Sept. 16 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1620, the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, with 102 passengers, bound for America.
In 1810, Mexico began its war of independence against Spain.
In 1974, U.S. President Gerald Ford offered conditional amnesty to Vietnam draft evaders. He said they could return to the United States if they performed up to two years of public service.
In 1977, celebrated soprano Maria Callas died in Paris at the age of 53. The opera star died of a heart attack after experiencing a sudden bout of low blood pressure.
In 1978, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Iran, killing more than 25,000 people.
In 1982 Lebanese Christian militiamen entered two Palestinian refugee camps in West Beirut, Lebanon, and began what became known as the Sabra and Shatila massacre. Hundreds of people were killed in the three-day rampage.
In 1986, fire and fumes in the Kinross mine killed 177 people in South Africa's worst gold mine disaster.
In 1993, Cheers spinoff Frasier, starring Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, debuted on NBC. The Emmy-winning sitcom ran for 11 seasons.
In 1994, a U.S. federal court jury in Anchorage, Alaska, ordered Exxon to pay $5 billion to the fishermen and natives whose lives were affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. There had never been a larger award in a pollution case.
In 1999, Congress doubled the U.S. presidential salary, from $200,000 a year to $400,000, effective in 2001.
In 2007, former NFL running back/actor O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged with robbery, assault, burglary and conspiracy in a Las Vegas armed robbery. He was sentenced to up to 33 years in prison.
In 2008, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, who oversaw the surge of troops into Iraq, was chosen to become commander of the U.S. Central Command that covered all of the Middle East. He was succeeded in Iraq by U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno.
In 2011, a vintage P-51 Mustang fighter plane crashed into a crowd of onlookers at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nev., killing 11 people, including the 74-year-old pilot, Jimmy Leeward, and injuring about 75 others.
In 2013, a gunman identified as Aaron Alexis of Texas killed 12 people and injured four at the Washington Navy Yard before he was shot to death by a U.S. Park Police officer. The FBI later said Alexis had written that he was under the control of "ultra low-frequency" electromagnetic waves and "to be perfectly honest that is what has driven me to this."