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- 1111 – Henry V is crowned Holy Roman Emperor.
- 1204 – Constantinople falls to the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade, temporarily ending the Byzantine Empire.
- 1598 – Henry IV of France issues the Edict of Nantes, allowing freedom of religion to the Huguenots. (Edict repealed in 1685.)
- 1612 – Miyamoto Musashi defeats Sasaki Kojiro at Funajima island.
- 1613 – Samuel Argall captures Native American princess Pocahontas in Passapatanzy, Virginia to ransom her for some English prisoners held by her father. She is brought to Henricus as hostage.
- 1742 – George Frideric Handel's oratorio Messiah makes its world-premiere in Dublin, Ireland.
- 1776 – American Revolutionary War: American forces are surprised in the Battle of Bound Brook, New Jersey.
- 1796 – The first elephant ever seen in the United States arrives from India.
- 1829 – The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 gives Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom the right to vote and to sit in Parliament.
- 1849 – Hungary becomes a republic.
- 1861 – American Civil War: Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederate forces.
- 1868 – The Abyssinian War ends as British and Indian troops capture Maqdala.
- 1870 – The New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art is founded.
- 1873 – The Colfax Massacre takes place.
- 1902 – James C. Penney opens his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
- 1909 – The Turkish military reverses the Ottoman countercoup of 1909 to force the overthrow of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.
- 1919 – The establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.
- 1919 – Jallianwala Bagh massacre: British troops massacre at least 379 unarmed demonstrators in Amritsar, India. At least 1200 are wounded.
- 1919 – Eugene V. Debs is imprisoned at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, for speaking out against the draft during World War I.
- 1941 – Pact of neutrality between the USSR and Japan is signed.
- 1943 – World War II: The discovery of a mass grave of Polish prisoners of war killed by Soviet forces in the Katyń Forest Massacre is announced, causing a diplomatic rift between the Polish government in exile in London from the Soviet Union, which denies responsibility.
- 1943 – The Jefferson Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C., on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's birth.
- 1944 – Diplomatic relations between New Zealand and the Soviet Union are established.
- 1945 – World War II: German troops kill more than 1,000 political and military prisoners in Gardelegen, Germany.
- 1945 – World War II: Soviet and Bulgarian forces capture Vienna, Austria.
- 1948 – The Hadassah medical convoy massacre: In an ambush, 79 Jewish doctors, nurses and medical students from Hadassah Hospital and a British soldier are massacred by Arabs in Sheikh Jarra near Jerusalem.
- 1953 – CIA director Allen Dulles launches the mind-control program MKULTRA.
- 1958 – During the Cold War, American Van Cliburn wins the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
- 1960 – The United States launches Transit 1-B, the world's first satellite navigation system.
- 1964 – At the Academy Awards, Sidney Poitier becomes the first African-American male to win the Best Actor award for the 1963 film Lilies of the Field.
- 1970 – An oxygen tank aboard Apollo 13 explodes, putting the crew in great danger and causing major damage to the spacecraft while en route to the Moon.
- 1972 – The Universal Postal Union decides to recognize the People's Republic of China as the only legitimate Chinese representative, effectively expelling the Republic of China administering Taiwan.
- 1972 – Vietnam War: The Battle of An Lộc begins.
- 1974 – Western Union (in cooperation with NASA and Hughes Aircraft) launches the United States' first commercial geosynchronous communications satellite, Westar 1.
- 1975 – Bus massacre in Lebanon: An attack by the Phalangist resistance kills 26 militia members of the P.F.L. of Palestine, marking the start of the 15-year Lebanese Civil War.
- 1976 – The United States Treasury Department reintroduces the two-dollar bill as a Federal Reserve Note on Thomas Jefferson's 233rd birthday as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.
- 1984 – India moves into Siachen Glacier thus annexing more territory from the Line of Control.
- 1987 – Portugal and the People's Republic of China sign an agreement in which Macau would be returned to China in 1999.
- 1992 – The Great Chicago Flood.
- 1997 – Tiger Woods becomes the youngest golfer to win the Masters Tournament.
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