1608: John Smith is elected council president of Jamestown, Virginia Colony.
1794: Two years before Tennessee would become a state, Blount College is chartered in Knoxville as America's first non-denominational college. The school would later become the University of Tennessee.
1846: Elias Howe is granted a patent for the sewing machine.
1897: British police arrest George Smith for drunken driving after he slammed his taxi into a building, making him the first person arrested for DWI. He pleaded guilty and was fined 25 shillings.
1914: Filmmaker Robert Wise, who won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture for "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music," is born in Winchester, Ind. Wise was also nominated for Oscars for Best Film Editing for "Citizen Kane" and Best Picture for "The Sand Pebbles." He also directed "The Body Snatcher," "Born to Kill," "The Day the Earth Stood Still," "Run Silent, Run Deep," "The Andromeda Strain" and "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."
1918: The original Rin Tin Tin, the German Shepherd dog adopted from a WWI battlefield who would go on to star in 23 Hollywood films, is born.
1919: New York City welcomes home Gen. John J. Pershing and 25,000 soldiers who had served in the United States 1st Division during World War I.
1924: A judge in Chicago sentences Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb to life in prison for the murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks, a "thrill killing" that had shocked the nation.
1929: Golfer Arnold Palmer, who is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of men's professional golf, is born in Latrobe, Pa.
1931: Actor Philip Baker Hall, best known for movies such as "Hard Eight," "Boogie Nights," "The Insider" and "Magnolia," is born in Toledo, Ohio.
1934: Journalist Charles Kuralt, known for his folksy "On the Road" segments for CBS News and also as the first anchor of "CBS News Sunday Morning," is born in Wilmington, N.C.
1934: Baseball player Roger Maris, whose 61 home runs during the 1961 season for the New York Yankees broke Babe Ruth's single-season record and would stand for 37 years, is born in Hibbing, Minn.
1935: U.S. Sen. Huey Long, a politician and former Louisiana governor noted for his radical populist policies, dies two days after being shot by the son-in-law of a political opponent at the Louisana State Capitol. Long's bodyguards returned fire, killing the attacker and Long was rushed to the hospital ultimately died from his injuries.
1939: The British submarine HMS Oxley, seen here in the foreground, is mistakenly sunk by the submarine HMS Triton near Norway and becomes the Royal Navy's first loss during World War II.
1939: In its first independent declaration of war, Canada declares war on Nazi Germany, joining the Allies -- France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
1945: Guitarist and singer-songwriter José Feliciano, known for many international hits including his rendition of The Doors' "Light My Fire" and the best-selling Christmas single "Feliz Navidad," is born in Lares, Puerto Rico. He's seen here in 1970.
1946: While riding a train to Darjeeling, Sister Teresa Bojaxhiu of the Loreto Sisters' Convent claims to have heard the call of God, directing her "to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them." She would later become known as Mother Teresa.
1948: Basketball Hall of Fame center Bob Lanier, an eight-time NBA All-Star who played for the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks, is born in Buffalo, N.Y. Over 14 seasons in the NBA he totalled 19,248 points, 9,698 rebounds and 1,100 blocks.
1949: TV host, author and political commentator Bill O'Reilly is born in New York City.
1950: Guitarist Joe Perry, a founding member of Aerosmith, is born in Lawrence, Mass.
1955: "Gunsmoke" premieres on CBS. The Western TV drama, starring James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon, would last for a total of 635 episodes over 20 seasons before ending on March 31, 1975.
1958: Film director Chris Columbus, best known for movies like "Gremlins," "The Goonies," "Home Alone," "Mrs. Doubtfire" and the first two "Harry Potter" movies, is born in Spangler, Pa.
1960: At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Abebe Bikila becomes the first sub-Saharan African to win a gold medal, winning the marathon in bare feet. He won the marathon again at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
1960: Actor Colin Firth, best known for his Oscar-winning role in "The King's Speech" and for other movies such as "The English Patient," "Bridget Jones's Diary," "Shakespeare in Love" and "Love Actually," is born in Grayshott, Hampshire, England.
1966: "Cherry, Cherry" lands on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Neil Diamond's first song to chart. The song would peak at No. 6 in October 1966.
1968: Film director Guy Ritchie, best known for movies like "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "Snatch," "Sherlock Holmes" and "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," is born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England.
1974 Actor Ryan Phillippe ("Cruel Intentions," "Crash," "Flags of Our Fathers") is born in New Castle, Del.
1976: Screenwriter and novelist Dalton Trumbo dies from a heart attack at the age of 70 in Los Angeles. Blacklisted from Hollywood along with the "Hollywood Ten" for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, Trumbo won two Oscars while blacklisted, one for 1953's "Roman Holiday" that was originally given to a front writer and one for 1956's "The Brave One," awarded to "Robert Rich," Trumbo's pseudonym. He also wrote screenplays for "Spartacus," "Exodus" and "Johnny Got His Gun," adapting the last from his 1939 novel of the same name. He's seen here with his wife, Cleo, in 1947.
1977: Hamida Djandoubi, convicted of torture and murder, is the last person to be executed by guillotine in France. The country would abolish capital punishment in 1981 following the election of President François Mitterrand.
1990: Will Smith makes his acting debut in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." The show would last six seasons and help launch Smith's acting career.
1992: Lucy in the "Peanuts" comics raises her Psychiatric Help stand cost from 5 cents to 47 cents.
2000: The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Cats" closes after 7,485 performances over nearly 18 years as the longest-running show in Broadway history. The record was later surpassed by Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" in 2006.
2002: Switzerland, traditionally a neutral country, joins the United Nations.
2006: American professional golfer and Ladies Professional Golf Association founding member Patty Berg dies from complications of Alzheimer's disease at age 88 in Fort Myers, Fla. Berg was a leading LPGA Tour player during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and her 15 major title wins remains the all-time record for most major wins by a female golfer. Berg, who is also a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, is seen here in 1936.
2007: Actress Jane Wyman ("Johnny Belinda," "Falcon Crest") dies in her sleep from natural causes at the age of 90 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Wyman was also the first wife of Ronald Reagan. They married in 1940 and divorced on June 28, 1948, before Reagan ran for public office.
2008: The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the biggest scientific experiment in history, is powered up in Geneva, Switzerland. The collider was built with the aim of allowing physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics and high-energy physics. The LHC is expected to address some of the most fundamental questions of physics, advancing human understanding of the deepest laws of nature.
2011: Actor Cliff Robertson, who won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the movie "Charly," dies of natural causes at age 88 in Stony Brook, N.Y. He also portrayed a young John F. Kennedy in the 1963 film "PT 109" and was known later in his career for playing Uncle Ben from 2002 to 2007 in director Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy.