Today in History: December 28

Smoke billows from the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic ferry that caught fire in the Adriatic Sea, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014. A blaze broke out on the car deck of the Norman Atlantic Sunday, Dec. 28, while the ferry was traveling from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona in Italy causing the death of at least 11 people. Italian and Greek helicopter rescue crews evacuated 427 people among passengers and crew members but Italian officials think the death toll could be much higher because of serious discrepancies in the ship's manifest and confusion over how many people were aboard. "We cannot say how many people may be missing," Italian Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said at a news conference. The cause of the fire is under investigation. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 28, the 363rd day of 2016. There are three days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 28, 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.

On this date:

In 1612, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei observed the planet Neptune, but mistook it for a star. (Neptune wasn’t officially discovered until 1846 by Johann Gottfried Galle.)

In 1832, John C. Calhoun became the first vice president of the United States to resign, stepping down because of differences with President Andrew Jackson.

In 1856, the 28th president of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, was born in Staunton, Virginia.

In 1895, the Lumiere brothers, Auguste and Louis, held the first public showing of their movies in Paris.

In 1917, the New York Evening Mail published “A Neglected Anniversary,” a facetious essay by H.L. Mencken supposedly recounting the history of bathtubs in America.

In 1937, composer Maurice Ravel died in Paris at age 62.

In 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

In 1961, the Tennessee Williams play “Night of the Iguana” opened on Broadway. Former first lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington at age 89.

In 1973, the book “Gulag Archipelago,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s expose of the Soviet prison system, was first published in Paris.

In 1981, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American “test-tube” baby, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

In 1989, Alexander Dubcek, the former Czechoslovak Communist leader who was deposed in a Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968, was named president of the country’s parliament.

In 1991, nine people died in a crush of people trying to get into a rap celebrity basketball game at City College in New York.