• In 1887, Ernest Gruening, who became the 13th Governor of Alaska in 1939, was born in New York.
• In 1919, a fire destroyed a large part of the Fairbanks business district.
• In 1988, an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale struck the Kenai Peninsula, with its epicenter 70 miles northwest of Homer.
In the nation
• In 1756, America's third vice president, Aaron Burr, was born in Newark, N.J.
• In 1778, the United States won official recognition from France with the signing of treaties in Paris.
• In 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
• In 1895, baseball legend Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore.
• In 1899, a peace treaty between the United States and Spain was ratified by the U.S. Senate.
• In 1933, the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, the so-called "lame duck" amendment, was declared in effect.
• In 1943, a Los Angeles jury acquitted actor Errol Flynn of three counts of statutory rape.
• In 1959, the United States successfully test-fired for the first time a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile from Cape Canaveral.
• In 1978, Muriel Humphrey took the oath of office as a United States senator from Minnesota, filling the seat of her late husband, former Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
• In 1991, comedian and television performer Danny Thomas died in Los Angeles at age 79.
• In 1993, Tennis Hall-of-Famer and human rights advocate Arthur Ashe died in New York at age 49.
• In 1998, President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair redoubled their pledge to use military force against Iraq if necessary; during a joint news conference in which the subject of Monica Lewinsky came up, Clinton said he would "never" resign. President Clinton signed a bill changing the name of Washington National Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
• In 2002, A federal judge ordered John Walker Lindh, the so-called "American Taliban," held without bail pending trial.
In the world
• In 1952, Britain's King George VI died; he was succeeded as reigning monarch by his daughter, Elizabeth II.
• In 2002, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II reached a bittersweet milestone, somberly marking 50 years as monarch on the anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI.