1667 – Blind poet John Milton sold the copyright to Paradise Lost for 10 pounds.
1759 – Author Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (Vindication of the Rights of Women) was born in London.
1791 – Samuel F.B. Morse, inventor of the electromagnetic telegraph, was born in Charlestown, MA.
1822 – Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States, was born in Point Pleasant, OH.
1865 – The steamship Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River, en route from New Orleans to Cairo, IL. Around 1,700 passengers, including several discharged Union soldiers, died. The cause of the explosion never was determined, and the disaster remains the worst of its kind in the U.S.
1994 – South Africa held its first multiracial parliamentary elections.