Today in history

In 1924: Gerrit G. Groenewoud, Ottawa Co. School commissioner, Monday announced the results of the recent teachers’ examination in this county. For the third grade 34 out of 56 passed the examinations. In this class there were more failures in arithmetic than in anything else. The average standing in arithmetic was only 57. Many of course went far below this figure because those that passed were far above it. In the second grade, only 5 out of 25 passed.

On this day

In 1494, during his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica.

In 1818, political philosopher Karl Marx, co-author of "The Communist Manifesto" and author of "Das Kapital," was born in Prussia.

In 1862, Mexican troops defeated French occupying forces in the Battle of Puebla.

In 1865, what's believed to be America's first train robbery took place as a band of criminals derailed a St. Louis-bound train near North Bend, Ohio; they proceeded to rob the passengers and loot safes on board before getting away.

In 1925, schoolteacher John T. Scopes was charged in Tennessee with violating a state law that prohibited teaching the theory of evolution. (Scopes was found guilty, but his conviction was later set aside.)

In 1942, wartime sugar rationing began in the United States.

In 1945, in the only fatal attack of its kind during World War II, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon, killing the pregnant wife of a minister and five children. Denmark and the Netherlands were liberated as a German surrender went into effect.

In 1981, Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands died at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland on his 66th day without food.

In 1985, President Ronald Reagan kept a controversial promise to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl by leading a wreath-laying ceremony at the military cemetery in Bitburg.

In 1987, the congressional Iran-Contra hearings opened with former Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord (SEE'-kohrd) the lead-off witness.

In 1994, Singapore caned American teenager Michael Fay for vandalism, a day after the sentence was reduced from six lashes to four in response to an appeal by President Bill Clinton.

In 2009, Texas health officials confirmed the first death of a U.S. resident with swine flu.

In 2010, Preliminary plans for a mosque and cultural center near ground zero in New York were unveiled, setting off a national debate over whether the project was disrespectful to 9/11 victims and whether opposition to it exposed anti-Muslim biases. Three people, trapped in an Athens bank torched by rioters, died during a nationwide strike against the cash-strapped Greek government's harsh austerity measures.

In 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced trip to Somalia in a show of solidarity with a government trying to defeat al-Qaida-allied militants and end decades of war in the African country; Kerry was the first top U.S. diplomat ever to visit Somalia. President Barack Obama tapped Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., a highly respected combat commander, to be his next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

In 2019, White House national security adviser John Bolton said the Pentagon was deploying an aircraft carrier and other military resources to the Middle East; a defense official later said there had been "clear indications" that Iran and its proxy forces were preparing to possibly attack U.S. forces in the region. A Russian airliner burst into flames while making an emergency landing in Moscow, killing 41 people; 33 others survived. "Avengers: Endgame" continued its global domination at the box office, crossing the $2 billion mark in record time on its way to becoming the highest-grossing film ever worldwide. Eagle-eyed viewers of "Game of Thrones" on HBO spotted a takeout coffee cup on the table during a scene in which the characters drank from goblets and horns.

Celebrity Birthdays

NBC newsman Brian Williams is 61.

Actress Danielle Fishel is 39.

Figure skater Nathan Chen is 21.

Rhythm-and-blues singer Chris Brown is 31.