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- 539 BC – Cyrus the Great enters the city of Babylon, detains Nabonidus and ends the Babylonian captivity. He gives the Jews permission to return to Yehud province and to rebuild the Temple; but most Jews choose to remain in Babylon.
- 312 – Constantine the Great enters Rome after his victory at the Milvian Bridge, stages a grand adventus in the city, and is met with popular jubilation. Maxentius' body is fished out of the Tiber and beheaded.
- 437 – Valentinian III, Western Roman Emperor, marries Licinia Eudoxia, daughter of his cousin Theodosius II, Eastern Roman Emperor in Constantinople unifying the two branches of the House of Theodosius.
- 969 – Byzantine troops occupy Antioch Syria.
- 1268 – Conradin, the last legitimate male heir of the Hohenstaufen dynasty of Kings of Germany and Holy Roman Emperors, is executed along with his companion Frederick I, Margrave of Baden by Charles I of Sicily, a political rival and ally to the hostile Roman Catholic church.
- 1390 – First trial for witchcraft in Paris leading to the death of three people.
- 1422 – Charles VII of France becomes king in succession to his father Charles VI of France.
- 1467 – Battle of Brustem: Charles the Bold defeats Liege.
- 1611 – Russian homage to the King of Poland, Sigismund III Vasa.
- 1618 – English adventurer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I of England.
- 1658 – Battle of the Sound.
- 1665 – Battle of Ambuila, in which Portuguese forces defeat the forces of the Kingdom of Kongo and decapitated king Antonio I of Kongo, also called Nvita a Nkanga.
- 1675 – Leibniz makes the first use of the long s (∫) as a symbol of the integral in calculus.
- 1787 – Mozart's opera Don Giovanni receives its first performance in Prague.
- 1792 – Mount Hood (Oregon) is named after the British naval officer Alexander Arthur Hood by Lt. William E. Broughton who spotted the mountain near the mouth of the Willamette River.
- 1863 – Eighteen countries meet in Geneva and agree to form the International Red Cross.
- 1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Wauhatchie – Forces under Union General Ulysses S. Grant repel a Confederate attack led by General James Longstreet. Union forces thus open a supply line into Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- 1886 – The first ticker-tape parade takes place in New York City when office workers spontaneously throw ticker tape into the streets as the Statue of Liberty is dedicated.
- 1888 – The Convention of Constantinople is signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace.
- 1901 – In Amherst, Massachusetts nurse Jane Toppan is arrested for murdering the Davis family of Boston with an overdose of morphine.
- 1901 – Capital punishment: Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of U.S. President William McKinley, is executed by electrocution.
- 1918 – The German High Seas Fleet is incapacitated when sailors mutiny on the night of the 29th-30th, an action which would trigger the German Revolution of 1918–1919.
- 1921 – The Link River Dam, a part of the Klamath Reclamation Project, is completed.
- 1921 – Second trial of Sacco and Vanzetti in the United States of America.
- 1921 – The Harvard University football team loses to Centre College, ending a 25 game winning streak. This is considered one of the biggest upsets in college football.
- 1922 – The King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, appoints Benito Mussolini as Prime Minister.
- 1923 – Turkey becomes a republic following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
- 1929 – The New York Stock Exchange crashes in what will be called the Crash of '29 or "Black Tuesday", ending the Great Bull Market of the 1920s and beginning the Great Depression.
- 1941 – The Holocaust: In the Kaunas Ghetto over 10,000 Jews are shot by German occupiers at the Ninth Fort, a massacre known as the "Great Action".
- 1942 – The Holocaust: In the United Kingdom, leading clergymen and political figures hold a public meeting to register outrage over Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews.
- 1944 – The city of Breda in the Netherlands is liberated by 1st Polish Armoured Division.
- 1945 – Getulio Vargas, president of Brazil, resigns.
- 1948 – Safsaf massacre.
- 1953 – BCPA Flight 304 DC-6 crashes near San Francisco, California. Pianist William Kapell is among the 19 killed.
- 1955 – The Soviet battleship Novorossiisk strikes a World War II mine in the harbor at Sevastopol.
- 1956 – Suez Crisis begins: Israeli forces invade the Sinai Peninsula and push Egyptian forces back toward the Suez Canal.
- 1956 – The Tangier Protocol is signed: The international city Tangier is reintegrated into Morocco.
- 1957 – Israel's prime minister David Ben-Gurion and five of his ministers are injured when a hand grenade is tossed into Israel's parliament, the Knesset.
- 1960 – In Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Clay (who later takes the name Muhammad Ali) wins his first professional fight.
- 1961 – Syria exits from the United Arab Republic.
- 1964 – The United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar is renamed the United Republic of Tanzania.
- 1964 – A collection of irreplaceable gems, including the 565 carat (113 g) Star of India, is stolen by a group of thieves (among them is "Murph the surf") from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
- 1967 – London criminal Jack McVitie is murdered by the Kray twins, leading to their eventual imprisonment and downfall.
- 1967 – Montreal's World Fair, Expo 67, closes with over 50 million visitors.
- 1969 – The first-ever computer-to-computer link is established on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet.
- 1971 – In Macon, Georgia, guitarist Duane Allman is killed in a motorcycle accident.
- 1980 – Demonstration flight of a secretly modified C-130 for an Iran hostage crisis rescue attempt ends in crash landing at Eglin Air Force Base's Duke Field, Florida leading to cancellation of Operation Credible Sport.
- 1980 – Mark David Chapman, John Lennon's murderer, leaves for New York from his home in Hawaii.
- 1983 – Over 500,000 people demonstrate against cruise missiles in The Hague, Netherlands.
- 1985 – Major General Samuel K. Doe is announced the winner of the first multi-party election in Liberia.
- 1986 – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opens the last stretch of the M25 motorway.
- 1991 – The American Galileo spacecraft makes its closest approach to 951 Gaspra, becoming the first probe to visit an asteroid.
- 1994 – Francisco Martin Duran fires over two dozen shots at the White House (Duran is later convicted of trying to kill US President Bill Clinton).
- 1998 – Apartheid: In South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presents its report, which condemns both sides for committing atrocities.
- 1998 – Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off on STS-95 with 77-year old John Glenn on board, making him the oldest person to go into space.
- 1998 – ATSC HDTV broadcasting in the United States is inaugurated with the launch of STS-95 space shuttle mission.
- 1998 – While en route from Adana to Ankara, a Turkish Airlines flight with a crew of 6 and 33 passengers is hijacked by a Kurdish militant who orders the pilot to fly to Switzerland. The plane instead lands in Ankara after the pilot tricked the hijacker into thinking that he is landing in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia to refuel.
- 1998 – Hurricane Mitch, the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history, makes landfall in Honduras.
- 1998 – The Gothenburg nightclub fire in Sweden kills 63 and injures 200.
- 1999 – A large cyclone devastates Orissa, India.
- 2002 – Ho Chi Minh City ITC Inferno, a fire destroys a luxurious department store where 1500 people are shopping. Over 60 people die and over 100 are unaccounted for. It is the deadliest disaster in Vietnam during peacetime.
- 2004 – The Arabic news network Al Jazeera broadcasts an excerpt from a video of Osama bin Laden in which the terrorist leader first admits direct responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks and references the 2004 U.S. presidential election.
- 2004 – In Rome, European heads of state sign the Treaty and Final Act establishing the first European Constitution which, however, failed to be ratified by all signatory countries and therefore never entered into force.
- 2005 – Bombings in Delhi kill more than 60.
- 2008 – Delta Air Lines merges with Northwest Airlines, creating the world's largest airline and reducing the number of US legacy carriers to 5.
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