Georges Seurat 1859-1891
1804 - At Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned as the first Emperor of France in a thousand years.
1805 - Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Austerlitz - French troops under Napoleon decisively defeat a joint Russo-Austrian force.
1823 - US President James Monroe delivers a speech to the United States Congress, announcing a new policy of forbidding European interference in the Americas and establishing American neutrality in future European conflicts (this would later be called the Monroe Doctrine).
1845 - Manifest Destiny: US President James Polk announces to Congress that the Monroe Doctrine should be strictly enforced and that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.
1848 - Franz Josef I becomes Emperor of Austria.
1851 - Newly-elected French President Louis Napoleon Bonaparte violently overthrows the Second Republic.
1852 - Napoleon III becomes Emperor of France.
1859 - Militant abolitionist leader John Brown is hanged for his October 16th raid on Harper's Ferry.
1899 - Philippine-American War: The Battle of Tirad Pass, termed "The Filipino Thermopylae", is fought.
1915 - Albert Einstein publishes the general theory of relativity.
1927 - Following 19 years of Ford Model T production, the Ford Motor Company unveils the Ford Model A as its new automobile.
1930 - Great Depression: US President Herbert Hoover goes before Congress and asks for a US$150 million public works program to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy.
1939 - La Guardia Airport opens for business in New York City.
1942 - Below the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiate the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (a coded message, "The Italian navigator has landed in the new world" was then sent to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt).
1954 - The United States Senate votes 65 to 22 to condemn Joseph McCarthy for "conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute."
1961 - In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares that he is a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba was going to adopt Communism.
1970 - The United States Environmental Protection Agency begins operations.
1971 - The United Arab Emirates is formed.
1972 - Gough Whitlam becomes the first Australian Labor Party Prime Minister of Australia for 23 years. He is famously sworn in on the election night and his first action using executive power is to withdraw all Australian personnel from the Vietnam War.
1982 - At the University of Utah, 61-year-old retired dentist Barney Clark, becomes the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart (he lived for 112 days with the device).
1988 - Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.
1990 - A coalition led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl wins the first free all-German elections since 1932.
1993 - Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is shot and killed in Medellin.
1999 - The United Kingdom devolves political power in Northern Ireland to a the Northern Ireland Executive. 
2000 - American rock band The Smashing Pumpkins play their final gig at The Metro in Chicago, Illinois.
2001 - Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection five days after Dynegy canceled a US$8.4 billion buyout bid (as of 2003 this was the largest bankruptcy in the history of the United States).
1578 - Agostino Agazzari, composer and music theorist (d. 1640)
1760 - John Breckinridge, American politician (d. 1806)
1846 - Pierre Marie Ren Ernest Waldeck-Rousseau, French statesman (d. 1904)
1859 - Georges Seurat, painter (d. 1891)
1863 - Charles Ringling, circus leader (d. 1926)
1884 - Ruth Draper, American character actress (d. 1956)
1891 - Otto Dix, painter and graphic artist (d. 1969)
1892 - Leo Ornstein, composer and pianist (d. 2002)
1895 - Harriet Cohen, pianist (d. 1967)
1899 - John Barbirolli, conductor (d. 1970)
1906 - Peter Goldmark, inventor, engineer (d. 1977)
1914 - Adolph Green, composer (d. 2002)
1923 - Maria Callas, opera singer (d. 1977)
1924 - Alexander M. Haig, Jr., US politician
1925 - Julie Harris, actress
1930 - Gary Becker, economist
1931 - Edwin Meese, American politician
1944 - Botho Strau, author
1945 - Penelope Spheeris, director
1946 - Gianni Versace, designer (d. 1997)
1952 - Michael McDonald, musician
1962 - Tracy Austin, tennis player
1968 - Lucy Liu, actress
1973 - Monica Seles, tennis player
1981 - Britney Spears, singer
1547 - Hernn Fernando Corts, Spanish explorer and conqueror
1594 - Gerardus Mercator, cartographer
1774 - Johann Friedrich Agricola, composer and organist
1814 - Marquis de Sade, writer
1859 - John Brown, militant abolitionist (hanged)
1892 - Jay Gould, entrepreneur
1931 - Vincent d'Indy, composer
1980 - Romain Gary, writer
1982 - Marty Feldman, comedian
1983 - Fifi D'Orsay, actress
1986 - Desi Arnaz, actor, musician, band leader, composer
1990 - Aaron Copland, composer
1993 - Pablo Escobar, drug lord
1995 - Robertson Davies, Canadian novelist
2002 - Ivan Illich, priest, philosopher