1812: An earthquake devastated Caracas, Venezuela, causing an estimated 26,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
1827: Composer Ludwig van Beethoven died in Vienna.
1892: Poet Walt Whitman died in Camden, N.J.
1962: The U.S. Supreme Court, in Baker v. Carr, gave federal courts the power to order reapportionment of states' legislative districts.
1964: The musical play Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice, opened on Broadway.
1997: The bodies of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate techno-religious cult who'd committed suicide were found inside a rented mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.