1687 – Explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle, searching for the mouth of the Mississippi River, is murdered by his own men.
1865 – American Civil War: The Battle of Bentonville begins. By the end of the battle two days later, Confederate forces had retreated from Four Oaks, North Carolina.
1918 – The U.S. Congress establishes time zones and approves daylight saving time.
1920 – The United States Senate rejects the Treaty of Versailles for the second time (the first time was on November 19, 1919).
1931 – Gambling is legalized in Nevada.
1941 – World War II: The 99th Pursuit Squadron also known as the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-black unit of the US Army Air Corps, is activated.
1943 – Frank Nitti, the Chicago Outfit Boss after Al Capone, commits suicide at the Chicago Central Railyard.
1945 – World War II: Adolf Hitler issues his "Nero Decree" ordering all industries, military installations, shops, transportation facilities and communications facilities in Germany to be destroyed.
1954 – Joey Giardello knocks out Willie Tory in round seven at Madison Square Garden in the first televised prize boxing fight shown in colour.
1954 – Willie Mosconi sets a world record by running 526 consecutive balls without a miss during a straight pool exhibition at East High Billiard Club in Springfield, Ohio. The record still stands today.
1962 – Highly influential artist, Bob Dylan releases his first album, Bob Dylan, on Columbia Records label.
1965 – The wreck of the SS Georgiana, valued at over $50,000,000 and said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser, is discovered by teenage diver and pioneer underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence, exactly 102 years after its destruction.
1966 – Texas Western becomes the first college basketball team to win the Final four with an all-black starting lineup.
1979 – The United States House of Representatives begins broadcasting its day-to-day business via the cable television network C-SPAN.
1987 – Televangelist Jim Bakker resigns as head of the PTL Club due to a brewing sex scandal; he hands over control to Jerry Falwell.
1590 – William Bradford, English-American politician, 2nd Governor of Plymouth Colony (d. 1657)
1734 – Thomas McKean, American lawyer and politician, 2nd Governor of Pennsylvania (d. 1817)
1848 – Wyatt Earp, American police officer (d. 1929)
1860 – William Jennings Bryan, American lawyer and politician, 41st United States Secretary of State (d. 1925)
1865 – William Morton Wheeler, American entomologist, myrmecologist, and academic (d. 1937)
1883 – Joseph Stilwell, American general (d. 1946)
1891 – Earl Warren, American lieutenant, jurist, and politician, 14th Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1974)
1894 – Moms Mabley, American comedian, actress, and singer (d. 1975)
1950 – Edgar Rice Burroughs, American soldier and author (b. 1875)
1997 – Willem de Kooning, Dutch-American painter and educator (b. 1904)
2005 – John DeLorean, American engineer and businessman, founded the DeLorean Motor Company (b. 1925)
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