451 – Attila the Hun sacks the town of Metz and attacks other cities in Gaul.
1521 – Ferdinand Magellan arrives at Cebu in the Philippines on his voyage of circumnavigation.
1776 – After a fierce, one-hour fight off the Delaware Capes, Captain John Barry, commanding USS Lexington, captures HMS Edward, renamed USS Sachem and commanded by Captain Isaiah Robinson, for use by the Secret Committee of the Continental Congress.
1788 – American pioneers to the Northwest Territory establish Marietta, Ohio as the first permanent American settlement in the Northwest Territory.
1798 – The Mississippi Territory is organized from disputed territory claimed by both the United States and Spain.
1805 – The Lewis and Clark Expedition breaks winter camp at Fort Mandan near present day Washburn, North Dakota and resumes its journey west along the Missouri River in canoes, sending the keelboat back to St. Louis to return later.
1827 – John Walker, an English chemist, sells the first friction match that he had invented the previous year.
1831 – Emperor Pedro I of Brazil resigns to return to Portugal as King Pedro IV.
1865 – At the South Side Railroad’s bridges over the Appomattox River near Farmville, Virginia, Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s rear guard fails in the attempt to burn the bridges to prevent Union forces from following them across allowing them to catch up with the Confederates north of the river at Cumberland Church north of Farmville.
Later that night General Lee receives a letter from General Grant proposing that the Army of Northern Virginia should surrender. Lee returns a letter asking about the surrender terms Grant might propose.
1922 – The United States Secretary of the Interior, Albert Bacon Fall, accepts bribes to lease federal petroleum reserves on the Teapot Dome in Wyoming to private oil companies on excessively generous terms.
1927 – The first long distance public television broadcast from Washington, D.C., to New York City, displays the image of then Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover.
1940 – Booker T. Washington becomes the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp.
1945 – During Operation Ten-Go, the last major Japanese naval operation of World War II, the battleship Yamato, sent on a suicide mission, is sunk by American aircraft shortly after getting underway.
1948 – The World Health Organization is established by the United Nations.
1954 – President Eisenhower presents his “falling domino theory” of communist aggression during a news conference.
1964 – IBM introduces the mainframe System/360 computer system.
1978 – Development of the neutron, enhanced radiation nuclear bomb is canceled by President Carter.
1983 – During STS-6, the maiden flight of Shuttle Challenger, astronauts Story Musgrave and Don Peterson perform the first Space Shuttle spacewalk.
1990 – Retired Admiral John Poindexter is found guilty of five counts of lying to Congress and obstruction of justice for his actions in the Iran–Contra scandal, which are all later reversed on appeal.
1994 – In Rwanda, members of the Hutu tribe begin nation wide massacres of members of the Tutsi tribe.
1994 – Auburn Calloway attempts to destroy Federal Express Flight 705, a cargo DC-10 enroute from Memphis to San Jose, California, in order to allow his family to benefit from his life insurance policy. The crew manages to subdue him and at trial he is sentenced to consecutive life terms in prison for attempted murder and air piracy.
2001 – The Mars Odyssey robotic spacecraft is launched from Cape Canaveral to orbit Mars as a communications relay satellite for exploration craft on the surface.
2003 – During the invasion of Iraq, Baghdad falls to U.S. troops.