1849: Author and poet Edgar Allan Poe, best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, dies at the age of 40 in Baltimore, Md. He had been found delirious in a gutter four days earlier under mysterious circumstances and his exact cause of death remains a mystery. Some of his most famous works include the poem "The Raven" and the short stories "The Cask of Amontillado," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Tell-Tale Heart."
1916: Georgia Tech defeats Cumberland University 222-0 at Grant Field in Atlanta, Ga., in the most lopsided college football game in American history.
1919: KLM, the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands, is founded. It is the oldest airline still operating under its original name.
1925: Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Christy Mathewson, among the most dominant pitchers of his era, dies of tuberculosis at age 45 in Saranac Lake, N.Y. Mathewson, who ranks in the all-time top-10 in major pitching categories such as wins, shutouts and ERA, played nearly all of his 17-year career with the New York Giants, winning a World Series championship in 1905. He compiled a career record of 373-188 and an ERA of 2.13 and was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its five inaugural members in 1936.
1931: Desmond Tutu, the social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid, is born in Klerksdorp, Western Transvaal, South Africa. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and became the first black man to lead the Anglican Church in South Africa in 1987.
1933: Air France is formed by a merger of five French airlines.
1942: Talk show host and actress Joy Behar, best known as one of the original panel members of "The View," is born Josephina Victoria Occhiuto in Brooklyn, N.Y.
1943: Oliver North, the former U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel best known for his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal as a National Security Council staff member in the late 1980s, is born in San Antonio, Texas. He has also found a career as a conservative political commentator and television host, military historian, and author, including hosting the Fox News Channel television show "War Stories with Oliver North."
1949: The German Democratic Republic, better known as East Germany, is formed.
1951: Singer-songwriter and guitarist John Mellencamp, whose hit songs include "Hurts So Good," "Jack & Diane," "Pink Houses," "Lonely Ol' Night" and "Small Town," is born in Seymour, Ind.
1952: Vladimir Putin, the Russian politician who has twice served as the president of Russia, is born in Leningrad, Soviet Union. Putin has served as Russian president since May 7, 2012, and previously served as president from 2000 to 2008. He also served as Russian prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012.
1955: Allen Ginsberg performs his poem "Howl" for the first time at the Six Gallery in San Francisco, Calif. The poem attracted widespread publicity in 1957 when it became the subject of an obscenity trial over its many references to sexual acts and illicit drugs.
1955: Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is born in Paris, France. He has received multiple Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts in 2001, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, and the Polar Music Prize in 2012.
1957: Singer-songwriter Michael W. Smith, a contemporary Christian musician best known for his early 1990s hit songs "Place in this World" and "I Will Be Here for You," is born in Kenova, W.Va.
1959: The Soviet probe Luna 3 transmits the first ever photographs of the far side of the moon.
1959: Simon Cowell, the record executive, television producer, entrepreneur, and TV personality best known for being an "American Idol" judge from 2002 through 2010, is born in London, England. Cowell is also the creator of "The X Factor" and "Britain's Got Talent" and currently is a judge on the American version of "The X Factor."
1964: Journalist and author Dan Savage, who writes the internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column "Savage Love," is born in Chicago, Ill. Savage is also known for the It Gets Better Project to help prevent suicide among LGBT youth.
1967: Singer-songwriter and actress Toni Braxton, best known for songs like "Love Shoulda Brought You Home," "Another Sad Love Song," "Breathe Again," "You Mean the World to Me," "You're Makin' Me High" and "Unbreak My Heart," is born in Severn, Md.
1968: Singer-songwriter and guitarist Thom Yorke, best known as the lead singer of the rock band Radiohead, is born in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England.
1982: The Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical "Cats" opens at Winter Garden Theater in New York City. Nearly 18 years later it would close after 7,485 performances as the longest-running show in Broadway history. The record was later surpassed by Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" in 2006.
1984: Walter Payton breaks Jim Brown's NFL career rushing record of 12,312 yards. By the time he retired in 1987, Payton would have reached 16,726 yards, a record that would stand until Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys broke it October 2002.
1985: The Mameyes landslide in Ponce, Puerto Rico, kills at least 129 people in the worst landslide in North American history.
1986: Michael and Janet Jackson become the first siblings with No. 1 solo singles on the Billboard Hot 100 when Janet's "When I Think of You" tops the chart.
1989: "American Bandstand" airs its final episode after more than 30 years on television. Dick Clark hosted the show from 1956 until April 1, 1989, with comedian David Hirsch taking over for the show's last six months.
1991: Baseball Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher, who ranked fifth all-time among managers with 2,009 career victories at the time of his 1973 retirement, dies at age 86 in Palm Springs, Calif. Durocher managed the New York Giants to a World Series title in 1954. As a player, Durocher was an infielder and helped the New York Yankees to a World Series title in 1928 and the St. Louis Cardinals to another in 1934.
1993: The Great Flood of 1993 ends at St. Louis, Mo., 103 days after it began, as the Mississippi River falls below flood stage. The flood was among the most costly and devastating to ever occur in the United States, with at least $15 billion in damages. It also destroyed 100,000 homes, inundated 15 million acres of farmland and officially killed 32 people.
1996: The Fox News Channel begins broadcasting to 17 million cable subscribers.
1998: Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, is found tied to a fence near Laramie, Wy. He was in a coma after being robbed, pistol-whipped and tortured the night before and would die five days later at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colo. Police arrested Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson shortly after the attack, finding a bloody gun and Shepard's shoes and wallet in their truck. The two would eventually each be sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Shepard's murder brought national and international attention to the contention of hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels.
2001: The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, also known as Operation Enduring Freedom, begins with an air assault and covert operations on the ground.
2003: California Gov. Gray Davis becomes the first governor recalled in the history of the state, and just the second in U.S. history. In results that would be certified on Nov. 14, 2003, voters selected actor/bodybuilder and Republican candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger as the new governor over fellow Republican Tom McClintock and Democrat Cruz Bustamante, who at the time was the sitting lieutenant governor of California. The race had 135 candidates who qualified for the ballot, several of whom were prominent celebrities, including Arianna Huffington, Gary Coleman and Larry Flynt.