1556 - Emperor Karel appoints his son Philip II, king of Spain
1921 - Eleftherios Venizelos becomes Prime Minister of Greece (4th time)
1966 - Harold R Perry becomes 2nd black Roman Catholic bishop in US
1967 - Lucius Amerson, becomes 1st southern (Ala) black sheriff in 20th cent
1967 - 1st black government installed in Bahamas
1979 - Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi flees Iran for Egypt during the Iranian Revolution
1728 - Niccolo Piccinni, Italian composer (Buona Figliuola)
1893 - Daisy Kennedy, Australian violinist (d. 1981)
1934 - Richard Wernick, composer, born in Boston, Massachusetts
1947 - Georgette Mosbacher, CEO (La Prairie cosmetics)
1969 - Chelan Kozak, Revelstoke BC, equestrian (Olympics-96)
1975 - Greg Strause, American visual effects creator
1585 - Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln, English admiral (b. 1512)
1703 - Matteo Coferati, composer, dies at 64
1838 - Aleksandr I Polezjajev, Russian poet (Sasjka), dies at 33 [OS]
1986 - Herbert W. Armstrong, American evangelist, author, and publisher (b. 1892)
2001 - Laurent-Désiré Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (b. 1939)
2012 - Jimmy Castor, American pop and funk musician (Troglodyte (Cave Man), Jimmy Castor Bunch), died of heart failure at 71
The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes,” is ratified on this day in 1919 and becomes the law of the land.
The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for total national abstinence. In December 1917, the 18th Amendment, also known as the Prohibition Amendment, was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.
Prohibition took effect in January 1919. Nine months later, Congress passed the Volstead Act, or National Prohibition Act, over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of prohibition, including the creation of a special unit of the Treasury Department. Despite a vigorous effort by law-enforcement agencies, the Volstead Act failed to prevent the large-scale distribution of alcoholic beverages, and organized crime flourished in America. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, repealing prohibition.