1492: The oldest meteorite with a known date of impact, the Ensisheim meteorite, slammed into a wheat field around 12 noon near the village of Ensisheim, Alsace, France.
1665: The London Gazette, the oldest newspaper still in print, was first published.
1786: The Stoughton Musical Society, the oldest choral association in the United States, was founded in Boston.
1874: A cartoon by Thomas Nast (1840-1902) in Harper’s Weekly was considered the first use of an elephant as a symbol for the U.S. Republican Party.
1929: The Museum of Modern Art opened to the public in New York City.
1944: Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) was elected for a record fourth term as president of the United States of America.
1630: An immense flock of passenger pigeons darkened the skies over Boston.
1864: Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was elected to a second term.
1889: Montana was admitted to the United States as the 41st state.
1972: HBO (Home Box Office) began broadcasting for the first time, with the 1971 movie Sometimes a Great Notion, starring Paul Newman (1925-2008) and Henry Fonda (1905-1982).
1973: The right ear of John Paul Getty III (1956-2011) was delivered to a newspaper, along with a ransom note, convincing his father to pay $2.9 million.
1994: For the first time in 40 years, the Republican Party gained control of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
1620: Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sighted land for the first time at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
1906: Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) became the first sitting president of the United States to make an official trip outside the country. He did so to inspect progress on the Panama Canal.
1960: Robert McNamara (1916-2009) was named president of Ford Motor Co., the first non-Ford to serve in that post. (He resigned one month later to join the administration of President-elect John F. Kennedy (1917-1963).
1961: The X-15 rocket set a speed record of 4,093 mph.
1967: The first issue of Rolling Stone Magazine was published, in New York City.
2009: A record high temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded in Manchester, N.H.
1775: The U.S. Marine Corps was founded at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia by Samuel Nicholas (1744-1790), considered to be the first Commandant of the Marine Corps. 1969: The children’s TV show Sesame Street debuted on National Educational Television, predecessor of the Public Broadcasting Service.
1970: For the first time in five years, an entire week ended with no American combat fatalities in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
1975: The 729-foot-long ore ship SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank on Lake Superior, killing 29 crew. (The disaster was memorialized in the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” released in August 1976 by Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot.)
1983: Bill Gates (born 1955) of Microsoft Corporation unveiled Windows 1.0. (It received poor reviews.)
2002: Seventy tornadoes were recorded in one day in the United States.
1804: Sacajawea (1788-1812) joined the Lewis and Clark expedition at Fort Mandan.
1839: The Virginia Military Institute was founded in Lexington, Virginia. (VMI is a public military college, the oldest such institution in the United States.)
1889: Washington was admitted as the 42nd state of the United States.
1921: The Tomb of the Unknowns was dedicated by President Warren G. Harding (1865-1923) at Arlington National Cemetery.
1926: The United States Numbered Highway System, including U.S. Route 66, was established.
1905: Voters in Norway chose monarchy over a republic.
1956: The largest iceberg on record, 208 x 60 miles, was discovered near Antarctica by the USS Glacier.
1958: A team of rock climbers led by Warren “Batso” Harding (1924-2002) completed the first ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, California.
1980: NASA space probe Voyager I made its closest approach to Saturn and took the first ever close-up images of its rings.
1981: Space Shuttle Columbia was launched into space for the second time, the first time a manned spacecraft was reused.
1993: The first Ultimate Fighting Championship event, UFC 1, was held in Denver, Colo.
2003: Shanghai Transrapid set a new world speed record (311 mph) for commercial railway systems, which remains the fastest for commercial rail vehicles.
2008: Nordin Montong, 32, a janitor at the Singapore Zoo, committed suicide by entering an enclosure containing white tigers and provoking them with brooms and a pail until they mauled him to death.
2009: The U.S. Mint released the fourth of four new Lincoln pennies; the design depicted Lincoln’s presidency and features the half-completed Capitol dome. It was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Joseph Menna.
1002: English king Æthelred II (968-1016) ordered the killing of all Danes living in England, known today as the St. Brice’s Day massacre. An unknown but significant number of people were slaughtered.
1833: Thousands of meteors fell during a shower that lasted several hours over the East Coast of the United States.
1926: Born this day: Maryland Gov. Harry Roe Hughes (in office 1979-1987), and actor Don Gordon (Bullitt, Papillon, The Towering Inferno).
2001: President George W. Bush (born 1946) signed an executive order allowing military tribunals against foreigners suspected of connections to terrorist acts, or planned acts on the United States, in the first such act since World War II.