1755 – Alexander Hamilton, once the Commanding General of the United States Army and a Founding Father of our nation, was born in Charlestown, Nevis, British West Indies.
1794 – Chosen by George Washington to serve as the first United States Marshal for the State of Georgia, Scottish-born Robert Forsyth became the first Marshal in American history killed in the line of duty.
1843 – Francis Scott Key, the author of our national anthem -- "The Star-Spangled Banner" -- died in his native Maryland. An novice poet, Key became inspired to write a prose describing his observation of the British bombardment of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. "The Defence of Fort McHenry" was published a week later in the Patriot, by which he urged the adoption of "In God is our Trust" as the national motto in the fourth stanza. Signed into law by President Eisenhower, "In God We Trust" became our national motto nearly a century and a half later in 1956. Notably, F.S. Key also served as a Vice President of the American Bible Society for 25 years until his death.
1861 – Following South Carolina, Mississippi and Florida, Alabama seceded from the United States to become the fourth member of the Southern Confederacy. Three more States -- Georgia, Louisiana and Texas -- followed just prior to the first shots fired at Fort Sumter. The last four States -- Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina -- were not prompted to join until Abraham Lincoln called for Southern civilians to join the Federal cause.
1879 – The Anglo-Zulu War began with the British invasion of the Zulu Kingdom in southern Africa. The English achieved victory in just under six months.
1935 – Already the first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic, Amelia Earhart (pictured) became the first person to successfully fly solo from Hawaii to California.
1949 – Los Angeles, California experiences its first recorded snowfall.
1964 – U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Luther Leonidas Terry publishes a landmark report saying that "smoking may be hazardous to health." The worldwide anti-smoking efforts inspired by the report continue to this day.
1990 – Over 300,000 people marched in favor of Lithuanian independence from the USSR, which led to the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania on March 11. The Soviet Union eventually dissolved over a two-year period, and the United Nations formally recognized Lithuania on September 17, 1991.
1998 – Religion of Peace: The Sidi-Hamed massacre occurs in Algeria on the last day of Ramadan. According to the BBC, "An estimated fifty gunmen poured in, attacking children and adults alike; they bombed a cafe where films were being watched and a mosque in nearby Haouche Sahraoui, killing those who fled, and stormed houses to slaughter those within. According to official figures, 103 were killed and seventy injured." It was the second of five such Islamic-led massacres to have occurred in Algeria during the year.