed in Brussels, Belgium. Oklahoma quarterback Jason White won the Heisman Trophy. Former Sen. William V. Roth Jr., R-Del., creator of Roth IRA accounts, died in Washington at age 82.

Five years ago: The White House weighed its options for preventing a collapse of the troubled U.S. auto industry. Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy after guiding the highest-scoring team in major college football history to the national championship game.

One year ago: 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.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz is 93. Actor-comedian Dick Van Dyke is 88. Actor Christopher Plummer is 84. Country singer Buck White is 83. Music/film producer Lou Adler is 80. Singer John Davidson is 72. Actress Kathy Garver (TV: “Family Affair”) is 68. Singer Ted Nugent is 65. Rock musician Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is 65. Country musician Ron Getman is 65. Actor Robert Lindsay is 64. Country singer-musician Randy Owen is 64. Actress Wendie Malick is 63. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is 63. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is 60. Country singer John Anderson is 59. Singer-songwriter Steve Forbert is 59. Singer-actor Morris Day is 57. Actor Steve Buscemi (boo-SEH’-mee) is 56. Actor Johnny Whitaker is 54. Rock musician John Munson (Semisonic; Twilight Hours) is 51. Actress-reality TV star NeNe Leakes is 47. Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx is 46. Actor Bart Johnson is 43. TV personality Debbie Matenopoulos is 39. Rock singer-musician Thomas Delonge is 38. Actor James Kyson Lee is 38. Actress Chelsea Hertford is 32. Rock singer Amy Lee (Evanescence) is 32. Actor Michael Socha is 26. Country singer Taylor Swift is 24. Actress Maisy Stella is 10.

 

 

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