On September 25, 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and sighted the Pacific Ocean.
In 1789, the first United States Congress adopted 12 amendments to the Constitution and sent them to the states for ratification. (Ten of the amendments became the Bill of Rights.)
In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed a measure establishing Sequoia National Park.
In 1911, ground was broken for Boston’s Fenway Park.
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson collapsed after a speech in Pueblo, Colo., during a national speaking tour in support of the Treaty of Versailles.
In 1956, the first trans-Atlantic telephone cable officially went into service with a three-way ceremonial call between New York, Ottawa and London.
In 1957, nine Black students who’d been forced to withdraw from Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, because of unruly white crowds were escorted to class by members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.
In 1978, 144 people were killed when a Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727 and a private plane collided over San Diego.
In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first female justice on the Supreme Court.
In 1992, NASA’s Mars Observer blasted off on a $980 million mission to the red planet (the probe disappeared just before entering Martian orbit in August 1993).
In 1991, Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie died in Lyon, France, at age 77.
In 2015, House Speaker John Boehner abruptly announced his resignation.
In 2018, Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison for drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home. (After nearly three years in prison, Cosby went free in June 2021 after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction.)