46 BC – Julius Caesar dedicates a temple to his mythical ancestor Venus Genetrix in accordance with a vow he made at the battle of Pharsalus.
1087 – William II is crowned King of England, and reigns until 1100.
1580 – Sir Francis Drake finishes his circumnavigation of the Earth.
1687 – The Parthenon is partially destroyed by bombs from Venetian forces besieging the Ottoman Turks stationed in Athens.
1777 – In the American Revolution, British troops occupy Philadelphia.
1789 – Thomas Jefferson is appointed the first United States Secretary of State, John Jay is appointed the first Chief Justice of the United States, Samuel Osgood is appointed the first United States Postmaster General, and Edmund Randolph is appointed the first United States Attorney General.
1933 – As gangster Machine Gun Kelly surrenders to the FBI, he shouts out, “Don’t shoot, G-Men!”, which becomes a nickname for FBI agents.
1934 – Steamship RMS Queen Mary is launched. The ocean liner sailed for the Cunard Line (known as Cunard-White Star Line when the vessel entered service). Queen Mary and her sister ship, RMS Queen Elizabeth, were built as Cunard’s weekly express service between Southampton, Cherbourg, and New York City. Queen Mary was retired from service in 1967 and sailed to Long Beach, CA, to become a tourist attraction. The ship ceased operations in May 2020.
1960 – In Chicago, the first televised debate takes place between presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy.
1969 – Abbey Road, the last recorded album by the Beatles, is released.
1973 – Concorde makes its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time.
1983 – Soviet nuclear false alarm: Military officer Stanislav Petrov identifies a report of an incoming nuclear missile as a computer error and not an American first strike.
2008 – Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy is the first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel.Leaping from a helicopter at an altitude of 8,200 feet over France, Rossy crossed the English Channel with a single jet-powered wing strapped on his back, wearing only a helmet and a flight suit for protection. Reaching speeds of over 125 miles per hour, he made the 22-mile flight to England in 13 minutes.
1181 Saint Francis of Assisi, Italian founder of the Franciscan Order (d. 1226)
1774 – Johnny Appleseed, gardener and environmentalist (d. 1845)
1874 – Lewis Hine, photographer and activist (d. 1940)
1888 – T. S. Eliot, poet, playwright, critic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1965)
1897 – Pope Paul VI (d. 1978)
1898 – George Gershwin, Born in Brooklyn (d. 1937)
1914 – Jack LaLanne, fitness expert (d. 2011)
1981 – Serena Williams, tennis player (23 Grand Slam titles)
1716 – Antoine Parent, mathematician and theorist (b. 1666)
1820 – Daniel Boone, hunter and explorer (b. 1734)
1868 – August Ferdinand Möbius, mathematician and astronomer (b. 1790)
1902 – Levi Strauss, businessman, founded Levi Strauss & Co. (b. 1829)
1945 – Béla Bartók, pianist, composer, and ethno-musicologist, dies of leukemia at 64
1946 – William Strunk Jr., grammarian and author (“The Elements of Style”), dies at 77
1952 – George Santayana, philosopher, novelist, and poet (b. 1863)
1984 – Paquirri, Spanish bullfighter (b. 1948)
2006 – Tokyo Rose [Iva Toguri D’Aquino], American-born Japanese propagandist (WWII), dies at 90
2008 – Paul Newman, actor, film director, entrepreneur, professional race car driver and team owner, environmentalist, activist, philanthropist, co-founder of Newman’s Own food company. As of December 31, 2015, Newman’s Own profits donated to charity totaled over $460 million (b. 1925)
2019 – Jacques Chirac, President of France (1995-2007) and Prime Minister of France (1974-76, 1986-88), dies at 86