1649: Following the second civil war in a decade, King Charles I of England is beheaded for high treason. The monarchy was then abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England was declared. Charles's son, Charles II, who dated his accession from the death of his father, did not take up the reins of government until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.
1815: The U.S. Congress re-establishes the Library of Congress, which was burned by the British during the War of 1812, by agreeing to pay former President Thomas Jefferson $23,940 for his personal collection of 6,487 books.
1835: In the first assassination attempt against a U.S. president, Richard Lawrence attempts to shoot President Andrew Jackson while Jackson is leaving the funeral of South Carolina congressman Warren R. Davis at the United States Capitol. After both of Lawrence's pistols misfired, he was subdued by a crowd, including several congressmen and, by some reports at least, a cane-wielding President Jackson himself. He would later be found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent most of the rest of his life in several institutions and hospitals.
1836: American seamstress Betsy Ross dies at the age of 84 in Philadelphia, Pa. Ross is widely credited with making the first American flag, although there is no credible historical evidence that the story is true.
1847: Yerba Buena, Calif., is renamed San Francisco. Here the city is seen in 1851, the year after California became a state.
1862: The first American ironclad warship, the USS Monitor, is launched. The Monitor would become famous for its battle with the CSS Virginia during the Civil War, the first-ever battle fought between two ironclads, before foundering while under tow during a storm off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., on Dec. 31, 1862.
1882: Franklin D. Roosevelt, who became the 32nd president of the United States in 1933, is born in Hyde Park, N.Y. Roosevelt would lead the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war, becoming the only American president ever elected to more than two terms. He was re-elected to a fourth term in 1944, but died from a stroke on April 12, 1945, less than three months into his final term.
1922: Comedian Dick Martin (right), best known as the co-host of the TV sketch comedy program "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" from 1968 to 1973, is born in Battle Creek, Mich. Martin, who had lost the use of a lung as a teenager and suffered respiratory problems late in life, died from breathing complications at age 86 on May 24, 2008.
1930: Actor Gene Hackman, best known for movies such as "Bonnie and Clyde," "The French Connection," "The Poseidon Adventure," "The Conversation," "Mississippi Burning" and "Unforgiven," is born in San Bernardino, Calif. Hackman has been nominated for five Academy Awards, winning Oscars for Best Actor for "The French Connection" and Best Supporting Actor for "Unforgiven."
1931: The comedy "City Lights," written by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin, premieres in Los Angeles, Calif. The silent movie proved immensely popular upon release, generating positive reviews and $5 million at the box office. Today, it is considered one of the highest accomplishments of Chaplin's prolific career.
1933: Adolf Hitler is sworn in as chancellor of Germany.
1933: "The Lone Ranger" is heard on the radio for the first time. The program would run for 2,956 episodes before ending in 1955 and also spawned an equally popular television show that ran from 1949 to 1957, as well as comic books and movies.
1937: Actress Vanessa Redgrave, known for her theatrical work as well as movies such as "Mary, Queen of Scots," "Isadora," "Julia," "Howards End" and "Atonement," is born in London, England. Redgrave has earned six Academy Award nominations, winning Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Julia." She's seen here with her daughter, fellow actress Joely Richardson.
1941: Dick Cheney, who was the 46th vice president of the United States from 2001 to 2009 under President George W. Bush, is born in Lincoln, Neb. Cheney also served as President Gerald Ford's White House chief of staff before being elected to the U.S. House representing Wyoming in 1979. He was also secretary of defense under President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1993.
1948: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who used non-violent civil disobedience to lead India to independence, is shot and killed in New Delhi by Pandit Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who thought Gandhi was too sympathetic to India's Muslims. Godse and his co-conspirator were tried and executed in 1949. Gandhi, who was 78 when he was killed, inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights and freedom across the world through his work.
1948: American aviator Orville Wright, who with his brother Wilbur is credited with inventing the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, dies of a heart attack at the age of 76 in Dayton, Ohio.
1951: Automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche, best known for creating the Volkswagen Beetle, the first of many Porsche automobiles and the first hybrid vehicle, dies at the age of 75 in Stuttgart, West Germany, following a stroke.
1951: Singer-songwriter Phil Collins, best known as a drummer and vocalist for the rock group Genesis and for his solo work, is born in London, England. Some of his best known hits include "In the Air Tonight," "Sussudio," "Against All Odds" and "Another Day in Paradise."
1956: American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.'s home is bombed in retaliation for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. King had been speaking at a mass meeting at the First Baptist Church when the bombing happened and nobody was hurt.
1957: Professional golfer Payne Stewart, seen here after winning the 1999 U.S. Open Championship, is born in Springfield, Mo. Stewart won 11 PGA Tour events, including three major championships, before dying in a 1999 plane crash at the age of 42.
1959: The Danish liner MS Hans Hedtoft, said to be the safest ship afloat and "unsinkable" like the RMS Titanic, strikes an iceberg off the coast of Greenland on her maiden voyage and sinks, killing all 95 aboard.
1968: The Tet Offensive begins as the Viet Cong and North Vietnam launch surprise attacks against military and civilian command and control centers throughout South Vietnam. The operations are referred to as the Tet Offensive because there was a prior ceasefire agreement in place during the Tet Lunar New Year celebrations.
1969: The Beatles' last public performance takes place with an impromptu concert on the roof of Apple Records in London. The band managed to play for 42 minutes before the performance was broken up by the police because of noise complaints and crowds gathering on the street below. About half of the performance ended up in the film "Let It Be."
1972: In an event that would become known as Bloody Sunday, British paratroopers shoot 26 unarmed civil-rights protesters and bystanders during a civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland. Of those shot, 13 died immediately or soon after and another person died later from injuries he received that day. An initial investigation cleared the soldiers and British authorities, but was widely criticized. A new inquiry began in 1998 and in 2010 concluded that the soldiers had "lost control" and concocted lies to cover up their actions, calling the killings "unjustified and unjustifiable." Pictured here is a mural in Derry depicting a famous photo from Bloody Sunday of the Rev. Edward Daly escorting injured marchers to safety using a white handkerchief.
1973: At the Popcorn Club in Queens, N.Y., the hard rock band Kiss plays their first show in front of an audience of three. The band wore little of the makeup they would become known for, with their iconic makeup designs making their debut in March 1973.
1974: Actor Christian Bale, best known for movies such as "American Psycho," "The Fighter" and director Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" Batman trilogy, is born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales.
1977: The eighth, and final, part of the miniseries "Roots" is watched by 100 million viewers, making it the most-watched entertainment show ever at the time. It has since been passed by the series finale of the sitcom "M*A*S*H" and the "Who Done It?" (aka "Who Shot J.R.?") episode of "Dallas." The series, based on Alex Haley's novel "Roots: The Saga of an American Family," would go on to earn 36 Emmy nominations, winning nine.
1982: Richard Skrenta, 15, writes the first PC virus code, which is 400 lines long and disguised as an Apple boot program called "Elk Cloner." Skrenta wrote the virus as a prank, aiming to trick friends who were already leery of accepting games on floppy disks from him. When a computer booted from an infected disk, a copy of the virus would be placed in the computer's memory. If an uninfected disk was then inserted into the computer, Elk Cloner would be copied to the disk, allowing it to spread from disk to disk. The prank, though annoying to victims, was relatively harmless compared with the viruses of today. All an infected computer would do was display a short taunting poem on every 50th boot.
2003: Richard Reid, a British citizen and al-Qaida follower, is sentenced to life in prison by a federal judge in Boston for trying to blow up a transatlantic jetliner with explosives hidden in his shoes. Reid had unsuccessfully tried to detonate the explosives on Dec. 22, 2001, while on board American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami. Passengers subdued him on the plane, which quickly landed at Logan International Airport in Boston, the closest U.S. airport.
2006: Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. and an author, activist and civil rights leader, dies of respiratory failure due to complications from ovarian cancer at the age of 78 in Playas de Rosarito, Mexico. She played a prominent role in the civil rights movement alongside her husband, took on a leadership role in the movement following her husband's 1968 assassination and also became active in the Women's Liberation Movement.
2007: Sidney Sheldon, who followed a successful career writing for the Broadway stage, movies and television by becoming a bestselling novelist, dies at age 89 in Rancho Mirage, Calif., from complications arising from pneumonia. Sheldon won an Academy Award for writing the screenplay to 1947's "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer," a Tony Award for his musical "Redhead," and was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on the sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie." He also worked on the screenplays for movies such as "Easter Parade" and "Annie Get Your Gun." During his 20-year career in television, he created, produced and wrote the series "The Patty Duke Show," "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Hart to Hart." He wrote his first novel, "The Naked Face," in 1969 and went on to write such bestsellers as "Master of the Game," "The Other Side of Midnight" and "Rage of Angels."
2013: Singer Patty Andrews (middle), the last surviving member of the singing Andrews Sisters trio, dies of natural causes at age 94 in Los Angeles, Calif. The Andrews Sisters, which also included her sisters LaVerne (top) and Maxene (bottom), were best known for their 1941 hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." They recorded more than 400 songs and sold over 80 million records until LaVerne's death in 1967.
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.
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