1431 – In Paris, Henry VI of England was crowned King of France.
1732 – The original Covent Garden Theatre Royal (now the Royal Opera House) was opened.
1787 – Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. constitution becoming the first of the United States.
1796 – John Adams was elected to be the second president of the United States.
1836 – Martin Van Buren was elected the eighth president of the United States.
1889 – The first of 554 performances of “The Gondoliers” took place.
1907 – At London’s National Sporting Club, Eugene Corri became the first referee to officiate from inside a boxing ring.
1925 – Swimmer Johnny Weissmuller set a world record in the 150-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 25 and 2/5 seconds. He went on to play “Tarzan” in several movies.
1926 – The gas operated refrigerator was patented by The Electrolux Servel Corporation.
1941 – Pearl Harbor, located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu was attacked by nearly 200 Japanese warplanes. The attack resulted in the U.S. entering into World War II.
1946 – A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta killed 119 people. It was America’s worst hotel fire disaster. The hotel founder, W. Frank Winecoff, was also killed in the fire.
1971 – Libya announced the nationalization of British Petroleum’s assets.
1972 – Apollo 17 was launched at Cape Canaveral. It was the last U.S. moon mission.
1972 – Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, was stabbed and seriously wounded by an assailant. The man was then shot and killed by her bodyguards.
1974 – President Makarios returned to Cyprus after five months in exile.
1980 – General Antonio Ramlho Eanes was reelected president of Portugal. His right-wing opposition was thrown into disarray by the death of Premier Francisco Sa Carneiro in a plane crash.
1982 – Charlie Brooks Junior, a convicted murderer, became the first prisoner in the U.S. to be executed by injection, at a prison in Huntsville, TX.
1983 – Madrid, Spain, an Aviaco DC-9 collided on a runway with an Iberia Air Lines Boeing 727 that was accelerating for takeoff. The collision resulted in the death of all 42 people aboard the DC-9 and 51 on the Iberia jet.
1987 – Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev set foot on American soil for the first time. He had come to the U.S. for a Washington summit with U.S. President Reagan.
1987 – 43 people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a fellow passenger and the two pilots aboard a Pacific Southwest Airlines jetliner.
1988 – An estimated 25,000 people were killed when a major earthquake hit northern Armenia in the Soviet Union. The quake measured 6.9 on the Richter Scale.
1988 – Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev announced the reduction of the number of Soviet military troops by half a million.
1989 – East Germany’s Communist Party agreed to cooperate with the plan for free elections and a revised constitution.
1992 – The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Mississippi abortion law which, required women to get counseling and then wait 24 hours before terminating their pregnancies.
1993 – Six people were killed and 17 were injured when a gunman opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train.
1993 – Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary revealed that the U.S. government had conducted more than 200 nuclear weapons tests in secret at its Nevada test site.
1993 – Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders suggested that the U.S. government study the impact of drug legalization.
1995 – A probe sent from the Galileo spacecraft entered into Jupiter’s atmosphere. The probe sent back data to the mothership before it was presumably destroyed.
1996 – The space shuttle Columbia returned from the longest-ever shuttle flight of 17 days, 15 hours and 54 minutes.
1998 – The U.N. evacuated 14 peacekeepers that were trapped by fighting between army and rebel forces in central Angola.
1998 – U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno declined to seek an independent counsel investigation of President Clinton over 1996 campaign financing.
1999 – A U.S. federal grand jury indicted a former convict in the 1995 disappearance of atheist leader Madalyn Murray O’Hair.
2002 – In Amsterdam, Netherlands, two Van Gogh paintings were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum. The two works were “View of the Sea st Scheveningen” and “Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen.” On July 26, 2004, two men were convicted for the crime and were sentenced to at least four years in prison each.
2002 – In Mymensingh, Bangladesh, four movies theaters were bombed within 30 minutes of each other. At least 15 people were killed and over 200 were injured.
2003 – A 12-inch by 26-inch painting of a river landscape and sailing vessel by Martin Johnson Heade was sold at auction for $1 million. The painting was found in the attic of a suburban Boston home where it had been stored for more than 60 years.