1492 – The crew of the Pinta, one of Christopher Columbus’ ships, mistakenly thought that they had spotted land.
1493 – Christopher Columbus left Spain with 17 ships on his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere.
1513 – The Pacific Ocean was discovered by Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa when he crossed the Isthmus of Panama. He named the body of water the South Sea. He was truly just the first European to see the Pacific Ocean.
1690 – One of America’s earliest newspapers published its first and last edition. The “Publik Occurences Both Foreign and Domestik” was published at the London Coffee House in Boston, MA, by Benjamin Harris.
1775 – Ethan Allen was captured by the British during the American Revolutionary War. He was leading the attack on Montreal.
1789 – The first U.S. Congress adopted 12 amendments to the Constitution. Ten of the amendments became the Bill of Rights.
1847 – During the Mexican-American War, U.S. forces led by General Zachary Taylor captured Monterrey Mexico.
1882 – The first major league double header was played. It was between the Worcester and Providence teams.
1890 – The Sequoia National Park was established as a U.S. National Park in Central California.
1890 – Mormon President Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto in which the practice of polygamy was renounced.
1933 – Tom Mix was heard on NBC Radio for the first time. His show ran until June of 1950.
1956 – A transatlantic telephone-cable system began operation between Newfoundland and Scotland.
1957 – 300 U.S. Army troops stood guard as nine black students were escorted to class at Central High School in Little Rock, AR. The children had been forced to withdraw 2 days earlier because of unruly white mobs.
1965 – Willie Mays, at the age of 34, became the oldest man to hit 50 home runs in a single season. He had also set the record for the youngest to hit 50 ten years earlier.
1973 – The three crewmen of Skylab II landed in the Pacific Ocean after being on the U.S. space laboratory for 59 days.
1978 – Melissa Ludtke, a writer for “Sports Illustrated“, filed a suit in U.S. District Court. The result was that Major League Baseball could not bar female writers from the locker room after the game.
1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court when she was sworn in as the 102nd justice. She had been nominated the previous July by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
1983 – A Soviet military officer, Stanislav Petrov, averted a potential worldwide nuclear war. He declared a false alarm after a U.S. attack was detected by a Soviet early warning system. It was later discovered the alarms had been set off when the satellite warning system mistakenly interpreted sunlight reflections off clouds as the presence of enemy missiles.
1986 – An 1894-S Barber Head dime was bought for $83,000 at a coin auction in California. It is one of a dozen that exist.
1987 – The booty collected from the Wydah, which sunk off Cape Cod in 1717, was auctioned off. The worth was around $400 million.
1990 – The U.N. Security Council voted to impose an air embargo against Iraq. Cuba was the only dissenting vote.
1991 – The U.N. Security Council unanimously ordered a worldwide arms embargo against Yugoslavia and all of its warring factions.
1992 – In Orlando, FL, a judge ruled in favor of 12-year-old Gregory Kingsley. He had sought a divorce from his biological parents.
1992 – The Mars Observer blasted off on a mission that cost $980 million. The probe has not been heard from since it reached Mars in August of 1993.
1995 – Ross Perot announced that he would form the Independence Party.
1997 – NBC sportscaster Marv Albert pled guilty to assault and battery of a lover. He was fired from NBC within hours.
1997 – Mark & Brian received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2001 – Michael Jordan announced that he would return to the NBA as a player for the Washington Wizards. Jordan became the president of basketball operations for the team on January 19, 2000.
2002 – U.S. forces landed in Ivory Coast to aid in the rescue foreigners trapped in a school by fighting between government troops and rebel troops. Rebels had attempted to take over the government on September 19.
2012 – China launched its first aircraft carrier into service.