History of the Day for:
- 1492: Christopher Columbus and a representative of Spain's King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella signed a contract giving Columbus a commission to find a westward ocean passage to Asia.
- 1524: Giovanni da Verrazano discovered the New York Harbor.
- 1790: Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia at 84.
- 1861: The Virginia State Convention voted to secede from the Union.
- 1941: Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany in World War Two.
- 1942: French prisoner of war General Henri Giraud escapes from his castle prison in Festung Königstein.
- 1945: Brazilian forces liberate the town of Montese, Italy, from German Nazi forces.
- 1961: 1,500 Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro.
- 1964: Jerrie Mock became the first woman to fly solo around the world; The Ford Mustang was introduced to the public as a mid-model-year entry, selling for $2,368.
- 1964: The Ford Motor Company unveils the Ford Mustang at the New York World's Fair.
- 1964: Shea Stadium opens.
- 1969: A Los Angeles jury convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Sirhan was sentenced to death, but the sentence was later commuted to life in prison when California's death penalty was declared unconstitutional; Czechoslovak Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubcek was deposed.
- 1970: The astronauts of "Apollo 13" splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft.
- 1975: Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge, ending Cambodia's 5-year war, but beginning leader Pol Pot's "killing fields" regime.
- 1986: The bodies of American librarian Peter Kilburn and two Britons were found near Beirut; the three hostages had been slain in apparent retaliation for the U.S. raid on Libya.
- 1993: A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King.