1800 – Ludwig van Beethoven leads the premiere of his First Symphony in Vienna.
1863 – Richmond bread riot: Food shortages incite hundreds of angry women to riot in Richmond, Virginia, and demand that the Confederate government release emergency supplies.
1865 – American Civil War: Defeat at the Third Battle of Petersburg forces the Army of Northern Virginia and the Confederate government to abandon Richmond, Virginia.
1872 – Samuel Morse, American painter and academic, invented the Morse code (b. 1791) dies.
1875 – Walter Chrysler, American businessman, founded Chrysler (d. 1940) is born.
1900 – The United States Congress passes the Foraker Act, giving Puerto Rico limited self-rule.
1902 – "Electric Theatre", the first full-time movie theater in the United States, opens in Los Angeles.
1912 – The ill-fated RMS Titanic begins sea trials.
1917 – World War I: United States President Woodrow Wilson asks the U.S. Congress for a declaration of war on Germany.
1956 – As the World Turns and The Edge of Night premiere on CBS-TV. The two soaps become the first daytime dramas to debut in the 30-minute format.
1972 – Actor Charlie Chaplin returns to the United States for the first time since being labeled a communist during the Red Scare in the early 1950s.
1979 – A Soviet bio-warfare laboratory at Sverdlovsk accidentally releases airborne anthrax spores, killing 66 plus an unknown amount of livestock.
1980 – United States President Jimmy Carter signs the Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act in an effort to help the U.S. economy rebound.
1986 – Alabama governor George Wallace, a former segregationist, best known for the "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door", announces that he will not seek a fifth four-year term and will retire from public life upon the end of his term in January 1987.
1987 – Buddy Rich, American drummer, songwriter, and bandleader (b. 1917) dies.
1992 – In New York, Mafia boss John Gotti is convicted of murder and racketeering and is later sentenced to life in prison.
2005 – Pope John Paul II (b. 1920) dies.
2006 – Over 60 tornadoes break out in the United States; Tennessee is hardest hit with 29 people killed.
2012 – A mass shooting at Oikos University in Oakland, California, leaves seven people dead and three injured.
2014 – A spree shooting occurs at the Fort Hood Army Base near the town of Killeen, Texas, with four dead, including the gunman, and 16 others injured.