The World War II Axis powers formed with the signing of the Tripartite Pact. (1940) The pact was signed by Japan, Germany and Italy, forming an opponent group against the Allies. The Axis alliance hoped to persuade the US against joining the Allies during the war, but failed. In 1940, Hungary became the fourth country to sign the Pact after being forced by Germany to ally with the Axis powers.
The Nazis overpowered Poland, forcing a surrender. (1939) The Polish military fought against the Nazi army for 26 days during World War II before falling. 140,000 Polish soldiers were taken captive by the Nazis, who began a campaign to terrorize and murder Polish citizens across the country, forcing most of them to flee.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, became the US capitol for one day. (1777) After the British captured Philadelphia during the American Revolution, the Continental Congress was forced to flee. They gathered in Lancaster for one day, then decided to move further West to York, Pennsylvania, the next day.
Mexico became an independent country. (1821) Mexico had been a colony of Spain since 1521. Its independence was recognized on this day after winning an 11-year war for independence on September 16th.
The world's first passenger trains powered by steam locomotion began operations. (1825) The Stockton and Darlington Railway line opened with a passenger steam locomotive that could carry 600 passengers.
The first large-scale disaster on the Atlantic Ocean occurred. (1854) Three hundred people were killed when the SS Arctic steamship sank after colliding with a French steamship in a bank of fog.
The first Model-T car left the production plant. (1908) The Ford Motor Company produced the models from 1908 until 1927. The first model, which was also the first in the world to be commercially produced using assembly lines, was built in Detroit, Michigan, at the Piquette Plant.
The Balinese tiger became extinct. (1937) The last-known of the species was shot in Bali on this day. Three of the nine tiger species have become extinct, and the other six are listed as endangered.
The first of the "Liberty ships" was launched. (1941) During World War II, the US built almost 2,800 cargo ships called "Liberty ships" to help fight the war. It was the most-produced boat design in maritime history.
The creation of the US Department of Education was approved. (1979) The Department of Education became the 13th cabinet-level agency of the US government. The creation of the department was signed into law by US President Jimmy Carter on October 17, and began operations the following year.