Barack Obama has been elected the 44th president of the United States, becoming the first black man to lead this country in its 232-year history.

The freshman senator from Illinois, who emerged victorious in such key battleground states as Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado, ran a hard-fought race against veteran Arizona Sen. John McCain, who conceded just moments after Obama was declared the winner.

(Originally published Nov. 4, 2008 at 8:38 p.m. PT)