800 – Charlemagne arrives at Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Pope Leo III.
1783 – A 5.3 magnitude earthquake strikes New Jersey.
1864 – American Indian Wars: Sand Creek massacre – Colorado volunteers led by Colonel John Chivington massacre at least 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants inside Colorado Territory.
1929 – U.S. Admiral Richard E. Byrd leads the first expedition to fly over the South Pole. He was an American naval officer who specialized in feats of exploration. A recipient of the Medal of Honor, and a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics.
1947 – Partition Plan: The United Nations General Assembly approves a plan for the partition of Palestine.
1952 – Korean War: U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfills a campaign promise by traveling to Korea to find out what can be done to end the conflict.
1961 – Project Mercury: Mercury-Atlas 5 Mission – Enos, a chimpanzee, is launched into space. The spacecraft orbits the Earth twice and splashes down off the coast of Puerto Rico.
1963 – Lyndon B. Johnson establishes the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
1972 – Atari announces the release of Pong, the first commercially successful video game.
1803 – Christian Doppler, Austrian mathematician and physicist (d. 1853)
1832 – Louisa May Alcott, American novelist and poet (d. 1888)
1898 – C. S. Lewis, British novelist, poet, and critic (d. 1963)
1908 – Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., pastor and politician (d. 1972)
1932 – Jacques Chirac, 22nd President of France
1933 – James Rosenquist, American painter and illustrator
1954 – Joel Coen, American director, producer, and screenwriter
1957 – Janet Napolitano, 3rd United States Secretary of Homeland Security
1314 – Philip IV of France (b. 1268)
1643 – Claudio Monteverdi, Italian priest and composer (b. 1567)
1924 – Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer and educator (b. 1858)
1975 – Graham Hill, English race car driver and businessman (b. 1929)
1986 – Cary Grant, English-American actor (b. 1904)
1993 – J. R. D. Tata, French-Indian pilot and businessman, founded Tata Motors and Tata Global Beverages (b. 1904)
1996 – Dan Flavin, American sculptor and illustrator (b. 1933)
2001 – George Harrison, Beatle (b. 1943)