1959: Danish ocean liner MS Hans Hedtoft, said to be the safest ship afloat and “unsinkable” like the RMS Titanic, struck an iceberg near Greenland during her maiden voyage and sank, killing all 95 people aboard. (As of 2016, she remains the last ship sunk by an iceberg with casualties.)
1969: the Beatles made their last public performance in an impromptu concert on the roof of their London recording studio. (The event was broken up by the police.)
2014: At 5:50 a.m., Darlene Shaver of Troy, Mont., became the first patient admitted into Cabinet Peaks Medical Center, a new, $40 million hospital in Libby, Mont. At 6:45 a.m., Cheryle Amos of Libby became the last patient discharged from St. John’s Lutheran Hospital.
1747: The first venereal diseases clinic opened at London Lock Hospital.
1865: As the Civil War began winding down, Confederate general and traitor Robert E. Lee became general-in-chief.
1930: 3M began marketing Scotch Tape.
1958: The first American satellite, Explorer 1, was launched.
1990: The first McDonald’s in the Soviet Union opened in Moscow.
2010: Avatar became the first film to gross over $2 billion worldwide.
1884: The first volume (A to Ant) of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.
1893: Thomas A. Edison finished construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria, in West Orange, New Jersey.
1964: The Beatles had their first No. 1 hit in the United States with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
2003: Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-107 disintegrated during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
1653: New Amsterdam (later renamed The City of New York) was incorporated.
1887: The first Groundhog Day was observed, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
1914: Charlie Chaplin made his first film appearance in the movie Making a Living.
1925: Dog sleds reached Nome, Alaska, with diphtheria serum from Anchorage, inspiring the Iditarod race.
1935: Leonarde Keeler (1903-1949) tested the first polygraph machine, in Los Angeles, Calif.
1913: The Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, authorizing the federal government to impose and collect an income tax.
1924: Thomas Woodrow Wilson (28th president, 1913-1921) died in Washington, D.C., at age 67.
1947: The lowest temperature in North America, minus 83.0 degrees F (63.9 degrees C) , was recorded in Snag, Yukon, Canada.
1995: Astronaut Eileen Collins became the first woman to pilot the Space Shuttle as mission STS-63 launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
1789: George Washington was unanimously elected first president of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College, in the only unanimous electoral vote to date.
1861: Delegates from six seceded U.S. states met in Montgomery, Ala., and formed the traitorous Confederate States of America.
1902: Aviation pioneer Charles Augustus Lindberg was born in Detroit.
1913: Born this day: U.S. civil rights activist Rosa Parks (died 2005), and English race car driver Richard Seaman (died 1939).
2004: Facebook, an online social networking site, was launched by self-described hacker and thief Mark Zuckerberg.
1869: The largest alluvial gold nugget in history, called the “Welcome Stranger” weighing 3,123 ounces, was found in Moliagul, Victoria, Australia.
1937: President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a plan to enlarge the Supreme Court of the United States so he could pack it with justices who supported his policies. (The plan was defeated.)
1976: The 1976 swine flu outbreak began at Fort Dix, N.J.