Today is Thursday, September 26, the 269th day of 2013. There are 96 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1580 – Francis Drake brings his ship, the Golden Hind, laden with gold and spices into Plymouth harbor, England, becoming the first captain to circumnavigate the globe.
1679 – Danes give up their claim to what is now southern Sweden by the Treaty of Lund.
1687 – Venetian artillery scores a direct hit on the Parthenon in Athens, used by the Turks as a powder magazine. The explosion seriously damages the temple.
1777 – British troops occupy Philadelphia during the American Revolution.
1789 – Thomas Jefferson is appointed America’s first Secretary of State and John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States.
1815 – Anti-liberal Holy Alliance is formed between Austria, Russia and Prussia to maintain Vienna Settlement, which revised map of Europe.
1850 – France restricts press freedom.
1907 – New Zealand becomes a self-governing dominion within British Commonwealth.
1918 – Allies launch offensive that eventually breaks Germany’s Hindenburg Line in World War I.
1945 – The government of Argentina reimposes a state of siege, arresting hundreds of people who have shown opposition to the regime.
1950 – United Nations forces recapture Seoul, capital of South Korea.
1954 – An estimated 1,168 people die when the ferryboat Toya Maru capsizes off Hokkaido Island, Japan.
1962 – Imam Badr is driven from power in Yemen, ending a more than 1,000-year dynasty.
1965 – Former President Juan Bosch returns to Dominican Republic from exile in Puerto Rico. His homecoming is marred by shooting outbreaks.
1969 – Leftist military junta overthrows government of Bolivia.
1970 – Jordan’s King Hussein names new government to placate critics who accused him of plotting to liquidate Palestinian guerrillas in his country.
1976 – Leaders of five black African nations decline to accept plan presented by Rhodesia’s Prime Minister Ian Smith to achieve black majority rule in Rhodesia.
1980 – The Cuban government abruptly closes Mariel Harbor, ending the freedom flotilla of Cuban refugees into the United States that began the previous April.
1983 – Australia II wins America’s Cup yachting series off Newport, Rhode Island, the first U.S. loss in 132 years.
1984 – Britain and China initial agreement that will return Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997.
1989 – Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze tells U.N. General Assembly that Moscow will join United States in reducing or destroying all chemical weapons.
1992 – South African President F. W. de Klerk and African National Congress President Nelson Mandela end a four-month stalemate over political violence and the structure of a post-apartheid government.
1997 – Earthquakes in central Italy kill 11 people and cause the collapse of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
1998 – Vladimir Meciar’s party loses in Slovakian parliamentary elections, forcing a change of government in Central Europe’s bastion of authoritarianism.
1999 – Explosions rip through a busy shopping area in the central Mexican city of Celaya, killing 61 people and injuring more than 300 others.
2001 – Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres meet at the Gaza International Airport in the Gaza Strip to move forward with measures for an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire.
2002 – An ocean ferry owned and operated by Senegal capsizes off the coast of Gambia in the Atlantic Ocean, en route to the Senegalese capital, Dakar. About 1,034 people perish and 64 are rescued.
2003 – The Katsina State Sharia Court of Appeals in northern Nigeria overturns the conviction of Amina Lawal, who had been sentenced to death by stoning under Islamic law after she was accused of having a child out of wedlock.
2004 – Armed militiamen surge into a border area near a western village, where some of the first Darfur refugees attempting to return to their raided homes headed, raising further concern about how quickly 1.4 million displaced Sudanese will be able to return home.
2005 – The Irish Republican Army announces it has fully disarmed, a breakthrough verified by international weapons inspectors who say they watched the secret disarmament. Some hail the move as lifting the last obstacle to peace in the region, but others demand proof.
2006 – Romania and Bulgaria win clearance to join the European Union in 2008, but face some of the toughest terms ever for membership in the bloc.
2007 – Mounting pro-democracy protests against Myanmar’s military government erupt into bloodshed for the first time, as security forces shoot dead at least one man and wound more in chaotic confrontations.
2008 – The list of products caught in China’s tainted milk scandal grows to include baby cereal in Hong Kong and snack foods in Japan.
2009 – Pope Benedict XVI seeks to reach out to the heavily secular people of the Czech Republic, decrying the “wounds” left by atheistic communism and urging them to rediscover their Christian roots.
2010 – President Hugo Chavez holds on to a congressional majority in Venezuela’s elections, but his opponents make gains that could help them challenge his grip on power.
2011 – Two thousand years after they were written and decades after they were found in desert caves, some of the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls go online for the first time in a project launched by Israel’s national museum and the web giant Google.
2012 – Syrian rebels strike deep into the fortress-like inner sanctum of President Bashar Assad’s rule in Damascus, detonating two car bombs that engulf the army headquarters in flames.
Moses Mendelssohn, German philosopher (1729-1786); Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, Russian physiologist and Nobel laureate (1849-1936); T(homas) S(tearns) Eliot, British writer and Nobel laureate (1888-1965); Martin Heidegger, German philosopher (1889-1976); Pope Paul VI (Italian Giovanni Montini) (1897-1978); George Gershwin, U.S. songwriter (1898-1937); Olivia Newton-John, British-Australian singer/actress (1948–); Linda Hamilton, U.S. actress (1956–).
Thought For Today:
As in the physical world, so in the spiritual world, pain does not last forever — Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand-born author (1888-1923).