2007 - Kitty Carlisle, American actress and television personality (b. 1910)
2008 - Danny Federici, organ player for E-Street Band (b. 1950)
1397 - Geoffrey Chaucer tells the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II. Chaucer scholars have also identified this date (in 1387) as when the book's pilgrimage to Canterbury starts.
1492 - Spain and Christopher Columbus sign a contract for him to sail to Asia to get spices.
1521 - Martin Luther speaks to the assembly at the Diet of Worms, refusing to recant his teachings.
1524 - Giovanni da Verrazzano reaches New York harbor.
1555 - After 18 months of siege, Siena surrenders to the Florentine-Imperial army. The Republic of Siena is incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
1797 - Sir Ralph Abercromby attacks San Juan, Puerto Rico in what would be one of the largest invasions to Spanish territories in America.
1861 - American Civil War: Virginia secedes from the United States.
1864 - American Civil War: Battle of Plymouth begins – Confederate forces attack Plymouth, North Carolina.
1865 - Mary Surratt is arrested as a conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
1895 - The Treaty of Shimonoseki between China and Japan is signed. This marks the end of the First Sino-Japanese War, and the defeated Qing Empire is forced to renounce its claims on Korea and to concede the southern portion of the Fengtien province, Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands to Japan.
1905 - The Supreme Court of the United States decides Lochner v. New York which held that the "right to free contract" was implicit in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
1907 - The Ellis Island immigration center processes 11,747 people, more than any other day.
1924 - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios is formed from a merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Company.
1941 - World War II: The Kingdom of Yugoslavia surrenders to Germany.
1942 - POW French General Henri Giraud escapes from his castle prison in Festung Königstein.
1961 - Bay of Pigs Invasion: A group of CIA finances and trains Cuban refugees lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.
1964 - The Ford Motor Company unveils the Ford Mustang at the New York World's Fair.
1964 - Jerrie Mock becomes the first woman to circumnavigate the world by air.
1973 - German counter-terrorist unit GSG 9 founded.
1975 - The Cambodian Civil War ends. The Khmer Rouge captures the capital Phnom Penh and Cambodian government forces surrender.
1982 - Patriation of the Canadian constitution in Ottawa by Proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.
1984 - Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher is killed by gunfire from the Libyan People's Bureau in London during a small demonstration outside the embassy. Ten others are wounded. The events lead to an 11-day siege of the building.
1986 - The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years' War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly ends.
1991 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 3,000 for the first time ever gaining 17.58 to 3,004.46.
2002 - Four Canadian Forces soldiers are killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire from two United States Air Force F-16s, the first deaths in a combat zone for Canada since the Korean War.
2009 - Thirty-four heads of state and government meet in Port of Spain, Trinidad for the 5th Summit of the Americas.