1738: Ethan Allen, the American Revolutionary War hero best known for the capture of Fort Ticonderoga early in the war (pictured, center) and as one of the founders of the state of Vermont, is born in Litchfield, Connecticut Colony.
1789: The first American novel, "The Power of Sympathy: or, The Triumph of Nature," is printed in Boston, Mass.
1793: After being found guilty of treason by the French Convention, Louis XVI of France is executed by guillotine in Paris.
1861: Calling it the "the saddest day of my life," Jefferson Davis resigns from the United States Senate. The next month he would be selected as provisional president of the Confederate States of America.
1905: Karl Wallenda, the acrobat who founded The Flying Wallendas, an internationally known daredevil circus act remembered for performing death-defying stunts, is born in Magdeburg, Germany. He's seen here, second from left, in 1965. He fell to his death on March 22, 1978, while attempting to walk between the two towers of the 10-story Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
1905: Christian Dior, the fashion designer best known as the founder of one of the world's top fashion houses, is born in Granville, Manche, France. He died of a heart attack at age 52 on Oct. 23, 1957.
1915: The community service organization Kiwanis International is founded as The Supreme Lodge Benevolent Order Brothers in Detroit, Mich. It would change its name to Kiwanis the following year.
1922: Actor Telly Savalas, best known for playing the title role in the 1970s crime drama "Kojak," is born in Garden City, N.Y. Savalas was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for "Birdman of Alcatraz" and also appeared in movies such as "The Greatest Story Ever Told," "The Dirty Dozen" and "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." He died of prostate cancer at age 72 on Jan. 22, 1994.
1922: Actor Paul Scofield, best known for his Academy Award-winning performance as Sir Thomas More in the 1966 film "A Man for All Seasons," is born in Birmingham, England. He died of leukemia at age 86 on March 19, 2008.
1924: Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, one of the leaders of the October Revolution of 1917 that led to the creation of the Soviet Union, dies of a stroke at the age of 53 in Gorki, Soviet Union.
1924: Comedian and actor Benny Hill, best known for his long-running TV comedy show "The Benny Hill Show," is born in Southampton, Hampshire, England. He died of coronary thrombosis at age 68 on April 20, 1992.
1926: Actor and bodybuilder Steve Reeves, who, at the peak of his career, was the highest-paid actor in Europe, is born in Glasgow, Mont. Reeves, who won the Mr. Universe bodybuilding competition in 1950, starred in such low-budget movies as "Hercules," "Hercules Unchained," "Goliath and the Barbarians" and "The Last Days of Pompeii." He died from complications of lymphoma at the age of 74 on May 1, 2000.
1938: Radio disc jockey Wolfman Jack, who found fame in the 1960s and '70s and appeared as himself in George Lucas' "American Graffiti," is born Robert Weston Smith in Brooklyn, N.Y. He died of a heart attack at age 57 on July 1, 1995.
1940: Golfer Jack Nicklaus, widely regarded as the most accomplished professional golfer of all time, is born in Upper Arlington, Ohio. Nicklaus won a total of 18 career major championships while producing 19 second place and nine third place finishes in major events on the PGA Tour over his 25-year career. He also ranks third overall on the PGA-tournament winning list, with 73 career victories.
1941: Tenor singer and conductor Plácido Domingo, known for his versatile and strong voice and one of the members of The Three Tenors, is born in Madrid, Spain.
1941: Folk singer and guitarist Richie Havens, known for soulful covers of pop and folk songs, and his opening performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, is born in Brooklyn, N.Y. Havens, who died of a heart attack at age 72 on April 22, 2013, is seen here in 1972.
1942: Country music singer-songwriter, guitarist and actor Mac Davis is born in Lubbock, Texas. Davis began his career writing for Elvis Presley, including the hits "Memories," "In the Ghetto" and "A Little Less Conversation." His solo career in the 1970s produced hits such as "Baby, Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me," "One Hell of a Woman," "Stop and Smell the Roses" and "It's Hard to be Humble." He also had his own TV variety show in the mid-1970s and starred in movies such as "North Dallas Forty" and "The Sting II."
1950: Former State Department official Alger Hiss is convicted of having perjured himself over his testimony on his alleged involvement in a Soviet spy ring before and during World War II. Hiss would end up serving nearly four years in jail, but protested his innocence until the day he died.
1950: British writer George Orwell, best known for the dystopian novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and the allegorical novella "Animal Farm," dies of tuberculosis at the age of 46 in London, England.
1950: Grammy-winning singer Billy Ocean, who had a string of R&B international pop hits in the 1970s and 1980s, including "Caribbean Queen," "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going" and "Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car", is born in Trinidad and Tobago.
1951: Eric Holder, who would become the 82nd United States attorney general under President Barack Obama in 2009, is born in New York City.
1953: Paul Allen, entrepreneur and co-founder of Microsoft, is born in Seattle, Wash.
1954: The first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, is launched in Groton, Conn., by first lady Mamie Eisenhower.
1956: Actress Geena Davis, best known for her movie roles in "The Accidental Tourist," "The Fly," "Beetlejuice," "Thelma & Louise" and "A League of Their Own," is born in Wareham, Mass.
1959: Film director Cecil B. DeMille, best known for films such as "Cleopatra," "Samson and Delilah," "The Greatest Show on Earth" and "The Ten Commandments," dies of a heart ailment at the age of 77 in Hollywood, Calif.
1960: Little Joe 1B, a test of the Mercury spacecraft, lifts off from Wallops Island, Va., with Miss Sam, a female rhesus monkey on board. The Little Joe 1B flew to a height of 9.3 statute miles and a range of 11.7 miles out to sea. Miss Sam survived the eight minute, 35 second flight in good condition.
1963: Hall of Fame basketball player Hakeem Olajuwon (left), who played 18 seasons in the NBA, all but one with the Houston Rockets, and led the Rockets to back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995, is born in Lagos, Nigeria.
1965: Rapper and musician Jam Master Jay, the DJ of the legendary rap trio Run-DMC, is born Jason William Mizell in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was shot and killed at age 37 in a recording studio in Jamaica, Queens, N.Y., in an Oct. 30, 2002, incident that remains unsolved.
1976: Commercial service of Concorde begins with the London-Bahrain and Paris-Rio routes. With engines twice as powerful as those of normal jets, the Concorde's 1,350 mph cruising speed was double the speed of sound and halved air travel time. Regular transatlantic flights from Europe began to Washington, D.C., on May 24, 1976, and to New York City on Nov. 22, 1977. The final commercial Concorde flight was on Oct. 24, 2003.
1976: Pop singer Emma Bunton, better known as "Baby Spice" of the English pop group Spice Girls, is born in North London, England.
1977: A day after his inauguration, U.S. President Jimmy Carter follows through on his campaign promise and pardons nearly all American Vietnam War draft evaders, some of whom had emigrated to Canada.
1978: The Bee Gees' "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack album begins a run of 24 straight weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart. The soundtrack would eventually sell more than 15 million copies to become the best-selling soundtrack album of all time (it was later surpassed by Whitney Houston's soundtrack to "The Bodyguard.")
1981: Production of the DeLorean DMC-12 sports car begins in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland. Featuring gull-wing doors and brushed stainless steel panels, the car became iconic after appearing as a time machine in the "Back to the Future" film trilogy. About 9,000 DMC-12s would be made before production halted in late 1982.
1984: Soul singer Jackie Wilson dies from complications of pneumonia after spending more than eight years in a vegetative state caused by a heart attack he suffered on stage in 1975. Wilson, who had recorded more than 50 hit singles spanning R&B, pop, soul, doo-wop and easy listening, including "Lonely Teardrops" and "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher," was 49 when he died.
1985: The inauguration of President Ronald Reagan to a second term, already postponed a day because Jan. 20 fell on a Sunday, becomes the second inauguration in history moved indoors because of freezing temperatures and high winds. The parade was cancelled altogether. Reagan is seen here being sworn in inside the rotunda at the U.S. Capitol.
1985: Chef and author James Beard, who brought French cooking to the American middle and upper classes in the 1950s, dies of heart failure at the age of 81 in New York City. Beard's name lives on today in his foundation's annual Beard awards in various culinary genres.
1987: Aretha Franklin is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's second class along with 14 other performers (including Bill Haley, B.B. King, Marvin Gaye, Roy Orbison and Ricky Nelson), becoming the first woman to be inducted.
1994: A jury in Manassas, Va., acquits Lorena Bobbitt by reason of temporary insanity of maliciously wounding her husband John Wayne Bobbitt. Lorena Bobbitt said her husband had come home intoxicated on June 23, 1993, and raped her. She then got a kitchen knife, severed his penis nearly in half and threw it in a field. After she called 911, it was recovered from the field and reattached.
1997: The U.S. House of Representatives reprimands Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and orders him to pay a $300,000 penalty for claiming tax-exempt status for a college course run for political purposes. Gingrich was the first speaker of the House to be internally disciplined for ethical misconduct.
1997: Colonel Tom Parker, the Dutch-born entertainment impresario known best as the manager of Elvis Presley, dies at the age of 87 in Las Vegas, Nev., a day after suffering a stroke.
1998: Actor Jack Lord, best known for starring in the TV series "Hawaii Five-0" from 1968 to 1980, dies of congestive heart failure at the age of 77 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
1999: Blues singer and pianist Charles Brown, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member whose hits included "Driftin' Blues," "Black Night," "Merry Christmas Baby" and "Please Come Home for Christmas," dies of congestive heart failure at the age of 76 in Oakland, Calif.
2002: Singer-songwriter and actress Peggy Lee, who had a string of successful albums and top 10 hits in three consecutive decades and is best known for her hit cover of the song "Fever," dies from diabetes and a heart attack at the age of 81 in Los Angeles, Calif. Some of her other hit recordings included "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place," "Why Don't You Do Right?" and "Mañana." She also starred and sang in the hit films "The Jazz Singer," "Disney's Lady and the Tramp" and "Pete Kelly's Blues," for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
2008: Worldwide stock markets slump in a day that will be labeled "Black Monday." The London Stock Exchange's FTSE 100 index saw its biggest ever one-day points fall, European stocks closed with their worst results since Sept. 11, 2001, and Asian stocks dropped as much as 14 percent.
2010: Toyota announces recalls for 2.3 million vehicles due to faulty accelerator pedals that could become stuck and cause sudden acceleration. Of those vehicles recalled, 2.1 million had been part of a Nov. 2, 2009, recall to fix an issue with the driver's side floor mat that could also cause pedal entrapment.
2010: A bitterly divided Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, holds that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions.
2010: Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards admits fathering a child during an affair before his second White House bid. After the admission, Edwards' wife, Elizabeth Edwards, would announce a separation from her husband, with an intention to file for divorce. Elizabeth Edwards died from breast cancer on Dec. 7, 2010.
Matthew Todd Miller, a 24-year-old from California, has been convicted of "acts hostile" to North Korea and sentenced to six years of hard labor. Learn more about the three Americans currently being detained in North Korea.