1503 – Christopher Columbus discovered the Cayman Islands.
1676 – Bacon’s Rebellion, which pits frontiersmen against the government, began.
1768 – The imprisonment of the journalist John Wilkes as an outlaw provoked violence in London. Wilkes was returned to parliament as a member for Middlesex.
1773 – The English Parliament passed the Tea Act, which taxed all tea in the U.S. colonies.
1774 – Louis XVI ascended the throne of France.
1775 – Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold led an attack on the British Fort Ticonderoga and captured it from the British.
1794 – Elizabeth, the sister of King Louis XVI, was beheaded.
1796 – Napoleon Bonaparte won a brilliant victory against the Austrians at Lodi bridge in Italy.
1840 – Mormon leader Joseph Smith moved his band of followers to Illinois to escape the hostilities they had experienced in Missouri.
1857 – The Seepoys of India revolted against the British Army.
1865 – Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops near Irvinville, GA.
1869 – Central Pacific and Union Pacific Rail Roads meet in Promontory, UT. A golden spike was driven in at the celebration of the first transcontinental railroad in the U.S.
1872 – Victoria Woodhull became the first woman nominated for the U.S. presidency.
1876 – Richard Wagner’s "Centennial Inaugural March" was heard for the first time at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, PA.
1898 – A vending machine law was enacted in Omaha, NE. It cost $5,000 for a permit.
1908 – The first Mother’s Day observance took place during a church service in Grafton, West Virginia.
1924 – J. Edgar Hoover was appointed head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
1927 – The Hotel Statler in Boston, MA became the first hotel to install radio headsets in each of its 1,300 rooms.
1928 – WGY-TV in Schenectady, NY began regular television programming.
1930 – The Adler Planetarium opened to the public in Chicago, IL.
1933 – The Nazis staged massive public book burnings in Germany.
1940 – Germany invaded Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
1941 – England’s House of Commons was destroyed by a German air raid.
1941 – Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler’s deputy, parachuted into Scotland on what he claimed was a peace mission.
1942 – U.S. forces in the Philippines began to surrender to the Japanese.
1943 – U.S. troops invaded Attu in the Aleutian Islands to expel the Japanese.
1960 – The U.S.S. Triton completed the first circumnavigation of the globe under water. The trip started on February 16.
1968 – Preliminary Vietnam peace talks began in Paris.
1969 – The National and American Football Leagues announced their plans to merge for the 1970-71 season.
1978 – Britain’s Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon announced they were divorcing after 18 years of marriage.
1982 – Elliott Gould made his dramatic television debut after 30 movies in 17 years. He starred in "The Rules of Marriage" on CBS-TV.
1986 – Navy Lt. Commander Donnie Cochran became the first black pilot to fly with the Blue Angels team.
1994 – The state of Illinois executed convicted serial killer John Wayne Gacy for the murders of 33 young men and boys.
1994 – Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first black president.
1997 – An earthquake in northeastern Iran killed at least 2,400 people.
1999 – China broke off talks on human rights with the U.S. in response to NATO’s accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia.
1999 – The Cezanne painting "Still Life With Curtain, Pitcher and Bowl of Fruit" sold for 60.5
2000 – 11,000 residents were evacuated in Los Alamos, NM, due to a fire that was blown into a canyon. The fire had been deliberately set to clear brush.
2001 – Boeing Co. announced that it would be moving its headquarters to Chicago, IL.
2001 – In Ghana, 121 people were killed in a stampede at a soccer game.
2002 – Robert Hanssen was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole. Hanssen, an FBI agent, had sold U.S. secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds.
2002 – Taiwan test fired a locally made Sky Bow II surface-to-air missile for the first time. They also fired three U.S.-made Hawk missiles.
2002 – Dr. Pepper announced that it would be introducing a new flavor, Red Fusion, for the first time in 117 years.
2011 – It was announced that Microsoft had closed a deal to purchase the internet phone service Skype for $8.5 billion.