In 1777, the second Battle of Saratoga began during the American Revolution. (British forces under General John Burgoyne surrendered ten days later.)In 1849, author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore, Maryland, at age 40.
In 1954, Marian Anderson became the first black singer hired by the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York.
In 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and Republican opponent Richard Nixon held their second televised debate, this one in Washington, D.C.
In 1979, Pope John Paul II concluded his week-long tour of the United States with a Mass on the Washington Mall.
In 1985, Palestinian gunmen hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean. (The hijackers shot and killed Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish-American tourist in a wheelchair, and pushed him overboard, before surrendering on Oct. 9.)
In 1991, University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of making sexually inappropriate comments when she worked for him; Thomas denied Hill’s allegations.
In 1992, trade representatives of the United States, Canada and Mexico initialed the North American Free Trade Agreement during a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas, in the presence of President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
In 1996, Fox News Channel made its debut.
In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was beaten and left tied to a wooden fencepost outside of Laramie, Wyoming; he died five days later. (Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney are serving life sentences for Shepard’s murder.)
In 2001, the war in Afghanistan started as the United States and Britain launched air attacks against military targets and Osama bin Laden’s training camps in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
In 2003, California voters recalled Gov. Gray Davis and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger their new governor.
In 2004, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney conceded that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction as they tried to shift the Iraq war debate to a new issue, arguing that Saddam was abusing a U.N. oil-for-food program.
In 2009, a top Italian court overturned a law granting Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from prosecution, allowing trials for corruption and tax fraud to resume in Milan. (Berlusconi was later convicted of tax fraud relating to the purchase of TV rights to U.S. films on his Mediaset network; the corruption trial ended with a court ruling that the statute of limitations had run out.) Americans Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas Steitz and Israeli Ada Yonath won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Fashion and celebrity photographer Irving Penn died in New York at 92.
In 2014, North Korea publicly acknowledged to the international community the existence of its “reform through labor” camps, a mention that appeared to come in response to a highly critical U.N. human rights report. Two Japanese scientists, Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano, and a naturalized American, Shuji Nakamura, won the Nobel Prize for physics for inventing a new kind of light-emitting diode (LED) that promised to revolutionize the way the world lighted its offices and homes.