1777 - France recognized American independence.
1903 - The first successful gasoline-powered airplane flight took place. Orville and Wilbur Wright made the flight.
1939 - The German pocket battleship Graf Spee was scuttled by its crew, bringing the World War II Battle of the Rio de la Plata off Uruguay to an end.
1944 - The U.S. Army announced the end of its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast which ensured that Japanese-Americans were released from detention camps.
1957 - The United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.
1986 - Davina Thompson became the world's first recipient of a heart, lungs, and liver transplant.
1996 - The Red Cross pulled all but a few of its western staff out of Chechnya after six foreign aid workers were killed by masked gunmen.