- 1787 – The Great Debate occurred during the Constitutional Convention. Outcomes included the establishment of a four-year term of office for the President, granting Congress the right to regulate foreign trade and interstate commerce, and the appointment of a committee to prepare a final draft of the Constitution.
- 1806 – Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor, abdicates, thus ending the Holy Roman Empire.
- 1825 – Bolivia gains independence from Spain.
- 1914 – Serbia declares war on Germany; Austria declares war on Russia. World War I begins.
- 1926 – Gertrude Ederle becomes first woman to swim across the English Channel.
- 1926 – Harry Houdini spends 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping.
- 1945 – An atomic bomb is dropped by the plane Enola Gay on the city of Hiroshima in Japan.
- 1962 – Jamaica achieved independence after centuries of British and Spanish rule. During 150 years of Spanish rule, African slaves were first brought to the island. The British invaded in 1655 and the slave trade greatly expanded during the 1700s. Following the abolition of slavery in the 1830s, Jamaica remained a British colony.
- 1965 – The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Act suspended literacy, knowledge and character tests designed to keep African Americans from voting in the South. It also authorized the appointment of Federal voting examiners and barred discriminatory poll taxes. The Act was renewed by Congress in 1975, 1984 and 1991.
- 1984 – The musician Prince releases the album “Purple Rain”.
- 1993 – The movie “The Fugitive”, starring Harrison Ford, opens in theaters.
- 2008 – Coup in Mauritania. In the 6th coup in the North African country since 1978, President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was overthrown and General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, a career military officer, was installed in his place.
- 1809 – British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England
- 1881 – Penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) was born in Lochfield, Scotland
- 1911 – Lucille Ball (Actress from I Love Lucy)
- 1928 – Andy Warhol (Artist)
- 1965 – David Robinson (Basketball Player)
- 1970 – M. Night Shyamalan (Director)
- 1972 – Geri Halliwell (Singer)
- 1983 – Robin van Persie (Dutch footballer)
- 1637 – Ben Jonson (English writer)
- 1931 – Bix Beiderbecke (American pianist, composer)
- 1969 – Theodor W. Adorno (German sociologist, philosopher)
- 1973 – Fulgencio Batista (Cuban army officer, politician, 9th President of Cuba)
- 1978 – Pope Paul VI