1860 – The first successful United States Pony Express run from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, begins.
1865 – American Civil War: Union forces capture Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America.
1882 – American Old West: Jesse James is killed by Robert Ford.
1885 – Gottlieb Daimler is granted a German patent for his engine design.
1895 – The trial in the libel case brought by Oscar Wilde begins, eventually resulting in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality.
1898 – Henry Luce, American publisher, co-founded Time Magazine (d. 1967) is born.
1922 – Joseph Stalin becomes the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
1929 – Fazlur Khan, Bangladeshi engineer and architect, co-designed the Willis Tower and John Hancock Center (d. 1982) is born.
1933 – First flight over Mount Everest, a British expedition, led by the Marquis of Clydesdale, and funded by Lucy, Lady Houston.
1936 – Bruno Richard Hauptmann is executed for the kidnapping and death of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., the baby son of pilot Charles Lindbergh.
1942 – World War II: Japanese forces begin an assault on the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula.
1948 – United States President Harry S. Truman signs the Marshall Plan, authorizing $5 billion in aid for 16 countries.
1950 – Carter G. Woodson, American historian, author, and journalist, founded Black History Month (b. 1875) dies.
1955 – The American Civil Liberties Union announces it will defend Allen Ginsberg's book Howl against obscenity charges.
1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech.
1973 – Martin Cooper of Motorola makes the first handheld mobile phone call to Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs.
1974 – The 1974 Super Outbreak occurs, the second biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history (after the 2011 Super Outbreak). The death toll is 315, with nearly 5,500 injured.
1975 – Bobby Fischer refuses to play in a chess match against Anatoly Karpov, giving Karpov the title of World Champion by default.
1981 – Juan Trippe, American businessman, founded Pan American World Airways (b. 1899) dies.
1981 – The Osborne 1, the first successful portable computer, is unveiled at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco.
2000 – United States v. Microsoft Corp.: Microsoft is ruled to have violated United States antitrust law by keeping "an oppressive thumb" on its competitors.
2008 – ATA Airlines, once one of the ten largest U.S. passenger airlines and largest charter airline, files for bankruptcy for the second time in five years and ceases all operations.
2010 – Apple Inc. released the first generation iPad, a tablet computer.