- 1805 – The Battle of Trafalgar took place between the British Royal Navy and the combined French and Spanish fleets. The victorious British ended the threat of Napoleon’s invasion of England. British naval hero Admiral Horatio Nelson was mortally wounded aboard his ship Victory.
- 1854 – Florence Nightingale, a pioneer of nursing, is sent to the Crimean War with a staff of 38 nurses
- 1879 – Thomas Edison successfully tests his first electric light bulb
- 1915 – The first transatlantic radio voice message was made by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company from Virginia to Paris.
- 1943 – Provisional Government of Free India Declared by Subhas Chandra Bose. Bose, an exiled Indian nationalist and a key figure in the Indian Independence Movement declared the creation of Azad Hind or Free India during a mass rally in Singapore. Netaji (leader), as he was fondly called by his followers, was unanimously declared as the Head of State, Prime Minister, and Minister for War of the new government. The government-in-exile did not have any territory to govern until Japan gave them the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, occupied by the Japanese in 1942, to run. A few days later after declaring the existence of Azad Hind, the provisional government joined the Second World War by declaring war on the Allies.
- 1944 – During World War II in Europe, American troops captured Aachen in western Germany after a week of hard fighting. It was the first large German city taken by the Allies.
- 1954 – ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, part 1 of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, is published
- 1959 – The Guggenheim opens its doors. The Guggenheim Museum displays works from some of the world’s most celebrated and sought-after contemporary artists. Situated in the Manhattan area of New York, the museum was first opened in 1939 as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting. It was then named the Guggenheim Museum in 1952, after the death of the founder of the foundation that runs it, Solomon R. Guggenheim. The current museum building was designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and was opened to public on this day.
- 1967 – Thousands of anti-war protesters stormed the Pentagon during a rally against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C. About 250 were arrested. No shots were fired, but demonstrators were struck with nightsticks and rifle butts.
- 1969 – Coup in Somalia. Siad Barre staged a military coup against the government the day after the death of Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, the then president of Somalia.
- 1983 – The 17th General Conference on weights and measures ends. The conference passed a resolution defining a meter as the distance traveled by light in vacuum during a time interval of about three hundred millionth of a second. Before this, the meter or metre was assigned several different definitions. In 1793, it was defined as one ten-millionth of the distance between the Earth’s Equator and the North Pole. In 1960, it was once again redefined by the 11th General Conference of Weights and Measures as equal to “1650763,73 wavelengths in vacuum of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the levels 2p10 and 5d5 of the krypton 86 atom.”
- 2014 – Oscar Pistorius convicted for 5 years. The South African Paralympic Champion was on trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He was sentenced to a maximum of five years for culpable homicide. He was released on parole for good behavior in October 2015. However, in December 2015, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal upgraded the charges to murder and found him guilty of murder.
- 1772 – Samuel Taylor Coleridge (English poet, philosopher)
- 1833 – Alfred Nobel (Inventor of dynamite and founded Nobel Prize)
- 1917 – Dizzy Gillespie (Jazz Trumpeter)
- 1942 – Judge Judy (TV Judge)
- 1949 – Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister of Israel)
- 1956 – Carrie Fisher (Star Wars’ Princess Leia)
- 1978 – Joey Harrington (NFL Quarterback)
- 1980 – Kim Kardashian (Reality TV Star)
- 1986 – Natalee Holloway (American missing person)
- 1805 – Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (English Admiral)
- 1969 – Jack Kerouac (American author, poet)
- 2003 – Elliott Smith (American singer-songwriter, guitarist)
- 2012 – George McGovern (American politician, historian, author)
- 2014 – Gough Whitlam (Australian politician, 21st Prime Minister of Australia)