1533 - Henry VIII divorced his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
1746 - Francisco de Goya born
1853 - Vincent van Gogh born
1855 - Pro-slavery Missourians cross the border into Kansas to vote illegally. They help establish a pro-slavery Kansas state legislature.
1867 - The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million dollars.
1870 - The 15th amendment, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race, was passed by the U.S. Congress.
1870 - Texas was readmitted to the Union.
1903 - Mercer Cook born
1914 - John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson born
1940 - Astrud Gilberto born
1941 - The National Urban League sponsors its first radio broadcast, urging equal opportunities for African Americans in the growing World War II defense industries.
1945 - Eric Clapton born
1948 - Naomi Sims born
1950 - Harry Truman denounced Senator Joe McCarthy as a saboteur of U.S. foreign policy.
1958 - The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater gave its initial performance.
1962 - MC Hammer (Stanley Kirk Burrell) born
1964 - Tracy Chapman born
1967 - Martin "Ace" (Skunk Anansie) born
1967 - Jean Toomer died
1970 - Miles Davis' Bitches Brew released
1979 - Norah Jones born
1981 - Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded by John W. Hinckley, Jr. Two police officers and Press Secretary James Brady were also wounded.
1986 - James Cagney died
1989 - Gladys Knight performed solo for the first time since her grammar school years without The Pips
1994 - Serbs and Croats signed a cease-fire to end their war in Croatia
1995 - Tens of thousands of Rwandan refugees, fleeing violence in Burundi, began a two-day trek to sanctuary in Tanzania.
2002 - HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother died. She was 101