320 – Pappus of Alexandria, Greek philosopher, observes an eclipse of the Sun and writes a commentary on The Great Astronomer.
1009 – The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a Christian church in Jerusalem, is completely destroyed by the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who hacks the Church’s foundations down to bedrock.
1081 – The Normans defeat the Byzantine Empire in the Battle of Dyrrhachium.
1356 – Basel earthquake, the most significant historic seismological event north of the Alps, destroys the town of Basel, Switzerland.
1386 – Opening of Heidelberg University. Heidelberg University is a public research university and is Germany’s oldest university.
1851 – Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick is first published as The Whale by Richard Bentley of London.
1867 – United States takes possession of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for $7.2 million. Celebrated annually in the state as Alaska Day.
1898 – The United States takes possession of Puerto Rico from Spain.
1922 – The British Broadcasting Company (later Corporation) is founded by a consortium, to establish a nationwide network of radio transmitters to provide a national broadcasting service.
1945 – The USSR’s nuclear program receives plans for the United States plutonium bomb from Klaus Fuchs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
1954 – Texas Instruments announces the first transistor radio.
1130 – Zhu Xi, Chinese philosopher (d. 1200)
1679 – Ann Putnam, Jr., American witness in the Salem witch trials (d. 1716)
1836 – Frederick August Otto Schwarz, American businessman, founded FAO Schwarz (d. 1911)
1904 – A. J. Liebling, American journalist and author (d. 1963)
1919 – Pierre Trudeau, Canadian lawyer, academic, and politician, 15th Prime Minister of Canada (d. 2000)
1927 – George C. Scott, American actor and director (d. 1999)
1947 – Laura Nyro, American singer-songwriter and pianist (d. 1997)
1950 – Wendy Wasserstein, American playwright and author (d. 2006)
1141 – Leopold, Duke of Bavaria (b. 1108)
1871 – Charles Babbage, English mathematician and engineer, invented the mechanical computer and is best known for originating the concept of a machine that could be programed to do more than one thing (b. 1791)
1931 – Thomas Edison, American engineer and businessman, invented the first practicle light bulb and phonograph (b. 1847)
1966 – S. S. Kresge, American businessman, founded Kmart (b. 1867)