William Faulkner 1897
- 1513 - The Pacific Ocean was discovered by Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa when he crossed the Isthmus of Panama. He named the body of water the South Sea. He was truly just the first European to see the Pacific Ocean.
- 1775 - Ethan Allen was captured by the British during the American Revolutionary War. He was leading the attack on Montreal.
- 1789 - The first U.S. Congress adopted 12 amendments to the Constitution. Ten of the amendments became the Bill of Rights.
- 1981 - Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court when she was sworn in as the 102nd justice. She had been nominated the previous July by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
- 1983 - A Soviet military officer, Stanislav Petrov, averted a potential worldwide nuclear war. He declared a false alarm after a U.S. attack was detected by a Soviet early warning system. It was later discovered the alarms had been set off when the satellite warning system mistakenly interpreted sunlight reflections off clouds as the presence of enemy missiles.
- 1995 - Ross Perot announced that he would form the Independence Party.