1778 : Hawaii “discovered" by James Cook : The first European to visit Hawaii was British explorer James Cook, who landed at Waimea on Kauai island this day in 1778 and was killed the following year by Hawaiians when he returned to the islands.
1981 : The Iran hostage crisis ended when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini released 52 Americans held hostage for 15 months.
1971 : A nationwide strike in Great Britain's postal system began.
1962 : Robinson Jeffers, one of the most controversial American poets of the 20th century, died.
1961 : U.S. President John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address, said, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country."
1945 : U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated for an unprecedented fourth term in office.
1930 : American astronaut Buzz Aldrin was born in Montclair, New Jersey.
1892 : The first official basketball game was played in Springfield, Massachusetts, by YMCA students of the game's inventor, James A. Naismith.
1801 : U.S. President John Adams nominated John Marshall to be chief justice of the United States.