1507 – Leonardo DaVinci was commissioned by the husband of Lisa Gherardini to paint her. The work is known as the Mona Lisa.
1631 – The Reverend John Eliot arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was the first Protestant minister to dedicate himself to the conversion of Native Americans to Christianity.
1793 – Stephen F. Austin was born. He was the principal founder of Texas.
1796 – John Adams was elected the 2nd U.S. President.
1839 – The first Opium War between China and Britain erupted.
1892 – The first automatic telephone went into service at LaPorte, IN. The device was invented by Almon Strowger.
1900 – The first automobile show in the United States opened at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
1903 – Panama proclaimed its independence from Columbia.
1911 – Chevrolet Motor Car Company was founded by Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant.
1934 – The first race track in California opened under a new pari-mutuel betting law.
1941 – U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Grew warned that the Japanese may be planning a sudden attack on the U.S.
1952 – Frozen bread was offered for sale for the first time in a supermarket in Chester, NY.
1953 – The Rules Committee of organized baseball restored the sacrifice fly. The rule had not been used since 1939.
1957 – Sputnik II was launched by the Soviet Union. It was the second manmade satellite to be put into orbit and was the first to put an animal into space, a dog named Laika.
1973 – The U.S. launched the Mariner 10 spacecraft. On March 29, 1974 it became the first spacecraft to reach the planet Mercury.
1975 – “Good Morning America” premiered on ABC-TV.
1979 – Five members of the Communist Workers’ Party are shot to death in broad daylight at an anti-Ku Klux Klan rally in Greensboro, NC. Eight others were wounded.
1986 – The Ash-Shiraa, pro-Syrian Lebanese magazine, first broke the story of U.S. arms sales to Iran to secure the release of seven American hostages. The story turned into the Iran-Contra affair.
1987 – China told the U.S. that it would halt the sale of arms to Iran.
1991 – Israeli and Palestinian representatives held their first-ever face-to-face talks in Madrid, Spain.
1992 – Carol Moseley-Braun became the first African-American woman U.S. senator.
1994 – Susan Smith of Union, SC, was arrested for drowning her two sons. Nine days earlier Smith had claimed that the children had been abducted by a black carjacker.
1995 – U.S. President Clinton dedicated a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery to the 270 victims of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
1998 – Bob Kane, the creator of Batman, died at the age of 83.
1998 – A state-run newspaper in Iraq urged the country to prepare for to battle “the U.S. monster.”
1998 – Minnesota elected Jesse “The Body” Ventura, a former pro wrestler, as its governor.
2003 – In Kabul, Afghanistan, a post-Taliban draft constitution was unveiled.