- 1856 – The Republican Party holds it’s first national meeting.
- 1876 – Johns Hopkins University is founded in Maryland.
- 1879 – The first Woolworth store opens in Utica, New York. Frank Woolworth’s five-and-dime retail stores became one of the world’s most successful trading companies with branches in many countries around the world.
- 1948 – Czechoslovakia becomes a communist state following a coup d’etat. The country became a parliamentary republic following the non-violent “Velvet Revolution” in 1989 and was split into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic in 1993.
- 1956 – In Montgomery, Alabama, 80 participants in the three-month-old bus boycott voluntarily gave themselves up for arrest after an ultimatum from white city leaders. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks were among those arrested. Later in 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court mandated desegregation of the buses.
- 1959 – Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500.
- 1980 – The “Miracle on Ice” occurs when the US defeats Russia in hockey.
- 1983 – The play “Moose Murders” flops spectacularly on Broadway. According to critic Frank Rich, “a visit to Moose Murders is what will separate the connoisseurs of Broadway disaster from mere dilettantes for many moons to come.”
- 1986 – The People Power Revolution begins in the Philippines. The nonviolent campaign resulted in the fall of President Ferdinand Marcos and the restoration of the country’s democracy.
- 2011 – 185 people are killed during an earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. The quake, while having a magnitude of only 6.3, had one of the highest intensities ever recorded in an urban area (MM IX).
- 1732 – George Washington (1st US President)
- 1778 – Rembrandt (Artist)
- 1820 – Frederic Chopin (Classic Composer)
- 1857 – Heinrich Hertz (German physicist)
- 1900 – Luis Buñuel (Spanish director, producer)
- 1932 – Ted Kennedy (American politician)
- 1950 – Julius Erving (Basketball Player)
- 1962 – Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter)
- 1963 – Vijay Singh (Golfer)
- 1975 – Drew Barrymore (Actress)
- 1875 – Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French painter)
- 1943 – Sophie Scholl (German student, activist)
- 1958 – Abul Kalam Azad (Indian activist, scholar, politician)
- 1983 – Adrian Boult (English conductor)
- 1987 – Andy Warhol (American artist)