History of the Day for:
- 1788: The first European settlers in Australia, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.
- 1802: Congress passed an act calling for a library to be established within the U.S. Capitol.
- 1837: Michigan became the 26th state when President Jackson signed a statehood bill.
- 1838: The nation's first prohibition law against alcohol passed in Tennessee.
- 1841: Great Britain formally occupied Hong Kong, which was proclaimed a sovereign territory of Britain.
- 1861: Louisiana became the sixth state to secede from the Union.
- 1863: The Secretary of War authorized the governor of Massachusetts to recruit African American troops.
- 1870: The state of Virginia rejoined the Union.
- 1871: The first American income tax was repealed.
- 1875: The electric dental drill was patented by George F. Green.
- 1905: The world's largest diamond, the 3,106-carat Cullinan, was found.
- 1913: Jim Thorpe relinquished his 1912 Olympic medals when he confessed in a letter to James E. Sullivan, chairman of the Amateur Athletic Union, that he had played pro baseball in 1909 and 1910, thereby disqualifying him from amateur competition.
- 1939: Principal photography began on "Gone With the Wind."
- 1942: World War II: The first United States forces arrive in Europe landing in Northern Ireland.
- 1950: India officially proclaimed itself a republic when Rajendra Prasad took the oath of office as president.
- 1956: Buddy Holly's first formal recording session took place at the Nashville studios of Decca.
- 1961: "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" by Elvis Presley peaked at No. 1 on the U.K. pop singles chart.
- 1986: Between the Super Bowl XX pre-game show and the game, ABC inserted 60 seconds of blank air time as an "intermission" for the television audience.
- 1988: The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Phantom of the Opera" opened on Broadway.
- 1992: The Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect.
- 1992: Boris Yeltsin announces that Russia will stop targeting United States cities with nuclear weapons.
- 1998: Lewinsky scandal: On American television, U.S. President Bill Clinton denies having had "sexual relations" with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
- 2001: An earthquake hits Gujarat, India, causing more than 20,000 deaths.
- 2004: President Hamid Karzai signs the new constitution of Afghanistan.
- 2004: A whale explodes in the town of Tainan, Taiwan. A build-up of gas in the decomposing Sperm whale is suspected of causing the explosion.
- 2005: Glendale train crash: Two trains derail killing 11 and injuring 200 in Glendale, California, near Los Angeles.