[While there are many iconic images of Los Angeles - from the Hollywood sign to the blanket of lights as observed from the top of Mulholland Drive - oddly enough, its skyline isn't one of them.]
1581 - Francis Drake was knighted by Elizabeth I aboard his ship Golden Hind; Drake had just returned to England, having circumnavigated the globe.
1660 - England's would-be King Charles II signed the Declaration of Breda, which cemented the terms of the English Restoration after the failure of Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth, as well as spelling out the conditions under which he would agree to accept the throne.
1721 - Sir Robert Walpole took office as the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom under King George I.
1841 - William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia, becoming both the first President of the United States to die in office and the one with the shortest term served.
1850 - Los Angeles was incorporated as a city.
1859 - The theatrical troupe known as Bryant's Minstrels debuted the song Dixie at Mechanics' Hall in New York City during the finale of their blackface minstrel show; it was an instant hit, even becoming a favourite of President Abraham Lincoln.
1866 - Russia's Tsar Alexander II narrowly escaped an assassination attempt at the hands of Dmitry Karakozov in the city of St. Petersburg.
1887 - Argonia, Kansas, elected Susanna M. Salter as the first female mayor in US history.
1939 - Faisal II became King of Iraq following the suspicious death of his father, Ghazi I.
1949 - Twelve nations signed the North Atlantic Treaty, thereby creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
1958 - The Committee for Nuclear Disarmament's Peace Symbol - designed by Gerald Holtom - was displayed in public for the first time, in London, at a march from Trafalgar Square to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston.
1960 - Senegal gained its independence from France.
1973 - New York's World Trade Center was officially dedicated.
1975 - Microsoft was founded as a partnership between Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and the Devil.
1976 - Prince Norodom Sihanouk resigned as leader of Cambodia and was placed under house arrest by the Khmer Rouge on the orders of Pol Pot.
1979 - Deposed Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was executed at Rawalpindi.
1983 - The Space Shuttle Challenger made its maiden voyage into space, a mission known as STS-6.
1988 - Governor Evan Mecham of Arizona - an eminent sleazebag - was convicted at the end of his impeachment trial and removed from office; as governor he had canceled the state's observance of Martin Luther King Day, making the day* of his final downfall especially apt.
*The anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King.
1991 - Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania and six others were killed when their helicopter collided with a plane over an elementary school in Merion, Pennsylvania; his widow, Teresa Heinz, later married Senator John Kerry.
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