- 1521 – King Henry VIII of England was given the title “Defender of the Faith” by Pope Leo X following the publication of the King’s book against Martin Luther.
- 1890 – Daughters of the American Revolution is formed in Washington DC
- 1899 – The Boer War began in South African between the British Empire and Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State. The war ended in 1902 with the Treaty of Pretoria in which the Transvaal and Orange Free State became British colonies.
- 1911 – Wuchang Uprising. The Wuchang Uprising occurred in Wuchang, China, leading to the fall of the Qing dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China. This day is celebrated as an important holiday in Taiwan.
- 1939 – Franklin D. Roosevelt receives a letter from Albert Einstein discussing the atom bomb.
- 1962 – The Second Vatican Council was opened in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome by Pope John XXIII. Sessions were held in four successive autumns from 1962-65. Vatican II resulted in sweeping changes to the Catholic Church including the use of English and local native languages in the Mass instead of Latin, and openness and cooperation with other religions and denominations.
- 1975 – The live comedy TV show Saturday Night Live premiers
- 1976 – The “Gang of Four,” including the widow of Mao Zedong, was arrested in China, charged with plotting a coup. They were subsequently tried and convicted of various crimes against the state.
- 1984 – The first space walk by an American woman
- 2000 – 100th Mission of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. Also known as the Space Transportation System or STS, the program was the first in the world to employ reusable spacecraft to take people into outer space. The first flight of the space shuttle fleet, which included Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour took place on April 12, 1981. The 100th flight was on space shuttle Discovery and the mission was designated STS-92. It was the 30th time Discovery had flown into space.
- 1739 – Grigory Potemkin (Russian military leader, politician)
- 1844 – Henry John Heinz (Ketchup maker)
- 1884 – Eleanor Roosevelt (Famous First Lady)
- 1937 – Bobby Charlton (English footballer)
- 1942 – Amitabh Bachchan (Indian actor)
- 1961 – Steve Young (NFL Quarterback)
- 1962 – Joan Cusack (Actress)
- 1966 – Luke Perry (Actor)
- 1985 – Michelle Trachtenberg (Actress)
- 1989 – Michelle Wie (Golfer)
- 1531 – Huldrych Zwingli (Swiss pastor, theologian)
- 1896 – Anton Bruckner (Austrian composer)
- 1963 – Édith Piaf (French singer-songwriter, actress)
- 2004 – Keith Miller (Australian cricketer, pilot)
- 2008 – Jörg Haider (Austrian politician, Governor of Carinthia)