The US Supreme Court upheld a decision that ended public bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama. (1956) The decision in Browder v. Gayle was made by the US District Court and stated that the laws in Alabama that required public buses to be segregated were illegal. The case brought an end to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which protested the segregation laws.
NASA's Mariner 9 space probe became the first to orbit another planet. (1971) The probe successfully entered orbit around Mars on this day and was able to send back photos of the planet's surface during its mission. Two Soviet probes achieved the same orbit about a month later.
US President George W. Bush signed an order allowing military tribunals to prosecute foreign suspects for the first time since World War II. (2001) The order was in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The military prison facility at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base opened shortly thereafter, and the first prisoners were incarcerated there on January 11, 2002.
The AK-47 assault rifle development was completed. (1947) The rifle was developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the Soviet Union and was one of the first assault rifles to be created. Today, it is the most widely-used assault rifle in the world — more AK-47 models have been made than all other assault rifle models put together.
A tropical cyclone struck Bangladesh — then known as East Pakistan — and resulted in about 500,000 deaths in one night. (1970) The Bhola cyclone was the deadliest in recorded world history and is considered the world's most devastating natural disaster of the 20th century.
Iraq agreed to the UN Security Council Resolution 1441 terms requiring the country to comply with the ceasefire agreement and dispose of any Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and other prohibited arms. (2002) Iraq allowed the weapons inspectors to return shortly thereafter, and their reports led the US to conclude that Iraq continued to breach the resolution agreements. That highly controversial conclusion led to an invasion of Iraq by British and US forces in March 2003.
David Gray indiscriminately shot and killed 13 people in New Zealand's deadliest shooting. (1990) Gray's shooting spree began with an argument with his neighbor and became known as the "Aramoana massacre." He was hunted down the following day and shot dead by the New Zealand Special Tactics Group.
The first Rugby League World Cup was won. (1954) France was defeated by Britain in the first international rugby match, which was held in Paris that year.
Duk Koo Kim lost a boxing match to Ray Mancini and died four days later due to injuries sustained during the match. (1982) Kim's death led to several major changes in boxing, including reducing the title fight rounds to 12 from 15 and adding a sixth rope around the ring to better prevent boxers from falling out of the ring. Changes also include increasing the pre-fight medical checkup procedures, which eventually included brain tests, lung tests and electrocardiograms.
The Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupted, burying the city of Armero, Columbia, and killing about 23,000 people. (1985) The magma from the eruption melted a glacier and caused a devastating mudslide that buried the city. The high death toll partly was due to scientists failing to accurately predict when the volcano would erupt. It was also partly due to officials refusing to "scare" citizens because officials felt they didn't have proper scientific warnings that danger was imminent.