1568 – French forces in Florida slaughtered hundreds of Spanish.
1802 – Washington, DC, was incorporated as a city.
1855 – Macon B. Allen became the first African American to be admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts.
1859 – France declared war on Austria.
1888 – Thomas Edison organized the Edison Phonograph Works.
1916 – Irish nationalist Padraic Pearse and two others were executed by the British for their roles in the Easter Rising.
1921 – West Virginia imposed the first state sales tax.
1926 – The revival of Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” opened in New York.
1926 – U.S. Marines landed in Nicaragua and stayed until 1933.
1926 – In Britain, trade unions began a general strike.
1927 – Francis E.J. Wilde of Meadowmere Park, NY, patented the electric sign flasher.
1933 – The U.S. Mint was under the direction of a woman for the first time when Nellie Ross took the position.
1937 – Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer Prize for “Gone With The Wind.”
1944 – Wartime rationing of most grades of meats ended in the U.S.
1944 – Dr. Robert Woodward and Dr. William Doering produced the first synthetic quinine at Harvard University.
1945 – Indian forces captured Rangoon, Burma, from the Japanese.
1948 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities were legally unenforceable.
1952 – The first airplane landed at the geographic North Pole.
1966 – The game “Twister” was featured on the “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.
1968 – After three days of battle, the U.S. Marines retook Dai Do complex in Vietnam. They found that the North Vietnamese had evacuated the area.
1971 – Anti-war protesters began four days of demonstrations in Washington, DC.
1971 – National Public Radio broadcast for the first time.
1971 – James Earl Ray, Martin Luther King’s assassin, was caught in a jailbreak attempt.
1986 – In NASA’s first post-Challenger launch, an unmanned Delta rocket lost power in its main engine shortly after liftoff. Safety officers destroyed it by remote control.
1988 – The White House acknowledged that first lady Nancy Reagan had used astrological advice to help schedule her husband’s activities.
1992 – Five days of rioting and looting ended in Los Angeles, CA. The riots, that killed 53 people, began after the acquittal of police officers in the beating of Rodney King.
1997 – The “Republic of Texas” surrendered to authorities ending an armed standoff where two people were held hostage. The group asserts the independence of Texas from the U.S.
1998 – “The Sevres Road,” by 18-century landscape painter Camille Corot, stolen from the Louvre in France.
1999 – Mark Manes, at age 22, was arrested for supplying a gun to Eric Harris and Dylan Kleibold, who later killed 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado.
1999 – Hasbro released the first collection of toys for the Star Wars movie “Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”
Today in Star Wars History
1999 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 11,000 for the first time.
2000 – The trial of two Libyans accused of killing 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 (over Lockerbie) opened.
2006 – In Alexandria, VA, Al-Quaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui was given a sentence of life in prison for his role in the terrorist attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001.