1778 – The United States gained official recognition from France as the two nations signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance in Paris.
1788 – Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
1815 – The state of New Jersey issued the first American railroad charter to John Stevens.
1843 – “The Virginia Minstrels” opened at the Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City. It was the first minstrel show in America.
1899 – The U.S. Senate ratified a peace treaty between the U.S. and Spain.
1900 – The Holland Senate ratified the 1899 peace conference decree that created in international arbitration court at The Hague.
1900 – U.S. President McKinley appointed W.H. Taft as commissioner to report on the Philippines.
1911 – The first old-age home for pioneers opened in Prescott, AZ.
1926 – The National Football League adopted a rule that made players ineligible for competition until their college class graduated.
1932 – Dog sled racing happened for the first time in Olympic competition.
1933 – The 20th Amendment to the Constitution was declared in effect. The amendment moved the start of presidential, vice-presidential and congressional terms from March to January.
1937 – K. Elizabeth Ohi became the first Japanese woman lawyer when she received her degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL.
1950 – NBC radio debuted “Dangerous Assignment”.
1952 – Britain’s King George VI died. His daughter, Elizabeth II, succeeded him.
1956 – St. Patrick Center opened in Kankakee, IL. It was the first circular school building in the United States.
1959 – The U.S., for the first time, successfully test-fired a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile from Cape Canaveral.
1971 – NASA Astronaut Alan B. Shepard used a six-iron that he had brought inside his spacecraft and swung at three golf balls on the surface of the moon.
1972 – Over 500,000 pieces of irate mail arrived at the mail room of CBS-TV, when word leaked out that an edited-for-TV version of the X-rated movie, “The Demand,” would be shown.
1985 – The French mineral water company, Perrier, debuted its first new product in 123 years. The new items were water with a twist of lemon, lime or orange.
1987 – President Ronald Reagan turned 76 years old this day and became the oldest U.S. President in history.
1998 – Washington National Airport was renamed for U.S. President Ronald Reagan with the signing of a bill by U.S. President Clinton.
1999 – King Hussein of Jordan transferred full political power to his oldest son the Crown Prince Abdullah.
1999 – Excerpts of former White House intern Monica Lewinsky’s videotaped testimony were shown at President Clinton’s impeachment trial.
1999 – Heavy fighting resumed along the common border between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
2000 – Russia’s acting President Vladimir Putin announced that Russian forces had captured Grozny, Chechnya. The capital city had been under the control of Chechen rebels.
2000 – In Finland, Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen became the first woman to be elected president.
2000 – U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton formally declared that she was a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from the state of New York.
2001 – Ariel Sharon was elected Israeli prime minister.
2002 – A federal judge ordered John Walker Lindh to be held without bail pending trial. Lindh was known as the “American Taliban.”