1492 – Spain gives Christopher Columbus his commission of exploration.
1557 – Mapuche leader Lautaro is killed by Spanish forces at the Battle of Mataquito in Chile.
1598 – Juan de Oñate makes a formal declaration of his Conquest of New Mexico.
1789 – On the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City, George Washington takes the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States.
1803 – Louisiana Purchase: The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation.
1812 – The Territory of Orleans becomes the 18th U.S. state under the name Louisiana.
1838 – Nicaragua declares independence from the Central American Federation.
1871 – The Camp Grant massacre takes place in Arizona Territory.
1885 – Governor of New York David B. Hill signs legislation creating the Niagara Reservation, New York's first state park, ensuring that Niagara Falls will not be devoted solely to industrial and commercial use.
1894 – Coxey's Army reaches Washington, D.C. to protest the unemployment caused by the Panic of 1893.
1900 – Hawaii becomes a territory of the United States, with Sanford B. Dole as governor.
1900 – Casey Jones dies in a train wreck in Vaughan, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express.
1904 – The Louisiana Purchase Exposition World's Fair opens in St. Louis, Missouri.
1907 – Honolulu, Hawaii becomes an independent city.
1925 – Automaker Dodge Brothers, Inc is sold to Dillon, Read & Co. for US$146 million plus $50 million for charity.
1927 – The Federal Industrial Institute for Women opens in Alderson, West Virginia, as the first women's federal prison in the United States.
1927 – Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford become the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
1938 – The animated cartoon short Porky's Hare Hunt debuts in movie theaters, introducing Happy Rabbit (a prototype of Bugs Bunny).
1939 – The 1939-40 New York World's Fair opens.
1939 – NBC inaugurates its regularly scheduled television service in New York City, broadcasting President Franklin D. Roosevelt's N.Y. World's Fair opening day ceremonial address.
1945 – World War II: Führerbunker: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide after being married for less than 40 hours. Soviet soldiers raise the Victory Banner over the Reichstag building.
1947 – In Nevada, the Boulder Dam is renamed the Hoover Dam a second time.
1948 – In Bogotá, Colombia, the Organization of American States is established.
1956 – Former Vice President and Democratic Senator Alben Barkley dies during a speech in Virginia. He collapses after proclaiming "I'm glad to sit on the back row, for I would rather be a servant in the house of the lord than sit in the seats of the mighty."
1973 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announces that White House Counsel John Dean has been fired and that other top aides, most notably H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, have resigned.
1975 – Fall of Saigon: Communist forces gain control of Saigon. The Vietnam War formally ends with the unconditional surrender of South Vietnamese president Dương Văn Minh.
1993 – CERN announces World Wide Web protocols will be free.
1995 – U.S. President Bill Clinton becomes the first President to visit Northern Ireland.
2004 – U.S. media release graphic photos of American soldiers abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.
2009 – Chrysler files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
1877 – Alice B. Toklas, American memoirist (d. 1967)
1908 – Eve Arden, American actress (d. 1990)
1916 – Robert Shaw, American conductor (d. 1999)
1921 – Roger L. Easton, American scientist, co-invented the GPS (d. 2014)
1923 – Al Lewis, American actor and politician (d. 2006)
1925 – Johnny Horton, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1960)
1926 – Cloris Leachman, American actress
1938 – Gary Collins, American actor and talk show host (d. 2012)
1943 – Bobby Vee, American singer
1944 – Jill Clayburgh, American actress and singer (d. 2010)
1946 – Don Schollander, American swimmer
1958 – Wonder Mike, American rapper (Sugarhill Gang)
1961 – Isiah Thomas, American basketball player, coach, and sportscaster
1891 – Joseph Leidy, American paleontologist and author (b. 1823)
1900 – Casey Jones, American engineer (b. 1863)
1956 – Alben W. Barkley, American lawyer and politician, 35th Vice President of the United States (b. 1877)
1974 – Agnes Moorehead, American actress and singer (b. 1900)
2015 – Ben E. King, American singer-songwriter and producer (The Drifters) (b. 1938)
3131 19th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55407
Telephone: 612.668.4300 | Fax: 612.668.4310