- 1667 – John Milton sells the copyright of “Paradise Lost”.
- 1773 – The British Parliament passes the Tea Act.
- 1810 – Ludwig van Beethoven composes “Für Elise”. “Bagatelle No. 25” for solo piano is one of the German composer’s most popular works and one of the most recognized melodies in the history of music.
- 1865 – On the Mississippi River, the worst steamship disaster in U.S. history occurred as an explosion aboard the Sultana killed nearly 2,000 passengers, mostly Union solders who had been prisoners of war and were returning home.
- 1897 – Grant’s Tomb is dedicated.
- 1961 – Sierra Leone becomes an independent republic. The West African country’s first Prime Minister, Sir Milton Margai, ended over 150 years of British colonial rule.
- 1981 – The computer mouse is introduced.
- 1992 – For the first time in its 700-year history, the British House of Commons is presided over by a female Speaker. Betty Boothroyd served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1992 to 2000.
- 1994 – South African citizens of all races are allowed to vote in a general election for the first time. The 1994 general election was held precisely 44 years after apartheid was formalized by the government with the passing of the Group Areas Act.
- 2005 – The Airbus A380 takes to the skies for the first time. The double-deck airliner is the world’s largest commercial jet.
- 1759 – Mary Wollstonecraft (English author, philosopher)
- 1791 – Samuel Morse (Inventor of the telegraph and Morse Code)
- 1822 – Ulysses S. Grant (18th US President)
- 1927 – Coretta Scott King (Civil Rights Leader)
- 1935 – Theodoros Angelopoulos (Greek director, producer, screenwriter)
- 1932 – Casey Kasem (Radio Host)
- 1959 – Sheena Easton (Singer)
- 1963 – Russell T Davies (Welsh screenwriter, producer)
- 1521 – Ferdinand Magellan (Portuguese explorer)
- 1896 – Henry Parkes (English/Australian politician, 7th Premier of New South Wales)
- 1938 – Edmund Husserl (Austrian mathematician, philosopher)
- 1972 – Kwame Nkrumah (Ghanaian politician, 1st President of Ghana)
- 1992 – Olivier Messiaen (French composer, ornithologist)