The first underwater vessel crossed under the North Pole. (1958) The USS Nautilus nuclear submarine was the first to travel below the Arctic ice cap.
The first openly gay Bishop was appointed by the Anglican church. (2003) The Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson was consecrated by 44 Episcopal bishops. The appointment caused controversy among religious leaders around the world, of all denominations.
The US National Basketball Association was founded. (1949) The Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946, becoming the National Basketball Association on this day after merging with the National Basketball League.
Christopher Columbus left Spain, beginning the journey that would bring him to the Americas. (1492) On this first voyage, Columbus visited what is now the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti. He kidnapped several natives to take with him back to Spain.
The first intercollegiate competition took place in the US. (1852) The first competition — rowing — pitted Yale against Harvard on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Harvard's Oneida boat beat Yale's Shawmut on the 2-mile (3-kilometer) course. It became an annual race known as the Harvard–Yale Regatta.
The Statue of Liberty was re-opened for the first time since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in the US. (2004) The statue was closed due to failures to meet fire regulations and inadequate procedures for evacuation. The interior area of the statue and its crown weren't re-opened until July 4, 2009.
US Gen. George S. Patton slapped a soldier recovering from battle fatigue, calling him a coward. (1943) General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who would later become the 34th President of the United States, relieved Patton of his command and reassigned him.
The Donner party hit their first obstacle in their traverse across the US to California. (1846) The party hit their first delay at the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. The party later would become snowbound in the Sierra Nevada Mountains while attempting to travel a "short cut" to California. The group was trapped for the winter and had to resort to cannibalism to survive. Only 45 of the original 89 travelers made it to California the next year.
A sodomy arrest resulted in a US Supreme Court trial that challenged the state of Georgia's sex laws. (1982) In the Bowers v. Hardwick decision, the US Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the laws, which treated some forms of consensual sex as criminal activities. The ruling was overturned in 2003 with the Lawrence v. Texas decision, which struck down sodomy laws across the country.
35,000 people were killed when Mount Asama erupted in Japan. (1783) The volcano, which is still active today, erupted for three months, increasing the devastation of the "Great Tenmei Famine," which began in 1782.