1502: Four years after becoming the first European to reach India by sea, explorer Vasco da Gama sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on his second voyage to India.
1554: A year after claiming the throne of England for nine days, Lady Jane Grey is beheaded for treason at the age of 16 or 17. Jane, the granddaughter of Henry VII and a first cousin once removed of Edward VI, was nominated as successor to the throne by her 15-year-old cousin as he lay dying in June 1553. During her short reign, she resided in the Tower of London, becoming a prisoner when the Privy Council decided to change sides and proclaim Edward's half-sister Mary as queen on July 19, 1553.
1733: Englishman James Oglethorpe founds Georgia, the 13th American colony, and its first city at Savannah.
1775: Louisa Adams, who would become the first lady of the United States when her husband John Quincy Adams was elected U.S. president in 1825, is born Louisa Catherine Johnson in London, England. She was the only first lady born outside of the United States.
1789: Ethan Allen, the American Revolutionary War hero best known for the capture of Fort Ticonderoga early in the war (pictured, center) and as one of the founders of the state of Vermont, dies at the age of 51 in Burlington, Vermont Republic.
1804: German philosopher Immanuel Kant, seen as a major figure in the history and development of philosophy, dies at the age of 79 in Königsberg, Prussia.
1809: Charles Darwin, the naturalist who published his theory of evolution via natural selection in his 1859 book "On the Origin of Species," is born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.
1809: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865, is born in Hodgenville, Ky. Generally considered one of the greatest American presidents, Lincoln successfully led the United States through its greatest constitutional, military, and moral crisis -- the American Civil War -- preserving the Union.
1876: Al Spalding, then a pitcher and the manager of the Chicago White Stockings baseball team, opens a sporting good shop with his brother. In 1877, Spalding began to use a glove to protect his catching hand, providing a boost for the gloves his company sold. The company also standardized early baseballs and developed the modern baseball bat with the bulge at its apex. Today, the company specializes in the production of balls for many sports, but is most-known for its basketballs, as the official ball provider for both the NBA and the WNBA.
1879: The first artificial ice rink opens in North America at the old Madison Square Garden, the first in a line of four venues to use that name, in New York City.
1909: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded.
1914: In Washington, D.C., the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial is put into place.
1915: Actor Lorne Greene, best known for his role of Ben Cartwright on the western TV show "Bonanza," is born Lyon Himan Green in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Greene died of pneumonia at age 72 on Sept. 11, 1987.
1923: Film and opera director Franco Zeffirelli, best known for his 1968 version of "Romeo and Juliet," for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, is born Gianfranco Corsi in Florence, Italy. He is also known for his 1967 version of "The Taming of the Shrew," starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and was a member of the Italian Senate from 1994 to 2001.
1924: George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" premieres at New York City's Aeolian Hall in the concert "An Experiment in Modern Music," with Gershwin himself playing the piano.
1934: Hall of Fame basketball player Bill Russell, who won 11 NBA championships during his 13-year career with the Boston Celtics, is born in Monroe, La. The five-time NBA MVP and 12-time All-Star also led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA championships (1955, 1956) and won a gold medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics as captain of Team USA.
1935: The USS Macon, one of the two largest helium-filled airships ever created, crashes into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California and sinks, killing two of its 76-member crew.
1938: Author Judy Blume, best known for her many novels for children and young adults, is born Judith Sussman in Elizabeth, N.J. Her novels include "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret," "Superfudge," "Blubber," "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" and "Forever."
1939: Rock musician Ray Manzarek, best known as the co-founder and keyboardist for The Doors, is born in Chicago, Ill. Manzarek, seen here in 2009, died of bile duct cancer at age 74 on May 20, 2013.
1940: The long-running radio serial "The Adventures of Superman," based on the DC Comics superhero who made his debut two years earlier, is broadcast for the first time. The radio play would continue on various radio networks and shows until March 1, 1951.
1942: American painter Grant Wood, best known for his paintings depicting the rural American Midwest, particularly the painting "American Gothic," dies of pancreatic cancer one day before his 51st birthday in Iowa City, Iowa.
1945: Actress Maud Adams, best known for her roles as two different Bond girls in "The Man with the Golden Gun" and "Octopussy," is born Maud Solveig Christina Wikström in Luleå, Sweden.
1952: Musician Michael McDonald, best known as the lead singer of The Doobie Brothers from 1976 to 1982 and for his solo work, is born in St. Louis, Mo. Among the hits McDonald is known for are "Takin' It to the Streets," "Minute by Minute" and "What a Fool Believes," which was a No. 1 hit for The Doobie Brothers and earned McDonald a 1980 Grammy Award for Song of the Year along with co-writer Kenny Loggins.
1956: Actor and talk show host Arsenio Hall, best known as the host of "The Arsenio Hall Show" from 1989 to 1994 and a revival of the same show beginning in September 2013, is born in Cleveland, Ohio. Hall has also starred in movies such as "Coming to America," "Harlem Nights," "Blankman" and "Black Dynamite."
1968: Actor Josh Brolin, best known for his roles in movies such as "The Goonies," "W.," "No Country for Old Men," "Milk," "True Grit" and "Men In Black 3," is born in Santa Monica, Calif. Brolin, the son of fellow actor James Brolin, was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "Milk."
1968: Singer Chynna Phillips, the daughter of The Mamas & the Papas band members John and Michelle Phillips, and one-third of the pop group Wilson Phillips (center), is born Gilliam Chynna Phillips in Los Angeles, Calif.
1969: Film director and screenwriter Darren Aronofsky, best known for his movies "Pi," "Requiem for a Dream," "The Wrestler" and "Black Swan," is born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He received a Best Director Oscar nomination for "Black Swan," which was also nominated for Best Picture and earned Natalie Portman an Oscar for Best Actress.
1971: James Cash Penney, who founded the J.C. Penney stores in 1902, dies at the age of 95 in New York City. The company closed for business for one-half day as a memorial to Penney.
1973: The first release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam takes place as part of Operation Homecoming. From Feb. 12 to April 4, there were 54 missions flying out of Hanoi, bringing the former POWs home.
1973: The state of Ohio goes metric, becoming the first in the U.S. to post metric distance signs. Four signs were initially erected along Interstate 71, but more soon followed.
1976: Actor Sal Mineo, an Oscar nominee for his roles in "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Exodus," is stabbed to death in the alley behind his apartment building in West Hollywood, Calif., at the age of 37. Pizza deliveryman Lionel Ray Williams was eventually convicted of Mineo's murder and for committing 10 robberies in the same area and sentenced to 57 years in prison. Williams was paroled from prison in the early 1990s, but was soon imprisoned again for other crimes.
1979: Film director Jean Renoir, best known for the movies "Grand Illusion," the first foreign language film to receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture, "The Rules of the Game" and "The Southerner," dies at the age of 84 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
1980: Actress Christina Ricci, best known for her roles in movies such as "The Addams Family," "Casper," "Buffalo '66," "Sleepy Hollow," "Monster" and "Black Snake Moan," is born in Santa Monica, California.
1993: The comedy "Groundhog Day," starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, and directed by Harold Ramis, premieres in theaters. Murray plays an arrogant and egocentric Pittsburgh TV weatherman who finds himself in a time loop, forced to repeat Groundhog Day over and over again.
1994: Four men break into the National Gallery of Norway and steal a version of Edward Munch's iconic painting "The Scream," leaving behind a postcard reading "Thanks for the poor security." It was recovered undamaged several months later. Four men were eventually convicted in connection with the theft, but were later released on an appeal thanks to a legal technicality.
1999: President Bill Clinton is acquitted by the United States Senate in his impeachment trial. He had faced charges of perjury and obstruction of justice arising from the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the Paula Jones lawsuit.
2000: Musician Screamin' Jay Hawkins, known for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as "I Put a Spell on You," dies at the age of 70 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, after surgery to treat an aneurysm.
2000: Football coach Tom Landry, who won two Super Bowl titles (VI, XII), five NFC titles, 13 Divisional titles, and compiled a 270-178-6 record as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys between 1960 and 1988, dies of leukemia at the age of 75 in Dallas, Texas. Landry's victories as a head coach ranks him third all time for an NFL coach and he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
2000: Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the comic strip "Peanuts," dies of a heart attack at the age of 77 in Santa Rosa, Calif. Schulz, who had been battling health issues and was diagnosed with colon cancer in late 1999, had retired from drawing the strip in December 1999, with the last daily strip appearing on Jan. 3, 2000. At that point, five more original Sunday edition "Peanuts" strips had yet to be published. The last original "Peanuts" strip was published the day after Schulz's death, on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2000.
2001: The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous - Shoemaker spacecraft touches down in the "saddle" region of 433 Eros, becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid. The primary scientific objective of NEAR was to return data on the bulk properties, composition, mineralogy, morphology, internal mass distribution and magnetic field of Eros.
2002: The trial of Slobodan Miloševic, the former Serbian and Yugoslavian president charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, begins at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. He would die four years later before its conclusion.
2004: The city of San Francisco, Calif., begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in response to a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom, despite gay marriage being against state law at the time. In August 2004, the Supreme Court of California annulled the marriages that Newsom had authorized.
2004: Mattel announces that "Barbie" and "Ken" were breaking up after 43 years together. The press release stated that the dolls had "met on the set of their first television commercial together in 1961."
2008: The Writers Guild of America votes to end a 100-day strike that had effectively ceased production for all scripted television programming. According to a National Public Radio report, the strike cost the economy of the Los Angeles-area an estimated $1.5 billion.
2009: Colgan Air Flight 3407, a Continental Connection flight, crashes into a house in Clarence Center, N.Y., while on approach to Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, killing all 49 people on board and one on the ground. The accident, which triggered a wave of inquiries over the operations of regional airlines in the United States, was later blamed on the pilots' inability to respond properly to stall warnings.
2010: To raise money for victims of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a remake of the 1985 famine charity single "We Are the World" featuring more than 80 artists is released. The new version features revised lyrics as well as a rap segment pertaining to Haiti. It also features a duet between Janet Jackson and her late brother Michael Jackson through the use of archival material from the original 1985 recording. Some of the stars who sang on the track included Justin Bieber, Jennifer Hudson, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Wyclef Jean, Adam Levine, Pink, Usher and Toni Braxton. The song would sell more than 267,000 downloads in its first three days and reach No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
2012: At the Grammy Awards, British singer Adele wins six awards, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year, tying Beyonce's record for most wins by a female artist in one night.