2010: U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., the longest-serving senator in the nation's history, dies in Fairfax, Virginia, at age 92. Byrd, who was born Cornelius Calvin Sale Jr. in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in 1917, served as a U.S. representative from 1953 until 1959 and as a U.S. senator from 1959 to 2010. Besides being the longest-serving senator at the time of his death, he was also the longest-serving member of the U.S. Congress, but the latter record was surpassed by U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., in June 2013.
2009: Advertising pitchman Billy Mays, known for his distinctive beard and impassioned TV and infomercial sales pitches, dies of heart disease at the age of 50 in Tampa, Florida. Mays pitched OxiClean, Orange Glo, Kaboom and other cleaning, home-based, and maintenance products and became recognized for the catchphrase "Hi, Billy Mays here for..." He and his business partner, Anthony Sullivan, were also featured on "PitchMen," a reality TV series that documented their work.
2007: The bald eagle is removed from the list of threatened and endangered species in the contiguous United States.
2004: Sovereign power is handed to the interim government of Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority, ending the U.S.-led rule of the nation. Here Coalition Provisional Authority director L. Paul Bremer is seen signing the sovereignty document in Baghdad.
2001: Slobodan Miloševic is deported to International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, to stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in connection with the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. His trial would ultimately end without a verdict after he suffered a fatal heart attack in his prison cell in March 2006.
2000: Six-year-old Elián González returns to Cuba from the United States with his father. González's mother had drowned in November 1999 while attempting to leave Cuba with her son to get to the United States and federal officials initially placed the boy with paternal relatives in Miami. Those relatives sought to keep him in the U.S. against his father's wishes, but a series of court decisions went against their petition for asylum and he was seized by federal agents on April 22, 2000.
1997: In the rematch of their first boxing match seven months earlier, won by Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson is disqualified for biting Holyfield on both of his ears during the third round at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The first bite took off a one-inch piece of cartilage from the top of Holyfield's ear. The Nevada State Athletic Commission later revoked Tyson's boxing license for a little more than a year and he was fined $3 million plus legal costs.
1996: The Citadel votes to admit women, ending a 153-year-old men-only policy at the South Carolina military school. The decision came following a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a similar policy at Virginia Military Institute. The Citadel had originally fought a three-year battle started by Shannon Faulkner, who was admitted in 1995 under a judge's order but quit in less than a week. The school would graduate its first female cadet, Nancy Ruth Mace, in May 1999.
1992: Daryl Gates retires as Los Angeles police chief in the wake of the Rodney King beating and the ensuing riots. Gates, who joined the LAPD in 1949 and served as chief for 14 years, was credited with creating the anti-drug D.A.R.E. program and is also considered the father of SWAT teams.
1987: By order of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi warplanes attack the Iranian town of Sardasht using chemical mustard gas bombs. One quarter of the town's then population of 20,000 was burned and stricken, and 113 were killed immediately, with many more dying and suffering health effects over the next decades. Pictured here is a United Nations weapons inspector in Sardasht following the attack.
1986: Singer-songwriter Kellie Pickler, who first gained fame as a fifth season contestant on "American Idol," is born in Albemarle, North Carolina. Some of her best known songs include "Red High Heels," "I Wonder," "Things That Never Cross a Man's Mind," "Don't You Know You're Beautiful" and "Best Days of Your Life." She also won the 16th season of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2013.
1975: Rod Serling, the creator of "The Twilight Zone," dies at the age of 50 two days after suffering a heart attack on the operating table at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. It was Serling's third heart attack in the span of two months.
1975: David Bowie releases "Fame," which features John Lennon on backing vocals. The song, which was also co-written by Lennon, would go on to become Bowie's first No. 1 hit in the United States.
1971: Actress Aileen Quinn, best known for having played the title role in the 1982 film "Annie," is born in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
1969: Patrons at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village, clash with police. This incident is widely considered to be one of the most important events leading to the gay rights movement. On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York commemorating the anniversary of the riots.
1966: Actor John Cusack, best known for movies such as "Say Anything...," "Grosse Pointe Blank," "High Fidelity" and "Being John Malkovich," is born in Evanston, Illinois.
1966: Actress Mary Stuart Masterson, best known for her roles in movies like "Some Kind of Wonderful," "Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Benny & Joon," is born in New York City.
1963: Hall of Fame third baseman John Franklin "Home Run" Baker, who helped the Philadelphia Athletics win the 1910, 1911 and 1913 World Series, dies of a stroke at age 77 in Trappe, Maryland. Baker played seven years for the Athletics before finishing his major-league career with six seasons playing for the New York Yankees. He is considered by many as the best third baseman of baseball's pre-war era.
1960: Football quarterback John Elway, who won two Super Bowl titles in his 16 seasons with the Denver Broncos, is born in Port Angeles, Washington. Elway, who also starred in college for Stanford, is an inductee of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. The nine-time Pro Bowl selection won the 1987 NFL MVP and was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII. At the time of his retirement in 1999, Elway had recorded the most victories by a starting quarterback and statistically was the second most prolific passer in NFL history.
1956: The musical movie "The King and I," starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner, and directed by Walter Lang, premieres in New York City. The movie, based off the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of the same name, would earn nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress, and won five, including a Best Actor Oscar for Brynner. Kerr won a Golden Globe for her role and the movie also won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy.
1950: During the opening days of the Korean War, Seoul is captured by North Korean troops for the first time.
1948: Actress Kathy Bates, best known for movies such as "Misery," "Fried Green Tomatoes," "Titanic" and "About Schmidt," is born in Memphis, Tennesse. Bates won an Academy Award for her role in "Misery" and was also nominated for "Primary Colors" and "About Schmidt."
1946: Comedian and actress Gilda Radner, best known as one of the original cast members of "Saturday Night Live," is born in Detroit, Michigan. While on "Saturday Night Live," Radner created recurring characters such as obnoxious personal advice expert Roseanne Roseannadanna, the Barbara Walters parody "Baba Wawa," and Emily Litella, an elderly hearing-impaired woman who gave angry and misinformed editorial replies on the "Weekend Update" segment. She met actor Gene Wilder while filming the 1982 comedy "Hanky Panky" and the two were later married. She also starred with Wilder in the movies "The Woman in Red" and "Haunted Honeymoon" (pictured), her last role prior to her May 20, 1989, death from ovarian cancer at age 42.
1932: Actor Pat Morita, best known for playing Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" movies, is born Noriyuki Morita in Isleton, California. Morita, who earned an Academy Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actor for 1984's "The Karate Kid," was also known for the role of Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi on the sitcom "Happy Days."
1926: Mercedes-Benz is formed when Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merge their two companies.
1926: Filmmaker Mel Brooks, best known for directing movies such as "The Producers," "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein" and "Spaceballs," is born Melvin James Kaminsky in Brooklyn, New York. Brooks began his career as a stand-up comic and as a writer for the early TV variety show "Your Show of Shows" and became famous as part of the comedy duo "The 2,000 Year Old Man" with Carl Reiner. He also adapted his first film, "The Producers," into a Broadway musical smash.
1919: The Treaty of Versailles is signed in Paris, bringing fighting to an end in between Germany and the Allies of World War I exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
1917: The Raggedy Ann doll is invented. American writer Johnny Gruelle initially created the rag doll with red yarn for hair and a triangle nose to entertain his dying teenage daughter, who had fallen ill from a contaminated smallpox vaccination. When he turned his stories about the character into a series of adventure books, his publisher asked him to make a few of the dolls to help promote the books.
1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife are assassinated in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip. The assassination precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia, which led to a chain of events that eventually triggered World War I.
1902: Composer Richard Rodgers is born in New York City. Rodgers is best known for his collaborations with lyricist and playwright Oscar Hammerstein II, including "Oklahoma!," "The King and I," "South Pacific" and "The Sound of Music." Rodgers was the first person to win at least one each of an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony, known collectively as an "EGOT." He also won a Pulitzer Prize, making him one of two people (Marvin Hamlisch is the other) to receive each award. He died at age 77 on Dec. 30, 1979.
1894: Labor Day becomes an official U.S. holiday.
1889: Maria Mitchell, the first professional woman astronomer and the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, dies at age 70 in Lynn, Massachusetts. In 1847, she used a telescope to discover a comet that became known as the "Miss Mitchell's Comet."
1838: Just over a year after she succeeded to the throne at the age of 18, the coronation of Victoria of the United Kingdom takes place. She was the first British monarch to take up residence at Buckingham Palace.
1836: James Madison, the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817, dies at age 85 in Orange, Virginia. Madison was the last of the Founding Fathers and has been called the "Father of the Constitution" for his role in the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and as a key champion and author of the Bill of Rights.
1776: The Battle of Sullivan's Island near Charleston, South Carolina, ends with the first decisive American victory in the American Revolutionary War.
1776: Thomas Hickey, Continental Army private and bodyguard to Gen. George Washington, is hanged for mutiny and sedition, becoming the first person executed for treason against what would become the United States.
1712: Philosopher, writer and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose work influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought, is born in Geneva, Republic of Geneva. His best known works include "Discourse on the Origin of Inequality" and "On the Social Contract," both of which are now considered cornerstones in modern political and social thought.
1577: Painter Peter Paul Rubens, whose best-known works include "The Massacre of the Innocents," "The Fall of Man," "The Elevation of the Cross" and "Prometheus Bound," is born in Siegen, Westphalia (modern-day Germany). He's shown here in a 1624 self portrait.
1491: Henry VIII of England is born at Greenwich Palace near London. He reigned as king from April 21, 1509, until his death on Jan. 28, 1547. Besides his six marriages, Henry VIII is known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church.
A controversial plan by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indian Tribe to annex more than 1,400 acres of mainly agricultural land in the Santa Ynez Valley into its sovereign nation through the fee-to-trust process has cleared a major hurdle.