1861—American Civil War; Georgia joins South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama in seceding from the United States.
1883—The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey.
1915—Georges Claude patents he neon discharge tube for use in advertising.
1920—The United States Senate votes against joining the League of Nations.
1937—Howard Hughes sets a new air record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in seven hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.
1946—General Douglas MacArthur establishes the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo to try Japanese war criminals.
1953—Almost 72% of all television sets in the United States are tuned into I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth.
1960—Japan and the United States sign the US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty.
1977—Snow falls in Miami. This is the only time in the history of the city that snow has fallen. It also falls in the Bahamas.
1977—Charlie Daniels and the Marshall Tucker Band played for Jimmy Carter’s inauguration.
1978—The last Volkswagon Beetle made in Germany leaves VW’s plant in Emden. Beetle production in Latin America continues until 2003.
1981—Iran hostage crisis: United States and Iranian officials sign an agreement to release 52 American hostages after 14 months of captivity.
1983—China announced that it was banning 1983 purchases of cotton, soybeans and chemical fibers from the United States.
1993—IBM announced a loss of $4.97 billion for 1992. It was the largest single-year loss in U.S. corporate history
1996—The barge North Cape oil spill occurs as an engine fire forces the tugboat Scandia ashore on Moonstone Beach in South Kinsgtown, Rhode Island.
2006—The New Horizons probe is launched by NASA on the first mission to Pluto.
2013—In Scottsdale, AZ, the original Batmobile for the TV series “Batman” sold at auction for $4.6 million. It was the first of six Batmobiles produced for the show.