1854 - Pope Pius IX proclaims the dogma of Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Virgin Mary was born free of original sin.
1886 - American Federation of Labor founded.
1907 - King Gustav V of Sweden accedes to the Swedish throne
1914 - Battle of the Falkland Islands fought.
1941 - World War 2: After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the previous day, the United States Congress passes a declaration of war against Japan, bringing the United States of America officially into World War 2; Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin casts the only "no" vote. In response, Hitler's Germany declares war on the United States.
1941 - Holocaust: First Nazi use of gas vans on Jews, at the Chelmno camp near Lodz.
1949 - Chinese Civil War: The capital of the Republic of China is moved from Nanjing to Taipei, Taiwan
1976 - The Eagles release one of the biggest-selling albums of all time, Hotel California
1980 - Mark David Chapman kills former Beatle John Lenon.
1991 - Leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine met and signed an agreement ending the U.S.S.R. and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha Nature Reserve in Belarus
1993 - The North American Free Trade Agreement ( NAFTA) is signed into law by US President Bill Clinton.
1994 - US President Bill Clinton signs a bill enacting United States participation in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT was formally signed on April 15 1994, in Marrakesh, Morocco by 124 nations).
2003 - Following ratification by the party members, the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada officially merge to create the new Conservative Party of Canada.
65 BC - Horace, poet (d. 8 BC)
1542 - Mary Queen of Scots (d. 1587)
1626 - Queen Christina of Sweden (d. 1689)
1730 - Jan Ingenhousz, physiologist, botanist (d. 1799)
1765 - Eli Whitney, inventor (d. 1825)
1790 - Richard Carlille, reformer (d. 1843)
1813 - Adolf Kolping, theologian (d. 1865)
1815 - Adolph Menzel, painter and graphic artist (d. 1905)
1848 - Joel Chandler Harris, author and folklorist (d. 1908)
1861 - Aristide Maillol, sculptor (d. 1944)
1861 - William Durant, automobile pioneer (d. 1947)
1862 - Georges Feydeau, French playwright (d. 1921)
1864 - Camille Claudel, graphic artist (d. 1943)
1865 - Jean Sibelius, composer (d. 1957)
1886 - Diego Rivera, painter (d. 1957)
1890 - Bohuslav Martinu, composer (d. 1959)
1894 - James Thurber, writer (d. 1961)
1911 - Lee J. Cobb, actor (d. 1976)
1923 - Rudolph Pariser, chemist
1925 - Sammy Davis Jr., actor, singer (d. 1990)
1927 - Vladimir Shatalov, cosmonaut
1930 - Maximilian Schell, actor, film director, author
1933 - Flip Wilson, comedian (d. 1998)
1936 - David Carradine, actor
1937 - James MacArthur, actor
1937 - Arne Nss Jr., Norwegian mountaineer, businessman (d. 2004)
1939 - James Galway, flautist
1943 - Jim Morrison, singer (The Doors) (d. 1971)
1946 - John Rubinstein, actor, composer
1947 - Gregg Allman, musician
1950 - Rick Baker, film makeup artist
1953 - Kim Basinger, actress
1956 - Warren Cuccurullo, musician
1957 - Phil Collen Def Leppard guitarist
1964 - Teri Hatcher, actress
1966 - Sinead O'Connor, musician
1973 - Laura Mandaro, journalist
1976 - Dominic Monaghan, actor
1638 - Ivan Gundulic, poet, Croatia
1864 - George Boole, mathematician
1859 - Thomas De Quincey, author
1907 - King Oscar II of Sweden (b. 1829)
1917 - Mendele Moykher Sforim, writer
1958 - Tris Speaker, Baseball Hall of Famer
1964 - William Bendix, actor
1978 - Golda Meir, former prime minister of Israel
1980 - John Lennon, musician
1982 - Marty Robbins, country music singer
1983 - Slim Pickens, actor
1996 - Howard Rollins Jr., actor
2001 - Kurt Ruh, specialist in German studies