This Day in History


The World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 outbreak was a pandemic.


Chilean politician Michelle Bachelet became the first woman to serve as the country’s president as she was sworn into office.


Madrid suffered a series of terrorist attacks when 10 bombs, detonated by Islamist militants, exploded on four trains at three different rail stations, killing 191 people and injuring some 1,800 others.


Following a vote in the parliament, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare its independence from the U.S.S.R.


Mikhail Gorbachev succeeded Konstantin Chernenko as leader of the Soviet Union.


Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun became the first play by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway.


During World War II, Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific Theatre came under the command of U.S. General Douglas MacArthur following his tour on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines.


The U.S. Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act.


Newspaper entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch, founder of the News Corporation Ltd., was born in Melbourne, Australia.


William Howard Taft was the first U.S. president to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.


African American civil rights leader Ralph David Abernathy, who was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s chief aide and closest associate during the 1950s and ’60s, was born in Linden, Alabama.


British politician Harold Wilson, who led the Labour Party to victory in four general elections and was prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and from 1974 to 1976, was born.


A winter storm began on the Atlantic coast of the United States, ultimately blanketing New York City with 22 inches (550 mm) of snow and other areas with up to 50 inches (1,250 mm); the Great Blizzard of 1888, as it became known, killed more than 400 people and caused widespread property damage.


Torquato Tasso, the greatest Italian poet of the late Renaissance, was born in Sorrento in the Kingdom of Naples.


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