In 1861, Alabama became the fourth state to withdraw from the Union.
In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the Grand Canyon National Monument (it became a national park in 1919).
In 1913, the first enclosed sedan-type automobile, a Hudson, went on display at the 13th National Automobile Show in New York.
In 1935, aviator Amelia Earhart began an 18-hour trip from Honolulu to Oakland that made her the first person to fly solo across any part of the Pacific Ocean.
In 1942, Japan declared war against the Netherlands, the same day that Imperial Japanese forces invaded the Dutch East Indies.
In 1946, the People’s Republic of Albania was proclaimed after King Zog was formally deposed by the Communists.
In 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issued “Smoking and Health,” a report which concluded that “cigarette smoking contributes substantially to mortality from certain specific diseases and to the overall death rate.”
In 1966, Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti, 64, died in Chur.
In 1977, France set off an international uproar by releasing Abu Daoud, a PLO official behind the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
In 1989, nine days before leaving the White House, President Ronald Reagan bade the nation farewell in a prime-time address, saying of his eight years in office: “We meant to change a nation and instead we changed a world.”
In 1995, 51 people were killed when a Colombian DC-9 jetliner crashed as it was preparing to land near the Caribbean resort of Cartagena — however, 9-year-old Erika Delgado survived.
In 2003, calling the death penalty process “arbitrary and capricious, and therefore immoral,” Illinois Gov. George Ryan commuted the sentences of 167 condemned inmates, clearing his state’s death row two days before leaving office.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq ran into a wall of criticism on Capitol Hill from both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats selected Denver as the site of their 2008 presidential convention. English soccer star David Beckham announced a five-year deal to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Five years ago: Joran van der Sloot (YOHR’-uhn VAN’-dur-sloht), the longtime suspect in the still unsolved disappearance of American Natalee Holloway in Aruba, pleaded guilty in Lima to the 2010 murder of a Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores; he was sentenced to 28 years in prison. French TV cameraman Gilles Jacquier was killed while filming a pro-government rally in Homs, Syria; he was the first Western journalist to die in the Syrian uprising.
One year ago: Gunmen stormed into a Baghdad mall, killing 18 people; the Islamic State group claimed responsibility. Northern Ireland lawmakers appointed Arlene Foster as the first female leader of their unity government. No. 2 Alabama outlasted No. 1 Clemson in a 45-40 victory in the College Football Playoff championship game. Baseball Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, 96, died in Houston. William A. “Bill” Del Monte, the last survivor of the devastating San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, died at a retirement home in nearby Marin County at 109 years old.
Today’s Birthdays: The former prime minister of Canada, Jean Chretien (zhahn kray-tee-EHN’), is 83. Actor Mitchell Ryan is 83. Actor Felix Silla is 80. Movie director Joel Zwick is 75. Country singer Naomi Judd is 71. World Golf Hall of Famer Ben Crenshaw is 65. Singer Robert Earl Keen is 61. Actress Phyllis Logan is 61. Musician Vicki Peterson (The Bangles) is 59. Actress Kim Coles is 55. Actor Jason Connery is 54. Former child actress Dawn Lyn (TV: “My Three Sons”) is 54. Contemporary Christian musician Jim Bryson (MercyMe) is 49. Rock musician Tom Dumont (No Doubt) is 49. Movie director Malcolm D. Lee is 47. Singer Mary J. Blige is 46. Musician Tom Rowlands (The Chemical Brothers) is 46. Actor Marc Blucas is 45. Actress Amanda Peet is 45. Actor Rockmond Dunbar is 44. Actress Aja Naomi King is 32. Actress Kristolyn Lloyd is 32. Reality TV star Jason Wahler is 30. Pop singer Cody Simpson is 20.