In 1871, the massive Chicago fire destroyed more than 17,000 buildings, killed more than 300 people and left 90,000 homeless.
Also in 1871, on the same day, a forest fire broke out at Peshtigo, Wis., killing about 1,100 people while burning some 850 square miles.
In 1918, Sgt. Alvin York of Tennessee became a World War I hero by single-handedly capturing a hill in the Argonne Forest of France, killing 20 enemy soldiers and capturing 132 others.
In 1919, The U.S. Congress passed the Volstead Act, prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Also in 1919, the first U.S. transcontinental air race began with 63 planes competing in the round-trip aerial derby between California and New York. Each way took about three days.
In 1967, Argentinean-born Communist revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, an important figure in the 1959 Cuban revolution, was killed while leading a guerrilla war in Bolivia.
In 1990, at least 17 Muslims were killed by Israeli police in rioting on the Temple Mount, the third holiest site in Islam.
In 1991, a U.S. federal judge in Anchorage, Alaska, approved a $1 billion settlement against Exxon for the Valdez oil spill.
In 1993, the U.S. Justice Department, in its report on the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, concluded the cult had caused the fire that destroyed the compound, killing at least 75 people.
In 1997, three years after the death of longtime North Korean ruler Kim Il Sung, his son, Kim Jong Il, officially inherited his father's title of general secretary of the Communist Party.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International