1556 - An earthquake in Shanxi Province, China, was thought to have killed about 830,000 people.
1571 - The Royal Exchange in London, founded by financier Thomas Gresham, was opened by Queen Elizabeth I.
1789 - Georgetown College was established as the first Catholic college in the U.S. The school is in Washington, DC.
1845 - The U.S. Congress decided all national elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
1849 - English-born Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in America to receive medical degree. It was from the Medical Institution of Geneva, NY.
1907 - Charles Curtis, of Kansas, began serving in the United States Senate. He was the first American Indian to become a U.S. Senator. He resigned in March of 1929 to become U.S. President Herbert Hoover’s Vice President.
1920 - The Dutch government refused the demands from the Allies to hand over the ex-kaiser of Germany.
1924 - The first Labour government was formed, under Ramsay MacDonald.
1937 - In Moscow, seventeen people went on trial during Josef Stalin's "Great Purge."
1941 - The play, "Lady in the Dark" premiered.
1943 - Duke Ellington and the band played for a black-tie crowd at Carnegie Hall in New York City for the first time.
1943 - The British captured Tripoli from the Germans.
1950 - The Israeli Knesset approved a resolution proclaiming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
1960 - The U.S. Navy bathyscaphe Trieste descended to a record depth of 35,820 feet (10,750 meters) in the Pacific Ocean.
1964 - Ratification of the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was completed. This amendment eliminated the poll tax in federal elections.
1968 - North Korea seized the U.S. Navy ship Pueblo, charging it had intruded into the nation's territorial waters on a spying mission. The crew was released 11 months later.
1971 - In Prospect Creek Camp, AK, the lowest temperature ever recorded in the U.S. was reported as minus 80 degrees.
1973 - U.S. President Nixon announced that an accord had been reached to end the Vietnam War.
1974 - Mike Oldfield’s "Tubular Bells" opened the credits of the movie, "The Exorcist".
1975 - "Barney Miller" made his debut on ABC-TV.
1977 - The TV mini-series "Roots," began airing on ABC. The show was based on the Alex Haley novel.
1978 - Sweden banned aerosol sprays because of damage to environment. They were the first country to do so.
1983 - "The A-Team" debuted on TV.
1985 - O.J. Simpson became the first Heisman Trophy winner to be elected to pro football’s Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.
1985 - The proceedings of the House of Lords were televised for the first time.
1989 - Surrealist artist Salvador Dali died in Spain at age 84.
1997 - A judge in Fairfax, VA, sentenced Mir Aimal Kasi to death for an assault rifle attack outside the CIA headquarters in 1993 that killed two men and wounded three other people.
1997 - A British woman received a record £186,000 damages for Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
2001 - A van used by the remaining two fugitives of the "Texas 7" was recovered in Colorado Springs, CO. A few hours later police surrounded a hotel where the convicts were hiding. Patrick Murphy Jr. and Donald Newbury were taken into custody the next morning without incident.
2002 - John Walker Lindh returned to the U.S. under FBI custody. Lindh was charge with conspiring to kill U.S. citizens, providing support to terrorists and engaging in prohibited transactions with the Taliban while a member of the al-Quaida terrorist organization in Afghanistan.
2003 - North Korea announced that it would consider sanctions an act of war for North Korea's reinstatement of its nuclear program.