1776 – The Continental Congress appointed a committee to write a Declaration of Independence.
1793 – The Jardin des Plantes zoo opened in Paris. It was the first public zoo.
1801 – The North African State of Tripoli declared war on the U.S. The dispute was over merchant vessels being able to travel safely through the Mediterranean.
1806 – New York’s “Commercial Advertiser” became the first U.S. newspaper to cover the sport of harness racing.
1854 – The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, held its first graduation.
1898 – U.S. Marines landed in Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
1902 – The “outlook” or “see-through” envelope was patented by Americus F. Callahan.
1909 – The SOS distress signal was used for the first time. The Cunard liner SS Slavonia used the signal when it wrecked off the Azores.
1916 – Mecca, under control of the Turks, fell to the Arabs during the Great Arab Revolt.
1920 – The Republican convention in Chicago endorsed woman suffrage.
1924 – The Republican National Convention was broadcast by NBC radio. It was the first political convention to be on radio.
1925 – The state of Tennessee adopted a new biology text book that denied the theory of evolution.
1935 – Alcoholic Anonymous was founded by William G. Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith.
1940 – Italy declared war on France and Britain. In addition, Canada declared war on Italy.
1943 – Laszlo Biro patented his ballpoint pen. Biro was a Hungarian journalist.
1943 – The Allies began bombing Germany around the clock.
1944 – The youngest pitcher in major league baseball pitched his first game. Joe Nuxhall was 15 years old (and 10 months and 11 days).
1946 – Italy established a republic replacing its monarchy.
1948 – Chuck Yeager exceeded the speed of sound in the Bell XS-1.
1954 – General Motors announced the gas turbine bus had been produced successfully.
1967 – Israel and Syria agreed to a cease-fire that ended the Six-Day War.
1970 – A fifteen-man group of special forces troops began training for Operation Kingpin. The operation was a POW rescue mission in North Vietnam.
1971 – The U.S. ended a 21-year trade embargo of China.
1983 – Johnny Bench announced his plans to retire. He was a catcher in the major leagues for 16 years.
1984 – The U.S. Army successfully tested an antiballistic missile.
1984 – The United States and the Vatican established full diplomatic relations for the first time in 117 years.
1985 – Frank Sinatra was portrayed as a friend of organized crime in a “Doonesbury” comic strip. Over 800 newspapers carried the panel.
1985 – The Israeli army pulled out of Lebanon after 1,099 days of occupation.
1990 – The Civic Forum movement won Czechoslovakia’s first free elections since 1946. The movement was founded by President Vaclav Havel.
1990 – Bulgaria’s former Communist Party won the country’s first free elections in more than four decades.
1993 – It was announced by scientists that genetic material was extracted from an insect that lived when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
1994 – U.S. President Clinton intensified sanctions against Haiti’s military leaders. U.S. commercial air travel was suspended along with most financial transactions between Haiti and the U.S.
1996 – The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Florida Panthers in a 1-0 triple overtime game. The win ended a four-game sweep for the Stanley Cup.
1996 – Britain and Ireland opened Northern Ireland peace talks. The IRA’s political arm Sinn Fein was excluded.
1998 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that poor children in Milwaukee could attend religious schools at taxpayer expense.
1999 – NATO suspended air strikes in Yugoslavia after Slobodan Milosevic agreed to withdraw his forces from Kosovo.