1496 – References in Leonardo da Vinci notebooks suggested that he tested his flying machine. The test didn’t succeed and he didn’t try to fly again for several years.
1521 – Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther.
1777 – The Battle of Princeton took place in the War of Independence, in which George Washington defeated the British forces, led by Cornwallis.
1815 – By secret treaty, Austria, Britain, and France formed a defensive alliance against Prusso-Russian plans to solve the Saxon and Polish problems.
1823 – Stephen F. Austin received a grant from the Mexican government and began colonization in the region of the Brazos River in Texas.
1825 – The first engineering college in the U.S. , Rensselaer School, opened in Troy, NY. It is now known as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
1833 – Britain seized control of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. About 150 years later, Argentina seized the islands from the British, but Britain took them back after a 74-day war.
1868 – The Shogunate was abolished in Japan and Meiji dynasty was restored.
1871 – Henry W. Bradley patented oleomargarine.
1888 – The drinking straw was patented by Marvin C. Stone.
1924 – English explorer Howard Carter discovered the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt.
1925 – In Italy, Mussolini announced that he would take dictatorial powers.
1938 – The first broadcast of “Woman in White” was presented on the NBC Red network. The program remained on radio for 10 years.
1938 – The March of Dimes was established by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The organization fights poliomyelitis. The original name of the organization was the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
1947 – U.S. Congressional proceedings were televised for the first time. Viewers in Washington, Philadelphia and New York City saw some of the opening ceremonies of the 80th Congress.
1947 – In Trenton, NJ, Al Herrin, passed away at age 92. He had claimed that he had not slept at all during his life.
1951 – NBC-TV debuted “Dragnet.”
1953 – Frances Bolton and her son, Oliver from Ohio, became the first mother-son combination to serve at the same time in the U.S. Congress.
1957 – The Hamilton Watch Company introduced the first electric watch.
1959 – In the U.S., Alaska became the 49th state.
1961 – The U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Cuba.
1962 – Pope John XXIII excommunicated Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro.
1967 – Jack Ruby died in a Dallas, TX, hospital.
1973 – The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) sold the New York Yankees to a 12-man syndicate headed by George Steinbrenner for $10 million.
1980 – Conservationist Joy Adamson, author of “Born Free,” was killed in northern Kenya by a servant.
1983 – Tony Dorsett (Dallas Cowboys) made the longest run from scrimmage in NFL history. Dorsett ran 99 yards in a game against the Minnesota Vikings.
1984 – A woman died at Disneyland after falling from a ride. She had apparently unfastened her seatbelt while on the Matterhorn bobsled.
1988 – Margaret Thatcher became the longest-serving British Prime Minister in the 20th century.
1990 – Ousted Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega surrendered to U.S. forces, 10 days after taking refuge in the Vatican’s diplomatic mission.
1991 – The British government announced that seven Iraqi diplomats, another embassy staff member and 67 other Iraqis were being expelled from Britain.
1993 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in Moscow.
1995 – WHO reported that the cumulative total of officially reported cases of AIDS had risen to 1,025,073 in 192 countries as at the end of 1994.
1995 – The U.S. Postal Service raised the price of the first-class stamp to 32 cents.
1997 – Bryant Gumbel signed off for the last time as host of NBC’s “Today” show.
1998 – China announced that it would spend $27.7 billion to fight erosion and pollution in the Yangtze and Yellow river valleys.
1999 – Israeli authorities detained, and later expelled, 14 members of Concerned Christians. Israili officials claimed that the Denver, CO-based cult was plotting violence in Jerusalem to bring about the Second Coming of Christ.
2000 – Charles M. Schulz’s final original daily comic strip appeared in newspapers.
2001 – The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) charged the “Texas 7” with weapons violations. An autopsy showed that Office Aubrey Hawkins, killed by the convicts, had been shot 11 times and run over with a vehicle.
2004 – NASA’s Spirit rover landed on Mars. The craft was able to send back black and white images three hours after landing.