Today in 1626, Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on Manhattan Island. He would later purchase the island from native Indians for about $26 in shiny trinkets.
Today in 1959, the first GRAMMY Awards were presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Among the attendees were Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior, Dean Martin, Gene Autry, Johnny Mercer, Henry Mancini and André Previn. The award night was held in hotel ballrooms on both coasts in Los Angeles, California and New York City, New York. Frank Sinatra led all the nominees with a total of six nominations. The very first Record of the Year and Song of the Year awards went to Domenico Modugno’s “Nel Blue Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)” and Album of the Year went to Henry Mancini for “The Music From Peter Gunn.”
Today in 1968, McDonald's Big Mac hamburger debuted.
Today in 1970, after days of protests at Kent State University against the United States invasion of Cambodia, the National Guard fired on a group of protestors killing four people and injuring about ten. The event started a nationwide student strike that forced hundreds of colleges and universities to close. The incident inspired Neil Young to compose the classic, “Ohio.”
Today in 1977, former President Richard Nixon came out of seclusion to give his first of four TV interviews to talk show host David Frost.
Today in 1987, for the first time, live models were used for Playtex bra ads. For once, models didn’t have to be mannequins or women wearing the undergarments over dresses. The use of live models wearing bras crossed a previously taboo advertising line.
Today in 1989, after 12 days of deliberation, a Federal Court jury convicted Oliver North on 3 of 12 charges in the Iran-Contra case. He had been charged with altering and shredding documents, aiding and abetting and obstruction of Congress, and illegally accepting a gratuity: a $13,800 home security system.
Today in 1998, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski was given four life sentences plus 30 years by a federal judge in Sacramento, California, under a plea agreement that spared him the death penalty.
Today in 1999, five New York police officers went on trial for the horrific torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. Eventually, one officer later pleaded guilty (Justin A. Volpe); a second (Charles Schwarz) was convicted as well; the other three (Thomas Bruder, Thomas Wiese) were acquitted.
Today in 2003, the horse Idaho Gem was born. Why do we care? He was the first horse to be cloned.
Today in 2007, an EF5 tornado about two-miles wide traveled through Greensburg, Kansas leveling most of the city and killing 11 people. Winds were estimated at 205-miles-per-hour. Before the damage was done in the region – 14 were dead and nearly 100 were injured.
Today in 2008, Barack Obama defeated Hilary Clinton at the Democratic caucus in Guam, a United States Territory – by just seven votes. Although Guam citizens cannot vote in a United States presidential election, they have the ability to choose delegates to help select the Democratic presidential candidate.
Today in 2012, rapper Adam Yauch, known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, died at the age of 47. He struggled with salivary gland cancer since 2009. He was known for being a member of the rap group, and his lifetime activism in the Free Tibet movement, which is an organization to aid Tibet, “one of the most repressed and closed societies in the world.”
Today in 2013, an aircraft powered completely by solar energy, began its first tour across the United States. The Solar Impulse landed in Phoenix, Arizona 18-hours after leaving San Francisco, California. There are plans in motion for the aircraft to circle the globe in 2015.
Today in 2018, California overtook Great Britain to become the world's fifth largest economy.