Rome burns, a famous gunslinger kills for the first time, Marilyn Monroe passes a big test and The King's first single is released, all on this day.
A.D. 64: A fire begins to burn in the merchant area of Rome and soon burns completely out of control in what will become known as the Great Fire of Rome. According to a popular, but untrue legend, Nero fiddled as the city burned.
1545: The Tudor warship Mary Rose sinks off Portsmouth, England. In 1982 the wreck is salvaged in one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology.
1553: Fifteen-year-old Lady Jane Grey is deposed as Queen of England after claiming the crown for nine days. Mary, the daughter of King Henry VIII, is proclaimed Queen in her place.
1692: Five women are executed by hanging after being found guilty of witchcraft during the Salem, Mass., witch trials.
1814: Samuel Colt, American firearms inventor, is born in Hartford, Conn.
1834: French painter Edgar Degas, regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, is born in Paris.
1843: Brunel's steamship the SS Great Britain is launched, becoming the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull or screw propeller and also becoming the largest vessel afloat in the world.
1860: Lizzie Borden, who will famously be accused in rhyme of giving her mother "forty whacks" with an axe, is born in Fall River, Mass. Borden was tried and acquitted in the 1892 axe murders of her father and stepmother.
1877: Spencer W. Gore beats William Marshall (6-1, 6-2, 6-4) in the first men's tennis championship at Wimbledon.
1879: Legendary gunfighter Doc Holliday kills for the first time, after a dispute with a gunman at his Las Vegas, N.M., saloon. The details of the shooting vary, but Holliday is eventually acquitted in the killing.
1881: Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull surrenders to federal troops.
1909: The first unassisted triple play in major-league baseball is made by Cleveland Indians shortstop Neal Ball in a game against Boston.
1910: Cy Young becomes the first -- and only -- pitcher to ever win 500 games, tossing an 11-inning victory over the Washington Senators. He will tack on 11 more victories before retiring after the 1911 season with a 511-316 record.
1946: Soon-to-be movie star Marilyn Monroe, then still known as Norma Jeane Dougherty, acts in her first screen test for 20th Century Fox executive Ben Lyon.
1947: Queen guitarist Brian May is born in London, England.
1952: The Summer Olympics open in Helsinki, Finland. Here Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi lights the Olympic cauldron during opening ceremonies.
1954: Elvis Presley's first single was released by Sun Records. It was "That's All Right" b/w "Blue Moon of Kentucky."
1961: TWA becomes the first airline to introduce regular in-flight movies aboard its aircraft, offering "By Love Possessed," starring Lana Turner and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., in the first-class section of a Boeing 707 during a scheduled flight from New York City to Los Angeles.
1962: Actor Anthony Edwards ("ER," "Revenge of the Nerds") is born in Santa Barbara, Calif.
1963: Joe Walker flies a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 347,800 feet on X-15 Flight 90. Exceeding an altitude of 100 kilometers, this flight qualifies as a human spaceflight under international convention, making Walker the first American civilian to make any spaceflight. He's seen here in 1958 before an earlier test flight.
1966: Fifty-year-old Frank Sinatra marries 21-year-old Mia Farrow in Las Vegas.
1976: Rock group Deep Purple officially announces it has disbanded.
1980: The Summer Olympics opens in Moscow, with the U.S. and other countries boycotting because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
1980: Billy Joel earns his first gold record with "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me."
1985: The Val di Stava dam collapses in Val di Stava, Italy, killing 268 people, destroying 63 buildings and demolishing eight bridges.
1985: Christa McAuliffe of New Hampshire is chosen to be the first schoolteacher to ride aboard the space shuttle. She would died with six others when the Challenger explodes the following year.
1989: United Airlines flight 232 crashes in Sioux City, Iowa, after suffering catastrophic failure of its tail-mounted engine, killing 111 of the 296 passengers. The passenger jet is seen here in a photo from the National Transportation Safety Board report, with damage highlighted.
1990: Cincinnati Red Pete Rose is sentence to five months for tax evasion after pleading guilty to two charges of filing false income tax returns not showing income he received from selling autographs and memorabilia, and from horse racing winnings.
1990: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum opens in Yorba Linda, Calif.
1994: A game is canceled for the first time ever, due to falling tiles, at the Seattle Kingdome.
1996: The Summer Olympics opens in Atlanta, Ga., with boxing great Muhammad Ali lighting the cauldron.
2005: President George W. Bush announces his choice of federal appeals court judge John Roberts to replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
2009: Author Frank McCourt ("Angela's Ashes") dies at age 78 in New York City.
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