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March 27, 2013

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, March 27, the 86th day of 2013. There are 279 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On March 27, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted present-day Florida.

On this date:

In 1625, Charles I acceded to the English throne upon the death of James I.

In 1794, Congress approved “An Act to provide a Naval Armament” of six armed ships.

In 1836, the first Mormon temple was dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio.

In 1912, first lady Helen Herron Taft and the wife of Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Viscountess Chinda, planted the first two of 3,000 cherry trees given as a gift by the mayor of Tokyo.

In 1933, Japan officially withdrew from the League of Nations.

In 1942, American servicemen were granted free mailing privileges.

In 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party.

In 1964, Alaska was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunamis that killed about 130 people.

In 1968, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth, died in a plane crash.

In 1973, “The Godfather” won the Academy Award for best picture of 1972, but its star, Marlon Brando, refused to accept his Oscar for best actor. Liza Minnelli won best actress for “Cabaret.”

In 1977, 583 people were killed when a KLM Boeing 747, attempting to take off, crashed into a Pan Am 747 on the Canary Island of Tenerife.

In 1980, 123 workers died when a North Sea floating oil field platform, the Alexander Kielland, capsized during a storm.

Ten years ago: Serbian police killed two major suspects in the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko won his second World Figure Skating Championships title, edging American Tim Goebel at the MCI Center in Washington D.C.

Five years ago: The Pentagon said Defense Secretary Robert Gates had ordered a full inventory of all nuclear weapons and related materials after the mistaken delivery of ballistic missile fuses to Taiwan.

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