History: January 15, 2019

1898 – The USS Maine explodes in Havana harbor. 260 are killed and more than 100 are injured.

The cause of the blast remains a mystery.

The Maine was one of the first American battleships. It clocked in at more than 6,000 tons and cost — at the time — more than $2 million.

It had been in port to monitor the uprising against the Spanish, which had broke out in Havana that January.

The first Teddy Bears are sold.

Morris Michtom was a toy store owner, who had petitioned president Roosevelt to use his name to promote stuffed bear toys.

The president agreed, and soon other toymakers copied the idea.

A childhood staple was born.

Franklin Roosevelt survives an assassination attempt in Miami. Unfortunately, the assassin missed him and instead shot Anton Cermak, who was the mayor of Chicago.

The mayor would die a few weeks later.

On the day the mayor died, the assassin was indicted and arraigned for murder. He pled guilty. He was executed by electric chair on March 20–less than two weeks after the mayor’s death.

The Soviet Union and China agree to a mutual defense and assistance treaty.

It allied on paper the two largest communist powers in the world, who were also geographic neighbors.

It was not a strong alliance, though. American intelligence quickly reported breakdowns in communications and agreements between the communists’ militaries and intelligence-gathering services.

In public, the Chinese lamented the Soviets’ abandonment of Marxism-Leninism, and decried any doctrine of peaceful coexistence. In 1962, Mao Zedong publicly said he saw the USSR as an ally of the U.S.!

Disney’s “Cinderella” premiers across the country.

It took 6 years to produce and animate, and followed in the footsteps of Snow White, Dumbo, Bambi, and Pinocchio.

Many of the animation sequences that include dancing and song follow the exact same character movements as in Snow White.

Canada adopts its current flag, a red Maple leaf on a white background, flanked by two vertical bars of red.

Since it began as a British colony in the early 1600s, it had incorporated an element of the Union Jack into its flags. The move away from British influence began in 1925.

It would be on the 100th anniversary of Canadian autonomy separate from the British that they adopted the new flag.

Ironically, they chose red and white as colors, because King George the Fifth declared those the official colors in 1921.