1639: The "Fundamental Orders," the first written constitution that created a government, is adopted by the Connecticut Colony council. The orders, which describe the government set up by the Connecticut River towns, setting its structure and powers, earned Connecticut its nickname of The Constitution State.
1741: Benedict Arnold, the American Continental Army general who defected to the British Army after his plot to surrender West Point to the British was exposed, is born in Norwich, Conn.
1742: Astronomer and mathematician Edmond Halley, best known for computing the orbit of the comet that bears his last name, dies at the age of 85 in London, England.
1784: Meeting in Annapolis, Md., the United States Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain, officially ending the American Revolutionary War.
1875: Albert Schweitzer, the theologian and physician who received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of "Reverence for Life," is born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire but now Haut-Rhin, France.
1892: Film director and producer Hal Roach, best known for his Hal Roach Studios, which produced movies with Harold Lloyd, Will Rogers, the Our Gang kids and, most famously, Laurel and Hardy, is born in Elmira, N.Y.
1898: Charles Dodgson, the English writer and mathematician who wrote "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" under the pen name Lewis Carroll, dies of pneumonia at the age of 65 in Guildford, Surrey, England. Some of his other best-known works include the "Wonderland" sequel "Through the Looking-Glass," as well as the poems "The Hunting of the Snark" and "Jabberwocky."
1900: The Giacomo Puccini opera "Tosca" has its world premiere in Rome, Italy. The opera would make its U.S. debut on Feb. 4, 1901.
1919: Broadcast journalist Andy Rooney, best known for his weekly broadcast "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney," a part of the news program "60 Minutes" from 1978 to 2011, is born in Albany, N.Y. He died at age 92 on Nov. 4, 2011.
1920: Automobile manufacturing pioneer John Francis Dodge dies of Spanish flu and pneumonia at the age of 55 in Manhattan, N.Y. Dodge co-founded the Dodge Brothers Company in 1900 to supply parts and assemblies for Detroit's growing auto industry and the company began making its own complete vehicles in 1915.
1941: Actress Faye Dunaway, best known for roles in movies such as "Network," "Bonnie and Clyde," "Chinatown" and "Mommie Dearest," is born Dorothy Faye Dunaway in Bascom, Fla.
1943: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane while in office when he flies from Miami, Fla., to French Morocco to meet with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the Casablanca Conference to discuss World War II strategy and study the next phase of the war.
1948: Musician, songwriter and record producer T-Bone Burnett, who won Grammy Awards for the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack and for his work with Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart," is born Joseph Henry Burnett in St. Louis, Mo. Burnett, who was a guitarist in Bob Dylan's band on the Rolling Thunder Revue tour, has produced artists such as Roy Orbison, John Mellencamp, Los Lobos, Counting Crows, Elton John, Elvis Costello and Tony Bennett.
1948: Actor Carl Weathers, best known for playing boxer Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" movies, is born in New Orleans, La.
1949: Filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan, best known for directing movies such as "Body Heat," "The Big Chill" and "Silverado," is born in Miami, Fla. Kasdan, seen here (right) with Kevin Kline and his wife Meg Kasdan on the set of his 2012 drama "Darling Companion," also was a screenwriter for movie such as "The Empire Strikes Back," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Return of the Jedi" and "The Bodyguard."
1950: The first prototype of the MiG-17 makes its maiden flight. The Russian-made subsonic fighter aircraft first saw combat in 1958 over the Straits of Taiwan and was used as an effective threat against supersonic fighters of the United States in the Vietnam War.
1951: The inaugural NFL Pro Bowl takes place, with the American Conference beating the National Conference 28-27 in front of 53,676 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The league's all-star game was the first since 1942, when the annual game was suspended because of travel restrictions put in place during World War II. The NFL first held an all-star game, called the "Pro All-Star Game," in January 1939 featuring the 1938 NFL champion New York Giants taking on a team of NFL all-stars as well as three players from the Hollywood Stars and Los Angeles Bulldogs, who were not members of the league. The league's next four all-star games through 1942 also featured the season's NFL champion taking on an all-star squad.
1954: Baseball star Joe DiMaggio and actress Marilyn Monroe are married at San Francisco City Hall. Monroe would file for divorce on grounds of mental cruelty 274 days after the wedding.
1957: Actor Humphrey Bogart, often considered one of the greatest actors in the history of American cinema, dies of esophageal cancer at the age of 57 in Los Angeles, Calif. Some of Bogart's best known movies include "The Maltese Falcon," "The Big Sleep," "Casablanca," "Sabrina," "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," "The Caine Mutiny" and "The African Queen," the last of which won him an Academy Award for Best Actor.
1963: George C. Wallace is sworn in as governor of Alabama, making a pledge in his inaugural address for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."
1963: Film director Steven Soderbergh, best known for movies such as "Out of Sight," "Erin Brockovich," "Traffic," "Ocean's Eleven," "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" and "Magic Mike," is born in Atlanta, Ga. He received an Oscar for Best Director in 2001 in for "Traffic."
1966: David Jones issues his first recording under the name David Bowie. Jones changed his last name to Bowie in order to avoid confusion with the Monkees' Davy Jones. The single was called "Can't Help Thinking About Me" and was credited to David Bowie and the Lower Third.
1967: The world's first "Be-In" takes place at Golden Gate Park's polo fields in San Francisco, Calif., attracting more than 25,000 people. Performers include Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and Big Brother & The Holding Company. The counterculture event, held in response to a new California law banning the use of the psychedelic drug LSD, also saw Timothy Leary utter his famous phrase "Turn on, tune in, drop out" for the first time.
1967: Actress Emily Watson, best known for movies such as "Breaking the Waves" (pictured), "Angela's Ashes," "Gosford Park," "Punch-Drunk Love" and "War Horse," is born in London, England.
1968: Rapper and actor LL Cool J, known for songs such as "I Need Love," "I'm That Type of Guy," "Around the Way Girl," "Mama Said Knock You Out" and "Hey Lover," is born James Todd Smith in Bay Shore, N.Y. He's also appeared in movies such as "Toys," "Halloween H20," "Deep Blue Sea," "Any Given Sunday" and "S.W.A.T." and currently stars on the crime drama TV series "NCIS: Los Angeles."
1969: Actor Jason Bateman is born in Rye, N.Y. Bateman started out as a child actor starring in TV shows such as "Little House on the Prairie," "Silver Spoons" and "The Hogan Family," but is perhaps best known for the character of Michael Bluth from comedy TV series "Arrested Development." He has also starred in movies such as "Teen Wolf Too," "The Break-Up," "Smokin' Aces," "Juno," "Extract," "Horrible Bosses" and "The Change-Up."
1969: Rock musician and singer-songwriter Dave Grohl, best known as the drummer for Nirvana and the lead singer and guitarist for the Foo Fighters, is born in Warren, Ohio.
1970: Diana Ross performs for the last time with the Supremes during a show at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. Ross' replacement, Jean Terrell, was introduced at the performance. A live recording of the performance would be released later that year in a double-LP box set titled "Farewell."
1972: The TV sitcom "Sanford & Son," premieres. The groundbreaking and critically acclaimed show, starring Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson as a junk-dealing father and son living in the Watts neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles, would run for six seasons before ending on March 25, 1977.
1972: Paul Simon releases his self-titled solo debut album. The album, released nearly two years after he split up with longtime musical partner Art Garfunkel, featured the singles "Mother and Child Reunion," "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" and "Duncan," and reached No. 4 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart.
1973: Elvis Presley's concert "Aloha from Hawaii" is broadcast live via satellite, and sets a record as the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history. The show, however, was not seen live everywhere in the world. Most of Europe and Asia received the concert the next day, also in prime time, and the United States did not air the concert until April 4, 1973, because it took place the same day as Super Bowl VII.
1973: The Miami Dolphins defeat Washington in Super Bowl VII to cap off a perfect 17-0 season, becoming the first NFL team to go undefeated in a season.
1977: Actor Peter Finch, best remembered for his role as crazed television anchorman Howard Beale in the film "Network," dies of a heart attack at the age of 60 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Finch would become the first actor to posthumously win an Oscar two months later when he won Best Actor for "Network." Finch also appeared in movies such as "The Trials of Oscar Wilde," "No Love for Johnnie" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday."
1977: French author Anaïs Nin, remembered for her published journals and hailed by many critics as one of the finest writers of female erotica, dies of cancer at the age of 73 in Los Angeles, Calif. A great deal of her work, including "Delta of Venus" and "Little Birds," was published posthumously.
1978: The English punk rock band Sex Pistols plays their last show, the final date of a U.S. tour at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Three days later the band went their separate ways, with lead singer Johnny Rotten flying to New York City and announcing in an interview on Jan. 18 that the band was breaking up. Here the band is seen during a 1977 performance.
1978: Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" album logs a record 31st week at the top of the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart, setting a record for a contemporary rock album that would later be beat by Michael Jackson's "Thriller," which would spend 37 straight weeks on top the chart in 1983-84.
1984: Ray Kroc, the American businessman who joined McDonald's in 1954 and built it into a fast food empire, dies of heart failure at the age of 81 in San Diego, Calif.
1985: Tennis great Martina Navratilova wins her 100th career singles title by defeating Bulgaria's Manuela Maleeva in the Virginia Slims of Washington tournament, joining Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert Lloyd as the only professional tennis players at the time to have reached that same milestone. Navratilova would end her career with 167 career singles titles, the most ever by any professional tennis player. Besides Navratilova, Connors and Evert, the only other tennis player to have reached the 100-win milestone is Steffi Graf, who won 107 singles titles in a career from 1982 to 1999.
1986: Actress Donna Reed, best known for the 1958-1966 TV sitcom "The Donna Reed Show," dies of pancreatic cancer at the age of 64 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Reed was also known for roles in movies such as "The Picture of Dorian Gray," "They Were Expendable," "It's a Wonderful Life" and "From Here to Eternity," the last of which won her the 1953 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
1986: "Rambo: First Blood Part II" arrives at video stores, selling 435,000 copies in the first day and breaking the previous record set by "Ghostbusters."
1993: Late night TV talk show host David Letterman announces he is ending his NBC show "Late Night with David Letterman" after 11 years to move to CBS. His new show, "Late Show with David Letterman," would begin on Aug. 30, 1993.
1997: The Spice Girls debut single "Wannabe" is released in the United States. It would eventually become the group's only No. 1 hit in America, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.
2005: The European Space Agency probe Huygens lands on Saturn's moon Titan. The car-sized lander sent back readings and images for more than 90 minutes before running out of battery power. The probe, named after the Dutch 17th century astronomer Christiaan Huygens, represents the first landing ever accomplished in the outer solar system.
2005: Army Spc. Charles Graner Jr., the reputed ringleader of a band of rogue guards at the Abu Ghraib prison, is convicted at Fort Hood, Texas, of abusing Iraqi detainees. He would later be sentenced to 10 years in prison and served six and a half years before being released in 2011.
2006: Actress Shelley Winters, who won Academy Awards for "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "A Patch of Blue," dies of heart failure at the age of 85 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Winters, seen here in this 1951 publicity photo, is also remembered for her roles in "A Place in the Sun," "The Big Knife," "Lolita," "The Night of the Hunter," "Alfie" and "The Poseidon Adventure."
2008: Republican Bobby Jindal, the first elected Indian-American governor in the United States, takes office in Louisiana.
2009: Actor Ricardo Montalbán, best known for playing Mr. Roarke on the TV show "Fantasy Island," and the "Star Trek" villain Khan Noonien Singh, dies of congestive heart failure at the age of 88 in Los Angeles, Calif.
The alleged botched execution of Arizona prison inmate Joseph Wood has put capital punishment -- specifically, the manner in which criminals are executed -- back in the spotlight. Take a look at the history of the death penalty in America.
Pope Francis is coming to the U.S. in Sept., to head the eighth World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, according to the National Catholic Reporter. Take a look at the many reasons why Pope Francis is cool.
It seems that residents of Louisiana are some of the happiest people in the country, and New Yorkers remain some of the unhappiest, according to a new report. Take a look at the happiest - and unhappiest - U.S. cities.