1700 - The Pacific Island of New Britain was discovered.
1801 - The city of Washington, DC, was placed under congressional jurisdiction.
1827 - New Orleans held its first Mardi Gras celebration.
1861 - In Warsaw, Russian troops fired on a crowd protesting Russian rule over Poland. Five protesting marchers were killed in the incident.
1867 - Dr. William G. Bonwill invented the dental mallet.
1883 - Oscar Hammerstein patented the first cigar-rolling machine.
1896 - The "Charlotte Observer" published a picture of an X-ray photograph made by Dr. H.L. Smith. The photograph showed a perfect picture of all the bones of a hand and a bullet that Smith had placed between the third and fourth fingers in the palm.
1900 - In South Africa, the British received an unconditional surrender from Boer Gen. Piet Cronje at Paardeberg.
1922 - The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 19th Amendment that guaranteed women the right to vote.
1933 - The Reichstag, Germany's parliament building in Berlin, was set afire. The Nazis accused Communist for the fire.
1939 - The U.S. Supreme Court outlawed sit-down strikes.
1949 - Chaim Weizmann became the first Israeli president.
1951 - The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, limiting U.S. Presidents to two terms.
1972 - The Shanghai Communique was issued by U.S. President Nixon and Chinese Premier Chou En-lai.
1973 - The American Indian Movement occupied Wouned Knee in South Dakota.
1974 - "People" magazine was first issued by Time-Life (later known as Time-Warner).
1981 - Chrysler Corporation was granted an additional $400 million in federal loan guarantees. Chrysler had posted a loss of $1.7 billion in 1980.
1982 - Wayne B. Williams was convicted of murdering two of the 28 black children and young adults whose bodies were found in Atlanta, GA, over a two-year period.
1986 - The U.S. Senate approved the telecast of its debates on a trial basis.
1990 - The Exxon Corporation and Exxon Shipping were indicted on five criminal counts in reference to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
1991 - U.S. President George H.W. Bush announced live on television that "Kuwait is liberated."
1997 - In Ireland, divorce became legal.
1997 - Don Cornelius received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1998 - Britain's House of Lords agreed to give a monarch's first-born daughter the same claim to the throne as any first-born son. This was the end to 1,000 years of male preference.
1999 - Colin Prescot and Andy Elson set a new hot air balloon endurance record when they had been aloft for 233 hours and 55 minutes. The two were in the process of trying to circumnavigate the Earth.
1999 - Nigeria returned to civilian rule when Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo became the country's first elected president since August of 1983.
2002 - In Boston, twenty people working at Logan International Airport were charged with lying to get their jobs or security badges.