49 BC – Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, signaling the start of civil war.
AD 9 – The Western Han dynasty ends when Wang Mang claims that the divine Mandate of Heaven called for the end of the dynasty and the beginning of his own, the Xin dynasty.
1645 – Archbishop William Laud is beheaded at the Tower of London.
1776 – Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet Common Sense.
1870 – John D. Rockefeller incorporates Standard Oil.
1901 – The first great Texas oil gusher is discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas.
1920 – The Treaty of Versailles takes effect, officially ending World War I.
1927 – Fritz Lang’s futuristic film Metropolis is released in Germany.
1962 – Apollo program: NASA announces plans to build the C-5 rocket launch vehicle, which became known as the Saturn V Moon rocket, which launched every Apollo Moon mission.
1990 – Time Warner is formed by the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications.
1573 – Simon Marius, German astronomer (d. 1624)
1780 – Martin Lichtenstein, German physician and explorer (d. 1857)
1887 – Robinson Jeffers, American poet and philosopher (d. 1962)
1924 – Max Roach, American drummer and composer (d. 2007)
1945 – Rod Stewart, English singer-songwriter
1953 – Bobby Rahal, American race car driver
1276 – Pope Gregory X (b. 1210)
1778 – Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist and physician (b. 1707)
1917 – Buffalo Bill, American soldier and hunter (b. 1846)
1961 – Dashiell Hammett, detective novelist and screenwriter (b. 1894)
1967 – Charles E. Burchfield, American painter (b. 1893)
2004 – Spalding Gray, actor and screenwriter (b. 1941) He is best known for the autobiographical monologues that he wrote and performed for the theater in the 1980s and 1990s. On January 11, 2004, Gray was declared missing. The night before his disappearance, he had taken his children to see Tim Burton’s film Big Fish. It ends with the line, “A man tells a story over and over so many times he becomes the story. In that way, he is immortal.” Gray’s widow, Kathie Russo, said after he disappeared, “You know, Spalding cried after he saw that movie. I just think it gave him permission. I think it gave him permission to die.” On March 7, 2004, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York reported that Gray’s body was discovered by two men and pulled from the East River. It is believed that Gray jumped off the side of the Staten Island Ferry. Gray had a history of depression, and his mother had killed herself in 1967.
2016 – David Bowie, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor (b. 1947)