IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Today in history: October 18

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, Oct. 18, the 291st day of 2005. There are 74 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Oct. 18, 1767, the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, the Mason-Dixon line, was agreed upon.

On this date:
In 1685, King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had established legal toleration of France’s Protestant population, the Huguenots.

In 1867, the United States took formal possession of Alaska from Russia.

In 1892, the first long-distance telephone line between Chicago and New York was formally opened.

In 1898, the American flag was raised in Puerto Rico shortly before Spain formally relinquished control of the island to the United States.

In 1931, inventor Thomas Alva Edison died in West Orange, N.J., at age 84.

In 1944, Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia during World War II.

In 1962, Dr. James D. Watson of the United States, and Dr. Francis Crick and Dr. Maurice Wilkins of Britain, were named winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for their work in determining the double-helix molecular structure of DNA.

In 1968, the U.S. Olympic Committee suspended Tommie Smith and John Carlos for giving a “black power” salute as a protest during a victory ceremony in Mexico City.

In 1969, the federal government banned artificial sweeteners known as cyclamates because of evidence they caused cancer in laboratory rats.

In 1982, former first lady Bess Truman died at her home in Independence, Mo., at age 97.

Ten years ago: President Clinton, facing political fallout for telling financial contributors that “I raised your taxes too much,” said he had no regrets about the tax increase package he’d signed into law in 1993.

Five years ago: President Clinton honored the 17 sailors killed in a suicide bomb attack against the USS Cole as he attended a ceremony at the Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia. Singer-actress Julie London died in Los Angeles at age 74; Broadway musical star Gwen Verdon died in Woodstock, Vt., at age 75.

One year ago: President Bush and Democratic rival John Kerry traded biting accusations over the war in Iraq, with Bush saying his Democratic challenger stood for “protest and defeatism” while Kerry accused the president of “arrogant boasting.” An Anglican church commission urged the U.S. Episcopal Church not to elect any more gay bishops and called on conservative African bishops to stop meddling in the affairs of other dioceses.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Anita O’Day is 86. Former Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina is 84. Rock n’ roll performer Chuck Berry is 79. Sportscaster Keith Jackson is 77. Actor Peter Boyle is 70. Football coach Mike Ditka is 66. Actor Joe Morton is 58. Playwright Wendy Wasserstein is 55. Actress Pam Dawber is 54. Author Terry McMillan is 54. Gospel singer Vickie Winans is 52. Tennis player Martina Navratilova is 49. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is 45. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is 44. Actress Erin Moran is 44. Actor Vincent Spano is 43. Rock musician Tim Cross (Sponge) is 39. Tennis player Michael Stich is 37. Singer Nonchalant is 32. Rock musician Peter Svenson (The Cardigans) is 31. Country singer Josh Gracin is 25. Country musician Jesse Littleton (Marshall Dyllon) is 24. Actor Tyler Posey is 14.

Thought for Today: “I do not prize the word cheap. It is not a badge of honor ... it is a symbol of despair. Cheap prices make for cheap goods; cheap goods make for cheap men; and cheap men make for a cheap country!” — President William McKinley (1843-1901).