In 1783, the British evacuated New York during the Revolutionary War.
In 1864, during the Civil War, Confederate agents set a series of arson fires in New York; the blazes were quickly extinguished.
In 1915, a new version of the Ku Klux Klan, targeting blacks, Jews, Catholics and immigrants, was founded by William Joseph Simmons.
In 1940, the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker made his debut in the animated short “Knock Knock.”
In 1947, movie studio executives meeting in New York agreed to blacklist the “Hollywood Ten” who’d been cited for contempt of Congress the day before.
In 1961, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, was commissioned.
In 1986, the Iran-Contra affair erupted as President Ronald Reagan and Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to Nicaraguan rebels.
In 1987, Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago, died in office at age 65.
In 1999, Elian Gonzalez, a 5-year-old Cuban boy, was rescued by a pair of sport fishermen off the coast of Florida, setting off an international custody battle.
In 2001, as the war in Afghanistan entered its eighth week, CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann was killed during a prison uprising in Mazar-e-Sharif, becoming America’s first combat casualty of the conflict.
In 2002, President George W. Bush signed legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security, and appointed Tom Ridge to be its head.
In 2016, Fidel Castro, who led his rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 U.S. presidents during his half-century of rule in Cuba, died at age 90.
Ten years ago: President-elect Barack Obama said economic recovery efforts would trump deficit concerns after he took office in January; at the same time, Obama pledged a “page-by-page, line-by-line” budget review to root out unneeded spending. Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick pleaded guilty to a Virginia dogfighting charge, receiving a three-year suspended sentence.
Five years ago: Pushing back against critics, President Barack Obama forcefully defended the temporary agreement to freeze Iran’s disputed nuclear program, declaring that the United States “cannot close the door on diplomacy.” Prosecutors closed their yearlong investigation into the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that claimed the lives of 26 victims; their report said the motive of gunman Adam Lanza, who also killed his mother and himself, might never be known.
One year ago: On what was designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, President Emmanuel Macron launched an initiate to combat violence and harassment against women in France and change what he described as France’s sexist culture. A volcano on the Indonesian island of Bali rumbled to life, temporarily disrupting some international flights to the popular tourist destination. Veteran Hollywood actor Rance Howard, the father of director Ron Howard, died at the age of 89.
Today’s Birthdays: Playwright Murray Schisgal is 92. Actress Kathryn Crosby is 85. Actor Christopher Riordan is 81. Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs is 78. Singer Bob Lind is 76. Author, actor and economist Ben Stein is 74. Actor John Larroquette is 71. Actor Tracey Walter is 71. Movie director Jonathan Kaplan is 71. Author Charlaine Harris is 67. Retired MLB All-Star Bucky Dent is 67. Dance judge Bruno Tonioli (TV: “Dancing with the Stars”) is 63. Singer Amy Grant is 58. Former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar is 55. Rock musician Eric Grossman (K’s Choice) is 54. Rock singer Mark Lanegan is 54. Rock singer-musician Tim Armstrong is 53. Actor Steve Harris is 53. Actor Billy Burke is 52. Singer Stacy Lattisaw is 52. Rock musician Rodney Sheppard (Sugar Ray) is 52. Rapper-producer Erick Sermon is 50. Actress Jill Hennessy is 49. Actress Christina Applegate is 47. Actor Eddie Steeples is 45. Actress Kristian Nairn is 43. Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb is 42. Actress Jill Flint is 41. Actor Jerry Ferrara is 39. Actor Joel Kinnaman is 39. Actress Valerie Azlynn is 38. Former first daughter Barbara Pierce Bush is 37. Former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager is 37. Actress Katie Cassidy is 32. Contemporary Christian singer Jamie Grace is 27.
Thought for Today: “The great man is he who does not lose his child’s heart.” — Mencius, Chinese philosopher (371 B.C.-289 B.C.).