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Dec. 11

1816: Indiana became the 19th state.

1872: America's first black governor took office as Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback became acting governor of Louisiana.

1928: Police in Buenos Aires thwarted an attempt on the life of President-elect Herbert Hoover.

1936: Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.

1941: Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

1991: A jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., acquitted William Kennedy Smith of sexual assault and battery, rejecting the allegations of Patricia Bowman.

1998: The Mars Climate Orbiter blasted off on a nine-month journey to the red planet (however, the probe disappeared in 1999, apparently destroyed).

1999: Agreeing with his wife, President Bill Clinton told CBS Radio his 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military wasn't working, and he pledged to work with the Pentagon to find a way to fix it.

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