In 1844, the Dominican Republic was granted independence from Haiti.
In 1933, Adolf Hitler's Nazis set fire to the German Parliament building in Berlin, blamed it on the communists and made that an excuse to suspend German civil liberties and freedom of the press.
In 1942, opening salvos were fired in the Battle of the Java Sea, during which 13 U.S. warships were sunk by the Japanese, who lost two.
In 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, limiting presidents to two terms, was ratified.
In 1964, the Italian government asked for suggestions on how to save the renowned 180-foot Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling.
In 1974, the first issue of People magazine was published.
In 1982, an Atlanta jury convicted Wayne Williams of killing two of 28 young blacks whose deaths over a two-year period had shaken the city. Williams was sentenced to life in prison.
In 1990, the Soviet Parliament approved creation of a U.S.-style presidential system that gave Mikhail Gorbachev broad powers and established direct popular elections for the post.
Also in 1990, a federal grand jury in Alaska indicted Exxon Corp. and its shipping subsidiary over the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
In 1991, allied troops liberated Kuwait City.