- 1512 - The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo, is exhibited to the public for the first time.
- 1520 - The Strait of Magellan, the passage immediately south of mainland South America, connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, is first navigated by Ferdinand Magellan during his global circumnavigation voyage.
- 1755 - Lisbon earthquake: In Portugal, Lisbon is destroyed by a massive earthquake and tsunami, killing between sixty thousand and ninety thousand people.
- 1805 - Napoleon Bonaparte invades Austria during the War of the Third Coalition.
- 1894 - Nicholas II becomes the new Tsar of Russia after his father, Alexander III, dies.
- 1950 - Puerto Rican nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo attempt to assassinate US President Harry S. Truman at Blair House.
- 1963 - The Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, with the largest radio telescope ever constructed, officially opens.
- 1981 - Antigua and Barbuda gain independence from the United Kingdom.
- 1993 - The Maastricht Treaty takes effect, formally establishing the European Union.