1769 – An expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá establishes a base in California and sets out to find the Port of Monterey (now Monterey, California).
1771 – Foundation of the Mission San Antonio de Padua in modern California by the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra.
1789 – Alexander Mackenzie finally completes his journey to the mouth of the great river he hoped would take him to the Pacific, but which turns out to flow into the Arctic Ocean. Later named after him, the Mackenzie is the second-longest river system in North America.
1798 – The Sedition Act becomes law in the United States making it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the United States government.
1853 – Opening of the first major US world's fair, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in New York City.
1874 – The Chicago Fire of 1874 burns down 47 acres of the city, destroying 812 buildings, killing 20, and resulting in the fire insurance industry demanding municipal reforms from Chicago's city council.
1877 – The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 begins in Martinsburg, West Virginia, US, when Baltimore and Ohio Railroad workers have their wages cut for the second time in a year.
1881 – Billy the Kid is shot and killed by Pat Garrett outside Fort Sumner.
1911 – Harry Atwood, an exhibition pilot for the Wright brothers lands his airplane at the South Lawn of the White House. He is later awarded a Gold medal from U.S. President William Howard Taft for this feat.
1943 – In Diamond, Missouri, the George Washington Carver National Monument becomes the first United States National Monument in honor of an African American.
1960 – Jane Goodall arrives at the Gombe Stream Reserve in present-day Tanzania to begin her famous study of chimpanzees in the wild.
1965 – The Mariner 4 flyby of Mars takes the first close-up photos of another planet.
1969 – The United States $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills are officially withdrawn from circulation.
2003 – In an effort to discredit U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, who had written an article critical of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Washington Post columnist Robert Novak reveals that Wilson's wife Valerie Plame is a CIA "operative".
2015 – NASA's New Horizons probe performs the first flyby of Pluto, and thus completes the initial survey of the Solar System.
1785 – Mordecai Manuel Noah, American journalist, playwright, and diplomat (d. 1851)
1894 – Dave Fleischer, American animator, director, and producer (d. 1979)
1898 – Happy Chandler, American lawyer and politician, 49th Governor of Kentucky (d. 1991)
1910 – William Hanna, American animator, director, producer, and actor, co-founded Hanna-Barbera (d. 2001)
1912 – Woody Guthrie, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1967)
1913 – Gerald Ford, American commander, lawyer, and politician, 38th President of the United States (d. 2006)
1927 – John Chancellor, American journalist (d. 1996)
1932 – Rosey Grier, American football player and actor
1952 – Franklin Graham, American evangelist and missionary
1881 – Billy the Kid, American criminal (b. 1859)
1918 – Quentin Roosevelt, American lieutenant and pilot (b. 1897)
1965 – Adlai Stevenson II, American soldier and politician, 5th United States Ambassador to the United Nations (b. 1900)
1998 – Richard McDonald, American businessman, co-founded McDonald's (b. 1909)
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