1643: Scientist and mathematician Isaac Newton, who has been considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived, is born in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, Lincolnshire, England. Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries.
1809: Louis Braille, teacher of the blind and inventor of braille, is born in Coupvray, France.
1821: The first native-born American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, dies in Emmitsburg, Md. Seton established the nation's first Catholic school in Emmitsburg, where she also founded the first American congregation of Religious Sisters, the Sisters of Charity. She would be canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975.
1847: Samuel Colt sells an order of his pistols to the government for the first time, with Capt. Samuel Walker of the Texas Rangers ordering more than 1,000 of Colt's firearms. The large order allowed Colt to establish a new firearm business.
1865: The New York Stock Exchange opens its first permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad near Wall Street in New York City.
1877: Businessman and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt, who built his wealth through railroads and shipping until he became one of the richest Americans in history, dies at age 82 in New York City after having been confined to his rooms for about eight months. The immediate cause of his death was exhaustion, brought on by long suffering from a complication of chronic disorders. At the time of his death, his fortune was estimated at $100 million.
1896: Utah is admitted as the 45th U.S. state.
1912: The Scout Association is incorporated throughout the British Commonwealth by Royal charter.
1930: Football coach Don Shula, who won 347 games as a coach with the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins to become the winningest coach in NFL history, is born in Grand River, Ohio. Shula also guided the Dolphins to two Super Bowl titles, including the team's perfect 17-0 run during the 1972 season.
1935: Boxer Floyd Patterson, who, at age 21 in 1956, became the youngest man to win the world heavyweight title, is born in Waco, N.C. Patterson, who won a gold medal as a middleweight at the 1952 Olympic Games, was also the first heavyweight boxer to regain the title and retired with a record of 55 wins, eight losses and one draw, with 40 wins by knockout. He died at age 71 on May 11, 2006.
1936: Billboard magazine publishes its first "Hit Parade," which ranks songs based on sales and airplay. The first No. 1 song on the chart was "Stop! Look! Listen!" by Joe Venuti & his Orchestra.
1937: Actress Dyan Cannon, best known for roles in movies such as "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," "Such Good Friends," "Revenge of the Pink Panther," "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Heaven Can Wait," is born Samile Diane Friesen in Tacoma, Wash. She's also known for her brief marriage to Cary Grant in the mid-1960s.
1951: Chinese and North Korean forces capture Seoul for the second time during the Korean War.
1957: Country music singer-songwriter Patty Loveless, best known for songs such as "Timber, I'm Falling in Love," "Chains," "I'm That Kind of Girl," "Blame It on Your Heart," "You Can Feel Bad" and "Lonely Too Long," is born in Pikeville, Ky.
1958: Sputnik 1 falls to Earth after spending three months in orbit. When Russia launched the satellite on Oct. 4, 1957, it became the first manmade object to orbit the Earth, setting off the Cold War-era "Space Race" between America and the Soviets.
1959: The Russian probe Luna 1 becomes the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the moon, passing within 3,725 miles of the moon's surface.
1960: French author Albert Camus dies in an automobile accident at age 46 in Villeblevin, France. Camus was one of the founders of the philosophy known as absurdism and the second-youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, after Rudyard Kipling.
1960: Singer-songwriter Michael Stipe, the lead singer of the alternative rock band R.E.M., is born in Decatur, Ga.
1963: Comedian and actor Dave Foley, best known as a member of the comedy troupe "The Kids in the Hall" and for starring in the TV sitcom "NewsRadio," is born in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada.
1964: Actress Dorothy-Marie "Dot" Jones, best known for her Emmy-nominated recurring role on the TV series "Glee," is born in Turlock, Calif. A former bodybuilder and a 15-time world arm wrestling champion, Jones also has appeared in movies such as "Patch Adams" and "The Boondock Saints" and in TV shows like "Married… with Children," "Nip/Tuck," "Desperate Housewives" and "Prison Break."
1965: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaims his "Great Society" during the State of the Union address. The overall effort included legislation dealing with civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education and Johnson's "War on Poverty."
1965: Actress Julia Ormond, best known for roles in movies such as "Legends of the Fall," "Smilla's Sense of Snow," "Sabrina" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," is born in Epsom, Surrey, England. She also won an Emmy Award in 2010 for her supporting role in the HBO movie "Temple Grandin."
1965: Writer and poet T. S. Eliot, best known for such poems as "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "The Waste Land" and who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, dies of emphysema at the age of 76 in London, England.
1966: Country music singer-songwriter Deana Carter, best known for the country No. 1 hits "Strawberry Wine," "We Danced Anyway" and "How Do I Get There," is born in Nashville, Tenn.
1970: The Beatles, minus John Lennon, who was on holiday in Denmark and had essentially left the band by that time, complete their last joint recording session at EMI studios, recording overdubs on the title track to the "Let It Be" album.
1974: U.S. President Richard Nixon refuses to hand over materials subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.
1982: President Ronald Reagan signs the top secret National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), giving the Central Intelligence Agency the authority to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
1984: The TV sitcom "Night Court," starring Harry Anderson, John Larroquette and Richard Moll, premieres. The show would go on to last nine seasons, winning seven Emmys over 31 nominations before ending on May 31, 1992.
1995: The 104th Congress, the first entirely under Republican control since the Eisenhower era, convenes and Newt Gingrich is elected speaker of the House.
1999: Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura is sworn in as governor of Minnesota.
2004: Spirit, a NASA Mars rover, lands successfully on Mars. The rover would perform geological analysis of Martian rocks and planetary surface features, logging nearly five miles on the planet's surface, before becoming stuck in late 2009. Its last communication with Earth was sent on March 22, 2010.
2007: The 110th United States Congress convenes, electing Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as the first female speaker of the House in U.S. history.
2010: Casey Johnson, a socialite and heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, is found dead at the age of 30 in her West Hollywood, Calif., home. Her death was later ruled the result of diabetic ketoacidosis, stemming from a shortage of insulin.
2010: Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building at 2,722 feet, officially opens in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
2011: Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty, best known for his solo hits "Baker Street" and "Right Down the Line," and, with the band Stealers Wheel, "Stuck in the Middle with You," dies of liver failure at age 63 in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England.