- 1945 – British forces liberate Hong Kong from Japan.
- 1963 – Telephone hotline Between Washington DC and Moscow is Established. The system of direct communication between the heads of then Soviet Union and now Russia and the United States was set up during the height of the Cold War when the Cuban Missile Crisis almost led the two countries to the brink of an active war. The hotline was used for the first time in 1967 during the 6-day long Arab–Israeli War.
- 1967 – First African-American justice is Appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The United States Senate confirmed Thurgood Marshall to the country’s highest court of justice. Marshall was also the first African-American to have held the post of Solicitor General of the United States.
- 1983 – Guion Stewart Bluford is launched into space. Bluford, a fighter pilot for the US Air Force and part of the crew of STS-8, the third flight of NASA’s space shuttle Challenger, was the first African-American to go into space.
- 1984 – The Space Shuttle Discovery takes off on its first voyage.
- 1990 – Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey, Jr. are the 1st father and son to play on same team.
- 1991 – Dan O’Brien sets U.S. decathlon record with 8,812 points.
- 1991 – Azerbaijan Declares its Independence. The Central Asian country had been a part of the Soviet Union since 1920. In December 1991, a referendum was held to make the country’s independence from the USSR official.
- 1999 – People in East Timor Vote in a Referendum. The referendum was to decide whether East Timor should get more autonomy within Indonesia or whether independence should be granted. In 1976, East Timor, which had been a Portuguese colony since 1769, was taken over by Indonesia. The referendum, which came on the heels of mass violence in the region during the Indonesian occupation, passed in favor of independence which was finally gained on May 20, 2002.
- 1797 – Mary Shelley (Author of Frankenstein)
- 1893 – Huey Long (American politician)
- 1901 – Civil rights leader Roy Wilkins (1901-1981) was born in St. Louis, Missouri
- 1908 – Fred Mac Murray (Actor)
- 1918 – Ted Williams (Baseball Player)
- 1927 – Geoffrey Beene (Fashion Designer)
- 1930 – Warren Buffett (American businessman, philanthropist)
- 1943 – Tal Brody (American/Israeli basketball player)
- 1953 – Robert Parrish (Basketball player)
- 1954 – Alexander Lukashenko (Belarusian politician, 1st President of Belarus)
- 1972 – Cameron Diaz (Actress)
- 1982 – Andy Roddick (American tennis player)
- 1879 – John Bell Hood (American general)
- 2003 – Charles Bronson (American actor)
- 2004 – Indian Larry (American motorcycle rider, builder)
- 2013 – Seamus Heaney (Irish poet, playwright, Nobel Prize laureate)
- 2015 – Oliver Sacks (British/American neurologist, author)