1782 – American Revolutionary War: Treaty of Paris: In Paris, representatives from the United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain sign preliminary peace articles (later formalized as the 1783 Treaty of Paris).
1786 – The Grand Duchy of Tuscany, under Pietro Leopoldo I, becomes the first modern state to abolish the death penalty (later commemorated as Cities for Life Day).
1803 – In New Orleans, Spanish representatives officially transfer the Louisiana Territory to a French representative. Just 20 days later, France transfers the same land to the United States as the Louisiana Purchase.
1934 – The LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman becomes the first steam locomotive to be authenticated as reaching 100 mph. Click here to watch it roar through the station
1936 – In London, the Crystal Palace is destroyed by fire.
1972 – Vietnam War: White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler tells the press that there will be no more public announcements concerning American troop withdrawals from Vietnam because troop levels are now down to 27,000.
1982 – Michael Jackson’s second solo album, Thriller is released worldwide. It will become the best-selling record album in history.
1995 – Official end of Operation Desert Storm.
1998 – Exxon and Mobil sign a $73.7 billion agreement to merge, thus creating ExxonMobil, the world’s largest company.
1999 – In Seattle, United States, demonstrations against a World Trade Organization meeting by anti-globalization protesters catch police unprepared and force the cancellation of opening ceremonies.
1667 – Jonathan Swift, Irish satirist and essayist (d. 1745)
1723 – William Livingston, American lawyer and politician, first Governor of New Jersey (d. 1790)
1835 – Mark Twain, American novelist, humorist, and critic(d. 1910)
1874 – Winston Churchill, English colonel, journalist, and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1965)
1874 – Lucy Maud Montgomery, English-Canadian author and poet
1904 – Clyfford Still, American painter and educator (d. 1980)
1912 – Gordon Parks, American photographer and director (d. 2006)
1924 – Shirley Chisholm, American activist, educator and politician
1930 – G. Gordon Liddy, American lawyer, radio host, and Watergate criminal
1936 – Abbie Hoffman, American activist and author, co-founded the Youth International Party (d. 1989)
1952 – Mandy Patinkin, American actor
1954 – Lawrence Summers, American economist and academic
1761 – John Dollond, English optician and astronomer (b. 1706)
1900 – Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s
1953 – Francis Picabia, French painter and poet (b. 1879)
1979 – Zeppo Marx, American actor and comedian (b. 1901)
1996 – Tiny Tim, American singer and ukulele player (b. 1932)
2007 – Evel Knievel, American motorcycle rider and stuntman (b. 1938)