1618 – Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded under a sentence that had been brought against him 15 years earlier for conspiracy against King James I.
1652 – The Massachusetts Bay Colony proclaimed itself to be an independent commonwealth.
1682 – William Penn landed at what is now Chester, PA. He was the founder of Pennsylvania.
1863 – The International Committee of the Red Cross was founded.
1901 – Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of U.S. President McKinley, was electrocuted.
1923 – Turkey formally became a republic after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The first president was Mustafa Kemal, later known as Kemal Ataturk.
1929 – America’s Great Depression began with the crash of the Wall Street stock market.
1940 – The first peacetime military draft began in the U.S.
1945 – The first ballpoint pens to be made commercially went on sale at Gimbels Department Store in New York at the price of $12.50 each.
1956 – Israel invaded Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula during the Suez Canal Crisis.
1956 – “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” premiered on NBC. The show replaced “The Camel News Caravan.”
1959 – General Mills became the first corporation to use close-circuit television.
1960 – Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) won his first professional fight.
1966 – The National Organization for Women was founded.
1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court ordered an immediate end to all school segregation.
1973 – O.J. Simpson, of the Buffalo Bills, set two NFL records. He carried the ball 39 times and he ran 157 yards putting him over 1,000 yards at the seventh game of the season.
1974 – U.S. President Gerald Ford signed a new law forbidding discrimination in credit applications on the basis of sex or marital status
1985 – It was announced that Maj. Gen. Samuel K. Doe had won the first multiparty election in Liberia.
1990 – The U.N. Security Council voted to hold Saddam Hussein’s regime liable for human rights abuses and war damages during its occupation of Kuwait.
1991 – The U.S. Galileo spacecraft became the first to visit an asteroid (Gaspra).
1991 – Trade sanctions were imposed on Haiti by the U.S. to pressure the new leaders to restore the ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.
1992 – Depo Provera, a contraceptive, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
1995 – Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers became the NFL’s career leader in receiving yards with 14,040 yards.
1998 – South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission condemned both apartheid and violence committed by the African National Congress.
1998 – The space shuttle Discovery blasted off with John Glenn on board. Glenn was 77 years old. In 1962 he became the first American to orbit the Earth.
1998 – The oldest known copy of Archimedes’ work sold for $2 million at a New York auction.
2001 – KTLA broadcasted the first coast to coast HDTV network telecast.