2011: A reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant melts down, exploding and releasing radioactivity into the atmosphere a day after Japan was struck by a powerful earthquake and tsunami. In the hours and days that followed, two more reactors at the plant experienced full meltdown. It was the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, and only the second disaster to measure Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
2009: It's announced that Chicago's Sears Tower, the tallest building in the United States, would be officially renamed Willis Tower as of July 16, 2009.
2009: Financier Bernard Madoff pleads guilty to 11 federal felonies for scamming $18 billion in a Ponzi scheme that is considered to be the largest case of financial fraud in U.S. history. On June 29, 2009, he was sentenced to 150 years in prison, the maximum allowed.
2008: Two days after reports had surfaced that he was a client of a prostitution ring, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer announces that he will resign on March 17. His announcement came amid threats of impeachment by state lawmakers.
2003: In Utah, teenager Elizabeth Smart is reunited with her family nine months after she was abducted from her home. She had been taken on June 5, 2002, at age 14, by Brian David Mitchell, a drifter who had previously worked at the Smart home. On May 25, 2011, Mitchell was sentenced to two life-terms in federal prison. Smart is seen here with her mother Lois meeting President George W. Bush at the signing of the PROTECT Act of 2003 in April 2003.
2002: U.S. homeland security chief Tom Ridge unveils a color-coded system for terror warnings.
2002: In Houston, Texas, Andrea Yates is convicted of murdering her five children in the family bathtub on June 20, 2001. Yates had been suffering from very severe postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis when she drowned the children. Her conviction and sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years was later overturned on appeal and after a new trial she was found not guilty by reason of insanity on July 26, 2006. Since then, she has been committed to mental hospitals in Texas.
2001: Robert Ludlum, the author of 27 thriller novels, including the "Bourne Trilogy" that would later become a successful movie series, dies of a heart attack at the age of 73 in Naples, Fla.
2001: TV talk show host Morton Downey Jr., who pioneered the "trash TV" format on his program "The Morton Downey, Jr. Show," dies of lung cancer at the age of 68 in Los Angeles, Calif.
1993: North Korea says that it plans to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and refuses to allow inspectors access to its nuclear sites.
1991: The R.E.M. album "Out of Time" is released. The band's seventh album, it features the songs "Losing My Religion" and "Shiny Happy People" and would launch R.E.M. from a cult band to a massive international act. "Out of Time" would also become the band's first No. 1 album in both America and the UK.
1987: Woody Hayes, who won five national championships and captured 13 Big Ten Conference titles during his 28 years as head coach at Ohio State University, dies of a heart attack at the age of 74 in Upper Arlington, Ohio. Hayes, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, also was head coach for Denison University and Miami University and compiled a career coaching record of 238 wins, 72 losses and 10 ties.
1987: The musical "Les Misérables," based on the Victor Hugo novel, opens on Broadway. The musical, which developed into a global phenomenon after its English debut in London in October 1985, would run for 6,680 performances on Broadway before closing on May 18, 2003. At the time of its closing, it was the second-longest-running Broadway musical after "Cats," but was surpassed by "The Phantom of the Opera" in 2006.
1980: In Chicago, Ill., a jury finds John Wayne Gacy Jr. guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. The next day the jury would sentence Gacy to death for his crimes. Gacy would eventually be executed via lethal injection on May 10, 1994.
1978: Actor John Cazale dies of bone cancer at the age of 42 in New York City. During his six-year film career, Cazale appeared in five films, "The Godfather," "The Conversation," "The Godfather Part II," "Dog Day Afternoon" (pictured) and "The Deer Hunter," all of which earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture.
1971: Paul McCartney wins his lawsuit to turn The Beatles' financial affairs over to a receiver and not Allen Klein, who was managing John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The Beatles' contractual partnership would not be officially dissolved until Jan. 9, 1975.
1970: Writer, editor and publisher Dave Eggers, known for the best-selling memoir "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" and for founding the independent publishing house McSweeney's, is born in Boston, Mass.
1969: Paul McCartney of The Beatles marries photographer Linda Eastman in a small civil ceremony in London, England. The couple is seen here in 1993, five years before Linda McCartney died from breast cancer at the age of 56.
1968: Actor Aaron Eckhart, best known for his film roles in "Erin Brockovich," "Thank You for Smoking" and "The Dark Knight," is born in Cupertino, Calif.
1967: "The Velvet Underground And Nico," the debut album by rock band The Velvet Underground and vocal collaborator Nico, is released. The album, recognizable for its cover art featuring an Andy Warhol print of a banana, was a commercial and critical failure upon its release, but has since been recognized as one of the most influential and critically acclaimed rock albums in history.
1964: Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa is sentenced to eight years in prison for jury tampering. He lost control of the union during his incarceration and disappeared in 1975 as he was trying to regain power.
1962: Darryl Strawberry, a former major-league outfielder well known for his play on the field and for his controversial behavior off it, is born in Los Angeles, Calif. Strawberry, who helped lead the New York Mets to a World Series championship in 1986 and the New York Yankees to three World Series championships in 1996, 1998 and 1999, played for 17 seasons. An eight-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger award winner, he was also named the 1983 National League Rookie of the Year. Strawberry's on-field achievements were often overshadowed by legal problems and his battles with drug addiction.
1955: Jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker, also known by his nicknames of "Yardbird" and "Bird," dies of lobar pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer at the age of 34 in New York City. Parker who had battled a drinking problem and addiction to heroin, also had an advanced case of cirrhosis and had suffered a heart attack. He was a highly influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of bebop. Some of his best known songs include "Billie's Bounce," "Ornithology" and "Yardbird Suite."
1953: Journalist and author Carl Hiaasen, who began working at the Miami Herald in 1976 and is known for bestselling novels such as "Stormy Weather," "Strip Tease" and "Hoot," is born in Plantation, Fla.
1951: The comic strip "Dennis the Menace" by Hank Ketcham makes its syndicated debut in 16 newspapers.
1950: The Llandow air disaster occurs near Sigingstone, Wales, in which 80 people die when their aircraft crashes after stalling just before landing, making it the world's deadliest air disaster at the time. Three people survived the crash. Pictured is a memorial placed near the site to mark the crash's 40th anniversary in 1990.
1948: Singer-songwriter James Taylor, whose best known songs include "Fire and Rain," "You've Got a Friend," "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" and "Handy Man," is born in Boston, Mass.
1947: Mitt Romney, the 70th governor of Massachusetts and the Republican Party's candidate for U.S. president in 2012, is born in Detroit, Mich.
1947: President Harry S. Truman outlines a policy known as the "Truman Doctrine" stating that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey to prevent their falling into the Communist Bloc. Historians often consider it as the start of the Cold War, and the start of the containment policy to stop Soviet expansion.
1946: Singer and actress Liza Minnelli is born in Hollywood, Calif. The daughter of singer and actress Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli, she is best known for her theater work and movies such as "The Sterile Cuckoo," "Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon," "Cabaret" and "Arthur." She won an Academy Award for Best Actress for "Cabaret" and is among the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony Award. She's seen here in a publicity photo for her 1973 TV special "Liza With a Z."
1940: Al Jarreau, the seven-time Grammy Award winning jazz singer, is born in Milwaukee, Wis. One of Jarreau's most commercially successful albums is 1981's "Breakin' Away," which includes the hit song "We're In This Love Together," and he also wrote and performed the Grammy-nominated theme to the television show "Moonlighting." Jarreau was also a featured performer on "We Are the World."
1938: The "Anschluss" takes place as German troops enter Austria. Adolf Hitler would annex his homeland for Germany the following day.
1933: Franklin D. Roosevelt addresses the nation for the first time as U.S. president. This is also the first of his "fireside chats" as president.
1930: Mahatma Gandhi leads a 200-mile march, known as the Salt March, to the sea in defiance of British opposition, to protest the British monopoly on salt.
1928: Playwright Edward Albee, known for works such as "The Zoo Story," "The Sandbox" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," is born in somewhere in Virginia. He's seen here in 1987.
1922: Writer Jack Kerouac, a pioneer of the Beat Generation best known for his novel "On the Road," is born in Lowell, Mass.
1918: Moscow becomes the capital of Russia again after Saint Petersburg had held the title for all but four of the past 215 years.
1914: George Westinghouse, an American entrepreneur and engineer who invented the railway air brake and was a pioneer of the electrical industry, dies at the age of 67 in New York City. Westinghouse was one of Thomas Edison's main rivals in the early implementation of the American electricity system and his system ultimately prevailed over Edison's insistence on direct current.
1912: The Girl Guides of America, later renamed the Girl Scouts of the USA, are founded when Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low (center) organizes the first troop meeting of 18 girls in Savannah, Ga.
1894: Coca-Cola is bottled and sold for the first time in Vicksburg, Miss., by local soda fountain operator Joseph Biedenharn.
1862: Ulysses S. Grant is promoted to the rank of general-in-chief of the Union armies in the Civil War by President Abraham Lincoln.
1806: Jane Pierce, the first lady of the United States from 1853 to 1857 as the wife of President Franklin Pierce, is born Jane Means Appleton in Hampton, N.H.