1818 – Illinois was admitted as the 21st state of the union.
1828 – Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States.
1833 – Oberlin College in Ohio opened as the first truly coeducational school of higher education in the United States.
1835 – In Rhode Island, the Manufacturer Mutual Fire Insurance Company issued the first fire insurance policy.
1910 – The neon lamp was displayed for the first time at the Paris Motor Show. The lamp was developed by French physicist Georges Claude.
1917 – The Quebec Bridge opened for traffic after almost 20 years of planning and construction. The bridge suffered partial collapses in 1907 (August 29) and 1916 (September 11).
1931 – Alka Seltzer was sold for the first time.
1947 – The Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire” opened at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theater.
1948 – The “Pumpkin Papers” came to public light. The House Un-American Activities Committee announced that former Communist spy Whittaker Chambers had produced microfilm of secret documents hidden inside a pumpkin on his Maryland farm.
1950 – Paul Harvey began his national radio broadcast.
1950 – Tom Fears (Los Angeles Rams) caught an NFL-record 18 passes against the Green Bay Packers. Terrell Owens (San Francisco 49ers) broke the record with 20 catches for 283 yards and a touchdown against the Chicago Bears on December 17, 2000.
1967 – In Cape Town, South Africa, a team of surgeons headed by Dr. Christian Barnard, performed the first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky. Washkansky only lived 18 days.
1967 – The famed luxury train, “20th Century Limited,” completed its final run from New York to Chicago.
1968 – The rules committee of Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that in 1969 the pitcher’s mound would be lowered from 15 to 10 inches. This was done in order to “get more batting action.”
1973 – Pioneer 10 sent back the first close-up images of Jupiter. The first outer-planetary probe had been launched from Cape Canaveral, FL, on March 2, 1972.
1982 – Doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center removed the respirator of Barney Clark. The retired dentist had become the world’s first recipient of a permanent artificial heart only one day before.
1983 – 3-foot-high concrete barriers were installed at two White House entrances.
1984 – In Bhopal, India, more than 2,000 people were killed after a cloud of poisonous gas escaped from a pesticide plant. The plant was operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary.
1987 – U.S. President Reagan said there was a good chance of progress toward a treaty on long-range weapons with Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
1992 – The UN Security Council unanimously approved a U.S.-led military mission to help starving Somalians.
1992 – The Greek tanker “Aegean Sea” ran aground at La Coruna, Spain and spilled 21.5 million gallons of crude oil.
1993 – Britain’s Princess Diana announced she would be limiting her public appearances because she was tired of the media’s intrusions into her life.
1993 – Angola’s government and its rebel enemies agreed to a cease-fire in their 18-year war.
1994 – Rebel Serbs in Bosnia failed to keep a pledge to release hundreds of UN peacekeepers.
1995 – Former South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan was arrested for his role in a 1979 coup.
1997 – Pierce Brosnan received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1997 – In Ottawa, Canada, more than 120 countries were represented to sign a treaty prohibiting the use and production of anti-personnel land mines. The United States, China and Russia did not sign the treaty.
1997 – South Korea received $55 billion from the International Monetary Fund to bailout its economy.
1999 – Tori Murden became the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean alone. It took her 81 days to reach the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe from the Canary Islands.
1999 – The World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded a four-day meeting in Seattle, WA, without setting an agenda for a new round of trade talks. The meeting was met with fierce protests by various groups.
1999 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) lost radio contact with the Mars Polar Lander as it entered Mars’ atmosphere. The spacecraft was unmanned.
2010 – The Boeing X-37 returned to Earth on successfully after its first orbital mission. It launched on April 22, 2010.