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- 1081 – Alexios I Komnenos is crowned Byzantine emperor at Constantinople, bringing the Komnenian dynasty to full power.
- 1242 – During a battle on the ice of Lake Peipus, Russian forces, led by Alexander Nevsky, rebuff an invasion attempt by the Teutonic Knights.
- 1566 – Two-hundred Dutch noblemen, led by Hendrik van Brederode, force themselves into the presence of Margaret of Parma and present the Petition of Compromise, denouncing the Spanish Inquisition in the Netherlands. The Inquisition is suspended and a delegation is sent to Spain to petition Philip II.
- 1609 – Daimyo (Lord) of the Satsuma Domain in southern Kyushu, Japan, completes his successful invasion of the Ryukyu Kingdom in Okinawa.
- 1614 – In Virginia, Native American Pocahontas marries English colonist John Rolfe.
- 1621 – The Mayflower sets sail from Plymouth, Massachusetts on a return trip to England.
- 1722 – The Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen discovers Easter Island.
- 1792 – U.S. President George Washington exercises his authority to veto a bill, the first time this power is used in the United States.
- 1804 – High Possil Meteorite: The first recorded meteorite in Scotland falls in Possil.
- 1818 – In the Battle of Maipú, Chile's independence movement – led by Bernardo O'Higgins and José de San Martín – win a decisive victory over Spain, leaving 2,000 Spaniards and 1,000 Chilean patriots dead.
- 1847 – Birkenhead Park, the first civic public park, is opened in Birkenhead.
- 1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Yorktown begins.
- 1879 – Chile declares war on Bolivia and Peru, starting the War of the Pacific.
- 1900 – Archaeologists in Knossos, Crete, discover a large cache of clay tablets with hieroglyphic writing in a script they call Linear B.
- 1904 – The first international rugby league match is played between England and an Other Nationalities team (Welsh & Scottish players) in Central Park, Wigan, England.
- 1922 – The American Birth Control League, forerunner of Planned Parenthood, is incorporated.
- 1923 – Firestone Tire and Rubber Company begins production of balloon-tires.
- 1930 – Mahatma Gandhi ends a 241 mile march to Dandi in the Salt Satyagraha.
- 1932 – Alcohol prohibition in Finland ends. Alcohol sales begin in Alko liquor stores.
- 1932 – Dominion of Newfoundland: 10,000 rioters seize the Colonial Building leading to the end of self-government.
- 1933 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs two executive orders: 6101 to establish the Civilian Conservation Corps, and 6102 "forbidding the Hoarding of Gold Coin, Gold Bullion, and Gold Certificates" by U.S. citizens.
- 1936 – Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak: An F5 tornado kills 233 in Tupelo, Mississippi.
- 1942 – World War II: The Imperial Japanese Navy launches a carrier-based air attack on Colombo, Ceylon during the Indian Ocean Raid. Port and civilian facilities are damaged and the Royal Navy cruisers and are sunk southwest of the island.
- 1943 – World War II: American bomber aircraft accidentally cause more than 900 civilian deaths, including 209 children, and 1300 wounded among the civilian population of the Belgian town of Mortsel. The target is the Erla factory one kilometer from the residential area hit.
- 1944 – World War II: 270 inhabitants of the Greek town of Kleisoura are executed by the Germans.
- 1945 – Cold War: Yugoslav leader Josip "Tito" Broz signs an agreement with the Soviet Union to allow "temporary entry of Soviet troops into Yugoslav territory".
- 1946 – Soviet troops leave the island of Bornholm, Denmark after an 11 month occupation.
- 1949 – Fireside Theater debuts on television.
- 1949 – A fire in a hospital in Effingham, Illinois, kills 77 people and leads to nationwide fire code improvements in the United States.
- 1951 – Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are sentenced to death for performing espionage for the Soviet Union.
- 1955 – Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom amid indications of failing health.
- 1956 – Fidel Castro declares himself at war with the President of Cuba.
- 1956 – In Sri Lanka, the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna win the general elections in a landslide and S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike is sworn in as the Prime Minister.
- 1957 – In India, Communists win the first elections in united Kerala and E.M.S. Namboodiripad is sworn in as the first chief minister.
- 1958 – Ripple Rock, an underwater threat to navigation in the Seymour Narrows in Canada is destroyed in one of the largest non-nuclear controlled explosions of the time.
- 1969 – Vietnam War: Massive antiwar demonstrations occur in many U.S. cities.
- 1971 – In Sri Lanka, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna launches insurrection against the United Front government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike.
- 1976 – In the People's Republic of China, the April Fifth Movement leads to the Tiananmen incident.
- 1986 – Three people are killed in the bombing of the La Belle Discothèque in West Berlin, Germany.
- 1991 – An ASA EMB 120 crashes in Brunswick, Georgia, killing all 23 aboard.
- 1992 – Alberto Fujimori, president of Peru, dissolves the Peruvian congress by military force.
- 1992 – The Siege of Sarajevo begins when Serb paramilitaries murder peace protesters Suada Dilberovic and Olga Sucic on the Vrbanja Bridge.
- 1998 – In Japan, the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge linking Awaji Island with Honshu and costing about $3.8 billion USD, opens to traffic, becoming the largest suspension bridge in the world.
- 1999 – Two Libyans suspected of bringing down Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 are handed over for eventual trial in the Netherlands.
- 2009 – North Korea launches its controversial Kwangmyongsong-2 rocket. The satellite passed over mainland Japan, which prompted an immediate reaction from the United Nations Security Council, as well as participating states of Six-party talks.
- 2010 – Twenty-nine coal miners are killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia.
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