In 1608, English poet John Milton was born in London.
In 1854, 150 years ago, Alfred Lord Tennyson's famous poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade," was published in England.
In 1907, Christmas seals went on sale for the first time, at the Wilmington, Del., post office; proceeds went to fight tuberculosis.
In 1940, British troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War II.
In 1942, the Aram Khachaturian ballet "Gayane," featuring the surging "Saber Dance," was first performed by the Kirov Ballet.
In 1950, Harry Gold -- who had confessed to serving as a courier between Klaus Fuchs, a British scientist who stole top-secret information on the atomic bomb, and Soviet agents -- is sentenced to 30 years in jail for his crime. Gold's arrest and confession led to the arrest of David Greenglass, who then implicated his brother-in-law and sister, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
In 1958, the anti-Communist John Birch Society was formed in Indianapolis.
In 1965, Nikolai V. Podgorny replaced Anastas I. Mikoyan as president of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
In 1979, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the religious broadcaster, died in New York City at age 84.
In 1981, Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner is found dead on the street with Mumia Abu-Jamal, a well-known activist and occasional journalist, lying severely wounded nearby. The next year, Abu-Jamal was tried for and convicted of Faulkner's murder, but because of the murky circumstances surrounding the incident and a trial that many believe was unfair, activists have protested that Abu-Jamal has been wrongly imprisoned for years.
In 1984, the five-day-old hijacking of a Kuwaiti jetliner that claimed the lives of two Americans ended as Iranian security men seized control of the plane, which was parked at Tehran airport.
In 1990, Solidarity founder Lech Walesa won Poland's presidential runoff by a landslide.
In 1993, the Air Force destroyed the first of 500 Minuteman II missil silos marked for elimination under an arms control treaty.
Ten years ago today: Representatives of the Irish Republican Army and the British government opened peace talks in Northern Ireland. President Bill Clinton fired Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders after learning she'd told a conference that masturbation should be discussed in school as a part of human sexuality.
Five years ago today: In Worcester, Mass., six firefighters who had died in a warehouse blaze were honored as fallen heroes by thousands of their brethren from around the world.
One year ago today: The owners of a Rhode Island nightclub and the tour manager for the rock band Great White were indicted on charges related to a fire the previous February that killed 100 people. A suicide bomber killed five victims outside an exclusive Moscow hotel. Former Vice President Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination. Former Sen. Paul Simon died in Springfield, Ill., at age 75.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Kirk Douglas is 88. Actress Dina Merrill is 79. Actor Dick Van Patten is 76. Actor-writer Buck Henry is 74. Actress Dame Judi Dench is 70. Actor Beau Bridges is 63. Jazz singer-musician Dan Hicks is 63. Football Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus is 62. Actor Michael Nouri is 59. Former Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., is 57. Singer Joan Armatrading is 54. Actor Michael Dorn is 52. Actor John Malkovich is 51. Country singer Sylvia is 48. Singer/game show host Donny Osmond is 47. Rock musician Nick Seymour is 46. Actor Joe Lando is 43. Actress Felicity Huffman is 42. Country musician Jerry Hughes (Yankee Grey) is 39. Rock singer-musician Thomas Flowers (Oleander) is 37. Rock musician Brian Bell (Weezer) is 36. Rock singer-musician Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers) is 35. Actress Allison Smith is 35. Country singer David Kersh is 34. Rock musician Tre Cool (Green Day) is 32.