742 Charlemagne (born), Frankish king (died 814)
1412 Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo (died), Spanish author
1453 The Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II begins the siege of Constantinople.
1513 Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León first sights land in what is now Florida.
1565 Cornelis de Houtman (born), Dutch explorer (died 1599)
1618 Francesco Maria Grimaldi (born), Italian mathematician and physicist (died 1663)
1647 Maria Sibylla Merian (born), German-Dutch botanist (died 1717)
1653 Prince George of Denmark (born) (died 1708)
1672 Saint Pedro Calungsod (died), Filipino missionary and saint (born 1654)
1720 Joseph Dudley (died), American politician, Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay (born 1647)
1725 Giacomo Casanova (born), Italian explorer and author (died 1798)
1742 James Douglas (died), Scottish physician and anatomist (born 1675)
1747 Johann Jacob Dillenius (died), German botanist (born 1684)
1754 Thomas Carte (died), English historian (born 1686)
1755 Commodore William James captures the pirate fortress of Suvarnadurg on west coast of India.
1787 Thomas Gage (died), English general and politician, Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay (born 1719)
1788 Wilhelmine Reichard (born), German balloonist (died 1848)
1792 The Coinage Act is passed establishing the United States Mint.
1800 Ludwig van Beethoven leads the premiere of his First Symphony in Vienna.
1805 Hans Christian Andersen (born), Danish author and poet (died 1875)
1814 Erastus Brigham Bigelow (born), American inventor (died 1879)
1817 Johann Heinrich Jung (died), German author (born 1740)
1827 Ludwig Heinrich Bojanus (died), German physician (born 1776)
1840 Émile Zola (born), French author and critic (died 1902)
1841 Clément Ader (born), French engineer, designed the Ader Avion III (died 1926)
1862 Nicholas Murray Butle (born)r, American philosopher and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (died 1947)
1863 Richmond Bread Riot: Food shortages incite hundreds of angry women to riot in Richmond, Virginia and demand that the Confederate government release emergency supplies.
1865 American Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis and most of his Cabinet flee the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.
1867 Eugen Sandow (born), German bodybuilder (died 1925)
1872 Samuel Morse (died), American inventor, invented the Morse code (born 1791)
1875 Walter Chrysler (born), American businessman, founded Chrysler (died 1940)
1885 Cree warriors attacked Frog Lake, North-West Territories, Canada, killing 9.
1891 Albert Pike (died), American lawyer and general (born 1809)
1900 The United States Congress passes the Foraker Act, giving Puerto Rico limited self-rule.
1902 “Electric Theatre”, the first full-time movie theater in the United States, opens in Los Angeles, California.
1902 Jan Tschichold (born), German typographer (died 1974)
1908 Buddy Ebsen (born), American actor and dancer (died 2003)
1911 The Australian Bureau of Statistics conducts the country’s first national census.
1912 The ill-fated RMS Titanic begins sea trials.
1914 Alec Guinness (born), English actor (died 2000)
1917 World War I: President Woodrow Wilson asks the U.S. Congress for a declaration of war on Germany.
1920 Jack Webb (born), American actor, director, screenwriter, and producer (died 1982)
1923 G. Spencer-Brown (born), English mathematician, psychologist, and author
1926 Jack Brabham (born), Australian race car driver
1930 After the mysterious death of Empress Zewditu, Haile Selassie is proclaimed emperor of Ethiopia.
1933 György Konrád (born), Hungarian sociologist and author
1938 Booker Little (born), American trumpet player and composer (died 1961)
1939 Anthony Lake (born), American diplomat and academic, 18th United States National Security Advisor
1940 Mike Hailwood (born), English motorcycle racer (died 1981)
1941 Dr. Demento (born), American radio host
1942 Leon Russell (born), American singer-songwriter and pianist
1946 Kurt Winter (born), Canadian guitarist and songwriter (The Guess Who) (died 1997)
1947 Camille Paglia (born), American author and critic
1947 Emmylou Harris (born), American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1949 David Robinson (born), American drummer (The Modern Lovers, DMZ, and The Cars)
1949 Paul Gambaccini (born), American-English radio and television host
1952 Leon Wilkeson (born), American bass player and songwriter (Lynyrd Skynyrd) (died 2001)
1956 As the World Turns and The Edge of Night premiere on CBS-TV. The two soaps become the first daytime dramas to debut in the 30-minute format.
1959 Juha Kankkunen (born), Finnish race car driver
1962 The first official Panda crossing is opened outside Waterloo station, London.
1965 Rodney King (born), American victim of police brutality (died 2012)
1966 C. S. Forester (died), Egyptian-American author (born 1899)
1967 Greg Camp (born) American singer-songwriter, and guitarist (Smash Mouth)
1972 Actor Charlie Chaplin returns to the United States for the first time since being labeled a communist during the Red Scare in the early 1950s.
1973 Launch of the LexisNexis computerized legal research service.
1974 Georges Pompidou (died), French politician, 19th President of France (born 1911)
1974 Håkan Hellström (born), Swedish singer (Broder Daniel)
1975 Construction of the CN Tower is completed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It reaches 553.33 metres (1,815.4 ft) in height, becoming the world’s tallest free-standing structure.
1977 Walter Wolf (died), German politician (born 1907)
1979 Jesse Carmichael (born), American keyboard player (Maroon 5)
1980 President Jimmy Carter signs the Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act in an effort to help the U.S. economy rebound.
1980 Ricky Hendrick (born), American race car driver (died 2004)
1982 Argentina invades the Falkland Islands.
1986 Alabama governor George Wallace, a former segregationist most widely known for the “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door”, announces that he will not seek a fifth four-year term and will retire from public life upon the end of his term in January 1987.
1987 Buddy Rich (died), American drummer, actor, and bandleader (born 1917)
1989 Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in Havana, Cuba to meet with Fidel Castro in an attempt to mend strained relations.
1992 In New York, Mafia boss John Gotti is convicted of murder and racketeering and is later sentenced to life in prison.
1994 Betty Furness (died), American actress (born 1916)
1995 Harvey Penick (died), American golfer and coach (born 1904)
2002 Israeli forces surround the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem into which armed Palestinians had retreated. A siege ensues.
2003 Edwin Starr (died), American singer-songwriter (born 1942)
2005 Pope John Paul II (died) (born 1920)
2006 Over 60 tornadoes break out in the United States; hardest hit is in Tennessee with 29 people killed