- 1520 - After navigating through the South American strait, three ships under the command of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan reach the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first Europeans to sail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.
- 1729 - Natchez Indians massacre 138 Frenchmen, 35 French women, and 56 children at Fort Rosalie, near the site of modern-day Natchez, Mississippi.
- 1905 - Irish nationalist Arthur Griffith founds Sinn Féin as a political party with the main aim of establishing a dual monarchy in Ireland.
- 1907 - In Haverhill, Massachusetts, scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayer opens his first movie theater.
- 1912 - Albania declares its independence from the Ottoman Empire.
- 1943 - World War II: Tehran Conference - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin meet in Tehran, Iran to discuss war strategy.
- 1958 - Chad, the Republic of the Congo, and Gabon become autonomous republics within the French Community.
- 1960 - Mauritania becomes independent of France.
- 1964 - National Democratic Party of Germany is founded
- 1975 - East Timor declares its independence from Portugal.
- 1991 - South Ossetia declares independence from Georgia.