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- 1648 – Eighty Years' War: The Treaty of Münster and Osnabrück is signed, ending the conflict between the Netherlands and Spain.
- 1649 – King Charles I of England is beheaded.
- 1661 – Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England is ritually executed two years after his death, on the anniversary of the execution of the monarch he himself deposed.
- 1667 – The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth cedes Kiev, Smolensk, and left-bank Ukraine to the Tsardom of Russia in the Treaty of Andrusovo.
- 1703 – The Forty-seven Ronin, under the command of Oishi Kuranosuke, avenge the death of their master.
- 1790 – The first boat specializing as a lifeboat is tested on the River Tyne.
- 1806 – The original Lower Trenton Bridge (also called the Trenton Makes the World Takes Bridge), which spans the Delaware River between Morrisville, Pennsylvania and Trenton, New Jersey, is opened.
- 1820 – Edward Bransfield sights the Trinity Peninsula and claims the discovery of Antarctica.
- 1826 – The Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the world's first modern suspension bridge, connecting the Isle of Anglesey to the north West coast of Wales, is opened.
- 1835 – In the first assassination attempt against a President of the United States, Richard Lawrence attempts to shoot president Andrew Jackson, but fails and is subdued by a crowd, including several congressmen.
- 1841 – A fire destroys two-thirds of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
- 1847 – Yerba Buena, California is renamed San Francisco.
- 1858 – The first Hallé concert is given in Manchester, England, marking the official founding of the Hallé Orchestra as a full-time, professional orchestra.
- 1862 – The first American ironclad warship, the is launched.
- 1889 – Archduke Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, is found dead with his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera in Mayerling.
- 1902 – The first Anglo-Japanese Alliance is signed in London.
- 1911 – The destroyer makes the first airplane rescue at sea saving the life of James McCurdy 10 miles from Havana, Cuba.
- 1911 – The Canadian Naval Service becomes the Royal Canadian Navy.
- 1913 – The United Kingdom's House of Lords rejects the Irish Home Rule Bill.
- 1925 – The Government of Turkey throws Patriarch Constantine VI out of Istanbul.
- 1933 – Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.
- 1942 – World War II: Japanese forces invade the island of Ambon in the Dutch East Indies.
- 1943 – World War II: Second day of the Battle of Rennell Island. The is sunk and a U.S. destroyer is heavily damaged by Japanese torpedoes.
- 1944 – World War II: The Battle of Cisterna, part of Operation Shingle, begins in central Italy.
- 1944 – World War II: United States troops land on Majuro.
- 1945 – World War II: The Wilhelm Gustloff, overfilled with refugees, sinks in the Baltic Sea after being torpedoed by a Soviet submarine, leading to the deadliest known maritime disaster, killing approximately 9,400 people.
- 1945 – World War II: Raid at Cabanatuan: 126 American Rangers and Filipino resistance liberate 500 prisoners from the Cabanatuan POW camp.
- 1948 – Indian pacifist and leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi known for his non-violent freedom struggle is assassinated by Pandit Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist.
- 1956 – American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.'s home is bombed in retaliation for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- 1959 – , said to be the safest ship afloat and "unsinkable" like the , struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage and sank, killing all 95 aboard.
- 1960 – The African National Party is founded in Chad, through the merger of traditionalist parties.
- 1964 – Ranger program: Ranger 6 is launched.
- 1964 – In a bloodless coup, General Nguyen Khanh overthrows General Duong Van Minh's military junta in South Vietnam.
- 1969 – The Beatles' last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London. The impromptu concert is broken up by the police.
- 1971 – Carole King's Tapestry album is released, it would become the longest charting album by a female solo artist and sell 24 million copies worldwide.
- 1972 – Bloody Sunday: British Paratroopers kill fourteen unarmed civil rights/anti internment marchers in Northern Ireland.
- 1972 – Pakistan withdraws from the Commonwealth of Nations.
- 1975 – The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary is established as the first United States National Marine Sanctuary.
- 1979 – A Varig 707-323C freighter, flown by the same commander as Flight 820, disappears over the Pacific Ocean 30 minutes after taking off from Tokyo.
- 1982 – Richard Skrenta writes the first PC virus code, which is 400 lines long and disguised as an Apple boot program called "Elk Cloner".
- 1989 – The American embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan closes.
- 1994 – Péter Lékó becomes the youngest chess grand master.
- 1995 – Workers from the National Institutes of Health announce the success of clinical trials testing the first preventive treatment for sickle-cell disease.
- 1996 – Gino Gallagher, the suspected leader of the Irish National Liberation Army, is killed while waiting in line for his unemployment benefit.
- 2000 – Off the coast of Ivory Coast, Kenya Airways Flight 431 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean, killing 169.
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