21 January 2008

This day in history: 21 Jan

1643: Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovered Tonga.

1793: Having been found guilty of treason, Louis XVI of France went to the guillotine. (His queen, Marie Antoinette, would follow him on 16 October.)

1861: Jefferson Davis (D-MS) resigned from the United States Senate.

1925: Albania declared itself a republic. This would last until 1928, when President Ahmed Zogu declared himself King Zog.

1950: Alger Hiss was convicted on two counts of perjury.

1954: USS Nautilus (SSN 571), the first nuclear-powered submarine, was launched in Groton, Connecticut, by Mamie Eisenhower, then First Lady of the United States. Nautilus would be commissioned on 30 September, and remain in service until 1980.

1968: The siege of Khe Sanh began.

In addition to Louis XVI (1754-1793), Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924), George Washington Goethals (1858-1928), George Orwell (1903–1950), Cecil B DeMille (1881–1959), Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer (1927–1959), James Beard (1903–1985), Jack Lord (1920–1998) and Peggy Lee (1920–2002) died on this date.

And happy birthday to John C Frémont (1813–1890), "Stonewall" Jackson (1824–1863), Karl Wallenda (1905-1978), Richard Winters (1918-TBD), Telly Savalas (1924–1994), Steve Reeves (1926–2000), Wolfman Jack (1939-1995), Mac Davis (1942-TBD) and Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway (2004-TBD).

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