A.D. 79: Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, with the resulting eruption burying and destroying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing an estimated 16,000 people.
1537: Jane Seymour, the Queen of England since 1536 as the third wife of King Henry VIII, dies of postnatal complications less than two weeks after the birth of her only child, a son who reigned as Edward VI. Seymour succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution for high treason, incest and adultery in May 1536. She was the only one of Henry's six wives to receive a queen's funeral, and his only consort to be buried beside him in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
1590: John White, the governor of the second Roanoke Colony, the earliest attempt at a permanent English colony in the New World, returns to England after an unsuccessful search for the "lost" colonists. The final group of colonists disappeared during the Anglo-Spanish War, three years after the last shipment of supplies from England, while White was stuck in England on a journey to seek help for the struggling settlement.
1788: Poet Sarah Joseph Hale, who wrote the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb," is born in Newport, N.H.
1857: Sheffield F.C., the world's first football club, is founded in Sheffield, England.
1861: The first transcontinental telegraph message is sent by Justice Stephen J. Field of California to President Abraham Lincoln, on the same day the first transcontinental telegraph system was completed. The Pony Express, previously the fastest communication between the East and the West, would close two days later.
1901: Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, doing so on her 63rd birthday.
1911: Orville Wright remains in the air for nine minutes and 45 seconds in a Wright Glider at Kill Devil Hills, N.C., a record that held for almost 10 years.
1915: Bob Kane, the comic book artist and writer best known for creating "Batman" along with fellow comic book writer Bill Finger, is born in New York City. Kane is seen here with Michael Keaton during filming of the 1989 "Batman" movie.
1926: Harry Houdini's last performance takes place at the Garrick Theatre in Detroit, Mich. He would die a week later of gangrene and peritonitis that developed after his appendix ruptured.
1926: Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Y. A. Tittle, who played for the Baltimore Colts, San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants, is born in Marshall, Texas. The seven-time Pro Bowl selection threw seven touchdown passes for the Giants on Oct. 28, 1962, in a game against Washington, tying the NFL record. In 1963, he set what was then a NFL record by throwing 36 touchdown passes.
1929: The "Black Thursday" stock market crash takes place, with the New York Stock Exchange losing 11 percent of its value at the opening bell on very heavy trading. The crash foreshadowed an even bigger decline the following week and the start of the Great Depression.
1930: Jiles Perry Richardson Jr., the disc jockey, singer-songwriter and guitarist better known as The Big Bopper, is born in Sabine Pass, Texas. The early rock 'n' roll star, best known for his recording of "Chantilly Lace," died at age 28 in a plane crash in Iowa along with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens on Feb. 3, 1959.
1936: Rock musician Bill Wyman, best known as the bass guitarist for The Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993, is born in London, England.
1939: Actor F. Murray Abraham, known for his Oscar-winning role as Antonio Salieri in "Amadeus," as well as for roles in movies such as "All the President's Men" and "Scarface," is born in Pittsburgh, Pa.
1939: Nylon stockings go on sale in the U.S. for the first time to employees at DuPont's Wilmington, Del., nylon factory. Nationwide sales would began on May 15, 1940, and "nylons," as they were soon called, eventually replaced silk stockings.
1945: The United Nations officially comes into existence upon ratification of the organization's charter by the five then-permanent members of the Security Council -- France, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States -- and by a majority of the other 46 signatories.
1946: A camera on board the V-2 No. 13 rocket launched at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico takes the first photograph of Earth from outer space.
1947: Walt Disney testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he brands Herbert Sorrell, David Hilberman and William Pomerance, former animators and labor union organizers as Communist agitators.
1947: Actor Kevin Kline, known for roles in movies such as "The Big Chill," "Dave," "Silverado" and "A Fish Called Wanda," for which he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, is born in St. Louis, Mo. He's seen here with his wife, fellow actor Phoebe Cates.
1962: James Brown records "Live at the Apollo" at Harlem's Apollo Theater. The live album would be released in May 1963 and prove immediately successful, spending 66 weeks on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, peaking at No. 2.
1962: The Cold War suspense thriller "The Manchurian Candidate," starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury, premieres in theaters. The film, about the son of a prominent, right-wing political family who has been brainwashed as an unwitting Communist assassin, was critically acclaimed and nominated for two Academy Awards.
1969: The Western film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford and directed by George Roy Hill, premieres in theaters. The movie would make $102 million at the box office, making it the year's top-grossing film, and would earn four Academy Awards.
1972: Baseball player Jackie Robinson, who broke the sport's color barrier when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, dies of a heart attack at the age of 53 in Stamford, Conn. Robinson, who won the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 and the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 and his uniform number, 42, was "universally" retired across all major league teams in 1997.
1978: In Toronto, Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones pleads guilty to heroin possession stemming from a February 1977 arrest and receives a one-year suspended sentence.
1978: The musical "The Wiz," starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Lena Horne and Richard Pryor and directed by Sidney Lumet, premieres in theaters. The movie, an urbanized retelling of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" co-produced by Motown Productions and based off a 1975 Broadway musical of the same name, proved to be a critical and commercial failure. However, "The Wiz" still received four Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Original Music Score and Best Cinematography.
1980: R&B singer Monica, who has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide and is the first artist to top the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s, is born under the birth name Monica Denise Arnold in College Park, Ga.
1981: Costume designer Edith Head, who won eight Academy Awards, more than any other woman, dies at age 82 in Los Angeles, Calif., from myelofibrosis, an incurable disease of the bone marrow. She received a total of 35 Oscar nominations in her career, winning for movies such as "All About Eve," "A Place in the Sun," "Roman Holiday," "Sabrina" and "The Sting."
1986: Rapper and actor Drake, who rose to fame on the TV show "Degrassi: The Next Generation" and has sold more than 5 million albums worldwide since his 2010 debut album "Thank Me Later," is born under the birth name Aubrey Drake Graham in Toronto.
1989: TV preacher Jim Bakker, seen here in the late-1980s with his wife, Tammy Faye Bakker, is sentenced to 45 years in prison and fined $500,000 for his conviction on eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. In 1991, his sentence would be reduced to 18 years and he would be released on parole after a total of five years in prison.
1991: TV producer Gene Roddenberry, best known as the creator of "Star Trek," dies from cardiopulmonary arrest at the age of 70 in Santa Monica, Calif. He's seen here (third from right) in 1976 with most of the cast of the original "Star Trek" TV series and movies at the rollout of the space shuttle Enterprise.
1992: The Toronto Blue Jays become the first team from outside the United States to win a World Series, defeating the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in Game 6.
1994: Actor Raúl Juliá, known for his movie roles in "Tempest," "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "Moon over Parador" (pictured), "The Addams Family" and "Street Fighter," as well as roles on Broadway and on TV, dies in Manhasset, N.Y., due to complications from a stroke suffered eight days earlier. He was 54.
1997: Former NBC sportscaster Marv Albert avoids a jail sentence after a courtroom apology to the woman he'd bitten during a sexual encounter. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery charges and received a 12-month suspended sentence that was dropped a year later.
1997: Voice actor Don Messick, best known for his work for Hanna-Barbera, including voicing Scooby-Doo, Bam Bam Rubble from "The Flintstones," Boo Boo Bear and Ranger Smith from "The Yogi Bear Show," Astro the dog from "The Jetsons," and Papa Smurf, dies from a stroke at the age of 71 in Salinas, Calif.
1998: The Deep Space 1 spacecraft is launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The probe would carry out flybys of asteroid 9969 Braille and Comet Borrelly, returning valuable science data and images, before its engines were shut down on Dec. 18, 2001.
2000: Hard rock band Linkin Park releases their debut album "Hybrid Theory." The album, which includes the singles "One Step Closer," "Papercut," "Crawling" and "In the End," proved to be a commercial success, selling more than 24 million copies worldwide and peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.
2002: Police arrest spree killers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo at a rest stop near Myersville, Md., ending the Beltway sniper attacks in the area around Washington, D.C., that left 10 dead and three more critically injured over a three-week period. In March 2004, Muhammad would be sentenced to death. Malvo would ultimately receive a total of eight life sentences without the possibility of parole for his role in the shootings. On Nov. 10, 2009, Muhammad was executed by lethal injection.
2003: The Concorde makes its last commercial flight, with the famous supersonic passenger jet landing at London Heathrow Airport after its last transatlantic journey.
2005: Hurricane Wilma makes landfall in Florida as a Category 3 hurricane, killing 25 people and causing around $10 billion in damage.
2005: Civil rights activist Rosa Parks, best known for her refusal on Dec. 1, 1955, to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., dies of natural causes at the age of 92 in Detroit. Parks' act of defiance and the ensuing Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She's seen here in 1955 with Martin Luther King Jr. in the background.
2006: Country singer-songwriter Taylor Swift's self-titled debut album is released. The album would reach No. 5 on the Billboard 200, top the Top Country Albums Chart for 24 non-consecutive weeks, and eventually be certified five times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The third single from the album, "Our Song," would also make her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a No. 1 song on the country chart.
2007: Chang'e 1, the first satellite in the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, is launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
2008: "Bloody Friday" sees many of the world's stock exchanges experience the worst declines in their history, with drops of around 10 percent in most indices.
2010: Playwright Joseph Stein, best known for writing the books for such musicals as "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Zorba," dies of complications from a fall at the age of 98 in New York City. Stein, who won two Tony Awards for "Fiddler on the Roof," also wrote the screenplay for the 1971 film adaptation.
2012: Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants ties a World Series record by hitting three home runs against the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the World Series, leading his team to an 8-3 win. The feat had been done four times before: By Babe Ruth in 1923 and 1926, by Reggie Jackson in 1977 and by Albert Pujols in 2011.