- 1639 – Harvard College was named for clergyman John Harvard.
- 1781 – The planet Uranus is discovered by William Herschel.
- 1845 – Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto is premiered. The German composer’s opus 64 is one of the most frequently performed violin concertos in history.
- 1921 – Mongolia, under Black Baron, declares its independence from China.
- 1943 – A plot to kill Hitler by German army officers failed as a bomb planted aboard his plane failed to explode due to a faulty detonator.
- 1943 – German troops liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Kraków. Thousands of men, women and children were murdered by the nazis or deported to extermination camps. The horrific event is portrayed in the film, Schindler’s List.
- 1997 – A series of unidentified lights appear over Phoenix, Arizona. The Phoenix Lights caused heated debate in the UFO community. It emerged later that some of the lights were caused by illumination flares dropped from a U.S. Air Force plane.
- 2013 – Pope Francis succeeds Pope Benedict XVI. Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina became the 266th leader of the Catholic Church, which has 1.2 billion members around the world.
- 1733 – Scientist and clergyman Joseph Priestly (1733-1804) was born in Yorkshire, England
- 1764 – Earl Grey (Prime Minister of Great Britain)
- 1907 – Mircea Eliade (Romanian historian, author)
- 1911 – L. Ron Hubbard (American religious leader, author, founded the Church of Scientology)
- 1913 – William Casey (FBI Director)
- 1939 – Neil Sedaka (Singer and Songwriter)
- 1950 – William H. Macy (Actor)
- 1960 – Adam Clayton (Bass player for U2)
- 1964 – Will Clark (Baseball Player)
- 1985 – Matt Jackson (American wrestler)