- 1700 – The island of New Britain is discovered.
- 1827 – The first Mardi Gras is celebrated in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- 1879 – The artificial sweetener saccharin is discovered.
- 1932 – The neutron is discovered. English physicist James Chadwick was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery.
- 1933 – Germany’s parliament building is set on fire. The Nazis used the Reichstag fire to justify harsh repression against political opponents. The event is considered pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany.
- 1943 – Non-violent protests in Berlin prevent the deportation of 2000 jews. The “Rosenstrasse protest” was carried out by the “Aryan” wives and relatives of detained Jewish men.
- 1951 – 22nd amendment to the US constitution is ratified limiting Presidents to two terms.
- 1974 – People magazine is published for the first time.
- 1991 – In Desert Storm, the 100-hour ground war ended as Allied troops entered Kuwait just four days after launching their offensive against Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces.
- 2002 – A Muslim mob set fire to a train carrying Hindu pilgrims. The attack killed 59 people, including many women and children.
- 2010 – A massive earthquake strikes Chile. The tremor measured 8.8 on the Richter scale and left more than 500 people dead and thousands injured.
- 272 – Constantine (Roman Emperor)
- 1807 – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Poet)
- 1902 – John Steinbeck (Author)
- 1932 – Elizabeth Taylor (Actress)
- 1934 – Ralph Nader (Consumer Advocate)
- 1980 – Chelsea Clinton (Daughter of President Clinton)
- 1981 – Josh Groban (Singer)
- 1994 – Hou Yifan (Chinese chess player)
- 1936 – Ivan Pavlov (Russian physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate)
- 1989 – Konrad Lorenz (Austrian zoologist, Nobel Prize laureate)
- 2002 – Spike Milligan (Indian/Irish actor, singer, screenwriter, author)
- 2008 – William F. Buckley, Jr. (American publisher, author, founded the National Review)
- 2011 – Frank Buckles (American soldier)