- 1775 – Patrick Henry delivers his famous speech where he says “give me liberty or give me death!”
- 1806 – Explorers Lewis and Clark begin their journey home from the Pacific Ocean.
- 1857 – First elevator is installed. Elisha Otis installs the elevator in New York City.
- 1888 – The Football League meets for the first time. The league featuring teams from England and Wales was the world’s oldest Association Football league. In 1992, its top 22 teams formed the Premier League.
- 1903 – The Wright Brothers apply for a patent for the airplane.
- 1933 – Adolf Hitler becomes Dictator of Germany.
- 1956 – Pakistan becomes the world’s first Islamic republic. The Dominion of Pakistan also included the area of modern-day Bangladesh or East Pakistan, which seceded in 1971.
- 1980 – Archbishop Óscar Romero calls on members of the El Salvador armed forces to stop killing their fellow Salvadorians. A death squad assassinated the archbishop only one day after his famous sermon.
- 2001 – The Russian space station Mir plunges into the sea. The legendary station was disposed of in a controlled crash after 15 years in space.
- 1749 – Pierre-Simon Laplace (French mathematician, astronomer)
- 1882 – Amalie Emmy Noether (German mathematician)
- 1908 – Joan Crawford (Actress)
- 1910 – Akira Kurosawa (Japanese director, screenwriter, producer)
- 1912 – Wernher von Braun (German physicist, engineer)
- 1949 – Ric Ocasek (Singer with The Cars)
- 1953 – Chaka Khan (Singer)
- 1954 – Kenneth Cole (Fashion designer)
- 1968 – Damon Albarn (English singer-songwriter, producer, actor)
- 1973 – Jason Kidd (NBA basketball player)
- 1976 – Keri Russell (Actress)
- 1985 – Maurice Jones-Drew (NFL Football player)
- 1801 – Paul I of Russia (American navy officer)
- 1931 – Bhagat Singh (Indian activist)
- 1992 – Friedrich Hayek (Austrian/English economist, philosopher, Nobel Prize laureate)
- 2011 – Elizabeth Taylor (English/American actress)
- 2015 – Lee Kuan Yew (Chinese/Singaporean politician, 1st Prime Minister of Singapore)