* 1503 – Disfida di Barletta – famous challenge between 13 Italian and 13 French knights near Barletta.
* 1542 – Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, is executed for adultery.
* 1575 – Henry III of France is crowned at Rheims, marrying Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont on the same day.
* 1633 – Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome for his trial before the Inquisition.
* 1660 – With the death of Swedish King Charles X Gustav, the Swedish government can start to seek peace with Sweden's enemies in the Second Northern War – something that Charles X Gustav had refused. As his son and successor on the throne, Charles XI, is only four years old, a regency takes over the ruling of Sweden until 1672.
* 1668 – Spain recognizes Portugal as an independent nation.
* 1689 – William and Mary are proclaimed co-rulers of England.
* 1692 – Massacre of Glencoe: About 78 Macdonalds at Glen Coe, Scotland are killed early in the morning for not promptly pledging allegiance to the new king, William of Orange.
* 1739 – Battle of Karnal: The army of Iranian ruler Nadir Shah defeats the forces of the Mughal emperor of India, Muhammad Shah.
* 1867 – Work begins on the covering of the Zenne, burying Brussels's primary river and creating the modern central boulevards.
* 1880 – Thomas Edison observes the Edison effect.
* 1881 – The feminist newspaper La Citoyenne is first published in Paris by the activist Hubertine Auclert.
* 1894 – Auguste and Louis Lumière patent the Cinematographe, a combination movie camera and projector.
* 1914 – Copyright: In New York City the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers is established to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members.
* 1920 – The Negro National League is formed.
* 1931 – New Delhi becomes the capital of India.
* 1934 – The Soviet steamship Cheliuskin sinks in the Arctic Ocean.
* 1935 – A jury in Flemington, New Jersey finds Bruno Hauptmann guilty of the 1932 kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby, the son of Charles Lindbergh.
* 1945 – World War II: The siege of Budapest concludes with the unconditional surrender of German and Hungarian forces to the Red Army.
* 1945 – World War II: Royal Air Force bombers are dispatched to Dresden, Germany to attack the city with a massive aerial bombardment.
* 1951 – Korean War: Battle of Chipyong-ni, which represented the "high-water mark" of the Chinese incursion into South Korea, commences.
* 1954 – Frank Selvy becomes the only NCAA Division I basketball player ever to score 100 points in a single game
* 1955 – Israel obtains 4 of the 7 Dead Sea scrolls.
* 1960 – With the success of a nuclear test codenamed "Gerboise Bleue", France becomes the fourth country to possess nuclear weapons.
* 1960 – Black college students stage the first of the Nashville sit-ins at three lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.
* 1961 – A 500,000-year-old rock is discovered near Olancha, California, US, that appears to anachronistically encase a spark plug.
* 1967 – American researchers discover the Madrid Codices by Leonardo da Vinci in the National Library of Spain.
* 1970 – Black Sabbath, arguably the very first heavy metal album, is released.
* 1971 – Vietnam War: Backed by American air and artillery support, South Vietnamese troops invade Laos.
* 1978 – Hilton bombing: a bomb explodes in a refuse truck outside the Hilton Hotel in Sydney, Australia, killing two refuse collectors and a policeman.
* 1979 – An intense windstorm strikes western Washington and sinks a 1/2-mile-long section of the Hood Canal Bridge.
* 1981 – A series of sewer explosions destroys more than two miles of streets in Louisville, Kentucky.
* 1982 – Río Negro massacre in Guatemala.
* 1984 – Konstantin Chernenko succeeds the late Yuri Andropov as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
* 1990 – German reunification: An agreement is reached on a two-stage plan to reunite Germany.
* 1991 – Gulf War: Two laser-guided "smart bombs" destroy the Amiriyah shelter in Baghdad. Allied forces said the bunker was being used as a military communications outpost, but over 400 Iraqi civilians inside were killed.
* 2000 – The last original "Peanuts" comic strip appears in newspapers one day after Charles M. Schulz dies.
* 2001 – An earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter Scale hits El Salvador, killing at least 400.
* 2004 – The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announces the discovery of the universe's largest known diamond, white dwarf star BPM 37093. Astronomers named this star "Lucy" after The Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".
* 2007 – Taiwan opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou resigns as the chairman of the Kuomintang party after being indicted by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office on charges of embezzlement during his tenure as the mayor of Taipei; Ma also announces his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election.
* 2008 – Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes a historic apology to the Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations.
* 2009 – At 23:31:30 UTC the Unix system time (time_t) number reaches 1234567890 seconds.
* 2010 – A bomb explodes in the city of Pune, Maharashtra, India, killing 17 and injuring 60 more.
* 2011 – For the first time in more than 100 years the Umatilla, an American Indian tribe, were able to hunt and harvest a bison just outside Yellowstone National Park, restoring a centuries-old tradition guaranteed by a treaty signed in 1855.