1783 - Britain declared a formal cessation of hostilities with its former colonies, the United States of America.
1789 - Electors unanimously chose George Washington to be the first president of the United States.
1824 - J.W. Goodrich introduced rubber galoshes to the public.
1847 - In Maryland, the first U.S. Telegraph Company was established.
1861 - Delegates from six southern states met in Montgomery, AL, to form the Confederate States of America.
1865 - The Hawaiian Board of Education was formed.
1895 - The Van Buren Street Bridge opened in Chicago, IL.
1901 - "Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines" opened in New York City.
1904 - The Russo-Japanese War began after Japan laid siege to Port Arthur.
1913 - Louis Perlman received a patent for his demountable tire-carrying rims.
1932 - The first Winter Olympics were held in the United States at Lake Placid, NY.
1935 - CBS radio presented "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch" for the first time.
1936 - Radium E. became the first radioactive substance to be produced synthetically.
1938 - The play "Our Town", by Thornton Wilder, opened in New York City.
1941 - The United Service Organizations (USO) was created.
1945 - During World War II, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin began a conference at Yalta to outline plans for Germany's defeat.
1948 - Ceylon gained independence within the British Commonwealth. The country later became known as Sri Lanka.
1952 - Jackie Robinson was named Director of Communication for NBC. He was the first black executive of a major radio-TV network.
1953 - "The Stooge" premiered at the Paramount Theatre in New York City.
1957 - Smith-Corona Manufacturing Inc., of New York, began selling portable electric typewriters. The first machine weighed 19 pounds.
1964 - The Administrator of General Services announced that the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had been ratified. The amendment banned the poll tax.
1968 - The world's largest hovercraft was launched at Cowes, Isle of Wight.
1973 - The Reshef was unveiled as Israel's missile boat.
1974 - Patricia (Patty) Hearst was kidnapped in Berkeley, CA, by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
1976 - An earthquake in Guatemala and Honduras killed more than 22,000 people.
1985 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan's defense budget called for a tripling of the expenditure on the "Star Wars" research program.
1993 - Russian scientists unfurled a giant mirror in orbit and flashed a beam of sunlight across Europe during the night. Observers saw it only as a momentary flash.
1997 - A civil jury in California found O.J. Simpson liable in the death of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Goldman's parents were awarded $8.5 million in compensatory damages.
1997 - Two Israeli troop-carrying helicopters collided on their way to Lebanon, all 73 soldiers and airmen aboard were killed.
1997 - President Milosevic of Serbia apparently surrendered to the will of his people, ordering his government to recognize opposition victories in local elections held in November 1996.
1997 - Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins) scored his 600th National Hockey League (NHL) goal during his 719th game. Lemieux reached the milestone second fastest in history. Gretzky had reached the plateau during his 718th game.
1998 - In northeast Afghanistan, at least 5,000 people were killed in an earthquake that measured 6.1 on the Richter Scale.
1999 - Warplanes from Israel attacked south Lebanon just after rockets were fired toward Israel. No casualies were claimed on either side.
1999 - Gary Coleman was sentenced to a $400 fine, a suspended 90-day jail sentence, and ordered to attend 52 anger-management classes. The sentence stemmed from Coleman assaulting an autograph seeker on July 30, 1998.
1999 - Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant, was shot and killed in front of his Bronx home by four plainclothes New York City police officers. The officers had been conducting a nighttime search for a rape suspect.
2000 - Austrian President Thomas Klestil swore in a coalition government that included Joerg Haider's far-right Freedom Party. European Union sanctions were a result of the action.
2003 - Yugoslavia was formally dissolved by lawmakers. The country was replaced with a loose union of its remaining two republics, Serbia and Montenegro.
2004 - The social networking website Facebook.com was launched.