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Today in History

Today in History

By The Associated Press Published: June 15, 2017 4:00 AM

Today is Thursday, June 15, the 166th day of 2017. There are 199 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On June 15, 1775, the Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to appoint George Washington head of the Continental Army.

On this date:

In 1215, England's King John put his seal to Magna Carta ("the Great Charter") at Runnymede.

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In 1520, Pope Leo X issued a papal bull in which he threatened to excommunicate Martin Luther if he did not recant his religious beliefs, a threat that was carried out the following January.

In 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state.

In 1849, James Polk, the 11th president of the United States, died in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1904, more than 1,000 people died when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York's East River.

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act making the National Guard part of the U.S. Army in the event of war or national emergency.

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In 1944, American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan during World War II. B-29 Superfortresses carried out their first raids on Japan.

In 1955, the United States and Britain signed a cooperation agreement concerning atomic information for "mutual defence purposes."

In 1977, Spain held its first free elections in four decades; the Union of the Democratic Center won the highest number of seats in the Congress of Deputies.

In 1985, the Shiite Muslim hijackers of a TWA Boeing 727 beat and shot one of their hostages, U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem, 23, throwing him out of the plane to die on the tarmac at Beirut airport.

In 1992, during a visit to an elementary school in Trenton, New Jersey, Vice President Dan Quayle, relying on a faulty flash card, erroneously instructed sixth-grader William Figueroa to write "potato" as "potatoe" on a blackboard during a spelling quiz.

Ten years ago: Retired "Price Is Right" host Bob Barker won his 19th Daytime Emmy.

Five years ago: Daredevil Nik Wallenda became the first person to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls. (The feat was broadcast live by ABC-TV, which required Wallenda to wear a safety tether.)

One year ago: The interim police chief in Oakland, California, Ben Fairow, was abruptly removed after six days on the job by Mayor Libby Schaaf, who said she had lost confidence in Fairow's ability to lead the department amid a widening sex scandal in which a number of officers allegedly had sex with a teenage prostitute.


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