0240 BC – Eratosthenes estimated the circumference of the Earth using two sticks.
1586 – English colonists sailed away from Roanoke Island, NC, after failing to establish England’s first permanent settlement in America.
1778 – U.S. General George Washington’s troops finally left Valley Forge after a winter of training.
1821 – The Ottomans defeated the Greeks at the Battle of Dragasani.
1862 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln outlined his Emancipation Proclamation, which outlawed slavery in U.S. territories.
1864 – The USS Kearsarge sank the CSS Alabama off of Cherbourg, France.
1865 – The emancipation of slaves was proclaimed in Texas.
1903 – The young school teacher, Benito Mussolini, was placed under investigation by police in Bern, Switzerland.
1917 – During World War I, King George V ordered the British royal family to dispense with German titles and surnames.
1942 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington, DC, to discuss the invasion of North Africa with U.S. President Roosevelt.
1943 – Henry Kissinger became a naturalized United States citizen.
1951 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the Universal Military Training and Service Act, which extended Selective Service until July 1, 1955 and lowered the draft age to 18.
1961 – Kuwait regained complete independence from Britain.
1965 – Air Marshall Nguyen Cao Ky became South Vietnam’s youngest premier at age 34.
1981 – The European Space Agency sent two satellites into orbit from Kourou, French Guiana.
1983 – Lixian-nian was chosen to be China’s first president since 1969.
1997 – William Hague became the youngest leader of Britain’s Conservative party in nearly 200 years.
1998 – Switzerland’s three largest banks offered $600 million to settle claims they’d stolen the assets of Holocaust victims during World War II. Jewish leaders called the offer insultingly low.