1812 – United States President James Madison enacts a ninety-day embargo on trade with the United Kingdom.
1818 – The United States Congress adopts the flag of the United States with 13 red and white stripes and one star for each state (then 20).
1841 – William Henry Harrison dies of pneumonia, becoming the first President of the United States to die in office, and setting the record for the briefest administration.
1850 – Los Angeles is incorporated as a city.
1859 – Bryant's Minstrels debut "Dixie" in New York City in the finale of a blackface minstrel show.
1865 – American Civil War: A day after Union forces capture Richmond, Virginia, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln visits the Confederate capital.
1887 – Argonia, Kansas elects Susanna M. Salter as the first female mayor in the United States.
1933 – U.S. Navy airship, USS Akron, is wrecked off the New Jersey coast due to severe weather.
1944 – World War II: First bombardment of oil refineries in Bucharest by Anglo-American forces kills 3000 civilians.
1945 – World War II: American troops liberate Ohrdruf forced labor camp in Germany.
1945 – World War II: American troops capture Kassel.
1945 – World War II: Soviet troops liberate Hungary from German occupation and occupy the country itself.
1949 – Twelve nations sign the North Atlantic Treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
1964 – The Beatles occupy the top five positions on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.
1967 – Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence" speech in New York City's Riverside Church.
1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated by James Earl Ray at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
1968 – Apollo program: NASA launches Apollo 6.
1973 – The World Trade Center in New York is officially dedicated.
1973 – A Lockheed C-141 Starlifter, dubbed the Hanoi Taxi, makes the last flight of Operation Homecoming.
1975 – Microsoft is founded as a partnership between Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico
1975 – A United States Air Force Lockheed C-5A Galaxy transporting orphans, crashes near Saigon, South Vietnam shortly after takeoff, killing 172 people.
1983 – Space Shuttle Challenger makes its maiden voyage into space.
1984 – President Ronald Reagan calls for an international ban on chemical weapons.
1988 – Governor Evan Mecham of Arizona is convicted in his impeachment trial and removed from office.
1991 – Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania and six others are killed when a helicopter collides with their airplane over an elementary school in Merion, Pennsylvania.
1994 – Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark found Netscape Communications Corporation under the name Mosaic Communications Corporation.
1792 – Thaddeus Stevens, American lawyer and politician (d. 1868)
1802 – Dorothea Dix, American nurse and activist (d. 1887)
1821 – Linus Yale, Jr., American engineer and businessman (d. 1868)
1843 – William Henry Jackson, American painter and photographer (d. 1942)
1853 – Tad Lincoln, youngest son of the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln (d. 1871)
1886 – Frank Luther Mott, American historian and journalist (d. 1964)
1895 – Arthur Murray, American dancer and educator (d. 1991)
1928 – Maya Angelou, American memoirist and poet (d. 2014)
1841 – William Henry Harrison, American general and politician, 9th President of the United States (b. 1773)
1912 – Isaac K. Funk, American minister, lexicographer, and publisher, co-founded Funk & Wagnalls (b. 1839)
2013 – Roger Ebert, American journalist, critic, and screenwriter (b. 1942)
2013 – Carmine Infantino, American illustrator (b. 1925)
2015 – Donald N. Levine, American sociologist and academic (b. 1931)
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