0896 - Formosus ended his reign as pope.
1541 - Ignatius of Loyola became the first superior-general of the Jesuits.
1581 - Francis Drake completed the circumnavigation of the world.
1687 - King James II ordered that his declaration of indulgence be read in church.
1812 - The territory of Orleans became the 18th U.S. state and will become known as Louisiana.
1818 - The U.S. flag was declared to have 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars and that a new star would be added for the each new state.
1841 - U.S. President William Henry Harrison, at the age of 68, became the first president to die in office. He had been sworn in only a month before he died of pneumonia.
1848 - Thomas Douglas became the first San Francisco public teacher.
1850 - The city of Los Angeles was incorporated.
1862 - In the U.S., the Battle of Yorktown began as Union General George B. McClellan closed in on Richmond, VA.
1887 - Susanna M. Salter became mayor of Argonia, KS, making her the first woman mayor in the U.S.
1902 - British Financier Cecil Rhodes left $10 million in his will that would provide scholarships for Americans to Oxford University in England.
1905 - In Kangra, India, an earthquake killed 370,000 people.
1914 - The first known serialized moving picture opened in New York City, NY. It was “The Perils of Pauline”.
1917 - The U.S. Senate voted 90-6 to enter World War I on the Allied side.
1918 - The Battle of Somme, an offensive by the British against the German Army ended.
1932 - After five years of research, professor C.G. King, of the University of Pittsburgh, isolated vitamin C.
1945 - Hungary was liberated from Nazi occupation.
1945 - During World War II, U.S. forces liberated the Nazi death camp Ohrdruf in Germany.
1949 - Twelve nations signed a treaty to create The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
1953 - Fifteen doctors were released by Soviet leaders. The doctors had been arrested before Stalin had died and were accused of plotting against him.