[For me, Lady Liberty defines what America is all about in a way that the likes of Caribou Barbie defines the (thankfully) complete and total failure of neoconservative ideology and the apocalypse it's intended to provoke...]
1538 - The first university in the New World, the Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino, was established in the Dominican Republic.
1664 - The Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot - currently the UK's Royal Marines - was established.
1776 - During the American Revolution the Battle of White Plains handed George Washington an early defeat as General William Howe's larger British and Hessian force arrived at White Plains, in Upstate New York, attacking and capturing Chatterton Hill.
1886 - In New York Harbor, US President Grover Cleveland dedicated Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's monumental Statue of Liberty, a gift to America from the people of France; the statue embodies Libertas, the ancient Roman goddess of freedom from slavery, oppression, and tyranny.
1891 - The Mino-Owari Earthquake, the largest earthquake in Japanese history, struck Gifu Prefecture.
1893 - Tchaikovksy's Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathétique premiered in St. Petersburg, only nine days before the composer's mysterious and untimely death...
1905 - George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession was first performed in New York. The play had already been censored in the UK by the Lord Chamberlain and so had to be staged there at London's New Lyric Club, rather than in a theatre; the American performance, then, was to be its first on a public stage - and it was raided by police as well! Better that Mrs. Warren should be unemployed, I guess...
1919 - The US Congress passed the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson's veto, paving the way for Prohibition to begin the following January.
1922 - On the third day of their March on Rome, Italian fascists led by Benito Mussolini arrived at their destination and took over the government.
1929 - Black Monday, the first day of trading following Black Thursday in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, also saw major stock market upheaval.
1936 - US President Franklin D. Roosevelt re-dedicated the Statue of Liberty on the 50th anniversary of her debut.
1942 - The Alaska Highway (also called the Alcan Highway) was completed, connecting British Columbia's Dawson Creek to Fairbanks, Alaska.
1943 - The alleged Philadelphia Experiment supposedly occurred.
1954 - The modern Kingdom of the Netherlands was re-founded as a federal monarchy.
1962 - Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced that he had ordered the removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba, effectively defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis.
1965 - Nostra Aetate - the 'Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions' of the Second Vatican Council - was promulgated by Pope Paul VI, which absolved the Jews of their role in the death of Jesus Christ, reversing Innocent III's declaration from 760 years previous. Apparently, though, no one thought to tell Mel Gibson.
1971 - Britain launched its first (and, as of 2009, only) satellite, Prospero, into low Earth orbit atop a Black Arrow carrier rocket, containing a single experiment to test solar cells and a tape recorder which failed in May 1973 after 730 plays. Still in orbit, it can be heard on 137.560 MHz, and is expected to stay aloft for another hundred years.
1986 - The centennial of the Statue of Liberty's dedication was celebrated in New York Harbor; leading the festivities was US President Ronald Reagan.
2005 - Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, US Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, was indicted in the Valerie Plame case; he resigned later that day. Libby did, that is; as for Cheney he refuses to go away.
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