70 B.C.: Roman poet Virgil, known for three major works of Latin literature, the "Eclogues," the "Georgics," and the epic "Aeneid," is born in Andes, Cisalpine Gaul, Roman Republic.
1783: Brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier launch a tethered hot air balloon with Jacques-Étienne as a passenger, marking the first human ascent in a balloon.
1815: Napoleon Bonaparte begins his exile on Saint Helena in the south Atlantic Ocean more than 11,000 miles off the west coast of Africa. He would spend the rest of his life in exile before dying in 1821.
1844: German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, whose influence remains strong today within philosophy, notably in existentialism, post-modernism, and post-structuralism, is born in Röcken-bei-Lützen, Prussia.
1860: Grace Bedell, 11, writes a letter to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln stating that he would look better if he would grow a beard. Lincoln would respond in a letter on Oct, 19, 1860, making no promises. However, within a month, he grew a full beard. He later met with her.
1863: The Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley, which in February 1864 would become the first submarine to sink a ship, sinks during a test, killing its entire crew of eight, including its inventor, Horace L. Hunley.
1881: Author P. G. Wodehouse, best known today for the Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels and short stories, is born in Guildford, Surrey, England.
1888: The "From Hell" letter is sent by a person claiming to be the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper. The letter and a box containing half a human kidney are received the following day by George Lusk, then head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, a group of local volunteers who patrolled the streets of London's Whitechapel District during the murders.
1917: Mata Hari, a Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan and accused spy born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, is executed by firing squad in France under charges of espionage for Germany during World War I.
1920: Novelist Mario Puzo, known for his novels about the Mafia, including "The Godfather," which he later co-adapted into the screenplay for the film by Francis Ford Coppola, is born in Manhattan, N.Y.
1924: Lee Iacocca, an American businessman known for engineering the Ford Mustang and Ford Pinto cars, and for his revival of the Chrysler Corporation in the 1980s, is born in Allentown, Pa.
1928: The airship Graf Zeppelin completes its first trans-Atlantic flight, landing at Lakehurst, N.J., after its 6,168-mile, 111-hour journey from Friedrichshafen, Germany.
1937: "To Have and Have Not" by Ernest Hemingway is published for the first time.
1942: Actress and film director Penny Marshall, best known for playing Laverne DeFazio on the sitcom "Laverne and Shirley," is born in The Bronx, N.Y. Marshall is also known for directing such movies as "Big," "Awakenings" and "A League of Their Own."
1945: Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Jim Palmer, who won three World Series titles in his 19-year career with the Baltimore Orioles, is born in New York City. Palmer, who also won three Cy Young Awards during his career, was the winningest pitcher in the majors during the 1970s with 186 wins.
1946: Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering, who founded the Gestapo and was commander-in-chief of the German Luftwaffe air force during World War II, fatally poisons himself hours before he was to have been executed.
1946: Singer-songwriter and pianist Richard Carpenter, one half of the pop duo group The Carpenters with his sister Karen Carpenter, is born in New Haven, Conn. The duo was best known for songs such as "(They Long to Be) Close to You," "We've Only Just Begun" and "Top of the World."
1951: The first episode of the sitcom "I Love Lucy," starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley, premieres on TV. Recognized as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, "I Love Lucy" was the most watched show in the United States in four of its six seasons, and was the first to end its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings, which it did on May 6, 1957.
1953: Singer and guitarist Tito Jackson, one of Michael Jackson's brothers and a member of The Jackson Five, is born under the birth name Toriano Adaryll Jackson in Gary, Ind.
1955: Actress Tanya Roberts, best known for her role as Julie Rogers on the fifth and final season of "Charlie's Angels" and as Midge Pinciotti on "That '70s Show," is born under the birth name Victoria Leigh Blum in The Bronx, N.Y. Roberts also has starred in such movies as "The Beastmaster," "A View to a Kill" (pictured) and "Sheena."
1956: William J. Brennan Jr. receives a recess appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. As the seventh longest-serving justice in Supreme Court history, he would become known for his outspoken progressive views, including opposition to the death penalty and support for abortion rights.
1959: Sarah, Duchess of York, is born Sarah Margaret Ferguson in London, England.
1959: Chef, restaurateur and TV personality Emeril Lagasse, most known for his Food Network shows "Emeril Live" and "Essence of Emeril" as well as catchphrases such as "Kick it up a notch!" and "Bam!," is born in Fall River, Mass.
1964: Composer Cole Porter, whose musicals include "Anything Goes" and "Kiss Me, Kate," and whose numerous hit songs include "Night and Day," "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "I've Got You Under My Skin," dies of kidney failure at age 73 in Santa Monica, Calif.
1965: David J. Miller burns his draft card at an anti-war rally in Manhattan staged by the Catholic Worker Movement. Three days later, Miller would become the first person arrested under a new amendment to the Selective Service Act that included criminal penalties for anybody who "knowingly destroys, knowingly mutilates" a draft card. Although the act of burning a draft card was defended as a symbolic form of free speech, the U.S. Supreme Court eventually would rule in January 1968 that the federal law was justified and that it was unrelated to the freedom of speech.
1966: The Black Panther Party is created by Bobby Seale (left) and Huey P. Newton (right) in Oakland, Calif. The organization initially set forth a doctrine calling primarily for the protection of black neighborhoods from police brutality.
1966: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs a bill creating the Department of Transportation.
1968: Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life" is released as a single. Wonder's version of the song would prove to be a top-three hit in the United States in late 1968 and early 1969.
1969: Actor Dominic West, best known for his role as Detective Jimmy McNulty in the HBO series "The Wire," is born in Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. He's also appeared in the movies "28 Days," "300," "Rock Star" and "Hannibal Rising."
1971: Rick Nelson is booed when he performs newer, country-tinged music during a Rock 'n Roll Revival concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Nelson would use the experience to write the hit song "Garden Party," which would reach No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the fall of 1972 and prove to be Nelson's last Top 40 hit on the pop chart.
1975: Singer-songwriter Ginuwine, one of R&B's top artists during the late 1990s and early 2000s, is born Elgin Baylor Lumpkin in Washington, D.C. Some of his hit songs include "Pony," "Differences" and "In Those Jeans."
1976: Democrat Walter F. Mondale and Republican Bob Dole face off at the Alley Theater in Houston for the first debate between vice-presidential nominees.
1977: "Slip Slidin' Away," by Paul Simon is released. The single, one of two new songs on the compilation album "Greatest Hits, Etc.," would become a top five hit for Simon.
1989: Wayne Gretzky becomes the all-time leading points scorer in the NHL, passing Gordie Howe's 1,850 career points with goal to tie a game between his current team, the Los Angeles Kings, and his former team, the Edmonton Oilers, at 4-4. He would score again in overtime to give the Kings the win. By the time he retired in 1999, Gretzky will have collected a total of 2,857 points in his career.
1990: Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to lessen Cold War tensions and open up his nation.
1991: Clarence Thomas is confirmed as a U.S. Supreme Court justice by a 52-48 vote in the Senate, the narrowest margin for approval in more than a century.
1993: South Africa's President F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress President Nelson Mandela (seen here in 1992) are named winners of the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end the apartheid system in South Africa.
1997: The jet-propelled car ThrustSSC sets a new world land speed record, reaching a speed of 763 mph and becoming the first car to officially break the sound barrier.
1999: The movie "Fight Club," starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter and directed by David Fincher, premieres in theaters. Based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk, the movie became one of the most controversial and talked-about films of 1999 and struggled at the box office, but became a cult favorite once it was released on video.
2003: China launches Shenzhou 5, its first manned space mission. China became the third country in the world to have independent human spaceflight capability after Russia and the United States.
2007: The New York Yankees and third baseman Alex Rodriguez agree on a record 10-year, $275 million contract, the richest in sports history. By signing the deal, Rodriguez breaks his own previous record of $252 million.
2009: A false report that a 6-year-old boy was aboard a runaway balloon in Colorado captivates a global TV audience before it's exposed as a hoax. The boy's parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, would later plead guilty to charges they made up the story. Richard Heene was sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay $36,000 in restitution. Mayumi Heene was also sentenced to 20 days of weekend jail.