1455 – Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed from movable type
1574 – France began the 5th holy war against the Huguenots.
1660 – Charles XI became the king of Sweden.
1792 – The Humane Society of Massachusetts was incorporated.
1813 – The first U.S. raw cotton-to-cloth mill was founded in Waltham, MA.
1820 – The Cato Street conspiracy was uncovered.
1821 – The Philadelphia College of Apothecaries established the first pharmacy college.
1822 – Boston was incorporated as a city.
1836 – In San Antonio, TX, the siege of the Alamo began.
1839 – In Boston, MA, William F. Harnden organized the first express service between Boston and New York City. It was the first express service in the U.S.
1847 – Santa Anna was defeated at the Battle of Buena Vista in Mexico by U.S. troops under Gen. Zachary.
1861 – U.S. President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington to take his office after an assassination attempt in Baltimore.
1861 – Texas became the 7th state to secede from the Union.
1870 – The state of Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.
1874 – Walter Winfield patented a game called “sphairistike.” More widely known as lawn tennis.
1875 – J. Palisa discovered asteroid #143 (aka Adria).
1883 – Alabama became the first U.S. state to enact an antitrust law.
1886 – Charles M. Hall completed his invention of aluminum.
1887 – The French/Italian Riviera was hit by an earthquake that killed about 2,000.
1896 – The Tootsie Roll was introduced by Leo Hirshfield.
1898 – In France, Emile Zola was imprisoned for his letter, “J’accuse,” which accused the government of anti-Semitism and wrongly jailing Alfred Dreyfus.
1900 – The Battle of Hart’s Hill took place in South Africa between the Boers and the British army.
1904 – The U.S. acquired control of the Panama Canal Zone for $10 million.
1905 – The Rotary Club was founded in Chicago, IL, by Attorney Paul Harris and three others.
1910 – In Philadelphia, PA, the first radio contest was held.
1915 – Nevada began enforcing convenient divorce law.
1916 – The U.S. Congress authorizes the McKinley Memorial $1 gold coin.
1919 – The Fascist Party was formed in Italy by Benito Mussolini.
1927 – The Federal Radio Commission began assigning frequencies, hours of operation and power allocations for radio broadcasters. On July 1, 1934 the name was changed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
1932 – Robert Short became the first American to die in an arial battle with the Japanese. (more info)
1940 – Russian troops conquered Lasi Island.
1940 – Walt Disney’s animated movie “Pinocchio” was released.
1945 – The 28th Regiment of the Fifth Marine Division of the U.S. Marines reached the top of Mount Surabachi. A photograph of these Marines raising the American flag was taken.
1954 – The first mass vaccination of children against polio began in Pittsburgh, PA.
1955 – The French government was formed by Edgar Faure.
1957 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the NFL operations did fall within coverage of antitrust laws.
1958 – Juan Fangio, 5-time world diving champion, was kidnapped by Cuban rebels.
1963 – The 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It prohibited poll taxes in federal elections.
1966 – The Bitar government in Syria was ended with a military coup.
1967 – Jim Ryun set a record in the half-mile run when ran it in 1:48.3.
1968 – Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia 76ers) became the first player to score 25,000 career points in the NBA.
1970 – Guyana became a republic.
1974 – The Symbionese Liberation Army demanded $4 million more for the release of Patty Hearst. Hearst had been kidnapped on February 4th.
1980 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared that Iran’s new parliament would have to decide the fate of the hostages taken on November 4, 1979, at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
1985 – The TV show “Gimme a Break” was broadcast live before a studio audience. It was the first TV sitcom to be seen live since the 1950s.
1991 – During the Persian Gulf War, ground forces crossed the border of Saudi Arabia into the country of Iraq. Less than four days later the war was over due to the surrender or withdraw of Iraqi forces.
1993 – Gary Coleman won a $1,280,000 lawsuit against his parents.
1995 – The Dow Jones Industrial closed about 4,000 for the first time at 4,003.33.
1997 – NBC-TV aired “Schindler’s List.” It was completely uncensored.
1997 – Ali Hassan Abu Kamal, a Palestinian teacher, opened fire on the 86th-floor observation deck of New York City’s Empire State Building. He killed one person and wounded six more before killing himself.
1998 – In central Florida, tornadoes killed 42 people and damaged and/or destroyed about 2,600 homes and businesses.
1999 – In Ankara, Turkey, Abdullah Ocalan was charged with treason. The prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for the Kurdish rebel leader.
1999 – White supremacist John William King was found guilty of kidnapping and murdering James Byrd Jr. Byrd was dragged behind a truck for two miles on a country road in Texas.
2000 – Robby Knievel made a successful motorcycle jump of 200 feet over an oncoming train.
2005 – The New York, NY, city medical examiner’s office annouced that it had exhausted all efforts to identify the remains of the people killed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, due to the limits of DNA technology. About 1,600 people had been identified leaving more than 1,100 unidentified.