In 1638, Swedish colonists settled in present-day Delaware.
In 1812, the first White House wedding took place as Lucy Payne Washington, the sister of first lady Dolley Madison, married Supreme Court Justice Thomas Todd.
In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln ordered plans for a relief expedition to sail to South Carolina’s Fort Sumter, which was still in the hands of Union forces despite repeated demands by the Confederacy that it be turned over.
In 1867, Britain’s Parliament passed, and Queen Victoria signed, the British North America Act creating the Dominion of Canada, which came into being the following July.
In 1912, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, with his doomed expedition stranded in an Antarctic blizzard after failing to be the first to reach the South Pole, wrote the last words of his journal: “For Gods sake look after our people.”
In 1936, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler claimed overwhelming victory in a plebiscite on his policies.
In 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted in New York of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union. (They were executed in June 1953.)
In 1971, Army Lt. William L. Calley Jr. was convicted of murdering 22 Vietnamese civilians in the 1968 My Lai (mee ly) massacre. (Calley ended up serving three years under house arrest.) A jury in Los Angeles recommended the death penalty for Charles Manson and three female followers for the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders. (The sentences were commuted when the California state Supreme Court struck down the death penalty in 1972.)
In 1973, the last United States combat troops left South Vietnam, ending America’s direct military involvement in the Vietnam War.
In 2002, Israeli troops stormed Yasser Arafat’s headquarters complex in the West Bank in a raid that was launched in response to anti-Israeli attacks that had killed 30 people in three days.
In 2010, two female suicide bombers blew themselves up in twin attacks on Moscow subway stations jam-packed with rush-hour passengers, killing at least 40 people and wounding more than 100.
In 2017, Britain filed for divorce from the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May sent a six-page letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk. Two former aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were sentenced to prison for creating a colossal traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge for political revenge, a scandal that sank Christie’s White House hopes.
Ten years ago: Gunmen held an Iraqi government center in Tikrit (tih-KREET’) hostage in a grisly siege that ended with the deaths of at least 56 people, including three councilmen, plus the attackers, who blew themselves up. A seriously ill 73-year-old British woman was accidentally dropped into the bitterly cold Norwegian Sea as rescue workers took her off the cruise ship Ocean Countess (Janet Richardson later died at a hospital).
Five years ago: Oscar-winning actor Patty Duke, 69, died in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.
One year ago: President Donald Trump extended restrictive social distancing guidelines through April, bracing the nation for a coronavirus death toll that he acknowledged could exceed 100,000 people; Trump just days earlier had spoken about the country reopening in a few weeks. Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the coronavirus could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans and that millions of Americans could become infected. Country singer Joe Diffie, who had a string of hits in the 1990s, died at 61 from what a spokesman said were complications from COVID-19. Josef Neumann, 72, died three months after he and four others were stabbed during a Hanukkah celebration north of New York City. Krzysztof Penderecki, an award-winning conductor and one of the world’s most popular contemporary classical music composers, died at his home in Poland; he was 86.
Today’s Birthdays: Author Judith Guest is 85. Former British Prime Minister Sir John Major is 78. Comedian Eric Idle is 78. Composer Vangelis is 78. Basketball Hall of Famer Walt Frazier is 76. Singer Bobby Kimball (Toto) is 74. Actor Bud Cort is 73. Actor Brendan Gleeson is 66. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Earl Campbell is 66. Actor Marina Sirtis is 66. Actor Christopher Lambert is 64. Rock singer Perry Farrell (Porno for Pyros; Jane’s Addiction) is 62. Comedian-actor Amy Sedaris is 60. Model Elle Macpherson is 58. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., is 57. Actor Annabella Sciorra (shee-OR’-uh) is 57. Movie director Michel Hazanavicius (mee-SHEHL’ ah-zah-nah-VEE’-see-oos) is 54. Rock singer-musician John Popper (Blues Traveler) is 54. Actor Lucy Lawless is 53. Country singer Brady Seals is 52. Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is 50. Actor Sam Hazeldine is 49. International Tennis Hall of Famer Jennifer Capriati is 45. Actor Chris D’Elia is 41. Rhythm and blues singer PJ Morton is 40. Actor Megan Hilty is 40. Pop singer Kelly Sweet is 33.