1861 – American Civil War: Georgia joins South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama in declaring secession from the United States.
1862 – American Civil War: Battle of Mill Springs: The Confederacy suffers its first significant defeat in the conflict.
1883 – The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey.
1920 – The United States Senate votes against joining the League of Nations.
1937 – Howard Hughes sets a new air record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in seven hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.
1940 – You Nazty Spy!, the very first Hollywood film of any kind to satirize Adolf Hitler and the Nazis premieres, starring The Three Stooges, with Moe Howard as the character "Moe Hailstone" satirizing Hitler.
1942 – World War II: Japanese forces invade Burma.
1945 – World War II: Soviet forces liberate the Łódź Ghetto. Of more than 200,000 inhabitants in 1940, less than 900 had survived the Nazi occupation.
1946 – General Douglas MacArthur establishes the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo to try Japanese war criminals.
1953 – Almost 72% of all television sets in the United States are tuned into I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth.
1960 – Japan and the United States sign the US–Japan Mutual Security Treaty
1977 – President Gerald Ford pardons Iva Toguri D'Aquino (a.k.a. "Tokyo Rose").
1977 – Snow falls in Miami. This is the only time in the history of the city that snow has fallen. It also fell in The Bahamas.
1981 – Iran hostage crisis: United States and Iranian officials sign an agreement to release 52 American hostages after 14 months of captivity.
1983 – Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie is arrested in Bolivia.
1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, is announced.
1986 – The first IBM PC computer virus is released into the wild. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain, it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter unauthorized copying of the software they had written.
1991 – Gulf War: Iraq fires a second Scud missile into Israel, causing 15 injuries.
1996 – The barge North Cape oil spill occurs as an engine fire forces the tugboat Scandia ashore on Moonstone Beach in South Kingstown, Rhode Island.
2006 – The New Horizons probe is launched by NASA on the first mission to Pluto.
1807 – Robert E. Lee, American general and academic (d. 1870)
1808 – Lysander Spooner, American philosopher and author (d. 1887)
1809 – Edgar Allan Poe, American author, poet, and critic (d. 1849)
1887 – Alexander Woollcott, American actor, playwright, and critic (d. 1943)
1923 – Jean Stapleton, American actress and singer (d. 2013)
1930 – Tippi Hedren, American model, actress, and animal rights-welfare activist
1936 – Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, American singer, harmonica player, and drummer (d. 2011)
1939 – Phil Everly, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Everly Brothers) (d. 2014)
1943 – Janis Joplin, American singer-songwriter (Big Brother and the Holding Company) (d. 1970)
1946 – Dolly Parton, American singer-songwriter and actress
1947 – Paula Deen, American chef and author
1953 – Desi Arnaz, Jr., American actor and singer
1969 – Junior Seau, American football player (d. 2012)
1992 – Shawn Johnson, American gymnast
1968 – Ray Harroun, American race car driver and engineer (b. 1879)
1997 – James Dickey, American poet and novelist (b. 1923)
1998 – Carl Perkins, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1932)
2013 – Stan Musial, American baseball player and manager (b. 1920)
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