1759 – The British Museum, founded by Sir Hans Sloane, officially opens in London. It included thousands of items donated by Sloane, including manuscripts, books, and even dried plants. Today, it boasts of at least 8 million items on exhibit.
1891 – James Naismith, the man credited with inventing the sport of basketball and the first football helmet, officially publishes the rules for his new sport. Basketball, as he invented it, has many differences than the sport that is played today.
1943 – Designed by George Bergstrom, the Pentagon was completed and dedicated on this date in Arlington, VA. It isthe world’s largest office building with nearly 6.5 million square feet of total space and more than 3.7 million square feet used for offices.
1967 – Super Bowl I, which saw the Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs with a score of 35 to 10, was played in Los Angeles, CA. It was the only Super Bowl in history to not have a sold out crowd.
1974 – The Otero family, consisting of a married couple and their young son and daughter, become the first vicitms of Dennis Rader, better known as the BTK serial killer. The event occurred in Wichita, KS.
1991 – The stage is set for Operation Desert Storm, the codename for the Gulf War, as Iraqi troops ignore the UN’s deadline for withdrawing from Kuwait. The efforts included a coalition of more than 30 nations led by the United States.
2001 – Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales officially launch Wikipedia, an encyclopedia-like website which has grown to more than 30 million articles in more than 285 languages.
2009 – The incident known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” occurred on this date in 2009. It involved a plane, flown by Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, landing in the Hudson River after birds had been sucked into the engine which required an emergency landing.
1809 – Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, French politician and philosopher, founder of the Mutualist philosophy
1842 – Mary MacKillop, Australian saint, co-founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart
1908 – Edward Teller, Hungarian-American physicist, known as the “father of the hydrogen bomb”
1913 – Lloyd Bridges, American actor (Blondie Goes to College, Joe Versus the Volcano, Hot Shots!)
1929 – Martin Luther King, Jr., American minster and activist Nobel Prize laureate
1945 – Vince Foster, American lawyer, former Deputy White House Counsel for the Clinton administration
1948 – Ronnie Van Zant, American singer-songwriter (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
1963 – Bruce Schneier, American cryptographer and author (Applied Cryptography, The Electronic Privacy Papers)
1965 – Bernard Hopkins, American boxer, former International Boxing Federation middleweight champion
1972 – Claudia Winkleman, English journalist (The Sunday Times, The Independent, Cosmopolitan, Tatler)