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This Day in History – April 2, 2011

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1513 – Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted Florida. The next day he went ashore. 1792 – The U.S. Congress passed the Coinage Act to regulate the coins of the United States. The act authorized $10 Eagle, $5 half-Eagle & 2.50 quarter-Eagle gold coins & silver dollar, dollar, quarter, dime & half-dime to be minted. 1865 – Confederate President Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, VA. 1872 – G.B. Brayton received a patent for the gas-powered streetcar. 1877 – The first Egg Roll was held on the grounds of the White House in Washington, DC. 1889 – Charles Hall patented aluminum. 1902 – The first motion picture theatre opened in Los Angeles with the name Electric Theatre. 1910 – Karl Harris perfected the process for the artificial synthesis of rubber. 1914 – The U.S. Federal Reserve Board announced plans to divide the country into 12 districts. 1917 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson presented a declaration of war against Germany to the U.S. Congress. 1932 – A $50,000 ransom was paid for the infant son of Charles and Anna Lindbergh. The child was not returned and was found dead the next month. 1935 – Sir Watson-Watt was granted a patent for RADAR. 1951 – U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower assumed command of all allied forces in the Western Mediterranean area and Europe. 1956 – “The Edge of Night” and “As the World Turns” debuted on CBS-TV. 1958 – The National Advisory Council on Aeronautics was renamed NASA. 1960 – France signed an agreement with Madagascar that proclaimed the country an independent state within the French community. 1963 – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King began the first non-violent campaign in Birmingham, AL. 1972 – Burt Reynolds appeared nude in “Cosmopolitan” magazine. 1978 – The first episode of “Dallas” aired on CBS. 1981 – In Lebanon, thirty-seven people were reported killed during fighting in the cities of Beirut and Zahle. It was the worst violence since the 1976 cease fire. 1982 – Argentina invaded the British-owned Falkland Islands. The following June Britain took the islands back. 1984 – John Thompson became the first black coach to lead his team to the NCAA college basketball championship. 1986 – On a TWA airliner flying from Rome to Athens a bomb exploded under a seat killing four Americans. 1987 – The speed limit on U.S. interstate highways was increased to 65 miles per hour in limited areas. 1989 – An editorial in the “New York Times” declared that the Cold War was over. 1992 – Mob boss John Gotti was convicted in New York of murder and racketeering. He was later sentenced to life in prison. 1995 – The costliest strike in professional sports history ended when baseball owners agreed to let players play without a contract. 1996 – Lech Walesa resumed his old job as an electrician at the Gdansk shipyard. He was the former Solidarity union leader who became Poland’s first post-war democratic president.]]]]> ]]>

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