546 Siege of Rome: The Ostrogoths under king Totila plunder the city of Rome, by bribing the Byzantine garrison.
1538 Pope Paul III excommunicates Henry VIII of England.
1577 Francis Drake sails from Plymouth, England, on a secret mission to explore the Pacific coast of the Americas for Queen Elizabeth I of England.
1600 Marriage of Henry IV of France and Marie de’ Medici.
1718 Great Britain declares war on Spain.
1770 Ludwig van Beethoven (born), German pianist and composer (died 1827)
1790 Discovery of the Aztec calendar stone.
1830 Simón Bolívar (died), Venezuelan military leader and politician, 2nd President of Venezuela (born 1783)
1835 Alexander Emanuel Agassiz (born), American scientist and engineer (died 1910)
1862 General Ulysses S. Grant issues General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from parts of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
1865 First performance of the Unfinished Symphony by Franz Schubert.
1896 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Schenley Park Casino, which was the first multi-purpose arena with the technology to create an artificial ice surface in North America, is destroyed in a fire.
1903 The Wright brothers make their first powered, heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1904 Paul Cadmus (born), American painter (died 1999)
1908 Willard Libby (born), American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (died 1980)
1913 Burt Baskin (born), American businessman, co-founded Baskin-Robbins (died 1967)
1929 William Safire (born), American journalist and author (died 2009)
1930 Bob Guccione (born), American publisher, founded Penthouse Magazine (died 2010)
1935 First flight of the Douglas DC-3.
1938 Otto Hahn discovers the nuclear fission of the heavy element uranium, the scientific and technological basis of nuclear energy.
1942 Paul Butterfield (born), American singer-songwriter and harmonica player (died 1987)
1957 The United States successfully launches the first Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
1968 Paul Tracy (born), Canadian race car driver
1969 Project Blue Book: The United States Air Force closes its study of UFOs.
1969 The SALT I talks begin.
1980 Ryan Hunter-Reay (born), American race car driver
1989 The first episode of television series The Simpsons, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire“, airs in the United States.
1997 The United Kingdom commences its Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997, which extends the ban on firearms to include all handguns, with the exception of antique and show weapons.
2002 Second Congo War: The Congolese parties of the Inter Congolese Dialogue sign a peace accord which makes provision for transitional governance and legislative and presidential elections within two years.
2010 Captain Beefheart (died), American singer-songwriter and producer (born 1941)