The US got a bit bigger on this date in history. In 1819 by way of the Adams-Onis Treaty Spain sold Florida to the US for $5 million. In 1889 President Cleveland signed a bill admitting North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington State to the Union. And in 1906 16 US battleships of the Great White Fleet returned to the US after a round-the-world, “show the flag,” tour.

In political news in 1856, the Republican Party opened its first national convention in Pittsburgh. In Richmond Virginia in 1862 Jefferson Davis was formally inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America (he had been the provisional president earlier). And in 1872 the Prohibition Party held its first convention in Columbus Ohio.

In 1980 the US men’s hockey team celebrated the Miracle on Ice – defeating the Soviets 4-3 in Olympic hockey in Lake Placid, New York. The men’s team had previously beaten the Soviets in the 1960 Olympics. Both times they went on to win the gold medal – in 1960 over Checkeslovakia, and in 1980 over Finland. Both times they were amateurs – college players -competing against professionals.

There were two notables born on this date in 1857: English general Robert Baden-Powell, cofounder of the Boy Scouts; and German physicist Heinrich Hertz, who proved the existence of electromagnetic waves. This was also the birthdate for the Lion of the Senate Ted Kennedy (1932) ,the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin (1962), and basketball great Dr J – Julius Irving (1950).

The world bid farewell to Italian explorer and cartographer Americo Vespucci (who gave his name to the Americas) in 1512, Supreme Court Associate Justice Felix Frankfuture in 1965, pop artist Andy Warhol and talk show host David Susskind in 1987, and three members of the White Rose resistance movement against Hitler – Christopher Probst, Hans Scholl, and Sophie Scholl, executed by the Gestapo in 1943.

And, if anyone is interested, today is National Cat Day in Japan