In 1507, a world map produced by German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller contained the first recorded use of the term “America,” in honor of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci.
In 1859, ground was broken for the Suez Canal.
In 1898, the United States Congress declared war on Spain; the 10-week conflict resulted in an American victory.
In 1915, during World War I, Allied soldiers invaded the Gallipoli Peninsula in an unsuccessful attempt to take the Ottoman Empire out of the war.
In 1917, legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Virginia.
In 1945, during World War II, U.S. and Soviet forces linked up on the Elbe River, a meeting that dramatized the collapse of Nazi Germany’s defenses. Delegates from some 50 countries gathered in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.
In 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to shipping.
In 1983, 10-year-old Samantha Smith of Manchester, Maine, received a reply from Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov to a letter she had written expressing her concerns about nuclear war; Andropov gave assurances that the Soviet Union did not want war, and invited Samantha to visit his country, a trip she made in July.
In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed in orbit from the space shuttle Discovery. It was later discovered that the telescope’s primary mirror was flawed, requiring the installation of corrective components to achieve optimal focus.
In 1992, Islamic forces in Afghanistan took control of most of the capital of Kabul following the collapse of the Communist government.