627 Battle of the Trench: Muhammad successfully withstands a siege for 27 days at Medina (Saudi Arabia) by Meccan forces under Abu Sufyan.
1492 Queen Isabella of Castille issues the Alhambra decree, ordering her 150,000 Jewish and Muslim subjects to convert to Christianity or face expulsion.
1499 Pope Pius IV (born), (died 1565)
1596 René Descartes (born), French philosopher and mathematician (died 1650)
1631 John Donne (died), English lawyer and poet (born 1572)
1675 Pope Benedict XIV (born) (died 1758)
1685 Johann Sebastian Bach (born), German organist and composer (died 1750)
1732 Joseph Haydn (born), Austrian composer (died 1809)
1774 The Kingdom of Great Britain orders the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed pursuant to the Boston Port Act.
1777 Charles Cagniard de la Tour (born), French physicist and engineer (died 1859)
1778 Coenraad Jacob Temminck (born), Dutch zoologist (died 1858)
1809 Otto Lindblad, (born) Swedish composer (died 1864)
1850 John C. Calhoun (died), American politician, 7th Vice President of the United States (born 1782)
1855 Alfred E. Hunt (born), American businessman (died 1899)
1855 Charlotte Brontë (died), English author (born 1816)
1872 Sergei Diaghilev (born), Russian ballet manager and critic, founded the Ballets Russes (died 1929)
1889 The Eiffel Tower is officially opened.
1906 The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (later the National Collegiate Athletic Association) is established to set rules for college sports in the United States.
1909 Construction of the ill fated RMS Titanic begins.
1910 Six North Staffordshire Pottery towns federate to form modern Stoke-on-Trent.
1913 J. P. Morgan (died), American banker and financier, founded J.P. Morgan & Co. (born 1837)
1917 Emil Adolf von Behring (died), German physician, Nobel Prize laureate (born 1854)
1917 The United States takes possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renames the territory the United States Virgin Islands.
1918 Daylight saving time goes into effect in the United States for the first time.
1922 Richard Kiley (born), American actor (died 1999)
1926 John Fowles (born), English author (died 2005)
1927 Cesar Chavez (born), American activist (died 1993)
1928 Lefty Frizzell (born), American singer-songwriter and guitarist (died 1975)
1929 Liz Claiborne (born), Belgian-American fashion designer, founded Liz Claiborne (died 2007)
1930 The Motion Pictures Production Code is instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film, in the U.S., for the next thirty eight years.
1931 TWA Flight 599 crashes near Bazaar, Kansas killing 8 including Knute Rockne (born 1888), head football coach at the University of Notre Dame
1933 Anita Carter (born), American singer-songwriter and bassist (Carter Family and The Carter Sisters) (d. 1999)
1933 The Civilian Conservation Corps is established with the mission of relieving rampant unemployment in the United States.
1934 John D. Loudermilk (born), American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1934 Richard Chamberlain (born), American actor and singer
1934 Shirley Jones (born), American actress and singer
1935 Georges V. Matchabelli (died), Georgian-American businessman and diplomat, founded Prince Matchabelli perfume (born 1885)
1935 Herb Alpert (born), American singer-songwriter and trumpet player
1940 Barney Frank (born), American politician
1940 Patrick Leahy (born), American politician
1942 Michael Savage (born), American radio host and author
1942 World War II: Japanese forces invade Christmas Island, then a British possession.
1943 Christopher Walke (born), American actor
1945 Gabe Kaplan (born), American actor
1945 World War II: a defecting German pilot delivers a Messerschmitt Me 262A-1, the world’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft, to the Americans, the first to fall into Allied hands.
1948 Al Gore (born), American politician, 45th Vice President of the United States and Nobel Prize laureate
1948 Rhea Perlman (born), American actress
1949 The Dominion of Newfoundland joins the Canadian Confederation and becomes the 10th Province of Canada.
1951 Remington Rand delivers the first UNIVAC I computer to the United States Census Bureau.
1955 Angus Young (born), Scottish-Australian guitarist and songwriter (AC/DC and Marcus Hook Roll Band)
1966 Nick Firestone (born), American race car driver
1970 Explorer 1 re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere after 12 years in orbit.
1970 Nine terrorists from the Japanese Red Army hijack Japan Airlines Flight 351 at Tokyo International Airport, wielding samurai swords and carrying a bomb.
1980 Jesse Owens (died), American sprinter and long jumper (born 1913)
1985 The first WrestleMania, the biggest wrestling event from the WWE (then the WWF), takes place in Madison Square Garden in New York.
1990 200,000 protestors take to the streets of London to protest against the newly introduced Poll Tax.
1991 Georgian independence referendum, 1991: nearly 99 percent of the voters support the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.
1993 Brandon Lee (died), American actor and martial artist (born 1965)
1994 The journal Nature reports the discovery in Ethiopia of the first complete Australopithecus afarensis skull.
1998 Bella Abzug (died), American lawyer and politician (born 1920)
2004 In Fallujah, Iraq, 4 American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA, are killed after being ambushed.
2005 Terri Schiavo (died), American medical patient (born 1963)