1990 : Ban on African National Congress lifted : On this day in 1990, South African President F.W. de Klerk lifted the 30-year ban on the African National Congress, resulting in the release from prison of Nelson Mandela and marking the beginning of the end of apartheid.
1979 : Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, early proponents of British punk rock, died of a drug overdose in New York City.
1943 : The Battle of Stalingrad in World War II ended with the surrender of German troops to the Soviets.
1927 : American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz was born in Philadelphia.
1912 : Frederick Rodman Law performed what was considered the first motion-picture stunt, parachuting from the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
1876 : The National League, the oldest existing major-league professional baseball organization in the United States, began play as the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs.
1848 : The United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
1653 : New Amsterdam (New York City) was incorporated as a city.