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In 1931, “The Star-Spangled Banner” officially became the national anthem of the United States. Above, an Edward Percy Moran painting shows Francis Scott Key looking towards a U.S. flag after the British attack on Fort McHenry in 1814, known as the Battle of Baltimore. The sight inspired him to write the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry,” which later became the lyrics of the anthem. (Baltimore Sun file photo)

1791: Congress passed the nation’s first tax law, which imposed a levy on spirits distilled in the United States.

1851: $250 was appropriated for President Millard Fillmore to buy books to start a library in the White House.

1875: The Georges Bizet opera “Carmen” premiered in Paris.

1885: The U.S. Post Office began offering special delivery for first-class mail.

Compiled by Laura Lefavor and Paul McCardell.