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- 537 – The Hagia Sophia is completed.
- 1512 – The Spanish Crown issues the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regard to native Indians in the New World.
- 1655 – Second Northern War/the Deluge: Monks at the Jasna Góra Monastery in Czestochowa are successful in fending off a month-long siege.
- 1657 – The Flushing Remonstrance is signed.
- 1703 – Portugal and England sign the Methuen Treaty which gives preference to Portuguese imported wines into England.
- 1814 – War of 1812: The American schooner USS Carolina is destroyed. It was the last of Commodore Daniel Patterson's makeshift fleet that fought a series of delaying actions that contributed to Andrew Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans.
- 1831 – Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, during which he will begin to formulate the theory of evolution.
- 1836 – The worst ever avalanche in England occurs at Lewes, Sussex, killing 8 people.
- 1845 – Ether anesthetic is used for childbirth for the first time by Dr. Crawford Williamson Long in Jefferson, Georgia.
- 1911 – "Jana Gana Mana", the national anthem of India, is first sung in the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress.
- 1918 – The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans begins.
- 1922 – Japanese aircraft carrier Hosho becomes the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world.
- 1923 – Namba Daisuke, a Japanese student, tries to assassinate the Prince Regent Hirohito.
- 1927 – Show Boat, considered to be the first true American musical, opens at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway.
- 1939 – Erzincan, Turkey is hit by an earthquake, killing 30,000.
- 1939 – Winter War: Finland holds off a Soviet attack in the Battle of Kelja.
- 1942 – The Union of Pioneers of Yugoslavia is founded.
- 1945 – The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are created with the signing of an agreement by 29 nations.
- 1949 – Indonesian National Revolution: The Netherlands officially recognizes Indonesian independence. End of the Dutch East Indies.
- 1966 – The Cave of Swallows, the largest known cave shaft in the world, is discovered in Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
- 1968 – Apollo Program: Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.
- 1978 – Spain becomes a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.
- 1978 – The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in the South Pole recorded temperatures of 7.5 °F (-13.6 °C), making it the highest temperature to ever be recorded in the South Pole.
- 1979 – The Soviet Union invades the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
- 1985 – Palestinian guerrillas kill eighteen people inside Rome and Vienna airports.
- 1996 – Taliban forces retake the strategic Bagram air base which solidifies their buffer zone around Kabul.
- 1997 – Protestant paramilitary leader Billy Wright is assassinated in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.
- 2001 – The People's Republic of China is granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States.
- 2002 – Two truck bombs kill 72 and wound 200 at the pro-Moscow headquarters of the Chechen government in Grozny, Chechnya.
- 2002 – The company Clonaid announces that it has successfully cloned a human being, although it has never presented any verifiable evidence.
- 2004 – Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reaches Earth. It is the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet.
- 2007 – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in a shooting incident.
- 2007 – Riots erupt in Mombasa, Kenya, after Mwai Kibaki is declared the winner of the presidential election, triggering a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis.
- 2008 – Israel launches 3-week operation on Gaza - Operation Cast Lead.
- 2009 – Iranian election protests: On the Day of Ashura in Tehran, government security forces fire upon demonstrators.
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