[Is Bill Clinton a liar? It doesn't even matter what your definition of 'is' is - yes, he is. Is lying about adultery grounds for impeachment? Certainly the Pop Culture Institute doesn't think so - at least not compared to lying about weapons of mass destruction in order to provoke a costly foreign war to make your buddies in Big Oil richer than even their greediest imaginations. Just as a strictly hypothetical for instance...]
1325 - Alfonso IV became King of Portugal following the death of his father Denis.
1558 - Calais - a seaport on the English Channel/La Manche which was the final British holding on the Continent - was seized by Francis, duc de Guise, as England's Queen Mary I lay dying in London.
1598 - Boris Godunov seized the throne of Russia.
1608 - Fire destroyed Jamestown, Virginia.
1610 - Galileo Galilei observed the four largest moons of Jupiter for the first time; they were named after the lovers of Zeus (aka Jupiter) - Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto - by Simon Marius, but are referred to as the Galilean moons.
1782 - The first American commercial bank - the Bank of North America - opened, at the prodding of Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris, having received its charter from the Congress of the Confederation on the last day of December 1781.
1785 - Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries crossed the English Channel from Dover Castle to Guînes (near Calais) in a gas balloon, taking about 2½ hours in which to do it; following their feat of derring-do Blanchard was granted a substantial pension by King Louis XVI.
1835 - The HMS Beagle - with Charles Darwin aboard - anchored off the Chonos Archipelago.
1904 - The distress signal CQD was established - only to be replaced two years later by SOS.
1920 - Republican Speaker of the New York State Assembly Thaddeus C. Sweet refused to seat five duly elected Socialist Party assemblymen - Samuel A. DeWitt, Samuel Orr, Louis Waldman, Charles Solomon, and August Claessens - in direct contravention of the democratic principles he'd only just been sworn to uphold.
1922 - Ireland's Dáil Éireann ratified the Anglo-Irish Treaty by a 64-57 vote.
1924 - George Gershwin completed his famed composition Rhapsody in Blue, which combined elements of classical music and jazz.
1927 - The Savoy Big Five, created by Abe Saperstein of Chicago, played their first game; later that year he changed their name to the Harlem Globetrotters, and a legend was born...
1931 - Guy Menzies made the first solo non-stop flight across the Tasman Sea (from Australia to New Zealand) in 11 hours and 45 minutes, crash-landing near Hari Hari, on New Zealand's west coast - shaving 2½ hours off the time taken by Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm during their historic first-ever trans-Tasman flight on board the Southern Cross in September 1928.
1935 - Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and French Foreign Minister Pierre Laval signed the Franco–Italian Agreement.
1959 - The United States recognized the government of Fidel Castro.
1973 - Twenty-three year-old Mark Essex fatally shot 9 people and wounded 13 others at the Howard Johnson's hotel on Loyola Avenue in New Orleans before himself being shot to death by police officers; he did forego killing blacks, though, and allowed several to escape during the rampage. At one time a gentle soul who aspired to the ministry, a two-year hitch in the US Navy exposed him to such graphic racism that he snapped... Yet further proof that racism hurts us all.
1993 - The Fourth Republic of Ghana was inaugurated with Jerry Rawlings as President.
1999 - The impeachment trial of US President Bill Clinton began.
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