* 588 BC – Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem under Zedekiah's reign. The siege lasts until July 23, 586 BC.
* 69 – Otho seizes power in Rome, proclaiming himself Emperor of Rome, but rules for only three months before committing suicide.
* 1493 – Christopher Columbus sets sail for Spain from Hispaniola, ending his first voyage to the New World.
* 1559 – Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey, London.
* 1582 – Russia cedes Livonia and Estonia to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
* 1759 – The British Museum opens.
* 1777 – American Revolutionary War: New Connecticut (present day Vermont) declares its independence.
* 1782 – Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris goes before the U.S. Congress to recommend establishment of a national mint and decimal coinage.
* 1815 – War of 1812: American frigate USS President (1800), commanded by Commodore Stephen Decatur, is captured by a squadron of four British frigates.
* 1822 – Greek War of Independence: Demetrius Ypsilanti is elected president of the legislative assembly.
* 1844 – University of Notre Dame receives its charter from the state of Indiana.
* 1865 – American Civil War: Fort Fisher in North Carolina falls to the Union, thus cutting off the last major seaport of the Confederacy.
* 1870 – A political cartoon for the first time symbolizes the United States Democratic Party with a donkey ("A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion" by Thomas Nast for Harper's Weekly).
* 1889 – The Coca-Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, is originally incorporated in Atlanta.
* 1892 – James Naismith publishes the rules of basketball.
* 1908 – The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority becomes the first Greek-letter organization founded and established by African-American college women.
* 1910 – Construction ends on the Buffalo Bill Dam in Wyoming, US, which was the highest dam in the world at the time, at 325 ft (99 m).
* 1919 – Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, two of the most prominent socialists in Germany, are tortured and murdered by the Freikorps.
* 1919 – Boston Molasses Disaster: A large molasses tank in Boston, bursts and a wave of molasses rushes through the streets, killing 21 people and injuring 150 others.
* 1936 – The first building to be completely covered in glass, built for the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, is completed in Toledo, Ohio.
* 1943 – World War II: The Soviet counter-offensive at Voronezh begins.
* 1943 – The world's largest office building, The Pentagon, is dedicated in Arlington, Virginia.
* 1947 – The brutalized corpse of Elizabeth Short ("The Black Dahlia") is found in Leimert Park, Los Angeles.
* 1949 – Chinese Civil War: The Chinese Communist Party forces take over Tianjin from the Nationalist Government.
* 1951 – Ilse Koch, "The Witch of Buchenwald", wife of the commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp, is sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in West Germany.
* 1966 – The Nigerian First Republic, led by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa is overthrown in a military coup d’état.
* 1967 – The first Super Bowl is played in Los Angeles. The Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10
* 1969 – The Soviet Union launches Soyuz 5.
* 1970 – Nigerian Civil War: After a 32-month fight for independence from Nigeria, Biafra surrenders.
* 1970 – Muammar al-Qaddafi is proclaimed premier of Libya.
* 1973 – Vietnam War: Citing progress in peace negotiations, President Richard Nixon announces the suspension of offensive action in North Vietnam.
* 1974 – Dennis Rader aka the BTK Killer kills his first victims by binding, torturing and murdering Joseph, Joseph II, Josephine and Julie Otero in their house.
* 1976 – Gerald Ford's would-be assassin, Sara Jane Moore, is sentenced to life in prison.
* 1977 – The Kälvesta air disaster kills 22 people, the worst air crash in Sweden's history.
* 1986 – The Living Seas opens at EPCOT Center in Walt Disney World, Florida.
* 1990 – AT&T's long distance telephone network suffers a cascade switching failure.
* 1991 – The United Nations deadline for the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from occupied Kuwait expires, preparing the way for the start of Operation Desert Storm.
* 1991 – Elizabeth II, in her capacity as Queen of Australia, signs letters patent allowing Australia to become the first Commonwealth Realm to institute its own separate Victoria Cross award in its own honours system.
* 1992 – The international community recognizes the independence of Slovenia and Croatia from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
* 1993 – Salvatore Riina, the Mafia boss known as "The Beast", is arrested in Sicily after three decades as a fugitive.
* 2001 – Wikipedia, a free Wiki content encyclopedia, goes online.
* 2005 – An intense solar flare blasts X-rays across the solar system.
* 2005 – ESA's SMART-1 lunar orbiter discovers elements such as calcium, aluminum, silicon, iron, and other surface elements on the moon.
* 2007 – Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, former Iraqi intelligence chief and half-brother of Saddam Hussein, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former chief judge of the Revolutionary Court, are executed by hanging in Iraq.
* 2009 – US Airways Flight 1549 makes an emergency landing in the Hudson River shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York City. All passengers and crew members survive.