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History of the Day for:
- 1573: English explorer Francis Drake first saw the Pacific Ocean.
- 1752: The first American hospital opened in Philadelphia.
- 1766: The Stamp Act was declared unconstitutional in a Virginia court.
- 1777: Vermont became the first state to abolish slavery.
- 1809: The steamboat was patented by Robert Fulton.
- 1812: Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry signed a law changing the state's electoral boundaries to ensure a Republican majority. The move gave rise to the term "gerrymandering."
- 1847: Thomas Alva Edison, the U.S. inventor who registered more than 1,000 patents, was born. His patents included those on the gramophone and the incandescent light bulb.
- 1858: Saint Bernadette of Lourdes first saw a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, France, leading to the foundation of the shrine of Lourdes.
- 1929: The Lateran Treaty was signed, establishing an independent Vatican State in Rome.
- 1942: The "Archie" comic book debuted.
- 1945: The Yalta Conference between Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt ended with agreement on the founding of the U.N., as well as plans for the defeat of Germany.
- 1956: Elvis Presley performed "Heartbreak Hotel" on American TV for the first time.
- 1960: "Tonight Show" host Jack Paar walked off the set during the live broadcast to protest the NBC censors, who had cut one of his jokes.
- 1964: The Beatles played their first concert in the U.S. at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, D.C.
- 1968: Madison Square Garden opened in New York.
- 1975: Margaret Thatcher became the first woman leader of a British political party when she was elected leader of the Conservatives.
- 1977: Clifford Alexander Jr. became the first black Secretary of State.
- 1979: Followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran, nine days after the religious leader returned to his home country following 15 years of exile.
- 1990: Nelson Mandela, black nationalist leader in South Africa, was released from prison after serving 27 years.