1776 - "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine was published.
1840 - The penny post, whereby mail was delivered at a standard charge rather than paid for by the recipient, began in Britain.
1861 - Florida seceded from the United States.
1863 - Prime Minister Gladstone opened the first section of the London Underground Railway system, from Paddington to Farringdon Street.
1870 - John D. Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil.
1901 - Oil was discovered at the Spindletop oil field near Beaumont, TX.
1911 - Major Jimmie Erickson took the first photograph from an airplane while flying over San Diego, CA.
1920 - The League of Nations ratified the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending World War I with Germany.
1920 - The League of Nations held its first meeting in Geneva.
1927 - Fritz Lang's film "Metropolis" was first shown, in Berlin.
1928 - The Soviet Union ordered the exile of Leon Trotsky.
1943 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sailed from Miami, FL, to Trinidad thus becoming the first American President to visit a foreign country during wartime.
1943 - The quiz show, "The Better Half," was heard for the first time on Mutual Radio.
1946 - The first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly took place with 51 nations represented.
1950 - Ben Hogan appeared for the first time in a golf tournament since an auto accident a year earlier. He tied ‘Slammin’ Sammy Snead in the Los Angeles Open, however, Hogan lost in a playoff.
1951 - Donald Howard Rogers piloted the first passenger jet on a trip from Chicago to New York City.
1957 - Harold Macmillan became prime minister of Britain, following the resignation Anthony Eden.
1963 - The Chicago Cubs became the first baseball club to hire an athletic director. He was Robert Whitlow. (MLB)
1971 - "Masterpiece Theatre" premiered on PBS with host Alistair Cooke. The introduction drama series was "The First Churchills."
1978 - The Soviet Union launched two cosmonauts aboard a Soyuz capsule for a redezvous with the Salyut VI space laboratory.
1981 - In El Salvador, Marxist insurgents launched a "final offensive".
1984 - The United States and the Vatican established full diplomatic relations for the first time in more than a century.
1986 - The uncut version of Jerome Kern’s musical, "Showboat", opened at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
1990 - Chinese Premier Li Peng ended martial law in Beijing after seven months. He said that crushing pro-democracy protests had saved China from "the abyss of misery."
1990 - Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc. completed a $14 billion merger. The new company, Time Warner, was the world's largest entertainment company.
1994 - In Manassas, VA, Lorena Bobbitt went on trial. She had been charged with maliciously wounding her husband John. She was acquitted by reason of temporary insanity.
1997 - Shelby Lynne Barrackman was strangled to death by her grand-father when she licked the icing off of cupcakes. He was convicted of the crime on September 15, 1998.
2000 - It was announced that Time-Warner had agreed to buy America On-line (AOL). It was the largest-ever corporate merger priced at $162 billion. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the deal on December 14, 2000.
2001 - American Airlines agreed to acquire most of Trans World Airlines (TWA) assets for about $500 million. The deal brought an end to the financially troubled TWA.
2002 - In France, the "Official Journal" reported that all women could get the morning-after contraception pill for free in pharmacies.
2003 - North Korea announced that it was withdrawing from the global nuclear arms control treaty and that it had no plans to develop nuclear weapons.
2007 - The iTunes Music Store reached 1.3 million feature length films sold and 50 million television episodes sold.