1500 – Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered Brazil.
1509 – Henry VIII ascended to the throne of England upon the death of his father Henry VII.
1529 – Spain and Portugal divided the eastern hemisphere in the Treaty of Saragosa.
1745 – The Peace of Fussen was signed, restoring the status quo of Germany.
1792 – U.S. President George Washington proclaimed American neutrality in the war in Europe.
1861 – Robert E. Lee was named commander of Virginia forces.
1864 – The U.S. Congress passed legislation that allowed the inscription “In God We Trust” to be included on one-cent and two-cent coins.
1876 – The first official National League (NL) baseball game took place. Boston beat Philadelphia 6-5.
1889 – At noon, the Oklahoma land rush officially started as thousands of Americans raced for new, unclaimed land.
1898 – The first shot of the Spanish-American war occurred when the USS Nashville captured a Spanish merchant ship.
1914 – Babe Ruth made his pitching debut with the Baltimore Orioles.
1915 – At the Second Battle Ypres the Germans became the first country to use poison gas.
1915 – The New York Yankees wore pinstripes and the hat-in-the-ring logo for the first time.
1918 – British naval forces attempted to sink block-ships in the German U-boat bases at the Battle of Zeeburgge.
1930 – The U.S., Britain and Japan signed the London Naval Treaty, which regulated submarine warfare and limited shipbuilding.
1931 – Egypt signed the treaty of friendship with Iraq.
1931 – James G. Ray landed an autogyro on the lawn of the White House.
1944 – During World War II, the Allies launched a major attack against the Japanese in Hollandia, New Guinea.
1952 – An atomic test conducted in Nevada was the first nuclear explosion shown on live network television.
1954 – The U.S. Senate Army-McCarthy televised hearings began.
1967 – Randy Matson set a new world record with a shot put toss of 71 feet, and 5 1/2 inches in College Station, TX.
1970 – The first “Earth Day” was observed by millions of Americans.
1976 – Barbara Walters became first female nightly network news anchor.
1987 – The American Physical Society said that the “Star Wars” missile system was “highly questionable” and would take ten years to research.
1993 – The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was dedicated in Washington, DC.
1997 – In Lima, Peru government commandos storm and capture the residence of the Japanese ambassador ending a 126-day hostage crisis. In the rescue 71 hostages were saved. Those killed: one hostage (of a heart attack), two soldiers, and all 14 rebels.
1999 – The Watson Family received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2000 – Elian Gonzalez was reunited with his father. He had to be taken from his Miami relatives by U.S. agents in a predawn raid.
2000 – ABC-TV aired a small portion of the Clinton-DiCaprio interview.
2002 – Filippino President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered a state of emergency in the city of General Santos in response to a series of bombing attacks the day before. The attacks were blamed on Muslim extremists.
2010 – The Boeing X-37 began its first orbital mission. It successfully returned to Earth on December 3, 2010.