After gaining independence from Britain, the United States was officially named. (1776) On this day, the US Continental Congress voted to call the newly independent union of states the United States.
Washington DC was named. (1791) The United States capital was named after the first US President George Washington. The US Congress first met there on November 17, 1800.
A riot broke out at Attica Prison in New York. (1971) Prisoners took control of the prison for four days, holding 39 prison workers hostage. After negotiations failed, police raided the prison. 10 hostages and 29 prisoners were shot and killed by police and 89 people were injured.
Texas lost a third of its territory in the "Compromise of 1850." (1850) Before Texas was annexed into the US, it racked up a great deal of debt. In an agreement exchange, the US paid $10 million US Dollars (USD) of the debt and Texas gave up land that now is part of New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and Oklahoma.
The largest pre-American Revolution slave rebellion on American soil occurred. (1739) The "Stono Rebellion" was led by a slave named Jemmy who recruited 80 others in an uprising in South Carolina. The group killed about 25 white people before the South Carolina militia caught up to them. Forty-four slaves were killed along with another 20 white people, bringing an end to the rebellion. Many of the surviving slaves were executed; those who escaped execution were sold to the West Indies.
Elvis Presley made his debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. (1956) The famous performance was rumored to only have shown Elvis from the waist up because Sullivan wanted to avoid showing Elvis's trademark gyrations on stage — but the rumor wasn't true. Elvis appeared full-body the first two times he appeared on the show; it wasn't until the third appearance that Sullivan had him shot from the waist up.
The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act in the US was signed into law. (1966) US President Lyndon Johnson signed the law that established federal safety standards for roadways and automobiles. He signed the Highway Safety Act the same day.
California became the 31st US state. (1850) California achieved statehood just two years after it became part of the US, and without spending time as a "territory" first. States first spent time as territories in order to accumulate the necessary population of 60,000 required to become a state; the gold rush alone provided California with more than enough people.
The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) was born. (1926) NBC, which was formed by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), was the first US television broadcast network.
Hurricane Betsy ravaged New Orleans, becoming the first hurricane in US history to cause more than $1 billion USD in damage. (1965) The Category 4 hurricane killed 76 people and caused $1.42 billion USD in damage — the equivalent of about $12 billion US Dollars in 2010.