55 – The death under mysterious circumstances of Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, heir to the Roman empire, on the eve of his coming of age which cleared the way for Nero to become Emperor.
1534 – Henry VIII of England was recognized as supreme head of the Church of England.
1586 – Sir Francis Drake, with an English force, captured and occupied the Spanish colonial port of Cartagena de Indias for two months and obtained a ransom and booty.
1794 – First session of United States Senate was open to the public.
1808 – Jesse Fell burned anthracite (hard coal) on an open grate as an experiment in heating homes with coal.
1809 – Robert Fulton patented the steamboat.
1811 – President James Madison prohibited trade with Britain for 3rd time in 4 years.
1812 – Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry was accused of “gerrymandering” for the first time.
1852 – First British public female toilet opened (Bedford Street, London).
1858 – Bernadette Soubirous’s first vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France. The apparitions of a “young lady” asked for a chapel to be built at the nearby cave-grotto at Massabielle. These apparitions occurred between 11 February and 16 July 1858, and the woman who appeared to her identified herself as the “Immaculate Conception.”
1861 – American Civil War: The United States House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state.
1861 – President-elect Abraham Lincoln took a train from Springfield, IL to Washington, D.C.
1878 – The first US bicycle club, Boston Bicycle Club, formed.
1905 – James Blackstone, Seattle, bowled 299½. The last pin brook in half. One half fell and the other half remained standing.
1907 – 322 people died when the passenger ship Larchmont sank by Block Island (off Rhode Island).
1916 – Emma Goldman was arrested for lecturing on birth control.
1922 – “April Showers” by Al Jolson reached #1.
1937 – The Flint sit-down strike ended when General Motors recognized the United Auto Workers trade union.
1938 – BBC Television produced the world’s first ever science fiction television programme, an adaptation of a section of the Karel Čapek play R.U.R., that coined the term “robot”.
1942 – The “Archie” comic book debuted.
1945 – Declaration of Liberated Europe was signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin after the Yalta Conference.
1949 – “Lovesick Blues” single was released by Hank Williams (Cashbox “Best Hillbilly Record of the Year”, Billboard Song of the Year 1949).
1950 – “Rag Mop” by The Ames Brothers hit #1.
1953 – Cold War: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower denied all appeals for clemency for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
1956 – British diplomats Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean denied working as spies for Soviet Russia after reappearing in the Soviet Union after going missing 5 years earlier.
1958 -Ruth Carol Taylor became the first African-American woman hired as flight attendant. (Ithaca, NY).
1963 – The Beatles recorded 10 songs for their first album.
1963 – American chef Julia Child’s show “The French Chef” premiered.
1964 – The Beatles performed their first live appearance in US. (Washington, D.C. Coliseum).
1970 – Japan launched Ohsumi, and became the fourth nation to put an object into orbit using its own booster.
1971 – Cold War: the Seabed Arms Control Treaty opened for signature outlawing nuclear weapons on the ocean floor in international waters.
1978 – China lifted its ban on works of Aristotle, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.
1983 – “Weird Al” Yankovic recorded “Ricky” & “Buckingham Blues” for his self-titled debut LP.
1983 – “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, sung by Bonnie Tyler and composed by Jim Steinman, was released.
1990 – Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa after 27 years as a political prisoner.
1990 – Buster Douglas, a 42:1 underdog, knocked out Mike Tyson in ten rounds at Tokyo and won boxing’s world Heavyweight title.
1993 – President Clinton selected Janet Reno to be first female US Attorney General.
1997 – Space Shuttle Discovery was launched on a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.
1998 – KVBC-FM (Las Vegas) offered Monica Lewinsky $5M for interview.
1998 – Lyrics to “Candle in the Wind 1997” were sold at auction for $442,500.
1999 – Pluto crossed Neptune’s orbit and ended a nearly 20-year period when it was closer to the Sun than the gas giant; Pluto is not expected to interact with Neptune’s orbit again until 2231.
2001 – A Dutch programmer launched the Anna Kournikova virus which infected millions of emails via a trick photo of the tennis star.
2013 – The Vatican confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI would resign the papacy as a result of his advanced age.