Today in 1487, the German Beer Purity Law (Reinheitsgebot), was promulgated by Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria. It stated beer should be brewed from only three ingredients – water, malt and hops.
Today in 1782, Britain signed an agreement recognizing the independence of the United States in Paris.
Today in 1952, Jackie Robinson charged the NY Yankees with racism.
Today in 1954, Elizabeth Hodges of Alabama was taking a nap on her couch when she was hit on the arm by an 8 ½ pound meteorite that crashed through her roof. She and her landlady fought over the ownership of the meteorite and ended up in court. Eventually, Mrs. Hodges won the rights to the meteorite and was offered money for it, but chose to donate it to Alabama University, instead.
Today in 1974,the most complete early human skeleton (Lucy, Australopithecus) was discovered by Donald Johanson, Maurice Taieb, Yves Coppens and Tim White in the Middle Awash of Ethiopia's Afar Depression.
Today in 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a law requiring states to provide free education for handicapped children.
Today in 1976, the Utah Board of Pardons approved convicted murderer Gary Gilmore's request that he be executed. What’s so special about him? He was the first person put to death by capital punishment after it was reinstated in the country.
Today in 1993, President Clinton signed the Brady gun control bill into law.
Today in 1993, authorities in California arrested Richard Allen Davis,who confessed to abducting and slaying 12-year-old Polly Klaas of Petaluma. He was later sentenced to death for his crimes,and presently remains on California’s Death Row.
Today in 1996, the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan scored his 25,000th career point against the San Antonio Spurs, 97-88.
Today in 1999, the opening of the WTO (a 135-nation trade gathering) in Seattle was disrupted by at least 40,000 demonstrators. Dubbed the “Battle of Seattle,” there were 500 arrests….millions of dollars in damages…and a number of protestors sued over alleged violations of their civil rights.
Today in 2001, Gary Leon Ridgeway was arrested in Seattle, Washington for four of the Green River serial killings. He was initially convicted of 48 separate murders and later confessed to nearly twice that number. As part of his plea bargain, an additional conviction was added, bringing the total number of convictions to 49, making him the most prolific American serial killer in history (counting confirmed murders). Because he agreed to disclose the whereabouts of still-missing women, he was spared the death penalty and received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole in December 2003. But now? He’s down at least a peg – as 78-year-old Samuel Littleappears to be on the hook for at least 90 murders.
Today in 2004, Longtime “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings of Salt Lake City, Utah finally lost to Nancy Zerg in his 75th appearance on the show. He walked away with $2,520,700, television's all-time biggest game show haul.
Today in 2017, Def Jam founder Russell Simmons stepped down from his companies after repeated allegations of sexual misconduct.