1815 - Napoleon Bonaparte began his exile on the remote island of St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean.
1860 - Grace Bedell, 11 years old, wrote a letter to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln. The letter stated that Lincoln would look better if he would grow a beard.
1883 - The U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Civil Rights Act of 1875. It allowed for individuals and corporations to discriminate based on race.
1892 - The U.S. government announced that the land in the western Montana was open to settlers. The 1.8 million acres were bought from the Crow Indians for 50 cents per acre.
1914 - The Clayton Antitrust Act was passed by the U.S. Congress.
1931 - "Cat and the Fiddle" opened in New York for the first of 395 performances.
1937 - "To Have and Have Not" by Ernest Hemingway was published for the first time.
1939 - New York Municipal Airport was dedicated. The name was later changed to La Guardia Airport.
1945 - Pierre Laval, the former premier of Vichy France, was executed for treason.
1946 - Hermann Goering, a Nazi war criminal and founder of the Gestapo, poisoned himself just hours before his scheduled execution.
1951 - "I Love Lucy" premiered on CBS-TV.
1953 - "Teahouse of the August Moon" opened on Broadway. It ran for 1,027 performances.
1962 - The Cuban Missile Crisis began. It was on this day that U.S. intelligence personnel analyzing data discovered Soviet medium-range missle sites in Cuba. On October 22 U.S. President John F. Kennedy announced that he had ordred the naval "quarantine" of Cuba.
1964 - It was announced that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had been removed from power. He was replaced with Alexei N. Kosygin.
1966 - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill creating the Department of Transportation.
1973 - "Tomorrow" debuted on NBC-TV.
1983 - U.S. Marines killed five snipers who had pinned them down in Beirut International Airport.
1984 - The Freedom of Information Act was passed.
1989 - South African officials released eight prominent political prisoners.
1989 - Wayne Gretzky, while playing for the Los Angeles Kings, surpassed Gordie Howe's NHL scoring record of 1,850 career points.
1993 - U.S. President Clinton sent warships to enforce trade sanctions that had been imposed on Haitian military rulers.
1993 - South Africa's President F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress President Nelson Mandela were named winners of the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end the apartheid system in South Africa.
1997 - British Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green broke the land-speed record by driving a jet-powered car faster than the speed of sound.
1997 - The Cassini-Huygens mission was launched from Cape Canaveral, FL. On January 14, 2005, a probe sent back pictures of Saturn's moon Titan during and after landing.
1998 - The U.N. condemned the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba for the seventh year in a row.
2001 - NASA's Galileo spacecraft passed within 112 miles of Jupiter's moon Io.