1778 - The United States gained official recognition from France as the two nations signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance in Paris.
1788 - Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
1815 - The state of New Jersey issued the first American railroad charter to John Stevens.
1843 - "The Virginia Minstrels" opened at the Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City. It was the first minstrel show in America.
1899 - The U.S. Senate ratified a peace treaty between the U.S. and Spain.
1900 - The Holland Senate ratified the 1899 peace conference decree that created in international arbitration court at The Hague.
1900 - U.S. President McKinley appointed W.H. Taft as commissioner to report on the Philippines.
1911 - The first old-age home for pioneers opened in Prescott, AZ.
1926 - The National Football League adopted a rule that made players ineligible for competition until their college class graduated.
1932 - Dog sled racing happened for the first time in Olympic competition.
1933 - The 20th Amendment to the Constitution was declared in effect. The amendment moved the start of presidential, vice-presidential and congressional terms from March to January.
1937 - K. Elizabeth Ohi became the first Japanese woman lawyer when she received her degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL.
1950 - NBC radio debuted "Dangerous Assignment".
1952 - Britain's King George VI died. His daughter, Elizabeth II, succeeded him.
1956 - St. Patrick Center opened in Kankakee, IL. It was the first circular school building in the United States.
1959 - The U.S., for the first time, successfully test-fired a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile from Cape Canaveral.
1971 - NASA Astronaut Alan B. Shepard used a six-iron that he had brought inside his spacecraft and swung at three golf balls on the surface of the moon.
1972 - Over 500,000 pieces of irate mail arrived at the mail room of CBS-TV, when word leaked out that an edited-for-TV version of the X-rated movie, "The Demand," would be shown.
1973 - Construction began on the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
1985 - The French mineral water company, Perrier, debuted its first new product in 123 years. The new items were water with a twist of lemon, lime or orange.
1987 - President Ronald Reagan turned 76 years old this day and became the oldest U.S. President in history.
1998 - Washington National Airport was renamed for U.S. President Ronald Reagan with the signing of a bill by U.S. President Clinton.
1999 - King Hussein of Jordan transferred full political power to his oldest son the Crown Prince Abdullah.
1999 - Excerpts of former White House intern Monica Lewinsky's videotaped testimony were shown at President Clinton's impeachment trial.
1999 - Heavy fighting resumed along the common border between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
2000 - Russia's acting President Vladimir Putin announced that Russian forces had captured Grozny, Chechnya. The capital city had been under the control of Chechen rebels.
2000 - In Finland, Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen became the first woman to be elected president.
2000 - U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton formally declared that she was a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from the state of New York.
2001 - Ariel Sharon was elected Israeli prime minister.
2002 - A federal judge ordered John Walker Lindh to be held without bail pending trial. Lindh was known as the "American Taliban."