714 – Pepin of Herstal, mayor of the Merovingian palace, dies at Jupille (modern Belgium). He is succeeded by his infant grandson Theudoald while his wife Plectrude holds actual power in the Frankish Kingdom.
1431 – Hundred Years’ War: Henry VI of England is crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris.
1773 – American Revolution: Boston Tea Party: Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawk Indians dump hundreds of crates of tea into Boston harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.
1811 – The first two in a series of four severe earthquakes occur in the vicinity of New Madrid, Missouri.
1903 – Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel in Bombay first opens its doors to the guests.
1920 – The Haiyuan earthquake, magnitude 8.5, rocks the Gansu province in China, killing an estimated 200,000.
1930 – Bank robber Herman Lamm and members of his crew are killed by a 200-strong posse, following a botched bank robbery, in Clinton, Indiana.
1947 – William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain build the first practical point-contact transistor.
1960 – A United Airlines Douglas DC-8 and a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation collide over Staten Island, and crash, killing all 128 people aboard both aircraft and six more on the ground.
1965 – Vietnam War: General William Westmoreland sends U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara a request for 243,000 more men by the end of 1966.
1978 – Cleveland, Ohio becomes the first major American city to default on its financial obligations since the Great Depression.
1985 – Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti are shot dead on the orders of John Gotti, who assumes leadership of New York’s Gambino crime family.
2014 – Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan militants attacked an Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 145 people, mostly schoolchildren.
1485 – Catherine of Aragon (d. 1536)
1770 – Ludwig van Beethoven, composer (d. 1827)
1775 – Jane Austen, English author (d. 1817)
1866 – Wassily Kandinsky, was a Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting one of the first purely abstract works. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa, where he graduated at Grekov Odessa Art school. He died in 1944.
1901 – Margaret Mead, American anthropologist and author (d. 1978)
1917 – Arthur C. Clarke, English-Sri Lankan soldier and author (d. 2008)
1937 – Edward Ruscha, American painter and photographer
1938 – Liv Ullmann, Norwegian actress, director, and screenwriter
1943 – Steven Bochco, American screenwriter and producer
1474 – Ali Qushji, Uzbek astronomer, mathematician, and physicist (b. 1403)
1921 – Camille Saint-Saëns, French pianist, composer (b. 1835)
1945 – Giovanni Agnelli, Italian businessman, founded the Fiat Automobile Company (b. 1866)
1965 – W. Somerset Maugham, author and playwright (b. 1874)
1982 – Colin Chapman, English engineer and businessman, founded Lotus Cars (b. 1928)
2004 – Agnes Martin, American painter and educator (b. 1912)
2009 – Roy E. Disney, American businessman, brother of Walt (b. 1930)