1789 - W.H. Brown's "Power of Sympathy" was published. It was the first American novel to be published. The novel is also known as the "Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth".
1793 - During the French Revolution, King Louis XVI was executed on the guillotine. He had been condemned for treason.
1812 - The Y-bridge in Zanesville, OH, was approved for construction.
1846 - The first issue of the "Daily News," edited by Charles Dickens, was published.
1853 - Dr. Russell L. Hawes patented the envelope folding machine.
1861 - The future president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, resigned from the U.S. Senate. Four other Southerners also resigned.
1865 - An oil well was drilled by torpedoes for the first time.
1900 - Canadian troops set sail to fight in South Africa. The Boers had attacked Ladysmith on January 8, 1900.
1908 - In New York City, the Sullivan Ordinance was passed. It made smoking in public places by women illegal. The measure was vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr. two weeks later.
1911 - The first Monte Carlo car rally was held. Seven days later it was won by Henri Rougier.
1915 - The first Kiwanis club was formed in Detroit, MI.
1924 - Soviet leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin died. Joseph Stalin began a purge of his rivals for the leadership of the Soviet Union.
1927 - The first opera broadcast over a national radio network was presented in Chicago, IL. The opera was "Faust".
1941 - The British communist newspaper, the "Daily Worker," was banned due to wartime restrictions.
1946 - "The Fat Man" debuted on ABC radio.
1954 - The Nautilus was launched in Groton, CT. It was the first atomic-powered submarine. U.S. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower broke the traditional bottle of champagne across the bow.
1954 - The gas turbine automobile was introduced in New York City.
1970 - The Boeing 747 made its first commercial flight from New York to London for Pan American.
1970 - ABC-TV presented "The Johnny Cash Show" in prime time.
1976 - The French Concorde SST aircraft began regular commercial service for Air France and British Airways.
1977 - U.S. President Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.
1980 - Gold was valued at $850 an ounce.
1986 - Former major-league player, Randy Bass, became the highest-paid baseball player in Japanese history. Bass signed a three-year contract for $3.25 million. He played for the Hanshin Tigers.
1994 - A jury in Manassas, VA, acquitted Lorena Bobbitt by reason of temporary insanity of maliciously wounding (severing his penis) her husband John. She accused him of sexually assaulting her.
1997 - Newt Gingrich was fined as the U.S. House of Representatvies voted for first time in history to discipline its leader for ethical misconduct.
1998 - A former White House intern said on tape that she had an affair with U.S. President Clinton.
1999 - The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a ship headed for Houston, TX, that had over 9,500 pounds of cocaine aboard. It was one of the largest drug busts in U.S. history.
2002 - In Goma, Congo, about fifty people were killed when lava flow ignited a gas station. The people killed were trying to steal fuel from elevated tanks. The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo began on January 17, 2002.
2002 - In London, a 17th century book by Capt. John Smith, founder of the English settlement at Jamestown, was sold at auction for $48,800. "The General History of Virginia, New England and the Summer Isles" was published in 1632.
2003 - It was announced by the U.S. Census Bureau that estimates showed that the Hispanic population had passed the black population for the first time.