TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1483, the Vatican's Sistine Chapel was consecrated.
In 1914, the Panama Canal officially opened.
In 1947, India and Pakistan won independence from Britain.
In 1971, President Richard M. Nixon canceled the direct convertibility of the U.S. dollar to gold.
In 2003, Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, and agreed to pay reparations.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French emperor; Walter Scott (1771-1832), poet/novelist; Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959), actress; Edna Ferber (1885-1968), author; Julia Child (1912-2004), cookbook author/TV personality; Stieg Larsson (1954-2004), journalist/author; Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (1963- ), filmmaker; Debra Messing (1968- ), actress; Ben Affleck (1972- ), actor; Carl Edwards (1979- ), race car driver; Jennifer Lawrence (1990- ), actress.
TODAY'S FACT: The price of gold skyrocketed from $35 per ounce in 1971 to $800 per ounce in 1980 as a result of the economic measures undertaken by President Nixon in 1971.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1948, Babe Didrikson Zaharias won the third women's golf U.S. Open, even after missing a 5-foot putt on the 18th hole.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum, in which men steal through existence, like sluggish waters through a marsh, without either honor or observation." -- Walter Scott, "Count Robert of Paris"
TODAY'S NUMBER: 400,000 -- estimated number of concert-goers who attended the Woodstock Music and Art Fair when it opened near Bethel, New York, on this day in 1969.