1496 – King Henry VII of England issues letters patent to John Cabot and his sons, authorising them to explore unknown lands.
1766 – Antonio de Ulloa, the first Spanish governor of Louisiana, arrives in New Orleans.
1770 – Boston Massacre: Five Americans, including Crispus Attucks, are fatally shot by British troops in an event that would contribute to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War (also known as the American War of Independence) five years later.
1836 – Samuel Colt patents the first production-model revolver, the .34-caliber.
1872 – George Westinghouse patents the air brake.
1906 – Moro Rebellion: United States Army troops bring overwhelming force against the native Moros in the First Battle of Bud Dajo, leaving only six survivors.
1933 – Great Depression: President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares a "bank holiday", closing all U.S. banks and freezing all financial transactions.
1933 – Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party receives 43.9% at the Reichstag elections. This later allows the Nazis to pass the Enabling Act and establish a dictatorship.
1946 – Winston Churchill coins the phrase "Iron Curtain" in his speech at Westminster College, Missouri.
1978 – The Landsat 3 is launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
1979 – America's Voyager 1 spacecraft has its closest approach to Jupiter, 172,000 miles.
1898 – Zhou Enlai, Chinese soldier and politician, 1st Premier of the People's Republic of China (d. 1976)
1918 – James Tobin, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2002)
1955 – Penn Jillette, American magician, actor, and author
1770 – Crispus Attucks, American patriot (b. 1723) and others from the Boston Massacre
1950 – Edgar Lee Masters American poet, author, and playwright (b. 1868)
1963 – Patsy Cline, American singer-songwriter (b. 1932)
1980 – Jay Silverheels, Canadian-American actor (b. 1912)
1982 – John Belushi, American actor (b. 1949)
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