- 1719 – Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is published.
- 1859 – Construction of the Suez Canal begins. The waterway connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea became the shortest sea link between Europe and Asia.
- 1953 – The double helix structure of DNA described for the first time. Francis Crick and James D. Watson published their groundbreaking findings about the molecule containing genetic information was in Nature that day.
- 1901 – New York becomes the first U.S. state to require automobile license plates.
- 1961 – Robert Noyce is granted a patent for an integrated circuit.
- 1967 – The first law legalizing abortion was signed by Colorado Governor John Love, allowing abortions in cases in which a panel of three doctors unanimously agreed.
- 1974 – In Portugal, the fascist Estado Novo is overthrown in a bloodless coup. The leftist Carnation Revolution was led by military officers and supported by widespread civil resistance.
- 1983 – The German news magazine, Stern, announces discovery of Hitler’s diaries. The documents were later exposed as forgeries, triggering one of the most spectacular media scandals in history. Experts believe that Hitler never kept a diary.
- 2011 – The largest tornado outbreak ever recorded hits the U.S.. 348 people in six states were killed during the outbreak, which encompassed a total of 358 confirmed tornadoes.
- 1214 – Louis IX (King of France)
- 1284 – Edward II (King of England)
- 1599 – Oliver Cromwell (English general, politician)
- 1874 – Guglielmo Marconi (Italian businessman, inventor, developed Marconi’s law, Nobel Prize laureate)
- 1908 – Edward R (Murrow (Newscaster)
- 1917 – Ella Fitzgerald (American singer)
- 1928 – Cy Twombly (American/Italian painter, sculptor)
- 1940 – Al Pacino (Actor)
- 1964 – Guglielmo Marconi (Inventor of the radio)
- 1969 – Rene Zellweger (Actress)
- 1970 – Jason Lee (Actor)
- 1744 – Anders Celsius (Swedish astronomer)
- 1944 – George Herriman (American cartoonist)
- 2001 – Michele Alboreto (Italian race car driver)
- 2006 – Jane Jacobs (American/Canadian journalist, author, activist)
- 2008 – Humphrey Lyttelton (English trumpet player, composer)