79 – Thousands died and the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
1682 – William Penn receives the area that is now the state of Delaware, and adds it to his colony of Pennsylvania.
1814 – British troops invade Washington, D.C. and burn the White House and Capitol building.
1857 – The Panic of 1857 begins, setting off one of the most severe economic crises in United States history.
1891 – Thomas Edison patents the motion picture camera.
1932 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop.
1949 – The treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) goes into effect.
1950 – Edith Sampson becomes the first black U.S. delegate to the United Nations.
1954 – The Communist Control Act goes into effect, outlawing the American Communist Party.
1981 – Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon.
1989 – Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose is banned from baseball for gambling.
2006 – Pluto was demoted to “dwarf planet” status when the International Astronomical Union adopted a new definition of “planet.”