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 - The Sullivan Ordinance was passed in New York City making smoking by women illegal. The measure was vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr.
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 Llyich 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.