John Lennon's murderer was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. (1981) Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times while he stood in front of his apartment building with his wife, Yoko Ono, on December 8, 1980.
The British burned down Washington D.C. (1814) In a War of 1812 battle that became known as "The Burning of Washington," the British Army captured Washington D.C. and set many buildings on fire, including the US Capitol building and the White House.
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the US nonstop. (1932)Earhart flew from Los Angeles, California, to Newark, New Jersey. The flight, which takes about 5 hours today, took Earhart about 19 hours.
Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to successfully swim across the English Channel. (1875) Webb's first attempt to swim the channel on August 12 was thwarted by bad weather. His successful swim took 21 hours and 45 minutes. Subsequent swimmers have successfully swam across the Channel in under 7 hours.
The first woman raced in a Formula One car race. (1958) Maria Teresa de Filippis of Italy raced in a Maserati at Oporto in the Portuguese Grand Prix. Unfortunately, she had to quit the race because of engine trouble.
The printing of the Gutenberg Bible was completed. (1456) The Gutenberg Bible was the first edition of the Bible to be created by a movable printing press.
Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the head of the Soviet Union's Communist Party. (1991) Gorbachev's reform efforts (i.e., demokratizatsiya (democratization), glasnost (openness), perestroika (restructuring), and uskoreniye (acceleration)) helped lead to the fall of the Soviet Union.
Pluto was demoted from "planet" status to mere "dwarf planet" status. (2006) The demotion was declared by the International Astronomical Union. The dwarf planet can, however, claim status as the second-largest known dwarf planet. The largest dwarf planet is Eris.
Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, killing 65 people and causing $26.5 billion US Dollars in damages. (1992) Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 hurricane, was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the US in the 20th century and was the second costliest in US history.
Mount Vesuvius erupts, burying the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. (79) The volcanic eruption killed more than 20,000 people.
The lowest temperature in world history was recorded. (1960) Temperatures measured at the Vostok, Antarctica research station dipped to -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit (-89.2 degrees Celsius).