Today is the 32nd day of the year, with 33 days remaining until the new year.
1709 - Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being shipwrecked on a desert island, inspiring the book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.
1790 - In New York City, the Supreme Court of the United States convenes for the first time.
1861 - Texas secedes from the United States.
1865 - President Lincoln signs the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
1893 - Thomas Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey.
1942 - Navy conducts Marshalls-Gilberts raids, the first offensive action by the United States against Japanese forces in the Pacific Theater.
1957 - Felix Wankel's first working prototype DKM 54 of the Wankel engine runs at the NSU research and development department Versuchsabteilung TX in Germany.
1960 - Four black students stage the first of the Greensboro sit-ins at a lunch counter in North Carolina.
1968 - The execution of Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem by South Vietnamese National Police Chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan, is videotaped and photographed by Eddie Adams. The image itself, helped build opposition to the Vietnam War.
1978 - Film director Roman Polanski skips bail and flees the United States to France after pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl.
1979 - The Ayatollah Khomeini is welcomed back to Tehran, Iran after nearly 15 years in exile.
1993 - Gary Bettman becomes the NHL's first commissioner.
1998 - Rear Admiral Lillian E. Fishburne became the first female African-American to be promoted to rear admiral.
2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
2004 - Janet Jackson's breast is exposed during the televised half-time show of Super Bowl XXXVIII, resulting in broadcasters adopting a stronger adherence to Federal Communications Commission censorship guidelines. It is cut to black while on-air and is stated as a "wardrobe malfunction."