1521 - Ferdinand Magellan discovered Guam.
1808 - At Harvard University, the first college orchestra was founded.
1820 - The Missouri Compromise was enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed by U.S. President James Monroe. The act admitted Missouri into the Union as a slave state, but prohibited slavery in the rest of the northern Louisiana Purchase territory.
1834 - The city of York in Upper Canada was incorporated as Toronto.
1836 - The thirteen-day siege of the Alamo by Santa Anna and his army ended. The Mexican army of three thousand men defeated the 189 Texas volunteers.
1854 - At the Washington Monument, several men stole the Pope's Stone from the lapidarium.
1857 - The U.S. Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision ruled that blacks could not sue in federal court to be citizens.
1886 - "The Nightingale" was first published. It was the first magazine for nurses.
1899 - Aspirin was patented by German researchers Felix Hoffman and Hermann Dreser.
1900 - In West Virginia, an explosion trapped 50 coal miners underground.
1901 - An assassin tried to kill Wilhelm II of Germany in Bremen.
1907 - British creditors of the Dominican Republic claimed that the U.S. had failed to collect debts.
1928 - A Communist attack on Peking, China resulted in 3,000 dead and 50,000 fled to Swatow.
1939 - In Spain, Jose Miaja took over the Madrid government after a military coup and vowed to seek "peace with honor."
1941 - Les Hite and his orchestra recorded "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise".
1944 - During World War II, U.S. heavy bombers began the first American raid on Berlin. Allied planes dropped 2000 tons of bombs.
1946 - Ho Chi Minh, the President of Vietnam, struck an agreement with France that recognized his country as an autonomous state within the Indochinese Federation and the French Union.
1947 - The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the contempt conviction of John L. Lewis.
1947 - Winston Churchill announced that he opposed British troop withdrawals from India.
1947 - The first air-conditioned naval ship, "The Newport News," was launched from Newport News, VA.
1957 - The British African colonies of the Gold Coast and Togoland became the independent state of Ghana.
1960 - Switzerland granted women the right to vote in municipal elections.
1960 - The United States announced that it would send 3,500 troops to Vietnam.
1964 - Tom O’Hara set a new world indoor record when he ran the mile in 3 minutes, 56.4 seconds.
1967 - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his plan to establish a draft lottery.
1970 - Charles Manson released his album "Lies" to finance his defense against murder charges.
1973 - U.S. President Richard Nixon imposed price controls on oil and gas.
1975 - Iran and Iraq announced that they had settled their border dispute.
1980 - Islamic militants in Tehran said that they would turn over American hostages to the Revolutionary Council.
1981 - Walter Cronkite appeared on his last episode of "CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite." He had been on the job 19 years.
1981 - U.S. President Reagan announced a plan to cut 37,000 federal jobs.
1982 - National Basketball Association history was made when San Antonio beat Milwaukee 171-166 in three overtime periods to set the record for most points by two teams in a game. The record was beaten on December 13, 1983 by the Pistons and the Nuggets when they played to a final score of 186-184
1983 - The United States Football League began its first season of pro football competition.
1985 - Yul Brynner played his his 4,500th performance in the musical "The King and I."
1987 - The British ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsized in the Channel off the coast of Belgium. 189 people died.
1990 - In Afghanistan, an attempted coup to remove President Najibullah from office failed.
1990 - The Russian Parliament passed a law that sanctioned the ownership of private property.
1991 - In Paris, five men were jailed for plotting to smuggle Libyan arms to the Irish Republican Army.
1992 - The last episode of "The Cosby Show" aired. The show had been on since September of 1984.
1992 - The computer virus "Michelangelo" went into effect.
1997 - A gunman stole "Tete de Femme," a million-dollar Picasso portrait, from a London gallery. The painting was recovered a week later.
1997 - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II launched the first official royal Web site.
1998 - A Connecticut state lottery accountant gunned down three supervisors and the lottery chief before killing himself.
2015 - The NASA space probe Dawn entred orbit around the protoplanet Ceres in the asteroid belt.