1493 – Christopher Columbus reached Leeward Island and Puerto Rico.
1501 – Catherine of Aragon (later Henry VIII’s first wife) met Arthur Tudor, Henry VIII’s older brother – they later married.
1677 – The future Mary II of England married William, Prince of Orange; they later jointly reigned as William and Mary.
1737 – The Teatro di San Carlo, the oldest working opera house in Europe, was inaugurated in Naples, Italy.
1783 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 was performed for the first time in Linz, Austria.
1791 – Northwest Indian War: The Western Confederacy of American Indians won a major victory over the United States in the Battle of the Wabash.
1847 – Sir James Young Simpson, a Scottish physician, discovered the anesthetic properties of chloroform.
1864 – American Civil War: Confederate troops bombarded a Union supply base and destroyed millions of dollars in material at the Battle of Johnsonville.
1922 – In Egypt, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his men found the entrance to Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
1924 – Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming became the first female elected as governor in the United States.
1939 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons by belligerents.
1942 – World War II: Disobeying a direct order by Adolf Hitler, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel began a retreat of his forces after a costly defeat during the Second Battle of El Alamein. The retreat ultimately lasted five months.
1952 – The United States government established the National Security Agency, or NSA.
1960 – At the Kasakela Chimpanzee Community in Tanzania, Dr. Jane Goodall observed chimpanzees creating tools, the first-ever observation in non-human animals.
1961 – Bob Dylan made his Carnegie Chapter Hall debut in New York City. The show was seen by 50 people who paid two dollars each at Carnegie Hall.
1962 – The United States concluded Operation Fishbowl, its final above-ground nuclear weapons testing series, in anticipation of the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
1966 – The Arno River flooded Florence, Italy, to a maximum depth of 22 ft, leaving thousands homeless and destroying millions of masterpieces of art and rare books. Venice was also submerged on the same day at its record all-time acqua alta of 76 in.
1967 – Iberia Flight 062 crashed in Blackdown, West Sussex, killing all 37 people on board including British actress June Thorburn.
1970 – Vietnam War: The United States turned over control of the air base at Bình Thủy in the Mekong Delta to South Vietnam.
1978 – Greg Reeves, sued his former band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for $1 million in unpaid back royalties.
1979 – Iran hostage crisis: A group of Iranian college students overran the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 90 hostages.
1980 – Ronald Reagan was elected as the 40th President of the United States, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter.
1992 – Elton John and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin signed a $39 million publishing contract with Warner-Chappell music.
1996 – Michael Jackson announced that he and a friend, Debbie Rowe, were expecting a child, but he denied that the couple had used artificial insemination and that Rowe had been paid to carry the baby.
2008 – Barack Obama became the first person of biracial or African-American descent to be elected as President of the United States.
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