1492 – Christopher Columbus was given a royal commission by Spanish monarchs Isabella I and Ferdinand II to equip his fleet to go to the New World.
1789 – George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America.
1803 – Chancellor Robert Livingston and James Monroe signed the Louisiana Purchase Treaty in Paris at a cost of $15 million. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the USA.
1808 – First practical typewriter finished by Italian Pellegrini Turri
1812 – (Eastern) Louisiana was admitted as 18th US state.
1859 – Charles Dickens’ “A Tale Of Two Cities” was first published in literary periodical “All the Year Round” (weekly installments until Nov 26).
1863 – Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia: In a major victory General Robert E. Lee’s troops defeated the larger Army of the Potomac under Major General Joseph Hooker, Stonewall Jackson was fatally wounded when accidentally shot by his own men.
1864 – New York became the first state to charge a hunting license fee.
1889 – First US national holiday, on centennial of Washington’s inauguration.
1900 – The “Hawaiian Organic Act” was enacted by US Congress making Hawaii a US territory.
1900 – Casey Jones died heroically in a train wreck at Vaughn, Mississippi, while driving Cannonball Express (immortalized in”Ballad of Casey Jones”).
1904 – Ice cream cone made its debut at St. Louis World’s Fair invented by Ernest A. Hamwi (independently of other claimant Italo Marchiony in NY).
1905 – Albert Einstein completed his doctoral thesis at the University of Zurich.
1939 – NBC inaugurates its regularly scheduled television service in New York City, broadcasting President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s N.Y. World’s Fair opening day ceremonial address.
1945 – “Arthur Godfrey Time” began a 27-year run on CBS radio.
1945 – Adolf Hitler committed suicide along with his new wife Eva Braun in the Fuhrerbunker in Berlin as the Red Army captured the city.
1947 – In Nevada, Boulder Dam was renamed Hoover Dam.
1952 – Mr. Potato Head became the first toy advertised on television.
1961 – “Tossin’ and Turnin'” single was released by Bobby Lewis (Billboard Song of the Year 1961)
1972 – “Arthur Godfrey Time” ended its 27-year run on radio
1973 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announced that White House Counsel John Dean has been fired and that other top aides, most notably H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, had resigned.
1973 – Paul McCartney released “Red Rose Speedway” which included the song “My Love”.
1974 – US President Richard Nixon handed over partial transcripts of Watergate tape recordings.
1975 – North Vietnamese troops captured Saigon, ending the Vietnam War.
1976 – “Silly Love Songs” single was released by Wings (Billboard Song of the Year 1976).
1986 – Ashrita Furman performed 8,341 somersaults over 12 miles.
1988 – The then largest banana split ever, at 4.5 miles long, was made along Market Street in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.
1989 – World Wide Web (WWW) was first launched in the public domain by CERN scientist Tim Berners-Lee.
1993 – The World Wide Web source code was released by CERN, making the software freely available to all.
1994 – Formula One racing driver Roland Ratzenberger was killed in a crash during the qualifying session of the San Marino Grand Prix run at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari outside Imola, Italy.
2004 – U.S. media released graphic photos of American soldiers abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.
2008 – Two skeletal remains found near Yekaterinburg, Russia were confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei and Anastasia, two of the children of the last Tsar of Russia, whose entire family was executed at Yekaterinburg by the Bolsheviks.
2009 – Chrysler automobile company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
2018 – Superhero film “Avengers: Infinity War” set a new record for an opening weekend earning $250 million in the US, $630 million worldwide.