1837: Stephen Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th president 1885-1889 and 1893-1897) was born in Caldwell, N.J.
1850: American Express was founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo.
1940: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at Brenner Pass in the Alps and agreed to form an alliance against France and the United Kingdom.
1959: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law allowing Hawaiian statehood, which would become official on Aug. 21.
1965: Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov left his spacecraft, Voskhod 2, for 12 minutes, to become the first person to “walk” in space.
1970: The U.S. postal strike of 1970 began, one of the largest wildcat strikes in U.S. history.
1990: In the largest art theft in U.S. history, 12 paintings, collectively worth around $300 million, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Mass.
2010: A rare Sumatran tiger was born in the Sacramento Zoo, California.
1831: In the first bank robbery in the U.S., $245,000 was stolen from City Bank in New York.
1863: The SS Georgiana, said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser, was damaged on her maiden voyage out of Charleston, S.C., by Union Navy ships and scuttled, with a cargo of munitions, medicines and merchandise then valued at over $1,000,000.
1895: Auguste and Louis Lumière recorded their first footage using their newly patented cinematograph.
1918: The U.S. Congress established time zones and approved daylight saving time.
1931: Gambling was legalized in Nevada.
1945: Adolf Hitler issued his “Nero Decree” ordering all industries, military installations, shops, transportation facilities and communications facilities in Germany to be destroyed to prevent their use by invading Allies forces. (The decree was deliberately disobeyed by Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect.)
1954: The first televised prize boxing fight shown in color was broadcast as Joey Giardello knocked out Willie Tory in round seven at Madison Square Garden. Pool master Willie Mosconi set a world record by running 526 consecutive balls without a miss during a pool exhibition at East High Billiard Club in Springfield, Ohio. (The record still stands today.)
1962: Bob Dylan released his first album, Bob Dylan, on the Columbia Records label.
1965: The wreck of the SS Georgiana, valued at over $50,000,000 and said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser, was discovered by teenage diver (and later pioneer underwater archaeologist) E. Lee Spence (born 1947), exactly 102 years after it was attacked by the Union Navy and scuttled near Charleston, S.C.
1966: Texas Western became the first college basketball team to win the Final Four with an all-black starting lineup.
1979: The U.S. House of Representatives began broadcasting its day-to-day business via the cable television network C-SPAN.
1760: The “Great Fire” of Boston, Mass., destroyed 349 buildings.
1852: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” was published in Boston. (It became the best selling novel of the 19th century.)
1854: The Republican Party of the United States was organized in Ripon, Wis.
1916: Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity in Germany.
1922: The USS Langley (CV-1) was commissioned as the first U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.
1948: The first TV broadcasts of classical music in the United States, under Eugene Ormandy and Arturo Toscanini, were given on CBS and NBC.
1985: Libby Riddles (born 1956) became the first woman to win the 1,135-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
2003: The United States and three other countries (UK, Australia and Poland) begin the military invasion of Iraq.
1925: The Butler Act was signed to prohibit the teaching of human evolution in Tennessee.
1928: President Calvin Coolidge presented Charles Lindbergh with the Medal of Honor at the White House for completing the first solo trans-Atlantic flight.
1952: Ohio radio disc jockey Alan Freed organized and promoted the first rock and roll concert, a five-act show called “The Moondog Coronation Ball,” at the Cleveland Arena.
1962: Born this day: actor Matthew Broderick, entertainer Rosie O’Donnell and U.S. comic book artist and author Mark Waid.
1963: Alcatraz prison closed permanently.
1970: The first Earth Day proclamation was issued by San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto.
2006: The social media site Twitter was founded.
1621: The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony signed a peace treaty with Massasoit of the Wampanoags.
1630: The Massachusetts Bay Colony outlawed the possession of cards, dice and gaming tables.
1871: In North Carolina, William Woods Holden became the first governor of a U.S. state to be removed from office by impeachment.
1930: Born this day: U.S. televangelist Pat Robertson, and American composer and songwriter Stephen Sondheim.
1931: Born this day: actor William Shatner, and U.S. Nobel Prize winner Burton Richter.
1960: Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes received the first patent for a laser.
1963: The Beatles’ first album, Please Please Me, was released in the United Kingdom.
1993: The Intel Corporation shipped the first Pentium chips (80586), featuring a 60 MHz clock speed, 100+ MIPS, and a 64-bit data path.
1997: The Comet Hale-Bopp had its closest approach to Earth.
1775: Patrick Henry delivered his speech, “Give me liberty or give me death!” at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, Va.
1857: Elisha Otis’ first elevator was installed at 488 Broadway, New York City.
1868: The University of California was founded in Oakland, when the Organic Act was signed into law.
1919: Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) founded his Fascist political movement in Milan, Italy.
1933: The Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.
1956: Pakistan became the first Islamic republic in the world, and adopted Sharia law.
1983: President Ronald Reagan made his first proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles from outer space, a.k.a. Star Wars.
1989: Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced their discovery of cold fusion at the University of Utah.
2001: The Russian Mir space station was allowed to re-enter the atmosphere, where if broke apart and fell into the southern Pacific Ocean near Fiji.
1663: The Province of Carolina was granted by charter to eight British lords as a reward for their help in restoring Charles II of England to the throne.
1707: The Acts of Union 1707 was signed, officially uniting the kingdoms of England and Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain.
1721: Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated six concertos to Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt, now commonly called the Brandenburg Concertos.
1765: The Kingdom of Great Britain passed the Quartering Act that required the 13 colonies to house British troops in private homes.
1832: A group of men in Hiram, Ohio, beat, tarred, and feathered Mormon founder Joseph Smith.
1837: Canada granted African Canadian men the right to vote.
1854: Slavery was abolished in Venezuela.
1874: Born this day: Luigi Einaudi, second president of the Italian Republic (died 1961); and Harry Houdini, Hungarian-American magician and actor (died 1926).
1882: German physician and microbiologist Robert Koch (1843-1910) announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis.
1896: Russian physicist Alexander Stepanovich Popov (1859-1906) made the first radio signal transmission in history.
1900: Groundbreaking was held for New York’s first subway train line, that would link Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1934: U.S. Congress passed the Tydings-McDuffie Act, allowing the Philippines to become a self-governing commonwealth.
1958: Elvis Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army.
1965: Sen. Robert F. Kennedy became the first person to reach the peak of Mount Kennedy in the Yukon Territory.
1972: The United Kingdom imposed direct rule over Northern Ireland.
1973: Kenyan athlete Kip Keino defeated Jim Ryun at the first-ever professional track meet in Los Angeles.
1980: Roman Catholic Archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated by government troops while celebrating Mass in San Salvador.
1989: The Exxon Valdez spilled 240,000 barrels of crude oil after running aground in Prince William Sound in Alaska.