- 1340 – King Edward III of England is declared King of France.
- 1785 – Benjamin Franklin writes a letter to his daughter.
- 1788 – The first penal colony is founded at Botany Bay, Australia.
- 1837 – Michigan is admitted as the 26th U.S. state.
- 1841 – The United Kingdom formally occupies Hong Kong.
- 1905 – The world’s largest diamond is found in South Africa. The Cullinan Diamond weighed 3106.75 carats (621.35 g or 1.37 lb) and has an estimated value of 2 billion USD.
- 1915 – The Rocky Mountain National Park is formed.
- 1934 – The Apollo Theater opens in Harlem, New York City.
- 1943 – Nazis began using Hitler Youths to operate anti-aircraft batteries in Germany following heavy Allied bombing of Berlin and other cities.
- 1950 – India becomes a republic. The Constitution of India came into effect that day.
- 1994 – Romania became the first former Cold War foe to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
- 1998 – President Bill Clinton made an emphatic denial of charges that he had a sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky and had advised her to lie about it. “…I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky…”
- 2001 – A massive earthquake hits Gujarat, India. About 20,000 people died and over 160,000 people were injured.
- 2005 – Condoleezza Rice is sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State
- 1880 – Douglas MacArthur (US General)
- 1918 – Nicolae Ceaușescu (Romanian politician, 11th President of Romania)
- 1925 – Paul Newman (Actor)
- 1955 – Eddie Van Halen (Guitarist)
- 1958 – Ellen DeGeneres (Actress and Talk Show Host)
- 1958 – Anita Baker (Singer)
- 1961 – Wayne Gretzky (Hockey Player)
- 1948 – John Lomax (American musicologist)
- 1952 – Khorloogiin Choibalsan (Mongolian military officer, ruler)
- 1962 – Lucky Luciano (Italian/American mobster)
- 1979 – Nelson Rockefeller (American politician, 41st Vice President of the United States)
- 1992 – José Ferrer (Puerto Rican actor)