On this date in history:
In 1731, a series of earthquakes struck China. More than 100,000 people died.
In 1782, preliminary peace articles formally ending the American Revolutionary War were signed in Paris.
In 1913, Charles Chaplin made his screen debut in Mack Sennett's short film Making a Living.
In 1939, the Russo-Finnish War -- also known as the Winter War -- started after the Soviet Union failed to obtain territorial concessions from Finland. The war started with the bombing of Helsinki.
In 1954, a meteorite crashed through the roof of a house in Sylacauga, Ala., striking Elizabeth Hodges, who was sleeping on a couch, in the hip. The space rock was a sulfide meteorite weighing 8.5 pounds and measuring 7 inches in length.
In 1975, Israel pulled out of a 93-mile-long corridor along the Gulf of Suez as part of an interim peace agreement with Egypt. Israel captured oil fields along the corridor in the 1967 Six-Day War with Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
In 1989, serial killer Aileen Wuornos killed her first of seven victims in Volusia County, Fla., Richard Mallory. She claimed self-defense, but was convicted of murder and executed in 2002.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Bill into law, the most far-reaching nationwide gun control measure enacted in a decade. It was named after White House press secretary James Brady, who was injured in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.
In 2004, Ken Jennings lost on the U.S. game show Jeopardy! after winning 74 games and $2.5 million.
In 2005, the world's first partial-face transplant was conducted in France. A woman who had been bitten by a dog was given a new nose, lips and chin.
In 2007, an Atlasjet Airlines plane crashed near the Ispart, Turkey, airport, killing all 56 people aboard.
In 2013, a fiery car crash in Southern California killed actor Paul Walker, 40, and his friend, Roger Rodas. Walker was perhaps best-known for his starring role in the The Fast & the Furious movie series.
In 2018, former President George H.W. Bush died at his home in Houston, six months after the passing of his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush. At the time of his death, he was the longest lived U.S. president in history.
In 2021, Barbados removed Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, becoming a republic on the 55th anniversary of its independence.
In 2022, developer OpenAI released ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot that answers questions and can participate in conversations, mimicking human emotions. Within months, U.S. lawmakers called for AI regulations.
In 2022, House Democrats elected Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York to be the party leader in the chamber, replacing Nancy Pelosi. He was the first Black lawmaker to lead a political party's caucus in U.S. history.
Copyright 2023 by United Press International