1577 – Francis Drake sets sail from Plymouth, England, on his round-the-world voyage. Drake was awarded a knighthood in 1581 and was a hero to the British, but the Spanish knew him as a pirate called El Draque
1769 – Dartmouth College is founded by the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, with a royal charter from King George III, on land donated by Royal governor John Wentworth.
1862 – At the Battle of Fredericksburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee defeats Union Major General Ambrose Burnside – the namesake of both sideburns and Burnside Avenue in the Bronx.
1928 – George Gershwin‘s An American in Paris is first performed.
1949 – The Knesset votes to move the capital of Israel to Jerusalem.
1962 – NASA launches Relay 1, the first active repeater communications satellite in orbit.
1971 Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) filled a law suit against Henry Wade, Dallas county attorney, in the Roe v. Wade case.
1988 – PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat gives a speech at a UN General Assembly meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, after United States authorities refused to grant him a visa to visit UN headquarters in New York.
General Ambrose Burnside
2002 – The European Union announces that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will become members from May 1, 2004.
1885 – Annie Dale Biddle Andrews, American mathematician (d. 1940)
1992 – Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1899)