Mt. Fuji erupts, the Apollo 15 astronauts go for a ride and major-league baseball players end their strike, all on this day.
AD 781: The oldest recorded eruption of Mt. Fuji in Japan takes place.
1498: On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to discover the island of Trinidad.
1703: Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but the audience, by some reports at least, pelts him with flowers and drinks to his health instead of ridiculing him.
1790: The very first U.S. patent is issued to inventor Samuel Hopkins for his process to refine potash.
1886: Hungarian composer Franz Liszt dies from pneumonia at age 74 in Bayreuth, Germany.
1928: MGM's Leo the lion roars for the first time, being introduced before the studio's first talking picture, "White Shadows on the South Seas."
1936: Tokyo is awarded the 1940 Olympics, which are later canceled due to the outbreak of World War II.
1941: Under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Göring orders SS General Reinhard Heydrich to "submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question." Heydrich would become one of the main architects of the Holocaust.
1948: At Idlewild Field in New York, New York International Airport (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport) is dedicated.
1953: The Department of Health, Education and Welfare is created. The agency is the precursor to the Department of Health and Human Services, which it becomes in 1979 when the separate Department of Education is formed.
1962: Actor Wesley Snipes ("White Men Can't Jump," the "Blade" movies) is born in Orlando.
1964: Ranger 7 sends back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes.
1964: Country singer Jim Reeves dies at age 40 when his single-engine Beechcraft crashes near Nashville, Tenn.
1965: "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling is born in Yate, Gloucestershire, England.
1966: Actor Dean Cain ("Lois & Clark") is born in Mount Clemens, Mich.
1968: Billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is born in Pittsburgh, Pa.
1971: Apollo 15 astronauts Jim Irwin and Dave Scott become the first to ride in a lunar rover. It remains on the surface of the moon today.
1976: Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is released.
1979: James Taylor plays a free concert in New York's Central Park to help the city's campaign to restore the park's Sheep Meadow.
1980: John Phillips (top) of The Mamas & the Papas is arrested by the FBI for possession of cocaine. He's eventually sentenced to five years in prison, but lectures against drugs for 250 hours as an alternate sentence.
1981: The seven-week baseball players' strike comes to an end when the players and owners agree on the issue of free agent compensation.
1987: The James Bond movie "The Living Daylights," which featured the debut of Timothy Dalton as the famous British spy, premieres in the United States.
1989: Belarusian tennis player Victoria Azarenka is born in Minsk, Belarus.
1990: Nolan Ryan, pitching for the Texas Rangers, becomes the 20th major-league pitcher to win 300 games. He would go on to win 324 in his career before retiring in 1993.
1991: The United States and Soviet Union both sign the START I Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The treaty would go on to be the first to reduce (with verification) both countries' stockpiles.
1992: Georgia joins the United Nations.
1995: Selena's "Dreaming of You," a combination of Spanish-language songs and new English-language tracks, debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. The album, released less than four months after her murder, makes her the first Latin artist to debut on the chart at No. 1.
1997: The Oakland A's trade Mark McGwire to St. Louis Cardinals. He would end up leading the majors with 58 home runs that season. The following season he would go on to break Roger Maris' 61-homer single-season record by hitting 70.
1999: NASA intentionally crashes the Lunar Prospector spacecraft into the Moon after the presence of water ice was successfully detected. It was hoped that the impact would liberate water vapor from the suspected ice deposits in the crater and that the plume would be detectable from Earth; however, no such plume was observed.
2006: Fidel Castro hands over power to brother Raúl Castro while recovering from surgery he underwent due to intestinal problems. Although the move is described as temporary, Raul Castro would remain acting president until February 2008 when he was chosen as his brother's successor.
2007: Operation Banner, the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland and the longest-running British Army operation ever, comes to an end.
2007: The iTunes Music Store reaches 3 billion songs sold.
2009: Three American tourists, Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, are arrested by Iran on suspicion of espionage during what their families have said was a simple hiking trip along the Iraq-Iran border. Shourd was released 14 months later on "humanitarian grounds" while Bauer and Fattal were convicted of "illegal entry" and "espionage" two years after their arrest. They were each sentenced to eight years in prison, but were released on Sept. 21, 2011. Each of the detainees was released after payment of about $465,000 bail.
2012: Author and political activist Gore Vidal ("Lincoln," "The City and the Pillar," "Myra Breckenridge") dies of complications from pneumonia in Hollywood Hills, Calif. He was 86.
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