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.
1814 - Washington, DC, was invaded by British forces that set fire to the White House and Capitol.
1853 - The first convention of the American Pharmaceutical Association was held.
1869 - A patent for the waffle iron was received by Cornelius Swarthout.
1891 - Thomas Edison applied patents for the kinetoscope and kinetograph (U.S. Pats. 493,426 and 589,168).
1912 - A four-pound limit was set for parcels sent through the U.S. Post Office mail system.
1932 - Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the U.S. non-stop. The trip from Los Angeles, CA to Newark, NJ, took about 19 hours.
1949 - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) went into effect. The agreement was that an attack against on one of the parties would be considered "an attack against them all."
1954 - The Communist Party was virtually outlawed in the U.S. when the Communist Control Act went into effect.
1959 - Three days after Hawaiian statehood, Hiram L. Fong was sworn in as the first Chinese-American U.S. senator while Daniel K. Inouye was sworn in as the first Japanese-American U.S. representative.
1963 - John Pennel pole-vaulted 17 feet and 3/4 inches becoming the first to break the 17-foot barrier.
1968 - France became the 5th thermonuclear power when they exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.
1975 - Davey Lopes of the Los Angeles Dodgers set a major league baseball record when he stole his 38th consecutive base.
1985 - 27 anti-apartheid leaders were arrested in South Africa as racial violence rocked the country.
1986 - Frontier Airlines shut down. Thousands of people were left stranded.
1989 - Pete Rose, the manager of the Cincinnati Reds, was banned from baseball for life after being accused of gambling on baseball.
1989 - "Total war" was declared by Columbian drug lords on their government.
1989 - The U.S. space probe, Voyager 2, sent back photographs of Neptune.
1990 - Iraqi troops surrounded foreign missions in Kuwait.
1991 - Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the head of the Communist Party.
1992 - China and South Korea established diplomatic relations.
1995 - Microsoft's "Windows 95" went on sale.
1998 - U.S. officials cited a soil sample as part of the evidence that a Sudan plant was producing precursors to the VX nerve gas. And, therefore made it a target for U.S. missiles on August 20, 1998.
1998 - A donation of 24 beads was made, from three parties, to the Indian Museum of North America at the Crazy Horse Memorial. The beads are said to be those that were used in 1626 to buy Manhattan from the Indians.
2001 - In McAllen, TX, Bridgestone/Firestone agreed to settle out of court and pay a reported $7.5 million to a family in a rollover accident in their Ford Explorer.
2001 - The remains of nine American servicemen killed in the Korean War were returned to the U.S. The bodies were found about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. It was estimated that it would be a year before the identies of the soldiers would be known.
2001 - U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly was randomly picked to take over the Microsoft monopoly case. The judge was to decide how Microsoft should be punished for illegally trying to squelch its competitors.
2001 - NASA announced that operation of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite would end by September 30th due to budget restrictions. Though the satellite is best known for monitoring a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, it was designed to provide information about the upper atmosphere by measuring its winds, temperatures, chemistry and energy received from the sun.
2006 - 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.