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Today in History  December 20
December 19December 21

1790

Samuel Slater built the nation's first cotton mill in Pawtucket, R.I.

1803

The United States purchased the Louisiana territory from France for $15 million.

1860

South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union.

1968

Author John Steinbeck died at age 66.

1989

The United States invaded Panama and installed a new government but failed to capture General Manuel Antonio Noriega.

1996

Astronomer Carl Sagan died at age 62.

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