Here’s a look at some interesting events that took place on this day in history:

1493 – Columbus spots three manatees, mistakes them for mermaids, and describes them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted” (More info)

1768 – In London, England, Philip Astley stages the wold’s first modern circus (More info)

1776 – Writer Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet ‘Common Sense,’ setting forth his arguments in favor of American independence (More info)

1861 – The “Star of the West” incident occurs near Charleston, South Carolina, during which some historians believe the first shots of the Civil War were fired (More info)

1979 – Pop luminaries like the Bee Gees, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart gather at the U.N. for the Music for UNICEF concert to call attention to the plight of children throughout the developing world (More info)