Since it proved to be popular yesterday, I figured maybe I'd start doing this every day, as long as people find it interesting.
On this date in history:
In 1886, delegates from 25 unions founded the American Federation of Labor, forerunner of the modern AFL-CIO, in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1941, the United States, Britain and Australia declared war on Japan.
In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist government, defeated by the Communists, retreated from the mainland to the island of Taiwan.
In 1980, former Beatle John Lennon was shot to death outside his apartment building in New York City. He was 40.
In 1986, Secretary of State George Shultz told the House Foreign Affairs Committee the transfer of Iran arms money to the Nicaraguan Contras was illegal.
In 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist when the republics of Russia, Byelorussia (now known as Belarus) and Ukraine signed an agreement creating the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Also in 1991, Kimberly Bergalis died. She was the first patient believed to have contracted the AIDS virus from a health care professional.
In 1993, President Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
In 1997, the Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss Bank Corp. announced plans to merge, creating the world's second largest bank with assets of some $600 billion.
Also in 1997, Jenny Shipley was sworn in as the first woman prime minister of New Zealand.