1492 – The leader of the last Arab stronghold in Spain surrendered to Spanish forces loyal to King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I.
1788 – Georgia became the 4th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
1842 – In Fairmount, PA, the first wire suspension bridge was opened to traffic.
1859 – Erastus Beadle published “The Dime Book of Practical Etiquette.”
1872 – Brigham Young, the 71-year-old leader of the Mormon Church, was arrested on a charge of bigamy. He had 25 wives.
1879 – Thomas Edison began construction on his first generator.
1882 – The Standard Oil Trust agreement was completed and dated. The document transferred the stock and property of more than 40 companies into the control of nine trustees lead by John D. Rockefeller. This was the first example of what became known as a holding company.
1890 – Alice Sanger became the first female White House staffer.
1892 – Ellis Island opened as America’s first federal immigration center. Annie Moore, at age 15, became the first person to pass through.
1893 – The first commemorative postage stamps were issued.
1900 – U.S. Secretary of State John Hay announced the Open Door Policy to prompt trade with China.
1900 – The Chicago Canal opened.
1910 – The first junior high school in the United States opened. McKinley School in Berkeley, CA, housed seventh and eighth grade students. In a separate building students were housed who attended grades 9-12.
1917 – Royal Bank of Canada took over the Quebec Bank.
1921 – The first religious broadcast on radio was heard on KDKA Radio in Pittsburgh, PA, as Dr. E.J. Van Etten of Calvary Episcopal Church preached.
1921 – DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park opened.
1929 – The United States and Canada reached an agreement on joint action to preserve Niagara Falls.
1935 – Bruno Richard Hauptmann went on trial for the kidnap-murder of Charles Lindberghs baby. Hauptmann was found guilt and executed.
1942 – The Philippine capital of Manila was captured by Japanese forces during World War II.
1949 – Jack Benny’s television show aired on CBS for the first time. The show had previously been aired on NBC.
1953 – “The Life of Riley” debuted on NBC-TV.
1955 – Panamanian President Jose Antonio Remon was assassinated.
1957 – The San Francisco and Los Angeles stock exchanges merged.
1959 – CBS Radio ended four soap operas. “Our Gal Sunday”, “This is Nora Drake”, “Backstage Wife” and “Road of Life” all aired for the last time.
1960 – U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
1965 – “Broadway” Joe Namath signed the richest rookie contract ($400,000) in the history of pro football.
1968 – Fidel Castro announced petroleum and sugar rationing in Cuba.
1971 – In the U.S., a federally imposed ban on television cigarette advertisements went into effect.
1974 – U.S. President Richard M. Nixon signed a bill requiring all states to lower the maximum speed limit to 55 MPH. The law was intended to conserve gasoline supplies during an embargo imposed by Arab oil-producing countries. Federal speed limits were abolished in 1995.
1983 – The final edition of Garry Trudeau’s comic strip, “Doonesbury”, appeared in 726 newspapers. “Doonesbury” began running again in September 1984.
1983 – The musical “Annie” closed on Broadway at the Uris Theatre after 2,377 performances.
1985 – The Rebels of UNLV beat Utah State in three overtime periods. The final score of 142-140 set a new NCAA record for total points in a basketball game (282). The game took over three hours to play.
1991 – Sharon Pratt Dixon was sworn in as mayor of Washington, DC. She was the first black woman to head a city of that size and prominence.
1996 – AT&T announced that it would eliminate 40,000 jobs over three years.
1998 – Russia began circulating new rubles in effort to keep inflation in check and promote confidence.
2004 – NASA’s Stardust space probe collected samples from the comet Wild 2. The samples returned to Earth on January 15, 2006.
2008 – The price of oil hit $100 per barrell for the first time.