1492 - Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, sighted Watling Island in the Bahamas. He believed that he had found Asia while attempting to find a Western ocean route to India. The same day he claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain.
1792 - The first monument honoring Christopher Columbus was dedicated in Baltimore, MD.
1810 - Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The royalty invited the public to attend the event which became an annual celebration that later became known as Oktoberfest.
1860 - Inventor Elmer Sperry was born on this day. He held patents on more than 400 inventions. The most important being the Sperry Automatic Pilot.
1892 - In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Columbus landing the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance was first recited in public schools.
1895 - In Newport, RI, the first amateur golf tournament was held.
1915 - Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt criticized U.S. citizens who identified themselves by dual nationalities.
1915 - British nurse Edith Cavell was executed by a German firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape from Belgium during World War I.
1920 - Construction of the Holland Tunnel began. It opened on November 13, 1927. The tunnel links Jersey City, NJ and New York City, NY.
1933 - John Dillinger, bank robber, escaped from a jail in Allen County, OH. The sheriff was killed by his gang as they helped Dillinger escape.
1933 - The U.S. Department of Justice acquired Alcatraz Island from the U.S. Army.
1937 - "Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons" debuted on radio.
1938 - Filming began on "The Wizard of Oz."
1942 - During World War II, Attorney General Francis Biddle announced that Italian nationals in the United States would no longer be considered enemy aliens.
1945 - Private First Class Desmond T. Doss was presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor for outstanding bravery as a medical corpsman. He was the first conscientious objector in American history to win the award.
1950 - The Kefauver Crime Commission convened in New York to investigate interstate organized crime.
1960 - Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev pounded a shoe on his desk during a dispute at a U.N. General Assembly.
1961 - The first video memoirs by a U.S. president were made. Walter Cronkite interviewed Dwight D. Eisenhower.
1964 - The Soviet Union launched Voskhod 1 into orbit around the Earth. It was the first space flight to have a multi-person crew and the first flight to be performed without space suits.
1972 - During the Vietnam War, a racial brawl broke out aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. Nearly 50 sailors were injured.
1976 - China announced that Hua Guo-feng was named to succeed the late Mao Tse-tung as chairman of the Communist Party.
1984 - An attempt on British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's life was unsuccessful, but did take the lives of five people. The bomb had been planted by the I.R.A.
1988 - Federal prosecutors announced that the Sundstrand Corp. would pay $115 million dollars to settle with the Pentagon for overbilling airplane parts over a five-year period.
1989 - The U.S. House of Representatives approved a statutory federal ban on the destruction of the American flag.
1993 - The play "Mixed Emotions" opened at the John Golden Theatre.
1994 - Haitian military leader Raoul Cedras was granted political asylum by Panama.
1994 - The Magellan space probe ended its four-year mission to Venus for the purpose of mapping.
1997 - The St. Francis Basilica and 15th-century bell tower above Foligno city hall in Italy were damaged by 3 earthquakes.
1998 - The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Online Copyright Bill.
1999 - Rob Reiner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1999 - In Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf seized power in a bloodless coup that toppled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Supreme Court ruled that the coup was legal but insisted that a civilian government be restored within three years.
2000 - In Aden, Yemen, the USS Cole, a U.S. Navy destroyer, experienced a large explosion while refueling. The explosion was the result of a terrorist attack using a small boat. 17 crewmembers were killed and at least 39 were injured.
2000 - In Denver, CO, the U.S. District Court denied Timothy McVeigh's request for a new trial.
2001 - A special episode of America's Most Wanted was aired that focused on 22 wanted terrorists. The show was specifically requested by U.S. President George W. Bush.
2001 - A car bomb exploded in Madrid, Spain, that injured 17 people. Basque separatists claimed responsibility.
2002 - In Bali, Indonesia, over 180 people were killed and over 300 were injured when a bomb was detonated in a nightclub district.
2006 - The Dow Jones industrial average advanced over 11,900 for the first time.