1728 – John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera was first performed at Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre, London.
1802 – John Beckley became the first Librarian of Congress.
1820 – Britain’s King George III died insane at Windsor Castle.
1845 – Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was published for the first time in the “New York Evening Mirror.”
1848 – Greenwich Mean Time was adopted by Scotland.
1850 – Henry Clay introduced in the Senate a compromise bill on slavery that included the admission of California into the Union as a free state.
1856 – Britain’s highest military decoration, the Victoria Cross, was founded by Queen Victoria.
1861 – In America, Kansas became the 34th state of the Union.
1886 – The first successful petrol-driven motorcar, built by Karl Benz, was patented.
1916 – In World War I, Paris was bombed by German zeppelins for the first time.
1924 – R. Taylor patented the ice cream cone rolling machine.
1936 – The first members of major league baseball’s Hall of Fame were named in Cooperstown, NY.
1940 – The W. Atlee Burpee Seed Company displayed the first tetraploid flowers at the New York City Flower Show.
1949 – “The Newport News” was commissioned as the first air-conditioned naval ship in Virginia.
1956 – “Indictment” debuted on CBS radio and stayed on the air for three years.
1958 – Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married.
1958 – Charles Starkweather was captured by police in Wyoming.
1963 – The first members to the NFL’s Hall of Fame were named in Canton, OH.
1963 – Britain was refused entry into the EEC.
1966 – “Sweet Charity” opened at the Palace Theatre in New York City. It ran for 608 performances.
1979 – U.S. President Carter formally welcomed Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping to the White House. The visit followed the establishment of diplomatic relations.
1985 – The Dow Jones industrial average peaked at 1,292.62.
1987 – “Physician’s Weekly” announced that the smile on the face of Leonardo DeVinci’s Mona Lisa was caused by a “…facial paralysis resulting from a swollen nerve behind the ear.”
1990 – Joseph Hazelwood, the former skipper of the Exxon Valdez, went on trial in Anchorage, AK, on charges that stemmed from America’s worst oil spill. Hazelwood was later acquitted of all the major charges and was convicted of a misdemeanor.
1995 – The San Francisco 49ers became the first team in National Football League (NFL) history to win five Super Bowl titles. The 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26.
1996 – French President Jacques Chirac announced the “definitive end” to nuclear testing.
1996 – La Fenice, the 204 year old opera house in Venice, was destroyed by fire. Arson was suspected.
1997 – America Online agreed to give refunds to frustrated customers under threat of lawsuits across the country. Customers were unable to log on after AOL offered a flat $19.95-a-month rate.
1998 – A bomb exploded at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, AL, killing an off-duty policeman and severely wounding a nurse. Eric Rudolph was charged with this bombing and three other attacks in Atlanta.
1999 – Paris prosecutors announced the end of the investigation into the accident that killed Britain’s Princess Diana.
1999 – The U.S. Senate delivered subpoenas for Monica Lewinsky and two presidential advisers for private, videotaped testimony in the impeachment trial.
2001 – In Indonesia, thousands of student protesters stormed the parliament property and demanded that President Abdurrahman Wahid quit due to his alleged involvement in two corruption scandals. Wahid announced that he would not resign.