455 – Emperor Avitus enters Rome with a Gallic army and consolidates his power.
1776 – Part of New York City is burned shortly after being occupied by British forces.
1792 – French Revolution: The National Convention declares France a republic and abolishes the absolute monarchy.
1897 – The “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial is published in the New York Sun.
1776 The Great Fire of New York was a devastating fire that burned through the night of September 20, 1776, and into the morning of September 21, on the West Side of what then constituted New York City at the southern end of the island of Manhattan. The fire destroyed about one third of the city.
1921 – A storage silo in Oppau, Germany, explodes, killing 500-600 people.
1934 – A large typhoon hits western Honshu, Japan, killing 3,036 people.
1937 – J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is published.
1938 – The Great Hurricane of 1938 makes landfall on Long Island in New York. The death toll is estimated at 500-700 people.
1942 – The Boeing B-29 Superfortress makes its maiden flight.
1961 – Maiden flight of the Boeing CH-47 Chinook transportation helicopter.
1964 – The North American XB-70 Valkyrie, the world’s first Mach 3 bomber, makes its maiden flight from Palmdale, California.
1972 – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos signs Proclamation #1081, placing the entire country under martial law and marking the beginning of his authoritarian rule.
1976 – Orlando Letelier is assassinated in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Chilean socialist government of Salvador Allende, overthrown in 1973 by Augusto Pinochet. Letelier was killed by a car bomb explosion on September 21, 1976, in Sheridan Circle in Washington, D.C., along with his American co-worker, Ronni Karpen Moffitt.
1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor is unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice.
1993 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin suspends parliament and scraps the then-functioning constitution, thus triggering the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993.
2003 – Galileo mission is terminated by sending the probe into Jupiter’s atmosphere, where it is crushed by the pressure at the lower altitudes.
2013 – al-Shabaab Islamic militants attack the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 67 people.
1415 – Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1493)
1645 – Louis Jolliet, Canadian explorer (d. 1700)
1706 – Polyxena of Hesse-Rotenburg (d. 1735)
1756 – John Loudon McAdam, Scottish engineer (d. 1836)
1840 – Murad V, Ottoman sultan (d. 1904)
1866 – H. G. Wells, English historian, author, and critic (d. 1946)
1902 – Allen Lane, English publisher, founded Penguin Books (d. 1970)
1912 – Chuck Jones, animator, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2002)
1945 – Jerry Bruckheimer, American film and television producer
1947 – Stephen King, American author and screenwriter
1950 – Bill Murray, American actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter
1970 – Samantha Power, Irish-born American journalist, academic, and diplomat, 28th United States Ambassador to the United Nations
19 BC – Virgil, Roman poet (b. 70 BC)
1576 – Gerolamo Cardano, mathematician, physician, and astrologer