1492 – Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, sighted Watling Island in the Bahamas. He believed that he had found Asia while attempting to find a Western ocean route to India. The same day he claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain.
1792 – The first monument honoring Christopher Columbus was dedicated in Baltimore, MD.
1810 – Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The royalty invited the public to attend the event which became an annual celebration that later became known as Oktoberfest.
1892 – In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Columbus landing the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance was first recited in public schools.
1895 – In Newport, RI, the first amateur golf tournament was held.
1915 – Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt criticized U.S. citizens who identified themselves by dual nationalities.
1920 – Construction of the Holland Tunnel began. It opened on November 13, 1927. The tunnel links Jersey City, NJ and New York City, NY.
1933 – The U.S. Department of Justice acquired Alcatraz Island from the U.S. Army.
1937 – “Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons” debuted on radio.
1942 – During World War II, Attorney General Francis Biddle announced that Italian nationals in the United States would no longer be considered enemy aliens.
1945 – Private First Class Desmond T. Doss was presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor for outstanding bravery as a medical corpsman. He was the first conscientious objector in American history to win the award.
1960 – Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev pounded a shoe on his desk during a dispute at a U.N. General Assembly.
1961 – The first video memoirs by a U.S. president were made. Walter Cronkite interviewed Dwight D. Eisenhower.
1964 – The Soviet Union launched Voskhod 1 into orbit around the Earth. It was the first space flight to have a multi-person crew and the first flight to be performed without space suits.
1972 – During the Vietnam War, a racial brawl broke out aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. Nearly 50 sailors were injured.
1976 – China announced that Hua Guo-feng was named to succeed the late Mao Tse-tung as chairman of the Communist Party.
1988 – Federal prosecutors announced that the Sundstrand Corp. would pay $115 million dollars to settle with the Pentagon for overbilling airplane parts over a five-year period.
1989 – The U.S. House of Representatives approved a statutory federal ban on the destruction of the American flag.
1993 – The play “Mixed Emotions” opened at the John Golden Theatre.
1994 – Haitian military leader Raoul Cedras was granted political asylum by Panama.
1994 – The Magellan space probe ended its four-year mission to Venus for the purpose of mapping.
1997 – The St. Francis Basilica and 15th-century bell tower above Foligno city hall in Italy were damaged by 3 earthquakes.
1998 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Online Copyright Bill.
1999 – Rob Reiner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1999 – In Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf seized power in a bloodless coup that toppled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Supreme Court ruled that the coup was legal but insisted that a civilian government be restored within three years.
2001 – A special episode of America’s Most Wanted was aired that focused on 22 wanted terrorists. The show was specifically requested by U.S. President George W. Bush.
2006 – The Dow Jones industrial average advanced over 11,900 for the first time.