- 1681 – Treaty of Radzin Signed ending five years of war between the Turks, Russia, and Poland.
- 1790 – George Washington delivers the first State of the Union Address in New York City.
- 1798 – The 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, preventing lawsuits against a state by anyone from another state or foreign nation.
- 1815 – Andrew Jackson defeats the British at the Battle of New Orleans.
- 1889 – Computer pioneer Herman Hollerith patents his punched card calculator. His invention paved the way for modern automatic computation.
- 1912 – The African National Congress (ANC) is founded. The ANC, whose most famous member was Nelson Mandela, played an important role in the fight against the South African apartheid regime and it is now the country’s governing political party.
- 1918 – Amid the ongoing World War in Europe, President Woodrow Wilson proposed his Fourteen Points, calling for a reduction of arms, self determination for governments, and the creation of a League of Nations, all intend.
- 1958 – Bobby Fischer wins his first Chess Championship at the age of 14.
- 1959 – Charles de Gaulle took office as the first president of France’s Fifth Republic. De Gaulle had led the Free French government in exile during Nazi occupation. Following the WWII, he advocated a strong presidency to balance the powerful National Assembly. He was chosen to head the new government following years of political instability in which no French government was able to stay in power for more than a few months. On this day in 1966, he took office for a second term.
- 1964 – President Lyndon Johnson declared War on Poverty during his State of the Union message before Congress.
- 1982 – The American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) Company was broken up as a result of an antitrust suit. AT&T gave up 22 local Bell system companies, opening the U.S. telephone system to competition.
- 1987 – The Dow Jones industrial average first topped the 2,000 mark.
- 1994 – Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov begins his record spaceflight. Polyakov stayed aboard the Mir space station for a record-breaking 437 days and 18 hours.
- 1821 – James Longstreet (Confederate General in the Civil War)
- 1934 – Jacques Anquetil (French cyclist)
- 1935 – Elvis Presley (Rock Singer and Actor)
- 1942 – Steven Hawking (Scientist and Author)
- 1947 – David Bowie (Singer and Songwriter)
- 1967 – R. Kelly (American singer-songwriter, producer, actor)
- 1642 – Galileo Galilei (Italian astronomer, physicist)
- 1942 – Joseph Franklin Rutherford (American lawyer, religious leader)
- 1976 – Zhou Enlai (Chinese politician, 1st Premier of the People’s Republic of China)
- 1990 – Terry-Thomas (British actor)
- 1996 – François Mitterrand (French politician, 21st President of France)