1703 – The Great Storm of 1703, the greatest windstorm ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain, made landfall. Winds gust up to 120 mph, and 9,000 people died.
1776 – Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, arranged to enter the American military as a major general.
1787 – Delaware became the first state to ratify the United States Constitution.
1842 – First concert of the New York Philharmonic, founded by Ureli Corelli Hill.
1917 – World War I: The United States declared war on Austria-Hungary.
1930 – W1XAV in Boston, Massachusetts telecasted video from the CBS radio orchestra program, The Fox Trappers. The telecast also included the first television advertisement in the United States, for I.J. Fox Furriers, which also sponsored the radio show.
1932 – German-born Swiss physicist Albert Einstein was granted an American visa.
1941 – World War II: Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy carried out a surprise attack on the United States Pacific Fleet and its defending Army and Marine air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
1944 – An earthquake along the coast of Wakayama Prefecture in Japan caused a tsunami which killed 1223 people.
1946 – A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia killed 119 people, the deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history.
1956 – Alan Freed’s Rock Rock Rock film (with Connie Francis singing for Tuesday Weld) was released.
1963 – Instant replay made its debut during the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.
1972 – Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, was launched. The crew took the photograph known as The Blue Marble as they left the Earth.
1982 – In Texas, Charles Brooks, Jr., became the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the United States.
1982 – The Senior Road Tower, near Missouri City, Texas, collapsed in less than 17 seconds. Five workers on the tower were killed and three workers on a building nearby were injured.
1984 – Michael Jackson testified in Chicago, IL, that he wrote the song “The Girl is Mine,” not an Illinois man. Jackson won the case.
1986 – Huey Lewis and the News sang the U.S. national anthem a capella before a San Francisco 49ers-New York Jets NFL football game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, CA.
1987 – Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771, a British Aerospace 146-200A, crashed near Paso Robles, California, and killed all 43 on board after a disgruntled passenger shot his ex-boss traveling on the flight, then shot both pilots and steered the plane into the ground.
1993 – Long Island Rail Road shooting: Passenger Colin Ferguson murdered six people and injured 19 others on the LIRR in Nassau County, New York.
1993 – Guns N’ Roses announced they would keep the tune written by Charles Manson “Look At Your Game, Girl” on their album, The Spaghetti Incident? The decision to keep the song came when the band learned that the royalties would go to the son of one of Manson’s victims.
1995 – The Galileo spacecraft arrived at Jupiter, a little more than six years after it was launched by Space Shuttle Atlantis during Mission STS-34.
1996 – Jerry Lewis’ white and red pinstriped devil suit was stolen from his dressing room at Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. Lewis needed the costume, valued at $9,000, to play the role of Satan in the musical Damn Yankees.
2005 – Rigoberto Alpizar, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 924 who allegedly claimed to have a bomb, was shot and killed by a team of U.S. federal air marshals at Miami International Airport.
2015 – The JAXA probe Akatsuki successfully entered orbit around Venus five years after the first attempt.
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