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1721 - Peter the Great was proclaimed Emperor of all of Russia, dropping the title of Tsar.
1746 - The Royal Governor of New Jersey officially chartered the College of New Jersey, which is now known as Princeton University.
1797 - French balloonist Andre-Jacques Garnerin made the first parachute descent, landing safely from a height of about 3,000 feet.
1836 - Sam Houston was inaugurated as the first constitutionally elected president of the Republic of Texas.
1844 - William Miller, a religious leader and the founder of the Adventist church, began the Millerism movement. It is rumored his followers rid themselves of all earthly possessions and climbed to high places to be saved when the world ended.
1881 - The Boston Symphony gave its first concert.
1883 - New York's Metropolitan Opera House opened with a production of Gounod's opera "Faust."
1909 - French aviator Elise de Laroche, better known by her self-assumed title Baronne de Laroche, made her first solo flight -- a distance of 300 yards.
1910 - Noted murderer Dr. Hawley Crippen was sentenced to death at the Old Bailey in London.
1917 - For Victor Records, Leopold Stokowski led the Philadelphia Orchestra in its first recording session.
1939 - The first pro-football game televised was between the the Philadelphia Eagles and the Brooklyn Dodgers in Ebbets Field. Allen "Skip" Waltz was the announcer.
1950 - The Los Angeles Rams set a record score in the National Football League as they beat the Baltimore Colts, 70-27, in a regular season game.
1953 - Laos and France signed a treaty in Paris making Laos fully independent.
1954 - West Germany joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
1959 - On Broadway, "Take Me Along" opened, quickly becoming an American classic. It starred Walter Pidgeon and Jackie Gleason.
1962 - United States President Kennedy went on radio and television to inform his nation about his order to send United States forces to blockade Cuba.
1962 - South African black leader Nelson Mandela pleaded not guilty at the start of his treason trial.
1962 - British Admiralty clerk William Vassall was jailed for 18 years for spying for the Soviet Union.
1964 - French writer Jean-Paul Sartre rejected the Nobel Prize for Literature, saying it would reduce the impact of his writing.
1966 - The Supremes sailed to #1 on the pop-album charts with "Supremes A’ Go-Go"; making them the first all-female vocal group to hit the top of the LP chart.
1968 - Apollo VII splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean after orbiting the Earth 163 times.
1969 - 25-year-old assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Michael Thomas, replaced ill conductor, William Steinberg, in the symphony’s New York City appearance.
1971 - Folk singer Joan Baez earned a gold record for "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". While the song peaked at #3 on the charts on October 2, 1971, it was her biggest hit ever.
1979 - The U.S. government allowed the deposed Shah of Iran to travel to New York for medical treatment -- a decision that precipitated the Iran hostage crisis.
1983 - Celebrating its 100th anniversary, New York’s Metropolitan Opera held a daylong concert featuring some of the world’s greatest opera stars. The Met's stage hosted: Joan Sutherland, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.
1986 - United States President Ronald Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986 backwards, writing his last name first. The signing is still legal.
1987 - An Iranian Silkworm missile badly damaged Kuwait's supertanker loading terminal. Kuwait was supporting Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War.
1988 - In an extraordinary sequence of events, a dog fell from a Buenos Aires building killing a woman. Another woman who was watching was knocked down and killed by a bus. A man who saw both incidents died of a heart attack.
1991 - The European Community and the European Free Trade Association agreed to create a free trade zone of 19 nations by the year 1993.
1995 - The 50th anniversary of the United Nations was marked by a record number of world leaders gathering.
1996 - More than 25 prisoners burned to death in a Venezuelan jail after guards fired tear-gas canisters which started a blaze.
1997 - For the first time, United States inspectors discovered E. coli bacteria in imported Canadian beef, halting shipments of 34,000 pounds.
1998 - It was reported that the wife of '60s teen idol Frankie Valli was charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly slapping a restaurant owner earlier this month. If convicted, Randy Valli could get get up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The Vallis were dining with another former teen idol, Frankie Avalon, and his wife, Kay, on October 7, 1998 when there was a squabble about service and the cost of the meal. Restaurant owner Sandra Sofsry said Valli grabbed her arm and his wife slapped her when the restaurant owner asked them to leave. "Maybe it's because we didn't make a big deal out of them and give them a free dinner and treat them like movie stars or singers," she said. Avalon said Sofsry was the aggressor. "I saw Mrs. Valli defend and protect herself. This woman came over on two occasions and tried to push her out of the chair. She was defending herself from this woman who became a maniac," Avalon said.
1998 - Autopsy results were released that showed that Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner died of an epileptic seizure the previous month. The seizure was triggered by a brain abnormality, and she suffocated in her sleep. The vivacious three-time gold medalist was just 38 years old.