History of the Day for:
- 1502: Christopher Columbus set out from Cadiz, Spain, on his fourth and last voyage to the Western Hemisphere.
- 1754: The first American newspaper cartoon was published.
- 1926: Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett became the first men to fly over the North Pole.
- 1936: Ethiopia was formally annexed by Italy.
- 1937: Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy started their own radio show on NBC.
- 1961: Jim Gentile of the Baltimore Orioles set a major?league baseball record by hitting grand slam home runs in two consecutive innings.
- 1962: The Beatles inked their first recording contract. George Martin was hired to be the group's producer and the band would record for EMI Parlophone.
- 1974: The House Judiciary Committee opened hearings on whether to recommend the impeachment of President Nixon.
- 1980: A Liberian freighter rammed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay in Florida killing 35 motorists when a 1,400-foot section of the bridge collapsed.
- 1994: South Africa's newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country's first black president.
- 2001: In Ghana 129 football fans die in what became known as the Accra Sports Stadium Disaster. The deaths are caused by a stampede (caused by the firing of teargas by police personnel at the stadium)that followed a controversial decision by the referee handling a crucial match between arch-rivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
- 2002: The 38-day stand-off in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem comes to an end when the Palestinians inside agree to have 13 suspected militants among them deported to several different countries.
- 2002: In Kaspiysk, Russia, a remote-controlled bomb explodes during a holiday parade killing 43 and injuring at least 130.
- 2004: Chechen president Akhmad Kadyrov is killed in a land mine bomb blast under a VIP stage during a World War II memorial victory parade in Grozny, Chechnya.
- 2006: Estonia ratifies the European Constitution.