1804 – Louisiana Purchase: In St. Louis, Missouri, a formal ceremony is conducted to transfer ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States.
1848 – The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is ratified by the United States Senate, ending the Mexican–American War.
1876 – Alexander Graham Bell makes the first successful telephone call by saying "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you."
1891 – Almon Strowger, an undertaker in Topeka, Kansas, patents the Strowger switch, a device which led to the automation of telephone circuit switching.
1933 – An earthquake in Long Beach, California kills 115 people and causes an estimated $40 million in damage.
1945 – The U.S. Army Air Force firebombs Tokyo, and the resulting conflagration kills more than 100,000 people, mostly civilians.
1968 – Vietnam War: Battle of Lima Site 85, concluding the 11th with largest single ground combat loss of United States Air Force members (12) during that war.
1969 – In Memphis, Tennessee, James Earl Ray pleads guilty to assassinating Martin Luther King, Jr. He later unsuccessfully attempts to retract his plea.
1970 – Vietnam War: Captain Ernest Medina is charged by the U.S. military with My Lai war crimes.
1975 – Vietnam War: Ho Chi Minh Campaign: North Vietnamese troops attack Ban Mê Thuột in the South on their way to capturing Saigon in the final push for victory over South Vietnam.
2000 – The Nasdaq Composite stock market index peaks at 5132.52, signaling the beginning of the end of the dot-com boom.
2006 – The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrives at Mars.
1745 – John Gunby, American general (d. 1807)
1846 – Edward Baker Lincoln, American son of Abraham Lincoln (d. 1850)
1867 – Lillian Wald, American nurse, humanitarian, and author, founded the Henry Street Settlement (d. 1940)
1903 – Clare Boothe Luce, American playwright, journalist, and diplomat (d. 1987)
1928 – James Earl Ray, American assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. (d. 1998)
1933 – Ralph Emery, American radio and television host
1940 – Chuck Norris, American actor, producer, and martial artist
1946 – Jim Valvano, American basketball player and coach (d. 1993)
1974 – Biz Stone, American businessman, co-founded Twitter
1977 – Shannon Miller, American gymnast and lawyer
1913 – Harriet Tubman, American nurse and activist (b. 1820)
1948 – Zelda Fitzgerald, American author, poet, and dancer (b. 1900)
1973 – Bull Connor, American politician (b. 1897)
1997 – LaVern Baker, American singer and actress (b. 1929)
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