1864 - American Civil War: Confederate General John Bell Hood evacuates Atlanta, Georgia after a four-month siege by General Sherman.
1870 - Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Sedan is fought, resulting in a decisive Prussian victory.
1873 - Cetshwayo ascends to the throne as king of the Zulu nation following the death of his father Mpande.
1875 - A murder conviction effectively forces the violent Irish anti-owner coal miners, the "Molly Maguires", to disband.
1894 - Great Hinckley Fire: A forest fire in Hinckley, Minnesota, kills more than 400 people.
1897 - The Boston subway opens, becoming the first underground rapid transit system in North America.
1902 - A Trip to the Moon, considered one of the first science fiction films, is released in France.
1905 - Alberta and Saskatchewan join the Canadian confederation.
1906 - The International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI) is established.
1914 - St. Petersburg, Russia changes its name to Petrograd.
1914 - The last passenger pigeon, a female named Martha, dies in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo.
1923 - The Great Kantō earthquake devastates Tokyo and Yokohama, killing about 105,000 people.
1928 - Ahmet Zogu declares Albania to be a monarchy and proclaims himself king.
1934 - SMJK Sam Tet was founded by Father Fourgs from the St. Michael Church, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
1939 - World War II: Nazi Germany attacks Poland, beginning the war. (See Invasion of Poland.)
1939 - George C. Marshall becomes Chief of Staff of the United States Army.
1939 - The Wound Badge for Wehrmacht, SS, Kriegsmarine, and Luftwaffe soldiers is instituted. The final version of the Iron Cross was also instituted on this date.
1939 - Switzerland mobilizes its forces and the Swiss Parliament elects Henri Guisan to head the Swiss Army (an event that can happen only during war or mobilization).
1951 - The United States, Australia and New Zealand sign a mutual defense pact, called the ANZUS Treaty.
1961 - The Eritrean War of Independence officially begins with the shooting of the Ethiopian police by Hamid Idris Awate
1962 - Channel Television launches to 54,000 households in the Channel Islands.
1964 - Indian Oil Corporation formed after merging Indian Oil Refineries and Indian Oil Company.
1969 - A revolution in Libya brings Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi to power, which was later transferred to the People's Committees.
1970 - Attempted assassination of King Hussein of Jordan by Palestinian guerillas, who attacked his motorcade.
1972 - In Reykjavík, Iceland, American Bobby Fischer beats Russian Boris Spassky and becomes the world chess champion.
1974 - The SR-71 Blackbird sets (and holds) the record for flying from New York to London: 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds.
1979 - The American space probe Pioneer 11 becomes the first spacecraft to visit Saturn when it passes the planet at a distance of 21,000 km.
1980 - Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope ends in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
1981 - A coup d'état in the Central African Republic overthrows President David Dacko.
1982 - Canada adopts a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as part of its Constitution.
1982 - The United States Air Force Space Command is founded.
1983 - Cold War: Korean Air Flight 007 is shot down by a Soviet Union jet fighter when the commercial aircraft enters Soviet airspace. All 269 on board are killed, including United States Congressmen Lawrence McDonald.
1985 - A joint American-French expedition locates the wreck of the RMS Titanic.
1990 - The Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist is founded, following a split from the Communist Labour Party of Turkey.
1991 - Uzbekistan declares independence from the Soviet Union
2004 - The Beslan school hostage crisis begins when armed terrorists take hundreds of school children and adults hostage in the Russian town of Beslan in North Ossetia.
2005 - Seven members and former members of the AFL-CIO form a new trade union organization, the Change to Win Federation.
2006 - Luxembourg became the first country to complete the move to all digital television broadcasting.