In 1791, Poland adopted a national constitution.
In 1802, Washington, D.C., was incorporated as a city.
In 1916, Irish nationalist Padraic Pearse and two others were executed by the British for their roles in the Easter Rising.
In 1933, Nellie T. Ross became the first female director of the U.S. Mint.
In 1948, the Supreme Court ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks or members of other racial groups were legally unenforceable.
In 1952, the Kentucky Derby was televised nationally for the first time on CBS; the winner was Hill Gail.
In 1960, the Harvey Schmidt-Tom Jones musical “The Fantasticks” began a nearly 42-year run at New York’s Sullivan Street Playhouse.
In 1973, Chicago’s 110-story Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) was topped out after two years of construction, becoming the world’s tallest building for the next 25 years.
In 1979, Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher was chosen to become Britain’s first female prime minister as the Tories ousted the incumbent Labor government in parliamentary elections.
In 1984, Michael Dell founded Dell Computer Corp. while a student at the University of Texas in Austin.
In 1986, in NASA’s first post-Challenger launch, an unmanned Delta rocket lost power in its main engine shortly after liftoff, forcing safety officers to destroy it by remote control.
In 1999, some 70 tornadoes roared across Oklahoma and Kansas, killing 46 people and injuring hundreds.
Ten years ago: The U.S. military said it had reprimanded seven officers in the abuse of inmates at Baghdad’s notorious Abu Ghraib (grayb) prison, the first known punishments in the case; two of the officers were relieved of their duties. Former postmaster general Marvin Runyon died in Nashville at age 79.
Five years ago: Mexican President Felipe Calderon told state television a nationwide shutdown and an aggressive informational campaign appeared to have helped curtail an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico. Ricardo Martinelli won Panama’s presidential election.
One year ago: President Barack Obama cast Mexico as a nation ready to take “its rightful place in the world” and move past the drug battles and violence that had defined its relationship with the United States; the president then headed to Costa Rica, where he told a press conference he didn’t foresee any circumstance requiring the U.S. to send ground troops into Syria. Gunmen killed Chaudhry Zulfikar, Pakistan’s lead prosecutor investigating the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, as he drove to court in the capital.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor George Gaynes is 97. Actress Ann B. Davis is 88. Actor Alex Cord is 81. Singer Frankie Valli is 80. Sports announcer Greg Gumbel is 68. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is 65. Pop singer Mary Hopkin is 64. Singer Christopher Cross is 63. Country musician Cactus Moser (Highway 101) is 57. Rock musician David Ball (Soft Cell) is 55. Country singer Shane Minor is 46. Actor Bobby Cannavale (ka-nuh-VAL’-ee) is 44. Music and film producer-actor Damon Dash is 43. Country musician John Hopkins (Zac Brown Band) is 43. Country-rock musician John Neff (Drive-By Truckers) is 43. Country singer Brad Martin is 41. Actress Christina Hendricks (TV: “Mad Men”) is 39. Actor Dule (doo-LAY’) Hill is 39. Country singer Eric Church is 37. Dancer Cheryl Burke (TV: “Dancing with the Stars”) is 30. Soul singer Michael Kiwanuka is 27. Actress Jill Berard is 24.