1590 - The Sultan of Morocco launched his successful attack to capture Timbuktu.
1644 - The Ming Chongzhen emperor committed suicide by hanging himself.
1684 - A patent was granted for the thimble.
1707 - At the Battle of Almansa, Franco-Spanish forces defeated the Anglo-Portugese.
1792 - The guillotine was first used to execute highwayman Nicolas J. Pelletier.
1831 - The New York and Harlem Railway was incorporated in New York City.
1846 - The Mexican-American War ignited as a result of disputes over claims to Texas boundaries. The outcome of the war fixed Texas' southern boundary at the Rio Grande River.
1859 - Work began on the Suez Canal in Egypt.
1860 - The first Japanese diplomats to visit a foreign power reached Washington, DC. They remained in the U.S. capital for several weeks while discussing expansion of trade with the United States.
1862 - Union Admiral Farragut occupied New Orleans, LA.
1864 - After facing defeat in the Red River Campaign, Union General Nathaniel Bank returned to Alexandria, LA.
1867 - Tokyo was opened for foreign trade.
1882 - French commander Henri Riviere seized the citadel of Hanoi in Indochina.
1898 - The U.S. declared war on Spain. Spain had declared war on the U.S. the day before.
1901 - New York became the first state to require license plates for cars. The fee was $1.
1915 - During World War I, Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli in Turkey in hopes of attacking the Central Powers from below. The attack was unsuccessful.
1925 - General Paul von Hindenburg took office as president of Germany.
1926 - In Iran, Reza Kahn was crowned Shah and choose the name "Pehlevi."
1928 - A seeing eye dog was used for the first time.
1938 - "Your Family and Mine," a radio serial, was first broadcast.
1940 - W2XBS (now WCBS-TV) in New York City presented the first circus on TV.
1945 - U.S. and Soviet forces met at Torgau, Germany on Elbe River.
1945 - Delegates from about 50 countries met in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.
1952 - After a three-day fight against Chinese Communist Forces, the Gloucestershire Regiment was annihilated on "Gloucester Hill," in Korea.
1953 - U.S. Senator Wayne Morse ended the longest speech in U.S. Senate history. The speech on the Offshore Oil Bill lasted 22 hours and 26 minutes.
1953 - Dr. James D. Watson and Dr. Francis H.C. Crick suggested the double helix structure of DNA.
1954 - The prototype manufacture of the first solar battery was announced by the Bell Laboratories in New York City.
1957 - Operations began at the first experimental sodium nuclear reactor.
1959 - St. Lawrence Seaway opened to shipping. The water way connects the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.
1961 - Robert Noyce was granted a patent for the integrated circuit.
1962 - The U.S. spacecraft, Ranger, crashed on the Moon.
1967 - Colorado Governor John Love signed the first law legalizing abortion in the U.S. The law was limited to therapeutic abortions when agreed to, unanimously, by a panel of three physicians.
1971 - The country of Bangladesh was established.
1974 - Portuguese dictator Antonio Salazar was overthrown in a military coup.
1976 - Portugal ratified a constitution. It was first revised on October 30, 1982.
1980 - In Iran, a commando mission to rescue hostages was aborted after mechanical problems disabled three of the eight helicopters involved. During the evacuation, a helicopter and a transport plan collided and exploded. Eight U.S. servicemen were killed. The mission was aimed at freeing American hostages that had been taken at the U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. The event took place April 24th Washington, DC, time.
1982 - In accordance with Camp David agreements, Israel completed its Sinai withdrawal.
1983 - Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov invited Samantha Smith to visit his country after receiving a letter in which the U.S. schoolgirl expressed fears about nuclear war.
1983 - The Pioneer 10 spacecraft crossed Pluto's orbit, speeding on its endless voyage through the Milky Way.
1984 - In France, over one million people demonstrated to show they favored the decentralization of education.
1984 - David Anthony Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, was found dead of a drug overdose in a hotel room.
1985 - "Big River (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)" opened at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on Broadway in New York City.
1987 - In Washington, DC, 100,000 people protested the U.S. policy in Central America.
1987 - Peter O'Toole opened in "Pygmalion" on Broadway.
1988 - In Israel, John "Ivan the Terrible" Demjanuk was sentenced to death as a Nazi war criminal.
1990 - Sandinista rule ended in Nicaragua.
1990 - The U.S. Hubble Space Telescope was placed into Earth's orbit. It was released by the space shuttle Discovery.
1992 - Islamic forces in Afghanistan took control of most of the capital of Kabul following the collapse of the Communist government.
1996 - The main assembly of the Palestine Liberation Organization voted to revoke clauses in its charter that called for an armed struggle to destroy Israel.
1998 - U.S. first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton on was questioned by Whitewater prosecutors on videotape about her work as a private lawyer for the failed savings and loan at the center of the investigation.
2003 - Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and ex-wife of former President Nelson Mandela, was sentenced to four years in prison for her conviction on fraud and theft charges. She was convicted of 43 counts of fraud and 25 of theft of money from a women's political league.
2007 - The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 13,000 for the first time.