- 1784 – John Wesley charters the Methodist Church.
- 1844 – During a demonstration of naval fire power, one of the guns aboard the USS Princeton exploded, killing several top U.S. government officials on the steamer ship, and narrowly missed killing President John Tyler.
- 1883 – The first vaudeville theater opens.
- 1935 – Nylon is invented. Wallace Carothers first produced the polymer at the DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delaware, United States.
- 1940 – Basketball is televised for the first time.
- 1975 – A London underground train crashes into the end of the tunnel at Moorgate station. The Moorgate tube crash claimed 43 lives and was the deadliest accident in the London Underground in during peacetime.
- 1983 – Final episode of M*A*S*H airs.
- 1986 – Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (1927-1986) was assassinated in Stockholm while exiting a movie theater with his wife.
- 1991 – The first Gulf War ends. The armed conflict had lasted a little over half a year and claimed over 100,000 civilian casualties.
- 1994 – NATO conducted its first combat action in its 45 year history as four Bosnian Serb jets were shot down by American fighters in a no-fly zone.
- 2013 – Pope Benedict XVI resigns. The Pope, whose birth name is Joseph Ratzinger, was the first leader of the Catholic Church to resign since 1415.
- 1894 – Ben Hecht (American screenwriter, director, producer)
- 1901 – Linus Pauling (American chemist, activist, Nobel Prize laureate)
- 1906 – Bugsy Siegel (Mobster)
- 1929 – Frank Gehry (Canadian/American architect, designed 8 Spruce Street, Walt Disney Concert Hall)
- 1939 – Tommy Tune (Dancer)
- 1940 – Mario Andretti (Race Car Driver)
- 1948 – Bernadette Peters (Actress)
- 1953 – Paul Krugman (American economist, Nobel Prize laureate)
- 1973 – Eric Lindros (Hockey Player)
- 1980 – Tayshaun Prince (NBA basketball player)
- 1916 – Henry James (American/English author)
- 1925 – Friedrich Ebert (German politician, 1st President of Germany)
- 1977 – Eddie Anderson (American actor)
- 2007 – Billy Thorpe (English/Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer)
- 2009 – Paul Harvey (American radio host)