1790: The U.S. Congress moves from New York City to Congress Hall in Philadelphia. The city, which had served as one of the nation's capitals during the Revolutionary War, would serve as a temporary capital through 1800 while the U.S. Capitol building was under construction in Washington, D.C.
1820: U.S. President James Monroe is re-elected for a second term. It was the third and last presidential election in United States history in which a candidate ran effectively unopposed.
1849: Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery in Maryland. After finding work in Pennsylvania, she soon returned to Maryland to rescue her family and then slowly brought more relatives out of the state, eventually guiding more than 300 slaves to freedom.
1865: The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, banning slavery. It was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments adopted after the American Civil War. Pictured is the amendment in the National Archives, bearing the signature of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.
1877: The first edition of the Washington Post is published. The first issue of the paper cost 3 cents.
1883: Ladies' Home Journal is published for the first time, as The Ladies Home Journal and Practical Housekeeper.
1884: The capstone of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., is set, bringing construction on the memorial to President George Washington to an end. Upon completion, it became the world's tallest structure, a title previously held by the Cologne Cathedral, although the 555-foot-5-inch obelisk would only hold that title until 1889 when the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, France.
1889: Jefferson Davis, the first, and only, president of the Confederate States of America, dies at the age of 81 in New Orleans.
1896: Ira Gershwin, the lyricist who collaborated with his younger brother, composer George Gershwin, to create some of the most memorable songs of the 20th century, is born in New York City. He wrote songs such as "I Got Rhythm," "Embraceable You," "The Man I Love" and "Someone to Watch Over Me" with his brother as part Broadway shows. He also collaborated on his brother's opera "Porgy and Bess." He died at age 86 on Aug. 17, 1983.
1907: A coal mine explosion at Monongah, W.Va., kills 362 workers. The accident has been described as the worst mining disaster in American history.
1908: Lester Joseph Gillis, who would become a bank robber better known as Baby Face Nelson, is born in Chicago, Ill. Gillis, who adopted the pseudonym George Nelson, was responsible for the murder of several people in a criminal career that stretched from 1930 until his death following a shootout with FBI agents in November 1934.
1917: The SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship fully loaded with wartime explosives, explodes after colliding with another ship in Halifax Harbor, destroying part of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. About 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires and collapsed buildings, with another 9,000 injured. Until the Trinity test explosions of atomic bombs, this was the largest man-made explosion in recorded history.
1917: The USS Jacob Jones becomes the first American destroyer to be sunk by enemy action when it is torpedoed by German submarine SM U-53. A total of 66 men died as the ship sunk in eight minutes.
1920: Jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, who would go on to write a number of jazz standards, including "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke," is born in Concord, Calif. He would also become known for heading up the Dave Brubeck Quartet, whose best remembered piece, "Take Five," has endured as a jazz classic, and for writing soundtracks for television, including the animated mini-series "This Is America, Charlie Brown." He died of heart failure on Dec. 5, 2012, in Norwalk, Conn., one day before his 92nd birthday.
1923: U.S. President Calvin Coolidge becomes the first president to give a presidential address to Congress that is broadcast on radio.
1933: U.S. federal judge John M. Woolsey rules that James Joyce's novel "Ulysses" is not obscene. The ruling made the United States the first English-speaking country where the book was freely available.
1945: The drama "The Bells of St. Mary's," starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman, premieres in New York City. The movie, about a priest and a nun who, despite their good-natured rivalry, try to save their school from being shut down, would prove enormously popular, earning $3.7 million at the box office, an all-time high for its studio, RKO Radio Productions. It would also earn eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Crosby, Best Actress for Bergman and Best Director for Leo McCarey.
1947: The Everglades National Park in Florida is dedicated by President Harry S. Truman. Today, it is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone.
1948: Actress JoBeth Williams, best known for movies such as "Stir Crazy," "Poltergeist," "The Big Chill," "The Day After" and "Teachers," is born in Houston, Texas.
1949: Iconic folk and blues musician Lead Belly, whose real name was Huddie William Ledbetter, dies of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at the age of 61 in New York City.
1953: Vladimir Nabokov completes his controversial novel "Lolita" after five years. The book, about a middle-aged literature professor who becomes obsessed and sexually involved with a 12-year-old girl, would take nearly another two years to be published due to its controversial subject. After its publication, it would quickly become considered a classic.
1953: Actor Tom Hulce, best known for his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Mozart in the movie "Amadeus" and his role as "Pinto" in "National Lampoon's Animal House," is born in Detroit, Mich.
1955: Hall of Fame baseball player Honus Wagner, who won eight batting titles, tied for the most in National League history, and is often considered the greatest shortstop ever, dies at the age of 81 in Carnegie, Pa.
1955: Comedian and actor Steven Wright, known for his distinctly lethargic voice and slow, deadpan delivery, is born in Cambridge, Mass.
1956: In what becomes known as the "Blood in the Water" match, Hungary and the Soviet Union face off in water polo at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. The match took place against the backdrop of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and saw a lot of physical play, including outright punching between the two teams. The name was coined after Hungarian player Ervin Zádor emerged during the last two minutes with blood pouring from under his eye after being punched by Soviet player Valentin Prokopov. Hungary won the match and would go on to beat Yugoslavia 2–1 in the final to win their fourth Olympic gold medal.
1956: Guitarist Randy Rhoads, best known for playing with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot, is born in Santa Monica, Calif. Rhoads work included performing on Osbourne's first two albums, 1980's "Blizzard of Ozz" and 1981's "Diary of a Madman," before dying in a plane crash at the age of 25 in March 1982.
1957: A launchpad explosion of Vanguard TV3 at Cape Canaveral thwarts the first United States attempt to launch a satellite into Earth orbit. Although the three-stage Vanguard rocket's booster ignited and began to rise, it quickly lost thrust and began to fall back to the launch pad. Its fuel tanks then ruptured and exploded, destroying the rocket and satellite and severely damaging the launch pad.
1958: Filmmaker and animator Nick Park, best known as the creator of "Wallace and Gromit," is born in Preston, Lancashire, England. Park has been nominated for an Academy Award a total of six times, and won four with "Creature Comforts" (1989), "The Wrong Trousers" (1993), "A Close Shave" (1995) and "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (2005).
1962: Actress Janine Turner, best known for the TV series "Northern Exposure" and "Strong Medicine," and movies such as "Cliffhanger" and "Leave It to Beaver," is born Janine Loraine Gauntt in Lincoln, Neb. She's seen here addressing the 2012 Republican National Convention.
1964: The stop-motion animated TV special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" airs for the first time. It has been telecast every year since, making it the longest running Christmas TV special in history.
1967: Adrian Kantrowitz (right) performs the first human heart transplant in the United States at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., removing the heart of a brain-dead baby and implanting it into the chest of a 19-day-old infant who had a heart defect that would have been fatal. The recipient lived for a little more than six hours after the surgery. It was only the second time that a human heart had been transplanted into another human being, taking place just three days after Christiaan Barnard's seminal attempt in South Africa.
1967: Film director and screenwriter Judd Apatow, best known as the director of "The 40-Year-Old-Virgin" and "Knocked Up," is born in New York City. Apatow is also known for developing the cult television series "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared" and for producing comedy movies such as "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," "Superbad," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Bridesmaids."
1968: The Rolling Stones release "Beggars Banquet," which includes songs such as "Sympathy for the Devil," "No Expectations" and "Street Fighting Man." The album would hit No. 3 on the charts in the United Kingdom and No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart. The album is also known for its simple white cover imitating an invitation card, complete with an RSVP, chosen by the band after the originally planned cover, a graffiti-covered lavatory wall, was rejected by Decca Records in England and London Records in the United States.
1968: James Taylor's self-titled debut album is released in the United Kingdom, becoming the first recording by a non-British artist released by Apple Records. The album, which would be released on Feb. 17, 1969, in America, included the song "Carolina in My Mind."
1969: Meredith Hunter is killed by the Hells Angels during a The Rolling Stones' concert at the Altamont Speedway in California. The stabbing was caught by cameraman Baird Bryant, who was filming the concert for documentary filmmakers Albert and David Maysles, and released a year later as part of the film "Gimme Shelter," documenting the band's 1969 U.S. tour.
1973: The United States House of Representatives votes 387 to 35 to confirm Gerald Ford as vice president of the United States, replacing Vice President Spiro Agnew, who had resigned and then pleaded no contest to criminal charges of tax evasion and money laundering on Oct. 10, 1973. The vote, coming nine days after the U.S. Senate confirmed Ford by a 92-3 vote, marks the first time the vice-presidential vacancy provision of the 25th Amendment had been implemented.
1988: Rock singer-songwriter Roy Orbison, whose best known hits include "Only the Lonely," "Crying" and "Oh, Pretty Woman," dies of a heart attack at the age of 52 in Madison, Tenn.
1989: Marc Lépine, an anti-feminist gunman, shoots 28 people, killing 14 women, at the École Polytechnique in Montreal before killing himself. His suicide note claimed political motives and blamed feminists for ruining his life.
1993: Actor Don Ameche, whose career started in vaudeville and spanned nearly 60 years, dies of prostate cancer at the age of 85 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Some of Ameche's most memorable roles came at the tail end of his career, in movies like "Trading Places," "Cocoon" and "Corrina, Corrina." He's seen here with Cher after winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Cocoon."
1994: Orange County, Calif., one of the richest counties in the U.S., files for bankruptcy protection due to investment losses of about $2 billion. The county lost at least $1.5 billion through high-risk investments in derivatives, leading to criminal charges against county treasurer Robert Citron. The bankruptcy was the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history until Jefferson County, Ala., filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2011.
1994: One of the falcon props from the 1941 Humphrey Bogart movie "The Maltese Falcon" is auctioned for $398,500 to Ronald Winston, president of the New York-based Harry Winston jewelry chain. At that time, it was the highest price paid for a film prop.
1995: Michael Jackson is hospitalized after collapsing in a New York theater while rehearsing for a TV special. It's later revealed the incident was caused by a stress-related panic attack.
1996: Former National Football League Commissioner Pete Rozelle dies of brain cancer at the age of 70 in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Rozelle, who was NFL commissioner from January 1960 to November 1989, is credited with making the league into one of the most successful sports leagues in the world.
1998: In Venezuela, former Lt. Col. Hugo Chavez is elected president. He had staged a bloody coup attempt against the government six years earlier.
2000: Actor Werner Klemperer, best known for the role of Colonel Klink on the sitcom "Hogan's Heroes," dies from cancer at age 80 in New York City. Klemperer was born in Cologne, Germany, in 1920, but his family fled Germany in 1935. He began a professional acting career on Broadway after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He earned Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for each year of "Hogan's Heroes'" six seasons, winning the award in 1968 and 1969.
2002: Winona Ryder is sentenced to three years of probation and 480 hours of community service stemming from her conviction for shoplifting $5,500 worth of designer clothes and accessories from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was also ordered to pay $10,000 in fines and restitution.
2003: Army becomes the first team to finish 0-13 in major college football history after a 34-6 loss to Navy.
2006: NASA reveals photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyor suggesting the presence of liquid water on Mars.