- 1776 – American Independence Day. The Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence.
- 1802 – The US Military Academy opens at West Point.
- 1826 – Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die on the same day 50 years after signing the Declaration of Independence.
- 1863 – Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, surrendered to General Grant and the Army of the West after a six week siege. With the Union in control of the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in two, cut off from its western allies.
- 1865 – ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll is first published.
- 1882 – The “Last Great Buffalo Hunt” began on Indian reservation lands near Hettinger, North Dakota as 2,000 Teton Sioux Indians in full hunting regalia killed about 5,000 buffalo. By this time, most of the estimated 60-75 million buffalo in America had been killed by white hunters who usually took the hides and left the meat to rot. By 1883, the last of the free-ranging buffalo were gone.
- 1946 – Philippines gains independence from the United States. The South East Asian country had been ruled for almost 381 years by various colonial powers, starting with the Spanish in the early 16th century.
- 1966 – Freedom of Information Act in the US is signed into law. The 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the law, which allows for the disclosure of government information to the public. It came into effect a year later in 1967.
- 2012 – Discovery of Higgs boson particle is announced by scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The existence of the elusive elementary particle in physics, was suggested in the 1960s. The Higgs boson, which is named after Nobel laureate, Peter Higgs, was finally detected by scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider.
- 1804 – Novelist and short-story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was born in Salem, Massachusetts
- 1826 – Song writer Stephen Foster (1826-1864) was born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania
- 1872 – Calvin Coolidge (30th US President)
- 1927 – Neil Simon (Playright)
- 1930 – George Steinbrenner (NY Yankees Owner)
- 1943 – Geraldo Rivera (TV Reporter)
- 1952 – Álvaro Uribe (Colombian politician, 39th President of Colombia)
- 1960 – Barry Windham (American wrestler)
- 1962 – Pam Shriver (Tennis Player)
- 1973 – Gackt (Japanese singer-songwriter, musician, producer, actor)
- 1998 – Malia Obama (Daughter of President Obama)
- 1551 – Gregory Cromwell, 1st Baron Cromwell
- 1826 – Thomas Jefferson (American politician, 3rd President of the United States)
- 1934 – Marie Curie (Polish chemist, physicist, Nobel Prize laureate)
- 2008 – Jesse Helms (American politician)
- 2011 – Otto von Habsburg (Austrian/German son of Charles I of Austria)