1512 – Martin Luther joined the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg.
1520 – Ferdinand Magellan discovered a strait now known as the Strait of Magellan.
1520 – João Álvares Fagundes discovered the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, bestowing them their original name of “Islands of the 11,000 Virgins.”
1774 – The flag of Taunton, Massachusetts was the first to include the word “Liberty.”
1797 – In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution was launched.
1805 – Napoleonic Wars: A British fleet led by Lord Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet under Admiral Villeneuve in the Battle of Trafalgar.
1824 – Portland cement was patented.
1854 – Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses were sent to the Crimean War.
1861 – American Civil War: Union forces under Colonel Edward Baker were defeated by Confederate troops in the second major battle of the war.
1867 – The Medicine Lodge Treaty was signed by southern Great Plains Indian leaders. The treaty required Native American Plains tribes to relocate to a reservation in the western Indian Territory.
1879 – Thomas Edison applied for a patent for his design for an incandescent light bulb.
1892 – Opening ceremonies for the World’s Columbian Exposition were held in Chicago, though because construction was behind schedule, the exposition did not open until May 1, 1893.
1908 – A Saturday Evening Post advertisement offered a chance to buy a two-sided record from Columbia.
1921 – President Warren G. Harding delivered the first speech by a sitting U.S. president against lynching in the Deep South.
1940 – The first edition of the Ernest Hemingway novel For Whom the Bell Tolls was published.
1944 – World War II: The first kamikaze attack damaged HMAS Australia as the Battle of Leyte Gulf begins.
1944 – World War II: The Nemmersdorf massacre against German civilians took place.
1944 – World War II: The city of Aachen fell to American forces after three weeks of fighting, the first German city to fall to the Allies.
1945 – In the 1945 French legislative election French women voted for the first time.
1958 – Buddy Holly recorded his last studio session. Holly and the Crickets recorded “True Love Ways,” “Moondreams,” “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” and “Raining in my Heart.”
1959 – In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opened to the public.
1959 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the transfer of all US Army space-related activities to NASA, including most of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency.
1964 – The movie musical My Fair Lady made its world premier in New York.
1965 – Comet Ikeya–Seki approached perihelion and passed 279,617 miles from the sun.
1967 – The National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam organized a march of fifty thousand people from the Lincoln Memorial to the Pentagon.
1973 – Fred Dryer of the Los Angeles Rams became the first player in NFL history to score two safeties in the same game.
1974 – Queen’s single “Killer Queen” was released.
1976 – At the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Canada, Keith Moon played his final tour date with The Who.
1977 – “Bat Out Of Hell” was released by Meat Loaf.
1978 – Australian civilian pilot Frederick Valentich vanished over the Bass Strait south of Melbourne, after reporting contact with an unidentified aircraft.
1983 – The meter was defined as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
1992 – The erotic photograph book, Sex, was released by Madonna. The first run of 500,000 copies sold out.
1992 – Elton John files a $35 Million lawsuit accusing a reporter from the TV show “Hard Copy” of falsely stating that he had moved to Atlanta to be near an AIDS treatment center.
1994 – North Korea and the United States signed an Agreed Framework that required North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program and agree to inspections.
1995 – Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon) died of a cocaine overdose at the age of 28.
1998 – Alice Cooper filed suit against KISS members Paul Stanley and Bruce Kulick alleging their song “Dreamin'” sounds too much like the song “Eighteen” by Cooper.
2005 – Images of the dwarf planet Eris were taken and subsequently used in documenting its discovery.
2011 – Iraq War: President Barack Obama announced that the withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq would be complete by the end of the year.
2021 – A shooting occurred on the set of the film Rust, in which actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop weapon which had been loaded, and killed the director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, and injured director Joel Souza.
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