1507 - Leonardo DaVinci was commissioned by the husband of Lisa Gherardini to paint her. The work is known as the Mona Lisa.
1839 - The first Opium War between China and Britain erupted.
1903 - Panama proclaimed its independence from Columbia.
1941 - Japanese Ambassador John Grew warned that the Japanese may be planning a sudden attack on the U.S.
1957 - Sputnik II was launched by the Soviet Union. It was the second manmade satellite to be put into orbit and was the first to put an animal into space, a dog named Laika.
1998 - Bob Kane, the creator of Batman, died at the age of 83.
2003 - In Kabul, Afghanistan, a post-Taliban draft constitution was unveiled.