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This Day in History for December 18

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1860 – South Carolina declared an “independent commonwealth”

1892 – Peter IIyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Nutcracker Suite” premieres.

1898 – Automobile speed record set (39 mph)

1916 – Battle of Verdun, longest of World War I, officially ends in German defeat after nine months of fighting and almost 1 million total casualties.

1917 – The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, authorizing prohibition of alcohol, is approved by the US Congress and sent to the states for ratification.

1920 – 1st US postage stamp printed without the words United States or US.

1936 – Su-Lin, 1st giant panda to come to US from China, arrives in San Francisco.

1946 – TV’s 1st network dramatic serial “Faraway Hill” ends 2 month run in US.

1949 – National Football Championship, Philadelphia Eagles beat Los Angeles Rams, 14-0, played in driving rain that caused field to become a mud pit.

1956 – “To Tell the Truth” debuts on CBS-TV.

1957 – World’s 1st full scale nuclear power plant for only peacetime use begins to generate electricity, at the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania.

1961 – Wilt Chamberlain of NBA Philadelphia Warriors scores 78 points vs LA.

1963 – “The Pink Panther” film premieres directed by Blake Edwards and starring Peter Sellers and David Niven with theme by Henry Mancini.

1965 – Frank Borman and Jim Lovell ‘splash down’ in Atlantic after two week Gemini VII mission.

1976 – “A Star is Born” film directed by Frank Pierson with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, premieres.

1988 – Seattle Seahawks win their 1st ever division title with 9-7 record.

1991 – General Motors announces closing of 21 plants.

2002 – Governor of California Gray Davis announces the state faces a record budget deficit of $35 billion, roughly double the figure reported during his reelection campaign a month earlier.

2002 – Fashion designer Calvin Klein announces he is selling his company to shirt-maker Phillips-Van Heusen for $430 million.

2018 – Nevada becomes the first US state with a female majority legislature with new appointments taking it to 51%.