Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, June 15, the 167th day of 2016. There are 199 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 15, 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state.

On this date:

In 1215, England’s King John put his seal to Magna Carta (“the Great Charter”) at Runnymede.

In 1775, the Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to appoint George Washington head of the Continental Army.

In 1849, James Polk, the 11th president of the United States, died in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1864, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton signed an order establishing a military burial ground which became Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

In 1904, more than 1,000 people died when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York’s East River.

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act making the National Guard part of the U.S. Army in the event of war or national emergency.

In 1944, American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan (sy-PAN’) during World War II. B-29 Superfortresses carried out their first raids on Japan.

In 1955, the United States and Britain signed a cooperation agreement concerning atomic information for “mutual defence purposes.”

In 1966, the surfing documentary “The Endless Summer” opened in wide release.

In 1978, King Hussein (hoo-SAYN’) of Jordan married 26-year-old American Lisa Halaby, who became Queen Noor.

In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the northern Philippines exploded in one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, killing about 800 people.

In 1996, Ella Fitzgerald, the “first lady of song,” died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 79.

Ten years ago: The death toll of U.S. servicemen and women in the Iraq war reached 2,500. A divided Supreme Court made it easier for police to barge into homes and seize evidence without knocking or waiting. House Democrats voted to strip embattled Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson of his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee while a federal bribery investigation ran its course. (Jefferson was later found guilty of taking bribes, and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.) Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said he would transition from day-to-day responsibilities at the company to concentrate on the charitable work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Five years ago: Pushing back against congressional criticism, the White House said that President Barack Obama had the authority to continue U.S. military action in Libya even without authorization from lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was released from a Houston hospital, five months after being shot in the head during a Tucson political event. The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972, beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the finals; angry, drunken Vancouver fans ran wild, setting cars on fire and looting stores.

One year ago: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush entered the 2016 presidential campaign with a rally and speech at Miami Dade College, joining 10 other Republicans already in the race for the party’s nomination. Rachel Dolezal resigned as president of the NAACP’s Spokane chapter just days after her parents said she was a white woman posing as black woman – a dizzyingly swift fall for an activist credited with injecting remarkable new energy into the civil rights organization. Chicago’s Duncan Keith scored in the second period and directed a dominant defense that shut down Tampa Bay’s high-scoring attack, and the Blackhawks beat the Lightning 2-0 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals for their third NHL title in the past six seasons. American businessman Kirk Kerkorian, 95, died in Beverly Hills, California. Burlesque icon Blaze Starr, 83, died in in Wilsondale, West Virginia.

Today’s Birthdays: Rhythm-and-blues singer Ruby Nash Garnett (Ruby and the Romantics) is 82. Rock singer-actor Johnny Hallyday is 73. Funk musician Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) is 70. Actor Simon Callow is 67. Singer Russell Hitchcock (Air Supply) is 67. Rock singer Steve Walsh is 65. Comedian-actor Jim Belushi is 62. Country singer Terri Gibbs is 62. Actress Julie Hagerty is 61. Actress Polly Draper is 61. Rock musician Brad Gillis (Night Ranger) is 59. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Wade Boggs is 58. Actress Eileen Davidson is 57. Bluegrass musician Terry Smith is 56. Actress Helen Hunt is 53. Rock musician Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche) is 53. Actress Courteney Cox is 52. Country musician Tony Ardoin is 52. Country musician Michael Britt (Lonestar) is 50. Contemporary Christian musician Rob Mitchell is 50. Rock musician Jimmy McD is 48. Actor-rapper Ice Cube is 47. Actress Leah Remini is 46. Actor Jake Busey is 45. Bluegrass singer-musician Jamie Johnson is 44. Rock musician T-Bone Willy (Save Ferris) is 44. Actor Neil Patrick Harris is 43. Actor Greg Vaughan is 43. Actress Elizabeth Reaser is 41. Rock singer Dryden Mitchell (Alien Ant Farm) is 40. Rock musician Billy Martin (Good Charlotte) is 35. Rock musician Wayne Sermon (Imagine Dragons) is 32. Actor Denzel Whitaker is 26.

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