2010: Three days before her 17th birthday, Australian sailor Jessica Watson becomes the youngest person to sail around the world non-stop and unassisted. She had departed from Sydney on Oct. 18, 2009, and ended her journey back home.
2009: Former NBA player Wayman Tisdale dies at the age of 44 in Tulsa, Okla., after a two-year battle with cancer. Tisdale, the second overall pick out of the University of Oklahoma in 1985, won a gold medal as a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team and played 12 seasons in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. He was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. Tisdale learned he had cancerous cyst below his right knee after breaking his leg in a fall at his home in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 2007. He underwent chemotherapy and had his leg amputated in August 2008. Tisdale, seen here at left, was also a smooth jazz bass guitarist who had released eight albums, with 2001's "Face to Face" reaching No. 1 on Billboard's contemporary jazz chart.
2008: California becomes the second U.S. state after Massachusetts in 2004 to legalize same-sex marriage after the state's own Supreme Court rules a previous ban unconstitutional. The state began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples on June 16, 2008, a process that ended on Nov. 5, 2008, due to the passage of Proposition 8, an amendment to the California Constitution limiting marriages to those between a man and a woman.
2007: Evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell, who became known for his sometimes controversial comments as a conservative political commentator, dies of cardiac arrhythmia at the age of 73 in Lynchburg, Va. He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg. He also founded Liberty University in 1971 and cofounded the Moral Majority in 1979.
2006: A defiant Saddam Hussein refuses to enter a plea at his trial in Iraq for crimes against humanity, insisting he was still the country's president.
2003: Country music singer-songwriter June Carter Cash, a member of the Carter Family and the second wife of singer Johnny Cash, dies of complications following heart-valve replacement surgery at the age of 73 in Nashville, Tenn. She is best known for songs such as "Juke Box Blues" and "Jackson," the Grammy-winning No. 2 country hit duet with her husband. She's seen here at center with her husband and stepdaughter, Rosanne Cash.
2003: The science-fiction action sequel "The Matrix Reloaded," starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving, opens in theaters. The film was a box office success, earning $37.5 million on its opening day, second all-time at the time only to 2002's "Spider-Man," and grossing a total of $281.5 million in the U.S. and $742.1 million worldwide.
1997: The United States government acknowledges the existence of the "Secret War" in Laos during the Vietnam War and dedicates the Laos Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of Hmong and other "Secret War" veterans.
1988: After more than eight years of fighting, the Soviet Red Army begins its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
1987: Professional tennis player Andy Murray is born in Glasgow, Scotland. He won the Wimbledon men's singles title in 2013, becoming the first British man to do so since Fred Perry 77 years before. He also won the 2012 U.S. Open and a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. His U.S. Open victory made him the first British player since 1977, and the first British man since 1936, to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. Earlier in 2012 he became the only British player to reach the Wimbledon men's singles final since 1938, when it was still restricted to amateur players, but lost to Roger Federer. He has also been runner-up in four other Grand Slam finals in his career.
1985: Prince releases the single "Raspberry Beret." The song would end up reaching No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
1981: Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, best known for playing Meadow Soprano on the HBO mob drama "The Sopranos," is born in Jericho, N.Y.
1975: NFL linebacker Ray Lewis, who won two Super Bowl titles in his 17-year career with the Baltimore Ravens, is born in Bartow, Fla. Lewis was selected to 13 Pro Bowls and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003, becoming the sixth player to win the award multiple times. He also was the second linebacker to win the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award, which he won in Super Bowl XXXV in 2001, and the first to win the award on the winning Super Bowl team.
1974: Three armed Palestinian terrorists take more than 115 people hostage at Netiv Meir Elementary School in Ma'alot, Israel, after earlier killing five other people before reaching the school. Most of the hostages were teenagers from a high school on a field trip who were spending the night in Ma'alot. During the ensuing standoff, the hostage-takers demanded the release of 23 Palestinian militants from Israeli prisons. The next day, Israeli soldiers stormed the school and the terrorists started killing children with grenades and automatic weapons. In total, 25 hostages, including 22 children, were killed and 68 more were hurt. The three terrorists were also killed.
1973: Nolan Ryan of the California Angels pitches the first no-hitter of his career, beating the Kansas City Royals 3-0. Ryan would pitch another no-hitter exactly two months later and end up tossing a record seven no-hitters before his career was done.
1972: In Laurel, Md., Arthur Bremer shoots Alabama Gov. George Wallace five times while Wallace is campaigning for U.S. president. The assassination attempt left Wallace paralyzed from the waist down and he used a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. On Aug. 4, 1972, Bremer was sentenced to 63 years in prison, later reduced to 53 years. He ended up serving more than 35 years and was released on parole on Nov. 9, 2007.
1970: President Richard Nixon appoints Elizabeth P. Hoisington (left) and Anna Mae Hays (right) the first female United States brigadier generals.
1970: The satirical spy sitcom "Get Smart," starring Don Adams as bungling secret agent Maxwell Smart and Barbara Feldon as his experienced female partner Agent 99, bows out with its 138th and final episode after five seasons.
1969: Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, considered one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, is born in Pensacola, Fla. Smith, who played college football at the University of Florida and was also inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame, won three Super Bowl titles during his 13 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. During his NFL career, which also included two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, he became the NFL's all-time rushing leader, breaking the record formerly held by Walter Payton. He is also the only running back to ever win a Super Bowl championship, the NFL Most Valuable Player award, the NFL rushing crown, and the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award all in the same season, which he did in the 1993-94 season.
1967: Edward Hopper, the American realist painter and printmaker best known for his works "Automat," "Chop Suey" and "Nighthawks," dies at the age of 84 in New York City. He's seen here in his 1906 self-portrait.
1967: Baseball pitcher John Smoltz, the only pitcher in major-league history to top both 200 wins and 150 saves, is born in Warren, Mich. Smoltz is best known for the 20 years he spent with the Atlanta Braves, during which time he earned eight All-Star selections, won the Cy Young Award in 1996, and a World Series championship in 1995. He started out his career as a starting pitcher but was converted to a reliever in 2001 following elbow surgery, becoming the Braves' closer for four seasons before returning to the starting rotation. Smoltz, who joined the 3,000 strikeout club in 2008, finished off his career splitting the 2009 season with the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals.
1963: Mercury-Atlas 9, the final U.S. Mercury mission, launches from Cape Canaveral, Fla., with astronaut L. Gordon Cooper on board. Cooper completed 22 orbits of the Earth before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean more than 30 hours later, becoming the first American to spend more than a day in space.
1958: The musical romantic comedy film "Gigi," starring Leslie Caron and Louis Jordan, and directed by Vincente Minnelli, premieres in New York City. The movie was a critical and box office success and would go on to win a record-breaking nine Academy Awards in 1959, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. However, the record would last for only one year, with "Ben-Hur" smashing the record with 11 Oscars in 1960.
1953: In Manhattan Beach, Calif., Cubmaster Don Murphy of Pack 280c organizes the first ever pinewood derby.
1953: Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett, whose 3,154 career hits are the most by any third baseman in major-league history and 16th overall all-time, is born in Glen Dale, W.Va. Brett played his entire 21-year baseball career for the Kansas City Royals, winning a World Series title in 1985 and earning the American League MVP in 1980. Along with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Stan Musial, he is one of only four players in MLB history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, and a career .300 batting average.
1952: Actor Chazz Palminteri, best known for his roles in movies such as "The Usual Suspects," "A Bronx Tale" and "Bullets Over Broadway," is born Calogero Lorenzo Palminteri in The Bronx, N.Y. He earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Bullets Over Broadway."
1948: Following the demise of the British Mandate of Palestine, Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia invade Israel, thus starting the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
1942: Country music singer-songwriter and actress K. T. Oslin, best known for hits such as "80s Ladies," "Do Ya," "I'll Always Come Back," "Hold Me" and "Come Next Monday," is born Kay Toinette Oslin in Crossett, Ark. Oslin is also known for her roles in the TV series "Evening Shade" and "Paradise" and in the movie "The Thing Called Love."
1940: Nylon stockings go on general sale for the first time in the United States after first becoming available to employees at DuPont's Wilmington, Del., nylon factory the previous year. Four million pairs were sold in the first several hours.
1940: Don Nelson, the NBA's all-time winningest coach, is born in Muskegon, Mich. In a coaching career that spanned 1976 to 2010, Nelson posted a record of 1,335-1,063. He coached for the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, being named the NBA Coach of the Year three times and earning induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. His coaching career also included directing the U.S. to a gold medal in the 1994 World Championships. As a player, he won five NBA titles with the Boston Celtics, with whom he played 11 of his 15 seasons.
1937: Madeleine Albright, who served as the 64th United States secretary of state from 1997 to 2001, becoming the first woman to hold the position, is born Marie Jana Korbelová in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
1937: Singer, guitarist and actor Trini Lopez, best known for songs such as "The Lemon Tree," "I'm Coming Home, Cindy" and "Sally Was a Good Girl," is born in Dallas, Texas. Lopez, who was one of the top nightclub performers in America in the 1960s, is also known for roles in movies such as "The Dirty Dozen" and "Antonio."
1936: Wavy Gravy, clown and peace activist, is born Hugh Nanton Romney in East Greenbush, N.Y. He is a 1960s icon best known for his involvement with Woodstock and the Grateful Dead.
1928: Mickey Mouse makes his premiere in a test screening of the silent animated short "Plane Crazy." The short failed to pick up a distributor, but Mickey became a success later in the year when The Walt Disney Studio released his first sound cartoon, "Steamboat Willie." Following this, "Plane Crazy" was released as a sound cartoon on March 17, 1929.
1918: Country music singer-songwriter and actor Eddy Arnold, who scored 147 songs on the Billboard country music charts and sold more than 85 million records, is born in Henderson, Tenn. Arnold's best known hits include "What's He Doing in My World" and "Make the World Go Away." He also co-wrote the country and pop standard "You Don't Know Me." He died at age 89 on May 8, 2008.
1911: In Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, the United States Supreme Court declares Standard Oil to be an "unreasonable" monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act and orders the company to be broken up.
1909: Actor James Mason, known for movies such as "A Star Is Born," "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," "Lolita," "North by Northwest," "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "Julius Caesar," is born in Huddersfield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. Mason, considered to be one of the greatest actors of the 20th century, earned Academy Award nominations for his roles in "A Star Is Born," "Georgy Girl" and "The Verdict." He died from cardiac arrest at age 75 on July 27, 1984.
1905: Las Vegas, Nev., is founded when 110 acres owned by the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad in what later would become the city's downtown are auctioned.
1905: Actor Joseph Cotten, best known for his roles in movies such as "Citizen Kane," "The Magnificent Ambersons," "Journey into Fear," "Shadow of a Doubt," "Duel in the Sun" and "The Third Man," is born in Petersburg, Va. He died of pneumonia at age 88 on Feb. 6, 1994.
1893: The Stanley Cup, then named the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, is first awarded to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association on behalf of the Montreal Hockey Club. The team had won the cup by finishing atop the standings of the 1893 season of the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada with a 7-1-0 record.
1886: Poet Emily Dickinson, whose work mostly went unpublished during her life but is today considered to be a major American poet, dies of Bright's disease at the age of 55 in Amherst, Mass.
1869: Susan B. Anthony (right) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (left) form the National Woman Suffrage Association in New York City.
1862: President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill into law creating the United States Bureau of Agriculture. It is later renamed the Department of Agriculture.
1859: Physicist and Nobel laureate Pierre Curie is born in Paris, France. Curie won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 along with his wife, Marie Curie, and Henri Becquerel for their contributions in the discovery of radium and polonium.
1856: Author L. Frank Baum, best known for writing "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," is born in Chittenango, N.Y.
1718: The "Defence" rapid-fire gun, often considered an ancestor of the machine gun, is patented by London lawyer James Puckle. The tripod-mounted single-barreled flintlock gun featured a pre-loaded revolving cylinder holding 11 charges and could fire 63 shots in seven minutes. The rate of nine shots per minute was three times faster than the fastest infantryman at the time. Puckle would begin manufacturing the gun in 1721, but the gun never entered mass production because gunsmiths at the time couldn't easily produce the its many complicated parts.
1536: A specially selected jury finds Anne Boleyn, the queen of England, guilty on charges of treason, adultery and incest. She is condemned to death and would be beheaded four days later.
A notorious pirate is captured and killed, RCA Victor buys Elvis' contract from Sun Records, the nation mourns a president, The Beatles release "The White Album," and "Toy Story" premieres, all on this day.