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- 27 BC – Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus is granted the title Augustus by the Roman Senate, marking the beginning of the Roman Empire.
- 378 – General Fire is Born conquers Tikal, enlarging the domain of King Spearthrower Owl of Teotihuacán.
- 550 – Gothic War (535–554): The Ostrogoths, under King Totila, conquer Rome after a long siege, by bribing the Isaurian garrison.
- 929 – Emir Abd-ar-Rahman III established the Caliphate of Córdoba.
- 1120 – The Council of Nablus is held, establishing the earliest surviving written laws of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.
- 1362 – A storm tide in the North Sea destroys the German city of Rungholt on the island of Strand.
- 1412 – The Medici family is appointed official banker of the Papacy.
- 1492 – The first grammar of the Spanish language is presented to Queen Isabella I.
- 1547 – Ivan IV of Russia aka Ivan the Terrible becomes Czar of Russia.
- 1556 – Philip II becomes King of Spain.
- 1572 – Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk is tried for treason for his part in the Ridolfi plot to restore Catholicism in England.
- 1581 – The English Parliament outlaws Roman Catholicism.
- 1605 – The first edition of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (Book One of Don Quixote) by Miguel de Cervantes is published in Madrid, Spain.
- 1707 – The Scottish Parliament ratifies the Act of Union, paving the way for the creation of Great Britain.
- 1761 – The British capture Pondicherry, India from the French.
- 1780 – American Revolution: Battle of Cape St. Vincent.
- 1786 – Virginia enacted the Statute for Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson.
- 1809 – Peninsular War: The British defeat the French at the Battle of La Coruña.
- 1847 – John C. Frémont is appointed Governor of the new California Territory.
- 1878 – Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) – Battle of Philippopolis: Captain Aleksandr Burago with a squadron of Russian Imperial army dragoons liberates Plovdiv from Ottoman rule.
- 1883 – The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, establishing the United States Civil Service, is passed.
- 1896 – Defeat of Cymru Fydd at South Wales Liberal Federation AGM, Newport, Monmouthshire.
- 1900 – The United States Senate accepts the Anglo-German treaty of 1899 in which the United Kingdom renounces its claims to the Samoan islands.
- 1909 – Ernest Shackleton's expedition finds the magnetic South Pole.
- 1919 – Temperance movement: The United States ratifies the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, authorizing Prohibition in the United States one year after ratification.
- 1920 – The League of Nations holds its first council meeting in Paris, France.
- 1924 – Eleftherios Venizelos becomes Prime Minister of Greece for the fourth time.
- 1939 – The Irish Republican Army (IRA) begins a bombing and sabotage campaign in England.
- 1942 – Crash of TWA Flight 3, killing all 22 aboard, including film star Carole Lombard.
- 1945 – Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker.
- 1956 – President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt vows to reconquer Palestine.
- 1969 – Czech student Jan Palach commits suicide by self-immolation in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in protest against the Soviets' crushing of the Prague Spring the year before.
- 1969 – Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 perform the first-ever docking of manned spacecraft in orbit, the first-ever transfer of crew from one space vehicle to another, and the only time such a transfer was accomplished with a space walk.
- 1970 – Buckminster Fuller receives the Gold Medal award from the American Institute of Architects.
- 1973Anna Christian Waters disappears from her backyard. She is never found.
- 1979 – The Shah of Iran flees Iran with his family and relocates to Egypt.
- 1986 – First meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force.
- 1991 – The Coalition Forces go to war with Iraq, beginning the Gulf War (U.S. Time).
- 1992 – El Salvador officials and rebel leaders sign the Chapultepec Peace Accords in Mexico City, Mexico ending the 12-year Salvadoran Civil War that claimed at least 75,000.
- 2001 – Congolese President Laurent-Désiré Kabila is assassinated by one of his own bodyguards.
- 2001 – US President Bill Clinton awards former President Theodore Roosevelt a posthumous Medal of Honor for his service in the Spanish–American War.
- 2002 – The UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and the freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the remaining members of the Taliban.
- 2003 – The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.
- 2006 – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is sworn in as Liberia's new president. She becomes Africa's first female elected head of state.
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