1520 – Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after passing through the South American strait. The strait was named after him. He was the first European to sail the Pacific from the east.
1582 – William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway were married.
1757 – English poet, painter and engraver William Blake was born. Two of his best known works are “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience.”
1919 – American-born Lady Astor was elected the first female member of the British Parliament.
1922 – Capt. Cyril Turner of the Royal Air Force gave the first public exhibition of skywriting. He spelled out, “Hello USA. Call Vanderbilt 7200” over New York’s Times Square.
1925 – The Grand Ole Opry made its radio debut on station WSM.
1929 – Ernie Nevers (St. Louis Cardinals) became the first professional football player to score six touchdowns in a single game.
1942 – In Boston, MA, 491 people died in a fire that destroyed the Coconut Grove.
1943 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin met in Tehran to map out strategy concerning World War II.
1953 – New York City began 11 days without newspapers due to a strike of photoengravers.
1958 – The African nation of Chad became an autonomous republic within the French community.
1963 – U.S. President Johnson announced that Cape Canaveral would be renamed Cape Kennedy in honor of his assassinated predecessor. The name was changed back to Cape Canaveral in 1973 by a vote of residents.
1964 – The U.S. launched the space probe Mariner IV from Cape Kennedy on a course set for Mars.
1978 – The Iranian government banned religious marches.
1979 – An Air New Zealand DC-10 flying to the South Pole crashed in Antarctica killing all 257 people aboard.
1983 – The space shuttle Columbia took off with the STS-9 Spacelab in its cargo bay.
1985 – The Irish Senate approved the Anglo-Irish accord concerning Northern Ireland.
1987 – A South African Airways Boeing 747 crashed into the Indian Ocean. All 159 people aboard were killed.
1989 – Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci arrived in New York after escaping her homeland through Hungary.
1990 – Margaret Thatcher resigned as prime minister of Britain.
1992 – In Bosnia-Herzegovina, 137 tons of food and supplies were to be delivered to the isolated town of Srebrenica.
1992 – In King William’s Town, South Africa, black militant gunmen attacked a country club killing four people and injuring 20.
1994 – Jeffrey Dahmer, a convicted serial killer, was clubbed to death in a Wisconsin prison by a fellow inmate.
1994 – Norwegian voters rejected European Union membership.
1995 – U.S. President Clinton signed a $6 billion road bill that ended the federal 55 mph speed limit.
2010 – WikiLeaks released to the public more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. About 100,000 were marked “secret” or “confidential.”