1184 BC – The city of Troy is sacked and burned according to calculations by Eratosthenes.
1770 – British explorer Captain James Cook runs aground on the Great Barrier Reef.
1776 – The Continental Congress appoints Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to the Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence.
1788 – Russian explorer Gerasim Izmailov reaches Alaska.
1805 – A fire consumes large portions of Detroit.
1920 – During the Republican National Convention in Chicago, party leaders gathered in a room at the Blackstone Hotel to come to a consensus on their candidate for the presidential election, leading the Associated Press to coin the political phrase “smoke-filled room.”
1963 – Alabama Governor George Wallace defiantly stands at the door at the University of Alabama in an attempt to block two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from attending that school. Later in the day, accompanied by federalized National Guard troops, they are able to register.
1963 – Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burns himself with gasoline in a busy Saigon intersection to protest the lack of religious freedom in South Vietnam.
1963 – President John F. Kennedy addresses Americans from the Oval Office proposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
1990 – The Supreme Court struck down an anti-flag-burning law passed by Congress the year before.
2001 – Timothy McVeigh is executed for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.