- 1815 – Mount Tambora explodes in one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. At least 71,000 people were killed by the eruption. The explosion was heard up to 2000 km (1200 mi) away.
- 1912 – The Titanic leaves port on it’s ill-fated voyage.
- 1916 – The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) is created.
- 1925 – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is first published.
- 1942 – During World War II in the Pacific, the Bataan Death March began as American and Filipino prisoners were forced on a six-day march from an airfield on Bataan to a camp near Cabanatuan. Some 76,000 Allied POWs including 12,000 Americans were forced to walk 60 miles under a blazing sun without food or water to the POW camp, resulting in over 5,000 American deaths.
- 1945 – The Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald was liberated by U.S. troops. Located near Weimar in Germany, Buchenwald was established in July 1937 to hold criminals and was one of the first major concentration camps. It later included Jews and homosexuals and was used as a slave labor center for nearby German companies. Of a total of 238,980 Buchenwald inmates, 56,545 perished. Following its liberation, Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and other top U.S. commanders visited the sub-camp at Ohrdruf. U.S. Troops also forced German civilians from nearby towns into the camp to view the carnage.
- 1970 – Paul McCartney announces that The Beatles have broken up.
- 1998 – Politicians in Northern Ireland reached an agreement aimed at ending 30 years of violence which had claimed over 3,400 lives. Under the agreement, Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland would govern together in a new 108-member Belfast assembly, thus ending 26 years of ”direct rule” from London.
- 2001 – Mercy killings become legal in the Netherlands. In a controversial decision the Dutch senate approved a bill legalizing euthanasia for patients with unbearable, terminal illness.
- 2010 – The President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, dies in a plane crash. Several high-ranking officials, senior members of the Polish clergy, as well as relatives of the Katyn massacre victims were killed. The accident was blamed on pilot error and bad weather.
- 1778 – William Hazlitt (English critic, painter)
- 1794 – Commodore Matthew Perry (Opened relations with Japan)
- 1829 – William Booth (Founded the Salvation Army)
- 1847 – Joseph Pulitzer (Publisher who created famous journalism prize)
- 1932 – Omar Sharif (Actor)
- 1936 – John Madden (Sports Comentator)
- 1951 – David Helvarg (American journalist, activist)
- 1952 – Steven Segal (Actor)
- 1987 – Hayley Westenra (New Zealand soprano)
- 1919 – Emiliano Zapata (Mexican general)
- 1931 – Kahlil Gibran (Lebanese/American poet)
- 1955 – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (French/American priest, palaeontologist, philosopher)
- 1965 – Linda Darnell (American actress)
- 1966 – Evelyn Waugh (English author, journalist)