* 211 – Roman Emperor Septimius Severus dies at Eboracum (modern York, England) while preparing to lead a campaign against the Caledonians.He leaves the empire in the control of his two quarrelling sons.
* 960 – The coronation of Zhao Kuangyin as Emperor Taizu of Song, initiating the Song Dynasty period of China that would last more than three centuries.
* 1169 - A strong earthquake struck the Ionian coast of Sicily, causing tens of thousands of victims, especially in Catania.
* 1454 – In the Thirteen Years' War, the Secret Council of the Prussian Confederation sends a formal act of disobedience to the Grand Master.
* 1703 – In Edo (now Tokyo), 46 of the Forty-seven Ronin commit seppuku (ritual suicide) as recompense for avenging their master's death.
* 1789 – George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.
* 1794 – The French legislature abolishes slavery throughout all territories of the French Republic.
* 1797 – The Riobamba earthquake strikes Ecuador, causing up to 40,000 casualties.
* 1801 – John Marshall is sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States.
* 1810 – The Royal Navy seizes Guadeloupe.
* 1820 – The Chilean Navy under the command of Lord Cochrane completes the 2 day long Capture of Valdivia with just 300 men and 2 ships.
* 1825 – The Ohio Legislature authorizes the construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the Miami and Erie Canal.
* 1846 – The first Mormon pioneers make their exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, westward towards Utah Territory.
* 1859 – The Codex Sinaiticus is discovered in Egypt.
* 1861 – American Civil War: In Montgomery, Alabama, delegates from six break-away U.S. states meet and form the Confederate States of America.
* 1899 – The Philippine-American War begins.
* 1932 – Second Sino-Japanese War: Harbin, Manchuria, falls to Japan.
* 1936 – Radium becomes the first radioactive element to be made synthetically.
* 1941 – The United Service Organization (USO) is created to entertain American troops.
* 1945 – World War II: The Yalta Conference between the "Big Three" (Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin) opens at the Livadia Palace in the Crimea.
* 1945 – World War II: The British Indian Army and Imperial Japanese Army begin a series of battles known as the Battle of Pokoku and Irrawaddy River operations.
* 1948 – Ceylon (later renamed Sri Lanka) becomes independent within the British Commonwealth.
* 1966 – All Nippon Airways Flight 60 plunges into Tokyo Bay, killing 133.
* 1967 – Lunar Orbiter program: Lunar Orbiter 3 lifts off from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 13 on its mission to identify possible landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo spacecraft.
* 1969 – Yasser Arafat takes over as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
* 1974 – The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patty Hearst in Berkeley, California.
* 1974 – M62 coach bombing: The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) explodes a bomb on a bus carrying off-duty British Armed Forces personnel in Yorkshire, England. Nine soldiers and three civilians are killed.
* 1975 – Haicheng earthquake (magnitude 7.3 on the Richter scale) occurs in Haicheng, Liaoning, China.
* 1976 – In Guatemala and Honduras an earthquake kills more than 22,000.
* 1977 – A Chicago Transit Authority elevated train rear-ends another and derails, killing 11 and injuring 180, the worst accident in the agency's history.
* 1980 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini names Abolhassan Banisadr as president of Iran.
* 1992 – A Coup d'état is led by Hugo Chávez Frías, against Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez.
* 1996 – Major snowstorm paralyzes Midwestern United States, Milwaukee, Wisconsin ties all-time record low temperature at -26°F (-32.2°C)
* 1997 – En route to Lebanon, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 troop-transport helicopters collide in mid-air over northern Galilee, Israel killing 73.
* 1997 – After at first contesting the results, Serbian President Slobodan Milošević recognizes opposition victories in the November 1996 elections.
* 1998 – An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale in northeast Afghanistan kills more than 5,000.
* 1999 – Unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo is shot dead by four plainclothes New York City police officers on an unrelated stake-out, inflaming race-relations in the city.
* 1999 – The New Carissa runs aground near Coos Bay, Oregon.
* 2000 – German extortionist Klaus-Peter Sabotta is jailed for life for attempted murder and extortion in connection with the sabotage of German railway lines.
* 2002 – Cancer Research UK, the world's largest independent cancer research charity, is founded.
* 2003 – The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is officially renamed to Serbia and Montenegro and adopts a new constitution.
* 2004 – Facebook, a mainstream online social network is founded by Mark Zuckerberg.
* 2006 – A stampede occurs in the ULTRA Stadium near Manila killing 71.
* 2008 – The London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) scheme begins to operate in the UK.
* 2010 – The Federal Court of Australia's ruling in Roadshow Films v iiNet sets a precedent that Internet service providers (ISPs) are not responsible for what their users do with the services the ISPs provide them.