1776 – American Revolutionary War: Henry Knox's "noble train of artillery" arrives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1785 – The University of Georgia is founded, the first public university in the United States.
1825 – The U.S. Congress approves Indian Territory (in what is present-day Oklahoma), clearing the way for forced relocation of the Eastern Indians on the "Trail of Tears".
1880 – Thomas Edison receives the patent on the incandescent lamp.
1939 – First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
1943 – World War II: The VIII Bomber Command sorties ninety-one B-17s and B-24s to attack the U-boat construction yards at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. This was the first American bombing attack on Germany.
1945 – World War II: The Red Army liberates the remaining inmates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp built by the Nazi Germans on the territory of Poland.
1951 – Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site begins with Operation Ranger.
1967 – Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of their Apollo 1 spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
1967 – The United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union sign the Outer Space Treaty in Washington, D.C., banning deployment of nuclear weapons in space, and limiting use of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes.
1973 – The Paris Peace Accords officially end the Vietnam War. Colonel William Nolde is killed in action becoming the conflict's last recorded American combat casualty.
1980 – Through cooperation between the U.S. and Canadian governments, six American diplomats secretly escape hostilities in Iran in the culmination of the Canadian Caper.
1984 – Pop singer Michael Jackson suffers second degree burns to his scalp during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in the Shrine Auditorium.
1993 – American-born sumo wrestler Akebono Tarō becomes the first foreigner to be promoted to the sport's highest rank of yokozuna.
2003 – The first selections for the National Recording Registry are announced by the Library of Congress.
2006 – Western Union discontinues its Telegram and Commercial Messaging services.
1795 – Eli Whitney Blake, American engineer, invented the Mortise lock (d. 1886)
1850 – Samuel Gompers, English-American labor leader (d. 1924)
1885 – Jerome Kern, American composer and songwriter (d. 1945)
1901 – Art Rooney, American football player and coach, founded the Pittsburgh Steelers (d. 1988)
1908 – William Randolph Hearst, Jr., American journalist and publisher (d. 1993)
1919 – Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., American singer-songwriter, pianist, producer, and actor, created Alvin and the Chipmunks (d. 1972)
1957 – Frank Miller, American illustrator, director, producer, and screenwriter
1851 – John James Audubon, French-American ornithologist and painter (b. 1789)
1922 – Nellie Bly, American journalist and author (b. 1864)
1965 – Abraham Walkowitz, American painter (b. 1878)
1967 – Roger B. Chaffee, American pilot, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1935)
1967 – Gus Grissom, American pilot and astronaut (b. 1926)
1967 – Edward Higgins White, American colonel, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1930)
1972 – Mahalia Jackson, American singer (b. 1911)
2010 – J. D. Salinger, American soldier and author (b. 1919)
2010 – Howard Zinn, American historian, author, and activist (b. 1922)
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