Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 11, 2013, with a few words in Latin, Pope Benedict XVI did what no pope had done in more than half a millennium: announced his resignation. The bombshell came during a routine morning meeting of Vatican cardinals. (The 85-year-old pontiff was succeeded by Pope Francis.)
On this date:
In 660 B.C., tradition holds that Japan was founded as Jimmu ascended the throne as the country’s first emperor.
In 1847, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio.
In 1937, a six-week-old sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.
In 1942, “Archie” comic book debuts.
In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement, in which Stalin agreed to declare war against Imperial Japan following Nazi Germany’s capitulation.
In 1963, American author and poet Sylvia Plath was found dead in her London flat, a suicide; she was 30.
In 1975, Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of Britain’s opposition Conservative Party.
In 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (hoh-MAY’-nee) seized power in Iran.
In 1990, South African Black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.
In 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded Harry Whittington, a companion during a weekend quail-hunting trip in Texas.
In 2008, the Pentagon charged Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (HAH’-leed shayk moh-HAH’-med) and five other detainees at Guantanamo Bay with murder and war crimes in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks.
In 2011, Egypt exploded with joy after pro-democracy protesters brought down President Hosni Mubarak, whose resignation ended three decades of authoritarian rule.
In 2020, the World Health Organization gave the official name of COVID-19 to the disease caused by the coronavirus that had emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Ten years ago: Pop singer Whitney Houston, 48, was found dead in a hotel room bathtub in Beverly Hills, California.
Five years ago: Yale University announced it would change the name of a residential college honoring 19th-century alumnus and former U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun, who was an ardent supporter of slavery.
One year ago: At the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, Democrats asserted that Trump had incited an attack on the U.S. Capitol, put his own vice president in danger and expressed solidarity with rioters who sought to overturn the 2020 election in his name. President Joe Biden ended the “national emergency” that Trump had declared in order to take money from the Pentagon for a wall along the Mexican border. California surpassed New York as the state with the most coronavirus deaths. An Alabama inmate won a reprieve from a lethal injection after the Supreme Court said the state could not proceed without his pastor in the death chamber. (Willie B. Smith III would be executed in October 2021.) Sister André, a French nun who was believed to be the world’s second-oldest person, celebrated her 117th birthday at a care home in France after surviving COVID-19. A British judge ruled that a newspaper invaded the privacy of the Duchess of Sussex, the former Meghan Markle, by publishing a personal letter to her estranged father.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Conrad Janis is 94. Gospel singer Jimmy Carter is 90. Actor Tina Louise is 88. Fashion designer Mary Quant is 88. Bandleader Sergio Mendes is 81. Actor Philip Anglim is 70. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is 69. Actor Catherine Hickland is 66. Rock musician David Uosikkinen (aw-SIK’-ken-ihn) (The Hooters) is 66. Actor Carey Lowell is 61. Singer Sheryl Crow is 60. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is 58. Actor Jennifer Aniston is 53. Actor Damian Lewis is 51. Actor Marisa Petroro is 50.
Singer D’Angelo is 48. Actor Brice Beckham is 46. Rock M-C/vocalist Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) is 45. Singer-actor Brandy is 43. Country musician Jon Jones (The Eli Young Band) is 42. Actor Matthew Lawrence is 42. R&B singer Kelly Rowland is 41. Actor Natalie Dormer is 40. Singer Aubrey O’Day is 38. Actor Q’orianka (kohr-ee-AHN’-kuh) Kilcher is 32. Actor Taylor Lautner is 30.