Today in history – December 31, 2019

1600 – The British East India Company is chartered.

1796 – Baltimore is incorporated as a city.

1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union, dividing Virginia in two.

1879 – Thomas Edison first publicly demonstrated his electric incandescent light.

1946 – President Harry S. Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.

1951 – The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid.

1974 – Private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.

1983 – The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the U.S. government.

1999 – The U.S. hands over control of the Panama Canal to Panama.