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- 1457 BC – Likely date of the Battle of Megiddo between Thutmose III and a large Canaanite coalition under the King of Kadesh, the first battle to have been recorded in what is accepted as relatively reliable detail.
- 1178 BC – The calculated date of the Greek king Odysseus' return home from the Trojan War.
- 73 – Masada, a Jewish fortress, falls to the Romans after several months of siege, ending the Jewish Revolt.
- 1346 – Dušan the Mighty is proclaimed Emperor, with the Serbian Empire occupying much of the Balkans.
- 1520 – The Revolt of the Comuneros begins in Spain against the rule of Charles V.
- 1521 – Martin Luther's first appearance before the Diet of Worms to be examined by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the other estates of the empire.
- 1582 – Spanish conquistador Hernando de Lerma founds the settlement of Salta, Argentina.
- 1746 – The Battle of Culloden is fought between the French-supported Jacobites and the British Hanoverian forces commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, in Scotland. After the battle many highland traditions were banned and the Highlands of Scotland were cleared of inhabitants.
- 1780 – The University of Münster in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany is founded.
- 1799 – Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Mount Tabor – Napoleon drives Ottoman Turks across the River Jordan near Acre.
- 1818 – The United States Senate ratifies the Rush-Bagot Treaty, establishing the border with Canada.
- 1847 – The accidental shooting of a Maori by an English sailor results in the opening of the Wanganui Campaign of the New Zealand land wars.
- 1853 – The first passenger rail opens in India, from Bori Bunder, Bombay to Thane.
- 1858 – The Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society, is wound up.
- 1862 – American Civil War: The Battle at Lee's Mills in Virginia.
- 1862 – American Civil War: The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia, becomes law.
- 1863 – American Civil War: The Siege of Vicksburg – ships led by Union Admiral David Dixon Porter move through heavy Confederate artillery fire on approach to Vicksburg, Mississippi.
- 1881 – In Dodge City, Kansas, Bat Masterson fights his last gun battle.
- 1908 – Natural Bridges National Monument is established in Utah.
- 1912 – Harriet Quimby becomes the first woman to fly an airplane across the English Channel.
- 1917 – Lenin returns to Petrograd from exile in Switzerland.
- 1919 – Gandhi organizes a day of "prayer and fasting" in response to the killing of Indian protesters in the Amritsar Massacre by the British.
- 1919 – Polish–Soviet War: The Polish army launches the Vilna offensive to capture Vilnius in modern Lithuania.
- 1922 – The Treaty of Rapallo, pursuant to which Germany and the Soviet Union re-establish diplomatic relations, is signed.
- 1925 – During the Communist St Nedelya Church assault in Sofia, 150 are killed and 500 are wounded.
- 1941 – World War II: The Italian convoy Duisburg, directed to Tunisia, is attacked and destroyed by British ships.
- 1941 – Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians throws the only Opening Day no-hitter in the history of Major League Baseball, beating the Chicago White Sox 1-0.
- 1944 – Allied forces started bombing of Belgrade, killing about 1,100 people. This bombing fell on the Orthodox Christian Easter.
- 1945 – The Red Army begins the final assault on German forces around Berlin, with nearly one million troops fighting in the Battle of the Seelow Heights.
- 1945 – The United States Army liberates Nazi Sonderlager (high security) prisoner-of-war camp Oflag IV-C (better known as Colditz).
- 1945 – More than 7,000 die when the German refugee ship Goya is sunk by a Soviet submarine torpedo.
- 1947 – Texas City Disaster: An explosion on board a freighter in port causes the city of Texas City, Texas, to catch fire, killing almost 600.
- 1947 – Bernard Baruch coins the term "Cold War" to describe the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.
- 1953 – Queen Elizabeth II launches the Royal Yacht .
- 1962 – Walter Cronkite takes over as the lead news anchor of the CBS Evening News, during which time he would become "the most trusted man in America".
- 1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pens his Letter from Birmingham Jail while incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting against segregation.
- 1972 – Apollo program: The launch of Apollo 16 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
- 1990 – The "Doctor of Death", Jack Kevorkian, participates in his first assisted suicide.
- 1992 – The Katina P. runs aground off of Maputo, Mozambique and 60,000 tons of crude oil spill into the ocean.
- 2001 – India and Bangladesh begin a five-day border conflict, but are unable to resolve the disputes about their border.
- 2003 – The Treaty of Accession is signed in Athens admitting 10 new member states to the European Union.
- 2007 – Virginia Tech massacre: The deadliest spree shooting in modern American history. Seung-Hui Cho, kills 32 and injures 23 before committing suicide.
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