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This Day in History: January 18


1535 – Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founds Lima, the capital of Peru.

1670 – Henry Morgan captures Panama.

1778 – James Cook is the first known European to discover the Hawaiian Islands, which he names the "Sandwich Islands".

1903 – A transmitter in Wellfleet, Massachusetts sends the first transatlantic radio transmission to originate in the United States.

1911 – Eugene B. Ely lands on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania stationed in San Francisco Bay, the first time an aircraft landed on a ship.

1916 – A 611-gram chondrite type meteorite strikes a house near the village of Baxter in Stone County, Missouri.

1919 – World War I: The Paris Peace Conference opens in Versailles, France.

1943 – Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: The first uprising of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

1944 – The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City hosts a jazz concert for the first time. The performers are Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden.

1945 – World War II: Liberation of the Budapest Ghetto by the Red Army.

1945 – World War II: Liberation of Kraków, Poland by the Red Army.

1960 – Capital Airlines Flight 20 crashes into a farm in Charles City County, Virginia, killing all 50 aboard, the third fatal Capital Airlines crash in as many years.

1967 – Albert DeSalvo, the "Boston Strangler", is convicted of numerous crimes and is sentenced to life imprisonment.

1969 – United Airlines Flight 266 crashes into Santa Monica Bay killing all 32 passengers and six crew members.

1977 – Scientists identify a previously unknown bacterium as the cause of the mysterious Legionnaires' disease.

1978 – The roof structure of the Hartford Civic Center collapses after a significant snowfall.

1981 – Phil Smith and Phil Mayfield parachute off a Houston skyscraper, becoming the first two people to BASE jump from objects in all four categories: buildings, antennae, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs).

1983 – The International Olympic Committee restores Jim Thorpe's Olympic medals to his family.

1990 – Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry is arrested for drug possession in an FBI sting.

1993 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is officially observed for the first time in all 50 states.


1782 – Daniel Webster, American lawyer and politician, 14th United States Secretary of State (d. 1852)

1842 – A. A. Ames, American physician and politician, Mayor of Minneapolis (d. 1911)

1854 – Thomas A. Watson, American assistant to Alexander Graham Bell (d. 1934)

1856 – Daniel Hale Williams, American surgeon and cardiologist (d. 1931)

1892 – Oliver Hardy, American actor, singer, and director (d. 1957)

1896 – C. M. Eddy, Jr., American author (d. 1967)

1904 – Cary Grant, English-American actor and singer (d. 1986)

1932 – Robert Anton Wilson, American psychologist, author, poet, and playwright (d. 2007)

1933 – Ray Dolby, American engineer and businessman, founded Dolby Laboratories (d. 2013)

1971 – Amy Barger, American astronomer


1862 – John Tyler, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 10th President of the United States (b. 1790)

1952 – Curly Howard, American actor and singer (b. 1903)

1954 – Sydney Greenstreet, English-American actor and singer (b. 1879)

1967 – Goose Tatum, American basketball player and soldier (b. 1921)

2008 – Georgia Frontiere, American businesswoman and philanthropist (b. 1927)