The sarcophagus of Tutankhamen was discovered. (1924) Archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon uncovered the tomb and famous sarcophagus, along with priceless treasures. Tutankhamen's tomb was one of the only royal tombs to be discovered unlooted, and sparked a major wave of interest in all things Egyptian.
Martin Luther was excommunicated. (1521) Luther, a former monk, had become unsatisfied with Catholicism, and began preaching his own version of Christianity, later called Lutheranism. When he refused to retract his writings, he was both excommunicated and outlawed. Despite this, his efforts to preach about a new type of Christianity were wildly successful, leading to the creation of Protestantism.
Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tested a flying machine. (1496) The polymath had been fascinated by the mechanics of flight throughout his life. He designed many flying machines, some of which have actually tested successfully in modern times.
The Meiji Restoration began in Japan. (1868) One of the major events in Japanese history, the Meiji Restoration restored the emperor to power after hundreds of years of the Shogunate ruling Japan. This marked a huge turning point in Japan's development, and prompted a period of rapid industrialization.
Benito Mussolini took dictatorial powers in Italy. (1925) Mussolini created a police state run by the infamous "Black Shirts," who terrorized Italy throughout his rule. Perhaps most known for his partnership with Adolf Hitler, Mussolini was executed when he fell out of power in Italy towards the end of World War II.
Joan of Arc was handed over to Bishop Pierre Cauchon, who would be instrumental in causing her death. (1431) An iconic French leader and later, saint, Joan was tried and burned at the stake for heresy. Bishop Cauchon was one of the people judging Joan, and denied her many legal rights, including that of a legal representative and the right to appeal, which led to her execution.
Panamanian leader and drug dealer Manuel Noriega surrendered to US forces. (1990) Noriega had been a CIA operative in Panama while simultaneously smuggling massive amounts of drugs. He later gained control of the army, and carried out a reign of terror throughout Panama. He was deposed by US soldiers in Operation Just Cause, and was sentenced to 40 years in a US prison.
Alaska became the 50th state. (1959) The US had owned Alaska since the 1860s, when Secretary of State William Seward arranged its purchase in an act termed "Seward's Folly." Continental US residents thought Alaska was nothing more than a frozen wasteland, but changed their minds when gold and oil was discovered there. The population truly began to grow after several US military bases were built there as part of the Cold War, and the state was officially admitted to the US almost 100 years after it was handed over from Russia.
The last daily Peanuts strip ran. (2000) The comic strip, which centered around the iconic Charlie Brown, his dog Snoopy, and their friends, had been running since 1950. Almost 20,000 strips were published in total, not to mention the musicals, movies, and television specials that featured the Peanuts gang.
Construction began on the Brooklyn Bridge. (1870) The bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the US, and is a symbol of the optimism and innovation of 19th century American engineering.