1454 - Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence, Italy. Matthias Ringmann, a German mapmaker, named the American continent in his honor.
1617 - The Treaty of Stolbovo ended the occupation of Northern
Russia by Swedish troops.
1734 - The Russians took Danzig (Gdansk) in Poland.
1745 - The first carillon was shipped from England to Boston, MA.
1793 - Jean Pierre Blanchard made the first balloon flight in North
America. The event was witnessed by U.S. President George Washington.
1796 - Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais were married. They were divorced in 1809.
1799 - The U.S. Congress contracted with Simeon North, of Berlin, CT,
for 500 horse pistols at the price of $6.50 each.
1812 - Swedish Pomerania was seized by Napoleon.
1820 - The U.S. Congress passed the Land Act that paved the way
for westward expansion of North America.
1822 - Charles M. Graham received the first patent for artificial
1832 - Abraham Lincoln announced that he would run for a political
office for the first time. He was unsuccessful in his run
for a seat in the Illinois state legislature.
1839 - The French Academy of Science announced the Daguerreotype
1858 - Albert Potts was awarded a patent for the letter box.
1859 - The National Association of Baseball Players adopted the
rule that limited the size of bats to no more than 2-1/2
inches in diameter.
1860 - The first Japanese ambassador to the U.S. was appointed.
1862 - During the U.S. Civil War, the ironclads Monitor and
Virginia (built from the remnants of the USS Merrimack fought to a draw in a five-hour battle at
Hampton Roads, Virginia.
1863 - General Ulysses Grant was appointed commander-in-chief of
the Union forces.
1897 - A patent was issued to William Spinks and William Hoskins for cue chalk.
1900 - In Germany, women petition Reichstag for the right to take
university entrance exams.
1905 - In Egypt, U.S. archeologist Davies discovered the royal
tombs of Tua and Yua.
1905 - In Manchuria, Japanese troops surrounded 200,000 Russian
troops that were retreating from Mudken.
1905 - In Congo, Belgian Vice Gov. Costermans committed suicide
following an investigation of colonial policy.
1906 - In the Philippines, fifteen Americans and 600 Moros were
killed in the last two days of fighting.
1909 - The French National Assembly passed an income tax bill.
1910 - Union men urged for a national sympathy strike for miners
1911 - The funding for five new battleships was added to the
British military defense budget.
1916 - Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico. 17 people were killed by the 1,500 horsemen.
1929 - Eric Krenz became the first athlete to toss the discus over
1932 - Eamon De Valera was elected president of the Irish Free
State and pledged to abolish all loyalty to the British
1933 - The U.S. Congress began its 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation.
1936 - The German press warned that all Jews who vote in the
upcoming elections would be arrested.
1945 - "Those Websters" debuted on CBS radio.
1945 - During World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers launched incendiary bomb attacks against Japan.
1946 - The A.F.L. accused Juan Peron of using the army to establish
a dictatorship over Argentine labor.
1949 - The first all-electric dining car was placed in service on
the Illinois Central Railroad.
1954 - WNBT-TV (now WNBC-TV), in New York, broadcast the first
local color television commercials. The ad was Castro
Decorators of New York City. (New York)
1956 - British authorities arrested and deported Archbishop
Makarios from Cyprus. He was accused of supporting
1957 - Egyptian leader Nasser barred U.N. plans to share the tolls
for the use of the Suez Canal.
1959 - Mattel introduced Barbie at the annual Toy Fair in New York.
1964 - Production began on the first Ford Mustang.
1965 - The first U.S. combat troops arrived in South Vietnam.
1967 - Svetlana Alliluyeva, Josef Stalin's daughter defected to the
1969 - "The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour" was canceled by CBS-TV.
1975 - Work began on the Alaskan oil pipeline.
1975 - Iraq launched an offensive against the rebel Kurds.
1977 - About a dozen armed Hanafi Muslims invaded three buildings in Washington, DC. They killed one person and took more than 130 hostages. The siege ended two days later.
1983 - The official Soviet news agency TASS says that U.S. President Reagan is full of "bellicose lunatic anti-communism."
1985 - "Gone With The Wind" went on sale in video stores across
the U.S. for the first time.
1986 - U.S. Navy divers found the crew compartment of the space
shuttle Challenger along with the remains of the
1987 - Chrysler Corporation offered to buy American Motors Corporation.
1989 - The U.S. Senate rejected John Tower as a choice for a
cabinet member. It was the first rejection in 30 years.
1989 - In Maylasia, 30 Asian nations conferred on the issue of "boat people."
1989 - In the U.S., a strike forced Eastern Airlines into bankruptcy.
1989 - In the U.S., President George H.W. Bush urged for a mandatory death
penalty in drug-related killings.
1990 - Dr. Antonia Novello was sworn in as the first female and Hispanic surgeon general.
1993 - Rodney King testified at the federal trial of four Los Angeles
police officers accused of violating his civil rights. (California)
1995 - The Canadian Navy arrested a Spanish trawler for illegally
fishing off of Newfoundland.
2000 - In Norway, the coalition government of Kjell Magne Bondevik resigned as a result of an environmental dispute.
2011 - Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation that abolished the death penalty in his state.