By The Associated Press
Today in History
Today is Thursday, June 15, the 166th day of 2017. There are 199 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 15, 1775, the Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to appoint George Washington head of the Continental Army.
On this date:
In 1215, England’s King John put his seal to Magna Carta (“the Great Charter”) at Runnymede.
In 1520, Pope Leo X issued a papal bull in which he threatened to excommunicate Martin Luther if he did not recant his religious beliefs, a threat that was carried out the following January.
In 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state.
In 1849, James Polk, the 11th president of the United States, died in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1904, more than 1,000 people died when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York’s East River.
In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act making the National Guard part of the U.S. Army in the event of war or national emergency.
In 1944, American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan (sy-PAN’) during World War II. B-29 Superfortresses carried out their first raids on Japan.
In 1955, the United States and Britain signed a cooperation agreement concerning atomic information for “mutual defence purposes.”
In 1967, the war film “The Dirty Dozen” was released by MGM.
In 1977, Spain held its first free elections in four decades; the Union of the Democratic Center won the highest number of seats in the Congress of Deputies.
In 1985, the Shiite Muslim hijackers of a TWA Boeing 727 beat and shot one of their hostages, U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem (STEE’-them), 23, throwing him out of the plane to die on the tarmac at Beirut airport.
In 1992, during a visit to an elementary school in Trenton, New Jersey, Vice President Dan Quayle, relying on a faulty flash card, erroneously instructed sixth-grader William Figueroa to write “potato” as “potatoe” on a blackboard during a spelling quiz.
Ten years ago: During his ethics trial, a tearful Mike Nifong announced he would resign as district attorney of Durham County, North Carolina, after admitting that he’d made improper statements about three Duke University lacrosse players who were once charged with raping a stripper. (The players were later declared innocent by state prosecutors.) Retired “Price Is Right” host Bob Barker won his 19th Daytime Emmy. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a crane lifted out a water-damaged 1957 Plymouth Belvedere that had been buried in an underground concrete vault half a century earlier to celebrate 50 years of statehood.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama eased enforcement of immigration laws as he announced a new policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Republican Mitt Romney launched the next phase of his presidential campaign, kicking off a six-state, small-town bus tour and telling middle-class Americans that President Obama hadn’t given them “a fair shot.” An armored car heist at the University of Alberta in Canada left three armed guards dead; fellow guard Travis Baumgartner later pleaded guilty to murder charges and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years. Daredevil Nik Wallenda became the first person to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls. (The feat was broadcast live by ABC-TV, which required Wallenda to wear a safety tether.)