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0079 - Mount Vesuvius erupted killing approximately 20,000 people. The cities of Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum were buried in volcanic ash.

0410 - The Visigoths overran Rome. This event symbolized the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

1456 - The printing of the Gutenberg Bible was completed.

1572 - The Catholics began their slaughter of the French Protestants in Paris. The killings claimed about 70,000 people.

1680 - Colonel Thomas Blood died. He was the Irish adventurer that had stolen the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London in 1671.

1932 - Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the U.S. non-stop. The trip took about 19 hours.

1968 - France became the 5th thermonuclear power when they exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.

1981 - Mark David Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the murder of John Lennon.

1989 - The U.S. space probe, Voyager 2, sent back photographs of Neptune.

1990 - Iraqi troops surrounded foreign missions in Kuwait.

1990 - Irish hostage Brian Keenan was released. He had been held in Lebanon for 1,597 days.

1991 - Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the head of the Communist Party.

1995 - Microsoft's "Windows 95" went on sale.

1998 - The U.S. and Britain agreed on the Netherlands as site for the trial of two Libyan suspects for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

2004 - Salim Ahmed Hamdan was formally charged in the first U.S. military tribunal since World War II. Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's former chauffer, was charged with conspiracy as an al-Qaida member to commit war crimes, including murder.

2005 - The planet Pluto was reclassified as a "dwarf planet" by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Pluto's status was changed due to the IAU's new rules for an object qualifying as a planet. Pluto met two of the three rules because it orbits the sun and is large enough to assume a nearly round shape. However, since Pluto has an oblong orbit and overlaps the orbit of Neptune it disqualified Pluto as a planet.


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