- 1519 – Hernan Cortez enters Tenochtitlan. Aztec ruler Montezuma welcomes him as a god.
- 1837 – Mount Holyoke Seminary is formed as the first US college founded for women
- 1889 – Montana is admitted as the 41st U.S. state.
- 1895 – X-rays (electromagnetic rays) were discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen at the University of Wuerzburg in Germany.
- 1923 – Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch took place in the Buergerbraukeller in Munich. Hitler, Goering and armed Nazis attempted, but ultimately failed, to forcibly seize power and overthrow democracy in Germany.
- 1939 – An assassination attempt on Hitler failed at the Buergerbraukeller in Munich. A bomb exploded soon after Hitler had exited following a speech commemorating the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Seven others were killed.
- 1942 – Operation Torch, the Allied landings in North Africa, began as 400,000 soldiers under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower landed at Morocco and Algeria.
- 1960 – John F. Kennedy is elected as the youngest US President in history.
- 1971 – Coup in Thailand. Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn staged a coup against his own government and dismissed the parliament citing increasing communist influence.
- 1972 – Home Box Office launched. The premium TV channel, informally known as HBO, is the oldest paid TV channel in the United States. The first program to screen on the channel was Sometimes a Great Notion, a movie starring Paul Newman and Henry Fonda.
- 1656 – Edmond Halley (Astronomer)
- 1836 – Milton Bradley (Game maker)
- 1847 – Bram Stoker (Author of Dracula)
- 1900 – Margaret Mitchell (wrote Gone with the Wind)
- 1922 – Pioneering heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard (1922-2001) was born in Beaufort West, Cape of Good Hope Province, South Africa. He headed the surgical team that achieved the first-ever human heart transplant in 1967.
- 1927 – Nguyen Khanh (Vietnamese general, politician, 3rd President of South Vietnam)
- 1951 – Mary Hart (Entertainment Tonight Anchor)
- 1961 – Micky Adams (English footballer, manager)
- 1961 – Leif Garrett (Singer – teen pop idol)
- 1966 – Gordon Ramsay (Scottish chef, television host)
- 1975 – Tara Reid (Actress)
- 1986 – Aaron Swartz (American computer programmer, activist)
- 1674 – John Milton (English poet)
- 1887 – Doc Holliday (American gambler, dentist)
- 1953 – Ivan Bunin (Russian author, poet, Nobel Prize laureate)
- 1965 – Dorothy Kilgallen (American journalist)
- 1986 – Vyacheslav Molotov (Soviet politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs fr the Soviet Union)