In 1493 Christopher Columbus sets sail from Cadiz, Spain, with a flotilla of 17 ships on his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere.
In 1513 Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa crosses the Isthmus of Panama to discover the Pacific Ocean.
In 1690 One of the earliest American newspapers, Publick Occurrences, publishes its only issue in Boston.
In 1775 American Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen is captured by the British as he lead an attack on Montreal.
In 1789 The first U.S. Congress, meeting in New York, adopts 12 amendments to the Constitution and sends them to the states for ratification. Ten of the amendments become the Bill of Rights.
In 1804 The 12th amendment is passed regulating judicial power.
In 1882 The first major league baseball double header is played between Providence and Worcester.
In 1890 The U.S. Congress establishes Yosemite National Park.
In 1890 Mormon President Wilford Woodruff issues a Manifesto formally renouncing the practice of polygamy.
In 1904 A New York City police officer orders Lillian Orr, an automobile passenger on Fifth Avenue, to stop smoking a cigarette. A male companion was arrested and later fined $2 for abusing the officer.
In 1919 President Woodrow Wilson becomes ill and collapses after a speech in Pueblo, Colorado.
In 1926 Henry Ford announces the 5-day work week.
In 1939 Los Angeles receives 5.66 inches of rain, setting the city's 24-hour rainfall record.
In 1956 The first transatlantic telephone cable goes into operation.
In 1957 With 300 U.S. Army troops standing guard, nine black children who had been forced to withdraw from Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, because of unruly white crowds are escorted to classes.
In 1962 Sonny Liston knocks out Floyd Patterson in round one to win the world heavyweight title at Comiskey Park in Chicago.
In 1973 The 3-man crew of Skylab II make a safe splashdown in the Pacific Ocean after 59 days in orbit.
In 1977 The world record for the skateboard long-jump is set at 17 feet.
In 1978 144 people are killed when a Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727 and a Cessna private plane collide in the air over San Diego.
In 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor is sworn in as the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice.
In 1983 38 Irish prisoners shoot their way out of "escape-proof" Maza Prison in Belfast.
In 1984 One day after President Reagan addressed the U.N. General Assembly, the official Soviet news agency Tass rejects the American leader's assurances of a U.S. desire for arms cuts as "absolutely groundless."
In 1985 U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze meet for more than four hours at the Soviet UN Mission, but failed to agree on any of the issues they discussed.
In 1986 Terrorists seeking freedom for Arab prisoners in France explode a bomb in Paris, killing ten and injuring 162.
In 1987 The U.S. Senate unanimously approves the nomination of Judge William S. Sessions to be the new director of the FBI.
In 1989 President Bush, addressing the U.N. General Assembly, offers to slash American stocks of chemical weapons more than 80 percent, provided the Soviets did the same.
In 1990 The U.N. Security Council votes, 14-1, to impose an air embargo against Iraq.
In 1991 The UN Security Council unanimously orders a worldwide arms embargo against Yugoslavia and all its warring factions.
In 1991 Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie dies in Lyon, France, at age 77.
In 1991 A national commission faults the government for a lack of leadership in the fight against AIDS.
In 1992 A judge in Orlando, FL, rules in favor of Gregory Kingsley, a 12-year-old boy seeking a "divorce" from his biological parents.
In 1992 The Mars Observer blasts off on a $980 million mission to the red planet (The probe disappeared just before entering Martian orbit in August 1993).
In 1993 Three U.S. soldiers in Somalia are killed when their helicopter was downed by a rocket-propelled grenade.
In 1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin begins a 5-day tour of the U.S. in New York, hoping to encourage American investment in his country's struggling economy.
In 1995 Ross Perot announces he will form a new Independent Party that would field its own White House candidate and would try to be the swing vote in congressional races.
In 1996 Stone-throwing protests by thousands of Palestinians angered by Israel's decision to open an archaeological tunnel near Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque compound lead to Palestinian police battling with Israeli troops. Seven people die and more than 350 are wounded.
In 1997 Hammas leader Khalid Mashaal survives an attempted poisoning in Jordan; two Israeli agents are captured.
In 1997 President Clinton opens the door of Central High School in Little Rock, AR, and welcomes nine blacks who faced mobs 40 years ago in school desecration.
In 1997 Sportscaster Marv Albert pleads guilty to assault and battery after earlier denying he bit a lover's back. Within hours, NBC fires him.
In 2000 In Sydney, Australia, U.S. runner Michael Johnson becomes the first man to successfully defend a 400-meter title.
In 2000 Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan is stripped of her all-around Olympic gold medal after testing positive for a banned drug.
In 2001 Saudi Arabia formally severs relations with Afghanistan's hard-line Taliban government.
In 2001 Former Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan announced he was returning to the game with the Washington Wizards.
In 2001 GM says the 2002 model year would be the last for the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird.
In 2004 Billionaire oilman, philanthropist and onetime Fox studios owner Marvin Davis dies at age 79.
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