1488 - The Portuguese navigator Bartholomeu Diaz landed at Mossal Bay
in the Cape, the first European known to have landed on the
southern extremity of Africa.
1690 - The first paper money in America was issued by the
Massachusetts colony. The currency was used to pay
soldiers that were fighting in the war against Quebec.
1783 - Spain recognized the independence of the United States.
1809 - The territory of Illinois was created.
1815 - The world's first commercial cheese factory was established
1862 - Thomas Edison printed the "Weekly Herald" and distributed it
to train passengers traveling between Port Huron and Detroit,
MI. It was the first time a newspaper had been printed on
1869 - Edwin Booth opened his new theatre in New York City. The
first production was "Romeo and Juliet".
1900 - In Frankfort, KY, gubernatorial candidate William Goebels
died from an assasin's bullet wounds. On August 18, 1900,
Ex-Sec. of State Caleb Powers was found guilt of conspiracy
to murder Gov. Goebels.
1913 - The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It
authorized the power to impose and collect income tax.
1916 - In Ottawa, Canada's original parliament buildings burned down.
1917 - The U.S. broke off diplomatic relations with Germany, which
had announced a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
1918 - The Twin Peaks Tunnel began service. It is the longest
streetcar tunnel in the world at 11,920 feet.
1927 - The Federal Radio Commission was created when U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill.
1941 - In Vichy, France, the Nazis used force to restore Pierre
Laval to office.
1945 - Russia agreed to enter World War II against Japan.
1946 - The first issue of "Holiday" magazine appeared.
1947 - Percival Prattisbecame the first black news correspondent
admitted to the House and Senate press gallery in Washington,
DC. He worked for "Our World" in New York City.
1951 - Dick Button won the U.S. figure skating title for the sixth
1951 - The Tennessee Williams play, "The Rose Tattoo", opened on
Broadway in New York.
1966 - The first rocket-assisted controlled landing on the Moon
was made by the Soviet space vehicle Luna IX.
1969 - At the Palestinian National Congress in Cairo, Yasser
Arafat was appointed leader of the PLO.
1972 - The first Winter Olympics in Asia were held at Sapporo, Japan.
1984 - Challenger 4 was launched as the tenth space shuttle mission.
1988 - The U.S. House of Representatives handed rejected U.S.
President Reagan's request for at least $36.25 million in
aid to the Nicaraguan Contras.
1989 - South African politician P.W. Botha unwillingly resigned both
party leadership and the presidency after suffering a stroke.
1998 - Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker. She was the first woman
executed in the U.S. since 1984.
1998 - In Italy, a U.S. Military plane hit a cable causing the death
of 20 skiers on a lift.
2009 - Eric Holder was sworn in as attorney general. He was the first African-American to hold the post.
2010 - The Alberto Giacometti sculpture L'Homme qui marche sold for $103.7 million.