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- 1071 – Bari, the last Byzantine possession in southern Italy, is surrendered to Robert Guiscard.
- 1395 – Tokhtamysh–Timur war: Battle of the Terek River: Timur defeats Tokhtamysh of the Golden Horde at the Volga. The Golden Horde capital city, Sarai, is razed to the ground and Timur installs a puppet ruler on the Golden Horde throne. Tokhtamysh escapes to Lithuania.
- 1450 – Battle of Formigny: Toward the end of the Hundred Years' War, the French attack and nearly annihilate English forces, ending English domination in Northern France.
- 1632 – Battle of Rain: Swedes under Gustavus Adolphus defeat the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years' War.
- 1642 – Irish Confederate Wars: A Confederate Irish militia is routed in the Battle of Kilrush when it attempts to halt the progress of the British Army.
- 1638 – Tokugawa shogunate forces put down the Shimabara Rebellion when they retake Hara Castle from the rebels.
- 1715 – Pocotaligo Massacre triggers the start of the Yamasee War in colonial South Carolina.
- 1738 – Premiere in London, England, Great Britain of Serse, an Italian opera by George Frideric Handel.
- 1755 – Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language is published in London.
- 1783 – Preliminary articles of peace ending the American Revolutionary War (or American War of Independence) are ratified.
- 1802 – William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy see a "long belt" of daffodils, inspiring the former to pen I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.
- 1817 – Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc founded the American School for the Deaf, the first American school for deaf students, in Hartford, Connecticut.
- 1865 – Abraham Lincoln dies without regaining consciousness after being shot the previous evening by actor John Wilkes Booth.
- 1892 – The General Electric Company is formed.
- 1896 – Closing ceremony of the Games of the I Olympiad in Athens, Greece.
- 1900 – Philippine–American War: Filipino guerrillas launch a surprise attack on U.S. infantry and begin a four-day siege of Catubig, Philippines.
- 1912 – The British passenger liner, the , sinks in the North Atlantic at 2:20 a.m., two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg. 1,517 people are killed.
- 1920 – Two security guards are murdered during a robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts. Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti would be convicted of and executed for the crime, amid much controversy.
- 1921 – Black Friday: mine owners announce more wage and price cuts, leading to the threat of a strike all across England.
- 1923 – Insulin becomes generally available for use by people with diabetes.
- 1924 – Rand McNally publishes its first road atlas.
- 1927 – The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the most destructive river flood in U.S. history, begins.
- 1935 – Roerich Pact signed in Washington, D.C.
- 1936 – First day of the Arab revolt in Palestine.
- 1936 – Aer Lingus (Aer Loingeas) is founded by the Irish government as the national airline of the Republic of Ireland.
- 1940 – The Allies begin their attack on the Norwegian town of Narvik which is occupied by Nazi Germany.
- 1941 – In the Belfast Blitz, two-hundred bombers of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) attack Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom killing one thousand people.
- 1942 – The George Cross is awarded to "to the island fortress of Malta – its people and defenders" by King George VI.
- 1943 – An Allied bomber attack misses the Minerva automobile factory and hits the Belgian town of Mortsel instead, killing 936 civilians.
- 1945 – The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is liberated.
- 1947 – Jackie Robinson debuts for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking baseball's color line.
- 1952 – The maiden flight of the B-52 Stratofortress
- 1955 – McDonald's restaurant dates its founding to the opening of a franchised restaurant by Ray Kroc, in Des Plaines, Illinois
- 1957 – White Rock, British Columbia officially separates from Surrey, British Columbia and is incorporated as a new city.
- 1960 – At Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, Ella Baker leads a conference that results in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, one of the principal organizations of the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
- 1969 – The EC-121 shootdown incident: North Korea shoots down a United States Navy aircraft over the Sea of Japan, killing all 31 on board.
- 1970 – During the Cambodian Civil War, massacres of the Vietnamese minority results in 800 bodies flowing down the Mekong River into South Vietnam.
- 1986 – The United States launches Operation El Dorado Canyon, its bombing raids against Libyan targets in response to a bombing in West Germany that killed two U.S. servicemen.
- 1989 – Hillsborough disaster: A human crush occurs at Hillsborough Stadium, home of Sheffield Wednesday, in the FA Cup Semi Final, resulting in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans.
- 1989 – Upon Hu Yaobang's death, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 begin in the People's Republic of China.
- 1992 – The National Assembly of Vietnam adopts the 1992 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
- 1994 – Representatives of 124 countries and the European Communities sign the Marrakesh Agreements revising the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and initiating the World Trade Organization (effective January 1, 1995).
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