In 1559, England’s Queen Elizabeth I was crowned in Westminster Abbey.In 1865, as the Civil War neared its end, Union forces captured Fort Fisher near Wilmington, N.C., depriving the Confederates of their last major seaport.
In 1892, the original rules of basketball, devised by James Naismith, were published for the first time in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the game originated.
In 1919, in Boston, a tank containing an estimated 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst, sending the dark syrup coursing through the city’s North End, killing 21 people.
In 1929, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta.
In 1943, work was completed on the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of War (now Defense).
In 1967, the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League defeated the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League 35-10 in the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, retroactively known as Super Bowl I.
In 1973, President Richard M. Nixon announced the suspension of all U.S. offensive action in North Vietnam, citing progress in peace negotiations.
In 1976, Sara Jane Moore was sentenced to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald R. Ford in San Francisco. (Moore was released on the last day of 2007.)
In 1987, entertainer Ray Bolger, perhaps best known for playing the Scarecrow in the 1939 MGM musical “The Wizard of Oz,” died in Los Angeles at age 83.
In 1993, a historic disarmament ceremony ended in Paris with the last of 125 countries signing a treaty banning chemical weapons.
In 2009, US Airways Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger ditched his Airbus 320 in the Hudson River after a flock of birds disabled both engines; all 155 people aboard survived.
In 2010, United Nations humanitarian chief John Holmes appealed for more than $560 million to help 3 million victims of the earthquake in Haiti, calling it “a huge and a horrifying catastrophe.” Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas pleaded guilty to carrying a pistol without a license in the District of Columbia, a felony. (Arenas was later sentenced to a month in a halfway house and suspended until the end of the season by the NBA.)
In 2014, a highly critical and bipartisan Senate report declared that the deadly September 2012 assault on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, could have been prevented; the report spread blame among the State Department, the military and U.S. intelligence.
In 2015, in its first lethal injection since a botched one the previous spring, Oklahoma executed a convicted killer with a three-drug method. Police in Belgium conducted raids across the country, killing two suspected Islamist militants. Pope Francis arrived in the Philippines, Asia’s most populous Catholic nation, where ecstatic crowds awaited the first papal visit in 20 years.