In 1959, Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba a month and a-half after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.

1804: Lt. Stephen Decatur led a successful raid into Tripoli Harbor to burn the U.S. Navy frigate Philadelphia, which had fallen into the hands of pirates during the First Barbary War.

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1862: The Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson in Tennessee ended as some 12,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered; Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's victory earned him the nickname "Unconditional Surrender Grant."

1937: Dr. Wallace H. Carothers, a research chemist for Du Pont who'd invented nylon, received a patent for the synthetic fiber.

1945: American troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II.

1961: The United States launched the Explorer 9 satellite.

1968: The nation's first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated in Haleyville, Alabama.

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