1596 - The Duke of Norfolk was imprisoned by Britain's Queen Elizabeth for trying to marry Mary the Queen of Scots.
1800 - Spain ceded the territory of Louisiana back to France. Later the property would be purchased by the U.S. effectively doubling its size.
1880 - Thomas Edison began the commercial production of electric lamps at Edison Lamp Works in Menlo Park.
1918 - Damascus was captured from the Turks during World War I by a force made up of British and Arab forces.
1936 - General Francisco Franco was proclaimed the head of the Spanish state.
1938 - German forces enter Czechoslovakia and seized control of the Sudetenland. The Munich Pact had been signed two days before.
1943 - Naples was captured by the Allied forces during World War II.
1946 - The International War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg sentenced 12 Nazi officials to death. Seven others were sentenced to prison terms and 3 were acquitted.
1949 - Mao Tse-tung raised the first flag of the People's Republic of China when the communist forces had defeated the Nationalists.
1971 - Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, FL.
1972 - The Chinese government approved friendly relations with the United States.
1979 - The United States handed control of the Canal Zone over to Panama.
1985 - The PLO's headquarters in Tunisia was raided by Israeli jet fighters.
1988 - Mikhail Gorbachev assumed the Soviet presidency.
1990 - In Croatia, minority Serbs proclaimed autonomy.
1994 - The U.S. and Japan avoided a trade war by reaching a series of trade agreements.
1999 - The 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China was celebrated in Beijing.