1992 : Vote to end apartheid : On this day in 1992, nearly 69 percent of white South African voters backed F.W. de Klerk's reforms—which included the repeal of racially discriminatory laws—and effectively endorsed the dismantling of apartheid.
Today : St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, died this day in 461, according to legend, and now his feast day is celebrated widely in Ireland and the United States.
1938 : Poland issued an ultimatum to Lithuania in an attempt to settle the territorial dispute over the city of Vilnius.
1917 : Nat King Cole, an American musician who first came to prominence as a jazz pianist but who reached enormous popularity with his warm, relaxed, somewhat breathy-voiced ballad singing, was born.
1905 : Eleanor Roosevelt, niece of President Theodore Roosevelt, married her distant cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt, later U.S. president.
1861 : In Turin, Italy, after more than 10 years of revolution led by such figures as Giuseppe Garibaldi, a parliament assembled and officially proclaimed the unified Kingdom of Italy.
1776 : British General William Howe evacuated Boston after a successful siege by American revolutionaries led by General George Washington.