In 1776, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at William and Mary College in Virginia.
In 1848, U.S. President James Polk confirmed the discovery of gold in California, leading to the gold rush of 1848 and '49.
In 1933, prohibition of liquor in the United States was repealed when Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In 1945, five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers disappeared on a routine flight in the area of the Atlantic known as the Bermuda Triangle.
In 1955, in one of the early civil rights actions in the South, blacks declared a boycott of city buses in Montgomery, Ala., demanding seating on an equal basis with whites. The boycott, prompted by the arrest of Rosa Parks, a black woman who refused to give up her bus seat to a white man.
Also in 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organization merged after 20 years of rivalry to form the AFL-CIO.
In 1991, British media magnate Robert Maxwell disappeared while on his yacht off the Canary Islands.
Also in 1991, convicted mass murderer Richard Speck died, one day short of his 50th birthday and 25 years after killing eight student nurses in Chicago.
In 1993, Rafael Caldera Rodriguez was elected president of Venezuela.
In 2001, factions in war-shaken Afghanistan agreed on an interim government, naming Hamid Karzai as their new leader.