1483 - Martin Luther, German religious reformer who began the Protestant Reformation, born.
1775 - The United States Marine Corps was authorized under authority of the Continental Congress.
1801 - In the United States the state of Tennessee outlawed the practice of dueling.
1871 - Henry M. Stanley, journalist and explorer, found David Livingstone, a missing Scottish missionary in central Africa, and delivered his now famous greeting: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
1885 - Paul Daimler became the world's first motor-cyclist when he rode his father Gottlieb's new invention for six miles.
1888 - 13-year-old violinist from Austria, Vienna, Fritz Kreisler, made his United States debut in New York City.
1900 - The play, "Floradora", opened in New York City, received by cheering audiences.
1917 - 41 suffragists were arrested in front of the White House.
1928 - Hirohito was crowned Emperor of Japan. He had effectively become head of state and named Regent when his father became ill in 1920. He ruled until his death in 1989.
1939 - On Bluebird Records, Muggsy Spanier and his band recorded "Dipper Mouth Blues".
1939 - At the Auto Show in Chicago, Illinois, the first air-conditioned automobiles were displayed.
1942 - Buoyant after the desert victory at El Alamein, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said: "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
1950 - "The Magnificent Montague", debuted on NBC radio starring Monty Woolley.
1950 - The Country Girl, written by Clifford Odets, opened at the Lyceum Theatre in New York City. Uta Hagen, in the lead role, won a Best Actress Tony for her performance. A few years later, the play was made into a film, and Grace Kelly received the Best Actress Oscar for the same role.
1951 - Direct-dial, coast-to-coast telephone service began as Mayor M. Leslie Denning of Englewood, New Jersey, called his counterpart in Alameda, California.
1953 - Walt Disney's The Living Desert was released to theaters. It was very popular and became a box-office smash, later winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Critics, however, felt there were too many gags and humor with music, which weakened its documentary claim. Disney toned down the comedic antics with subsequent nature documentaries.
1953 - The film How to Marry a Millionaire, starring Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall, premiered in New York on this date. It later received an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design.
1954 - The Iwo Jima Memorial was dedicated in Arlington, Virginia.
1956 - After a 3 year absence, Billie Holiday returned to Carnegie Hall in New York City to give a concert called a high point in jazz history.
1960 - Britain and Romania signed a financial agreement providing for final settlement of British claims arising from their 1947 peace treaty.
1964 - Kenya became a one-party state by consent.
1969 - Twenty years after the first release of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", Gene Autry was awarded a gold record for the single.
1969 - Sesame Street premiered on PBS, featuring Jim Henson's Muppet characters and lie actors and cartoons. The teachings and antics of Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster filled the minds and hearts of thousands of preschool children, and the award-winning educational series was a tremendous success. Sesame Street was produced by the Children's Television Workshop.
1972 - Mickey (Arthur) McBride owner of the Cleveland Browns in the 1940s and 1950s, and a taxicab company, died today. Browns' coach Paul Brown had a special squad of five non-roster players that could practice with the team in case a regular player was injured. The squad's salaries were paid by McBride's taxi company giving rise to the term, "taxi squad". According to Terry Pluto, in "When All the World was Browns Town", taxi squad members never drove cars.
1975 - The sinking of the "Edmund Fitzgerald", the worst Great Lakes shipwreck of the day occurred. It was a cold, stormy Lake Superior, known to Native Americans as Gitche Gumee, that caused the deaths of 29 crew members of the ore carrier. When the ship was launched, it was the largest bulk carrier on the Great Lakes.
1975 - The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution equating Zionism with racism. However, the world body repealed the resolution in December 1991.
1976 - The Utah Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for convicted murderer Gary Gilmore to be executed, according to his wishes. The sentence was carried out the following January.
1982 - The newly finished Vietnam Veterans Memorial was opened to its first visitors in Washington, D.C.
1984 - The Maryland Terrapins set an NCAA football record when they came from a 31-0 halftime deficit to beat Miami’s Hurricanes, 42-40. The game broke the previous record set on October 20, 1984, when Washington State came from 28 points behind to beat Stanford, 49-42.
1986 - "Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live/1975-85", the highly watched for, long-anticipated album by "The Boss", wemt on sale in record stores. Fans made the LP a sellout in one-day, buying over a million copies and generating more first-day money than any record in 30 years. The hit album was a five-disc, 40-song set.
1989 - Bulgarian leader Todor Zhikov stepped down as Communist Party chief and head of state after 35 years in power.
1990 - Veteran socialist leader Chandra Shekhar was sworn in as India's new prime minister at the head of its second minority government in less than a year.
1993 - John Wayne Bobbitt was acquitted on the charge of marital sexual assault against his wife who sexually mutilated him. Lorena Bobbitt was later acquitted of malicious wounding her husband.
1995 - President Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia and Franjo Tudjman of Croatia initialled an agreement shoring up their federation in the first breakthrough of United States-led talks aimed at ending four years of war in the former Yugoslavia.
1995 - Hsu You-shend and Gary Harriman were partners in the first (not legally binding) gay wedding in Taiwan.
1997 - WorldCom Inc. and MCI Communications Corp. agreed to a $37 billion merger, the biggest in United States history.