Today in 1520, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after passing through the South American strait that now bears his name.
Today in 1853, Olympia formed as the capital of the Washington Territory.
Today in 1861, Confederate congress officially admitted Missouri to Confederacy.
Today in 1871, the Ku Klux Klan trials began in Federal District Court in South Carolina.
Today in 1895, the first auto race was held over 55-miles of snow-covered roads between Chicago and Waukeegan, Illinois. Frank Duryea won the $2000 prize from the “Chicago Times Herald” by traveling the distance in just under eight hours - at an average speed of seven-miles per hour!
Today in 1922, communication via smoke signal was modernized when the first skywriting was created over New York City. Captain Cyril Turner of the Royal Air Force wrote “Hello U.S.A., Call Vanderbilt 7200.” Over 47,000 calls were reported within the next two days.
Today in 1932, Groucho Marx performed on radio for the first time. Using his fast-paced, ingenious patter, he invented a new form of comedy that delighted audiences from coast to coast.
Today in 1933, a Dallas grand jury delivers a murder indictment against Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow for the January 1933 killing of Tarrant County Deputy Malcolm Davis.
Today in 1963, Cape Canaveral was officially renamed Cape Kennedy, in honor of President John F. Kennedy. The change was initiated by President Lyndon Johnson.
Today in 1984,William Schroeder spoke for the first time after being implanted with the artificial Jarvik-7 heart on November 25th. He asked for a can of beer. Schroeder survived with the artificial heart for 620 days.
Today in 1985, astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis celebrated Thanksgiving with a dinner of irradiated turkey and freeze-dried vegetables. They also launched a satellite from the cargo bay.
Today in 1989, Rickey Henderson signed a record $3-million per year contract with the Oakland A's.
Today in 1994, convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was clubbed to death by a fellow inmate in Wisconsin’s Columbia Correctional Institution gymnasium. Christopher Scarver, the man who admitted to doing the deed, later said that he did so because Dahmer was unrepentant.
Today in 1998, some Republicans expressed disappointment and outrage over President Clinton's written responses to the 81 questions from the House Judiciary Committee concerning the Monica Lewinsky affair, with one accusing the President of "word games."
(Photo courtesy of Eugene Garcia/AFP via Getty Images)