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- 41 – After a night of negotiation, Claudius is accepted as Roman Emperor by the Senate.
- 1533 – Henry VIII of England secretly marries his second wife Anne Boleyn.
- 1554 – Founding of São Paulo city, Brazil.
- 1755 – Moscow University is established on Tatiana Day.
- 1765 – Port Egmont, the first British settlement in the Falkland Islands at the southern tip of South America, is founded.
- 1791 – The British Parliament passes the Constitutional Act of 1791 and splits the old Province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada.
- 1792 – The London Corresponding Society is founded.
- 1858 – The Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn is played at the marriage of Queen Victoria's daughter, Victoria, and Friedrich of Prussia, and becomes a popular wedding recessional.
- 1881 – Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell form the Oriental Telephone Company.
- 1890 – Nellie Bly completes her round-the-world journey in 72 days.
- 1909 – Richard Strauss's opera Elektra receives its debut performance at the Dresden State Opera.
- 1915 – Alexander Graham Bell inaugurates U.S. transcontinental telephone service, speaking from New York to Thomas Watson in San Francisco.
- 1924 – The 1924 Winter Olympics opens in Chamonix, in the French Alps, inaugurating the Winter Olympic Games.
- 1932 – Second Sino-Japanese War: The Chinese National Revolutionary Army begins its defense of Harbin.
- 1937 – The Guiding Light debuts on NBC radio from Chicago. In 1952 it moves to CBS television, where it remains until Sept. 18, 2009.
- 1947 – Thomas Goldsmith Jr. files a patent for a cathode ray tubeamusement device
- 1949 – At the Hollywood Athletic Club the first Emmy Awards are presented.
- 1955 – The Soviet Union ends the state of war with Germany.
- 1960 – The National Association of Broadcasters reacts to the "payola" scandal by threatening fines for any disc jockeys who accept money for playing particular records.
- 1971 – Charles Manson and three female "Family" members are found guilty of the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders.
- 1971 – Idi Amin leads a coup deposing Milton Obote and becomes Uganda's president.
- 1981 – Jiang Qing, the widow of Mao Zedong, is sentenced to death.
- 2003 – 2003 Invasion of Iraq: A group of people leave London, England, for Baghdad, Iraq, to serve as human shields, intending to prevent the U.S.-led coalition troops from bombing certain locations.
- 750 – Leo IV the Khazar, Byzantine emperor (d. 780)
- 1627 – Robert Boyle, Irish chemist (d. 1691)
- 1736 – Joseph-Louis Lagrange, Italian-French mathematician and astronomer (d. 1813)
- 1759 – Robert Burns, Scottish poet (d. 1796)
- 1874 – W. Somerset Maugham, French-English author and playwright (d. 1965)
- 1882 – Virginia Woolf, English author and critic (d. 1941)
- 1886 – Wilhelm Furtwängler, German conductor and composer (d. 1954)
- 1915 – Ewan MacColl, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor (d. 1989)
- 1928 – Eduard Shevardnadze, Georgian politician, 2nd President of Georgia
- 1931 – Dean Jones, American actor and singer
- 1981 – Alicia Keys, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and actress
- 1989 – Mikako Tabe, Japanese actress
- 1993 – Kylie Padilla, Filipino actress