- 1793 – In the aftermath of the French Revolution, King Louis XVI of France was guillotined on the charge of conspiring with foreign countries for the invasion of France. During the Revolution, the King had attempted to flee to Austria for assistance. Ten months later, his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette, was also guillotined.
- 1861 – Jefferson Davis resigns from the United States Senate.
- 1888 – The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is formed.
- 1899 – Opel builds its first automobile. Today, Opel is one of the world’s largest car manufacturers.
- 1911 – The first Monte Carlo Rally.
- 1924 – Soviet Russian leader Vladimir Lenin died of a brain hemorrhage. He led the Bolsheviks to victory over the Czar in the October Revolution of 1917 and had then established the world’s first Communist government. Lenin’s body was placed in a tomb in Red Square in Moscow and was a much venerated national shrine until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
- 1954 – The first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, is launched.
- 1968 – The Battle of Khe Sanh begins. It is one of the most publicized battles of the Vietnam War.
- 1976 – The Concorde supersonic jet began passenger service with flights from London to Bahrain and Paris to Rio de Janeiro, cruising at twice the speed of sound (Mach 2) at an altitude up to 60,000 feet.
- 1998 – Pope John Paul II visits Cuba. It was the first time any Pope visited the country.
- 1338 – Charles V (King of France)
- 1738 – Ethan Allen (1738-1789) was born in Litchfield, Connecticut. He was a hero of the American Revolution who led the small force that captured Fort Ticonderoga in New York without bloodshed in 1775. The fort contained much needed supplies and ammunition.
- 1824 – Stonewall Jackson (Civil War General)
- 1905 – Christian Dior (French fashion designer, founded S.A.)
- 1924 – Telly Savalas (Actor from Kojak)
- 1941 – Placido Domingo (Opera Singer)
- 1963 – Hakeem Olajuwon (Basketball Player)
- 1683 – Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury (English politician)
- 1924 – Vladimir Lenin (Russian politician)
- 1938 – Georges Méliès (French director)
- 1950 – George Orwell (English author)
- 1997 – Colonel Tom Parker (Dutch/American talent manager)