NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit landed on Mars to study the chemical and physical composition of the planet’s surface.
Hillary Clinton was sworn in as a U.S. senator from New York, having become the first first lady in U.S. history to win elective office.
After undergoing 10 days of psychological warfare—which included U.S. forces blasting rock music at the Vatican embassy, where he had sought refuge—Panamanian military leader Manuel Noriega surrendered to the United States.
Apple was incorporated by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, and it later became one of the most valuable companies in the world, known for innovative computer and electronic products.
Alaska became the 49th U.S. state.
Canadian professional ice hockey player Bobby Hull, the “Golden Jet,” was born.
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis (later called the March of Dimes) to find a cure for polio, a disease he had been stricken with in 1921.
Italian motion-picture director Sergio Leone, known primarily for his popularization of the “spaghetti western,” was born.
English author and scholar J.R.R. Tolkien, who was perhaps best known for his richly inventive epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings (1954–55), was born in South Africa.
Clement Attlee, British Labour Party leader (1935–55) and prime minister (1945–51), was born.
American reformer Lucretia Mott—who, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, founded the women’s rights movement in the United States—was born.
The Battle of Princeton (New Jersey) was fought during the American Revolution; the clash, along with the Battle of Trenton, marked the first victory for the Revolutionary War general George Washington in the open field.
Spanish soldier and explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the “discoverer” of California, died.