1517 – Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace Church. The event marked the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.
1868 – Postmaster General Alexander Williams Randall approved a standard uniform for postal carriers.
1914 – The Ottoman Empire (Turkey) joined the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria).
1922 – Benito Mussolini became prime minister of Italy.
1926 – Magician Harry Houdini died of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix. His appendix had been damaged twelve days earlier when he had been punched in the stomach by a student unexpectedly. During a lecture Houdini had commented on the strength of his stomach muscles and their ability to withstand hard blows.
1940 – The British air victory in the Battle of Britain prevented Germany from invading Britain.
1941 – Mount Rushmore was declared complete after 14 years of work. At the time the 60-foot busts of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were finished.
1952 – The U.S. detonated its first hydrogen bomb.
1954 – The Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) began a revolt against French rule.
1959 – Defense Department announced elimination of all segregated regiments in the armed forces.
1955 – Britain’s Princess Margaret announced she would not marry Royal Air Force Captain Peter Townsend.
1956 – Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek became the first person to land an airplane at the South Pole. Dufek also became the first person to set foot on the South Pole.
1961 – In the Soviet Union, the body of Joseph Stalin was removed from Lenin’s Tomb where it was on public display.
1969 – Wal-Mart Discount City stores were incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
1981 – Antiqua and Barbuda became independent of Great Britain.
1984 – Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated near her residence by two Sikh security guards. Her son, Rajiv, was sworn in as prime minister.
1992 – In Liberia, it was announced that five American nuns had been killed near Monrovia. Rebels loyal to Charles Taylor were blamed for the murders.
1993 – River Phoenix died at the age of 23 after collapsing outside The Viper Room in Hollywood.
1993 – The play “Wonderful Tennessee” closed after only 9 performances.
1994 – 68 people were killed when an American Eagle ATR-72, plunged into a northern Indiana farm.
1997 – Louise Woodward, British au pair, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the death of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen. She was released after her sentence was reduced to manslaughter.
1998 – Iraq announced that it was halting all dealings with U.N. arms inspectors. The inspectors were investigating the country’s weapons of mass destruction stemming from Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
1999 – EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed off the coast of Nantucket, MA, killing all 217 people aboard.
1999 – Leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. The event ended a centuries-old doctrinal dispute over the nature of faith and salvation.
2001 – Microsoft and the U.S. Justice Department reached a tentative agreement to settle the antitrust case against the software company.
2007 – Google shares hit $700 for the first time.
2008 – Distribution Video Audio, Inc. shipped its final shipment of VHS tapes to stores. The company was the last major United States supplier of pre-recorded VHS tapes.