[By the time Emanuel Leutze painted the allegorical Washington Crossing the Delaware in 1851, the American myth-building industry had already been at maximum production for eight decades; despite its potency, though, this view of one of George Washington's finest hours functions better as propaganda than it does as history.]
1606 - The first known performance of William Shakespeare's King Lear was given.
1870 - Both ends of the Fréjus Rail Tunnel met, deep inside the Swiss Alps; only a devout Freudian would be able to read anything into that...
1906 - Charles Tait's The Story of the Kelly Gang - generally considered the first feature film - premiered at Athaneum Hall in Melbourne, the city where most of it was shot; concerning the exploits of Australia's notorious bushranger Ned Kelly, only 17 minutes of its original seventy remain.
1908 - Jack Johnson became the first black heavyweight boxing champ when he defeated Tommy Burns.
1919 - Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees.
1944 - The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams was first performed, at the Civic Theatre in Chicago.
1946 - The Flamingo Hotel opened in Las Vegas.
1966 - The first Kwanzaa was celebrated by Maulana Karenga.
1982 - For the first time in its history Time magazine's Man of the Year wasn't a man (or even a person) at all, but the personal computer.
1986 - The long-running American soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, went off the air after 9130 episodes; created by Roy Winsor and initially written by daytime television legend Agnes Nixon (and later by Irving Vendig), the show had its debut on CBS in September 1951 at 15 minutes a day, went from live to tape in March 1967, began broadcasting in colour in September 1967, expanded to a half hour format in September 1968, then moved to NBC in March 1982.
1991 - The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was dissolved.
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