1733 - John Winthrop was granted the first honorary Doctor of Law Degree given by Harvard College in Cambridge, MA.
1831 - Belgium became independent as Leopold I was proclaimed King of the Belgians.
1861 - The first major battle of the U.S. Civil War began. It was the Battle of Bull Run at Manassas Junction, VA. The Confederates won the battle.
1925 - The "Monkey Trial" ended in Dayton, TN. John T. Scopes was convicted and fined $100 for violating the state prohibition on teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. The conviction was later overturned on a legal technicality because the judge had set the fine instead of the jury.
1930 - The Veterans Administration of the United States was established.
1931 - CBS aired the first regularly scheduled program to be simulcast on radio and television. The show featured singer Kate Smith, composer George Gershwin and New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker.
1931 - The Reno Race Track inaugurated the daily double in the U.S.
1940 - Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia were annexed by the Soviet Union.
1944 - American forces landed on Guam during World War II.
1947 - Loren MacIver’s portrait of Emmett Kelly as Willie the Clown appeared on the cover of "LIFE" magazine.
1949 - The U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.
1954 - The Geneva Conference partitioned Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
1957 - Althea Gibson became the first black woman to win a major U.S. tennis title when she won the Women’s National clay-court singles competition.
1958 - The last of "Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts" programs aired on CBS-TV.
1959 - A U.S. District Court judge in New York City ruled that "Lady Chatterley’s Lover" was not a dirty book.
1961 - Captain Virgil "Gus" Grissom became the second American to rocket into a sub-orbital pattern around the Earth. He was flying on the Liberty Bell 7.
1968 - Arnold Palmer became the first golfer to make a million dollars in career earnings after he tied for second place at the PGA Championship.
1980 - Draft registration began in the United States for 19 and 20-year-old men.
1987 - Mary Hart, of "Entertainment Tonight", had her legs insured by Lloyd’s of London for $2 million.
1997 - The U.S.S. Constitution, which defended the United States during the War of 1812, set sail under its own power for the first time in 116 years.
1998 - Chinese gymnast Sang Lan, 17, was paralyzed after a fall while practicing for the women's vault competition at the Goodwill Games in New York. Spinal surgery 4 days later failed to restore sensation below her upper chest.
2000 - NBC announced that they had found nearly all of Milton Berle's kinescopes. The filmed recordings of Berle's early TV shows had been the subject of a $30 million lawsuit filed by Berle the previous May.
2002 - WorldCom Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At the time it was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
2004 - White House officials were briefed on the September 11 commission's final report. The 575-page report concluded that hijackers exploited "deep institutional failings within our government." The report was released to the public the next day.
2007 - The seventh and last book of the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," was released.
2011 - In Florida, Space Shuttle Atlantis landed successfully at Kennedy Space Center after completing STS-135. It was the final flight of NASA's space shuttle program.