1420 – Beijing is officially designated the capital of the Ming dynasty on the same year that the Forbidden City, the seat of government, is completed.
1492 – Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba on his first voyage to the New World.
1664 – The Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot, later to be known as the Royal Marines, is established.
1834 – The Pinjarra massacre occurred in the Swan River Colony at present-day Pinjarra, Western Australia. An estimated 30 Noongar people were killed by British colonists.
1835 – The United Tribes of New Zealand is established with the signature of the Declaration of Independence.
1886 – In New York Harbor, President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty. The first ticker tape parade takes place in New York City when office workers spontaneously throw ticker tape into the streets as the statue is dedicated.
1893 – Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathétique, receives its première performance in St. Petersburg, only nine days before the composer's death.
1919 – The U.S. Congress passes the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson's veto, paving the way for Prohibition to begin the following January.
1949 – An Air France Lockheed Constellation crashes in the Azores killing all people on board, including the French former middleweight world champion boxer Marcel Cerdan and French violinist Ginette Neveu
1958 – John XXIII is elected Pope.
1982 – The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party wins elections, leading to the first Socialist government in Spain after death of Franco. Felipe González becomes Prime Minister-elect.
2006 – The funeral service takes place for those executed at Bykivnia forest, outside Kiev, Ukraine. Eight hundred seventeen Ukrainian civilians (out of some 100,000) executed by Bolsheviks at Bykivnia in 1930s – early 1940s are reburied.
2009 – NASA successfully launches the Ares I-X mission, the only rocket launch for its later-cancelled Constellation program.
2013 – Five people are killed and 38 are injured after a car crashes into barriers just outside the Forbidden City in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China.
2014 – An unmanned Antares rocket carrying NASA's Cygnus CRS Orb-3 resupply mission to the International Space Station explodes seconds after taking off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia.