This Day in History: January 18th

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(AP) – In 1778, English navigator Captain James Cook reached the present-day Hawaiian Islands, which he named the “Sandwich Islands.”

In 1862, the 10th president of the United States, John Tyler, died in Richmond, Va., at age 71, shortly before he could take his seat as an elected member of the Confederate Congress.

In 1871, William I of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor in Versailles, France.

In 1919, the Paris Peace Conference, held to negotiate peace treaties ending World War I, opened in Versailles, France.

In 1943, during World War II, Jewish insurgents in the Warsaw Ghetto launched their initial armed resistance against Nazi troops, who eventually succeeded in crushing the rebellion. A U.S. ban on the sale of pre-sliced bread – aimed at reducing bakeries’ demand for metal replacement parts – went into effect.

In 1949, Charles Ponzi, engineer of one of the most spectacular mass swindles in history, died destitute at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at age 66.

In 1957, a trio of B-52’s completed the first non-stop, round-the-world flight by jet planes, landing at March Air Force Base in California after more than 45 hours aloft.

In 1967, Albert DeSalvo, who claimed to be the “Boston Strangler,” was convicted in Cambridge, Mass., of armed robbery, assault and sex offenses. (Sentenced to life, DeSalvo was killed in prison in 1973.)

In 1970, David Oman McKay, the ninth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died at the age of 96.

In 1988, a China Southwest Airlines Ilyushin 18 crashed while on approach to Chongqing Airport, killing all 108 people on board.

In 1993, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was observed in all 50 states for the first time.

In 1994, Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh released his final report in which he said former President Ronald Reagan had acquiesced in a cover-up of the scandal, an accusation Reagan called “baseless.”

Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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