1673 – The first recorded wine auction took place in London.
1792 – U.S. President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act thereby creating the U.S. Post Office.
1809 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the power of the federal government was greater than that of any individual state.
1815 – The USS Constitution, under Captain Charles Stewart fought the British ships Cyane and Levant. The Constitution captures both, but lost the Levant after encountering a British squadron. The Constitution and the Cyane returned to New York safely on May 15, 1815. The Cyane was purchased and became the USS Cyane.
1839 – The U.S. Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia.
1872 – Luther Crowell received a patent for a machine that manufactured paper bags.
1872 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York City.
1872 – Silas Noble and J.P. Cooley patented the toothpick manufacturing machine.
1873 – The University of California got its first Medical School.
1880 – The American Bell Company was incorporated.
1901 – The first territorial legislature of Hawaii convened.
1921 – The motion picture “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” was released starring Rudolph Valentino.
1931 – The U.S. Congress allowed California to build the Oakland Bay Bridge.
1933 – The U.S. House of Representatives completed congressional action on the amendment to repeal Prohibition.
1944 – “Big Week” began as U.S. bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers during World War II.
1952 – Emmett L. Ashford became the first black umpire in organized baseball. He was authorized to be a substitute in the Southwestern International League.
1952 – “The African Queen” opened at the Capitol Theatre in New York City.
1958 – Racing jockey Eddie Arcaro got win number 4,000, as he rode the winner at Santa Anita race track in Southern California.
1962 – John Glenn made space history when he orbited the world three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes. He was the first American to orbit the Earth. He was aboard the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule.
1965 – Ranger 8 crashed on the moon after sending back thousands of pictures of its surface.
1987 – After 11 years, David Hartman left ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
1987 – A bomb exploded in a computer store in Salt Lake City, UT. The blast was blamed on the Unabomber.
1993 – Two ten-year-old boys were charged by police in Liverpool, England, in the abduction and death of a toddler. The two boys were later convicted.
1998 – American Tara Lipinski, at age 15, became the youngest gold medalist in winter Olympics history when she won the ladies’ figure skating title at Nagano, Japan.
2001 – FBI Agent Robert Phillip Hanssen was arrested and charged with spying for the Russians for 15 years.
2002 – In Reqa Al-Gharbiya, Egypt, a fire raced through a train killing at least 370 people and injuring at least 65.
2003 – In West Warwick, RI, 99 people were killed when fire destroyed the nightclub The Station. The fire started with sparks from a pyrotechnic display being used by Great White. Ty Longley, guitarist for Great White, was one of the victims in the fire.