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- 3102 BCE – Epoch (origin) of the Kali Yuga.
- 393 – Roman Emperor Theodosius I proclaims his eight year old son Honorius co-emperor.
- 971 – In China, the war elephant corps of the Southern Han are soundly defeated at Shao by crossbow fire from Song Dynasty troops.
- 1368 – In a coronation ceremony, Zhu Yuanzhang ascends to the throne of China as the Hongwu Emperor, initiating Ming Dynasty rule over China that would last for three centuries.
- 1510 – Henry VIII of England, then 18 years old, appears incognito in the lists at Richmond, and is applauded for his jousting before he reveals his identity.
- 1546 – Having published nothing for eleven years, François Rabelais publishes the Tiers Livre, his sequel to Gargantua and Pantagruel.
- 1556 – The deadliest earthquake in history, the Shaanxi earthquake, hits Shaanxi province, China. The death toll may have been as high as 830,000.
- 1570 – James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, regent for the infant King James VI of Scotland, is assassinated by firearm, the first recorded instance of such.
- 1571 – The Royal Exchange opens in London.
- 1579 – The Union of Utrecht forms a Protestant republic in the Netherlands.
- 1656 – Blaise Pascal publishes the first of his Lettres provinciales.
- 1719 – The Principality of Liechtenstein is created within the Holy Roman Empire.
- 1789 – Georgetown College, the first Catholic University in the United States, is founded in Georgetown, Maryland (now a part of Washington, D.C.)
- 1793 – Second Partition of Poland: Russia and Prussia partition Poland for the second time.
- 1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell is awarded her M.D. by the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, New York, becoming the United States' first female doctor.
- 1855 – The first bridge over the Mississippi River opens in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota, a crossing made today by the Father Louis Hennepin Bridge.
- 1870 – In Montana, U.S. cavalrymen kill 173 Native Americans, mostly women and children, in the Marias Massacre.
- 1879 – Anglo-Zulu War: the Battle of Rorke's Drift ends.
- 1897 – Elva Zona Heaster is found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The resulting murder trial of her husband is perhaps the only case in United States history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.
- 1899 – Emilio Aguinaldo is sworn in as President of the First Philippine Republic.
- 1900 – The Battle of Spion Kop between the forces of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State and British forces during the Second Boer War resulted in a British defeat.
- 1904 – Ålesund Fire: the Norwegian coastal town Ålesund is devastated by fire, leaving 10,000 people homeless and one person dead. Kaiser Wilhelm II funds the rebuilding of the town in Jugendstil style.
- 1912 – The International Opium Convention is signed at The Hague.
- 1920 – The Netherlands refuses to surrender ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to the Allies.
- 1937 – In Moscow, 17 leading Communists go on trial accused of participating in a plot led by Leon Trotsky to overthrow Joseph Stalin's regime and assassinate its leaders.
- 1941 – Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.
- 1942 – World War II: The Battle of Rabaul begins, the first fighting of the New Guinea campaign.
- 1943 – World War II: Troops of Montgomery's 8th Army capture Tripoli in Libya from the German-Italian Panzer Army.
- 1943 – World War II: Australian and American forces finally defeat the Japanese army in Papua. This turning point in the Pacific War marks the beginning of the end of Japanese aggression.
- 1943 – Duke Ellington plays at Carnegie Hall in New York City for the first time.
- 1943 – World War II: The Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse on Guadalcanal during the Guadalcanal campaign ends.
- 1945 – World War II: Karl Dönitz launches Operation Hannibal.
- 1950 – The Knesset passes a resolution that states Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
- 1957 – American inventor Walter Frederick Morrison sells the rights to his flying disc to the Wham-O toy company, who later rename it the "Frisbee".
- 1958 – Overthrow in Venezuela of Marcos Pérez Jiménez
- 1960 – The bathyscaphe USS Trieste breaks a depth record by descending to 10,911 m (35,798 feet) in the Pacific Ocean.
- 1961 – The Portuguese luxury cruise ship Santa Maria is hijacked by foes of the Estado Novo regime with the intention of waging war until dictator António de Oliveira Salazar was overthrown.
- 1963 – Guinea-Bissau War of Independence officially begins when PAIGC guerrilla fighters attacked the Portuguese army stationed in Tite.
- 1964 – The 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the use of poll taxes in national elections, is ratified.
- 1967 – Diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Ivory Coast are established.
- 1968 – North Korea seizes the , claiming the ship had violated their territorial waters while spying.
- 1973 – President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam.
- 1973 – A volcanic eruption devastates Heimaey in the Vestmannaeyjar chain of islands off the south coast of Iceland.
- 1986 – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts its first members: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.
- 1997 – Madeleine Albright becomes the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of State.
- 2002 – "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh returns to the United States in FBI custody.
- 2002 – Reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan and subsequently murdered .
- 2003 – Final communication between Earth and Pioneer 10.
- 2010 – Protests take place in 60 Canadian cities against the prorogation of the 40th Canadian Parliament.
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