1867 Secretary of State William H. Seward reached agreement with Russia to purchase Alaska for $7.2 million, a deal roundly ridiculed as "Seward's Folly."
1870 The 15th amendment to the Constitution, giving black men the right to vote, was declared in effect.
1870 Texas was readmitted to the Union.
1945 The Soviet Union invaded Austria during World War II.
1964 The TV game show "Jeopardy!" premiered on NBC.
1986 Actor James Cagney died at age 86.
1995 Pope John Paul II issued an encyclical condemning abortion and euthanasia as crimes that no human laws could legitimize.
2002 Britain's Queen Mother Elizabeth died at age 101.
2008 President George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington National's new stadium, Nationals Park.
2009 President Barack Obama asserted unprecedented government control over the auto industry, rejecting GM and Chrysler's restructuring plans and engineering the ouster of GM's chief executive, Rick Wagoner..
1509 Pope Julius II excommunicated the Italian state of Venice.
1521 Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed in the Philippines.
1805 During the first Barbary War, a force led by U.S. Marines captured the city of Derna, on the shores of Tripoli.
1822 Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States, was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio.
1865 The steamer Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tenn., killing more than 1,400 Union prisoners of war.
1896 Baseball Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby was born in Winters, Texas.
1965 Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow died at age 57.
1972 Apollo 16 returned to Earth after a manned voyage to the moon.
1987 The Justice Department barred Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, saying he had aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II.
1992 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed in Belgrade by the Republic of Serbia and its lone ally, Montenegro.
1992 Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics won entry into the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
2006 Construction began on the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.
2009 General Motors announced plans to cut 21,000 hourly jobs and scrap the Pontiac brand.
1818 Political philosopher Karl Marx was born in Prussia.
1821 Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile on the island of St. Helena.
1892 Congress extended the Chinese Exclusion Act for 10 years.
1893 Panic hit the New York Stock Exchange; by year's end, the country was in the throes of a severe depression.
1904 Cy Young of the Boston Americans pitched the first perfect game in modern major league baseball history in a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics.
1925 John T. Scopes was arrested in Tennessee for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution.
1945 In the only fatal attack of its kind during World War II, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon, killing the pregnant wife of a minister and five children.
1955 West Germany became a sovereign state.
1955 The baseball musical "Damn Yankees" opened on Broadway.
1981 Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands died in prison in Northern Ireland on his 66th day without food.
1985 President Ronald Reagan attended a wreath-laying ceremony at a military cemetery in Bitburg, West Germany. The visit drew worldwide condemnation because 49 members of the Waffen SS were buried there.
2000 Reformers swept Iran's run-off elections, winning control of the legislature from conservatives for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
2002 French President Jacques Chirac was re-elected in a landslide victory over extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.
2009 Texas health officials confirmed the first death of a U.S. resident with swine flu.