1307 (Legendary) - William Tell shoots an apple off his son's head.
1421 - A seawall at the Zuider Zee dike breaks, flooding 72 villages and killing about 10,000 people in the Netherlands.
1477 - William Caxton produces "Dictes or Sayengis of the Philosophres", the first English book printed on a printing press.
1626 - St. Peter's Basilica is consecrated
1865 - Mark Twain's story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is published in the New York Saturday Press.
1883 - American and Canadian railroads institute four standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.
1903 - The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty is signed by the United States and Panama, giving the Americans exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.
1905 - Prince Carl of Denmark becomes King Haakon VII of Norway.
1909 - Two United States warships are sent to Nicaragua after 500 revolutionaries (including two Americans) are executed by order of dictator Jose Santos Zelaya.
1916 - World War I: First Battle of the Somme ends - In France, British Expeditionary Force commander Douglas Haig calls off the battle which started on July 1, 1916.
1918 - Latvia declares its independence from Russia.
1926 - George Bernard Shaw refuses to accept the money for his Nobel Prize, saying, "I can forgive Alfred Nobel for inventing dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize."
1928 - Cartoon star Mickey Mouse debuts in the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, Walt Disney's animated short Steamboat Willie.
1929 - 1929 Grand Banks earthquake: Off the south coast of Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean, a Richter magnitude 7.2 submarine earthquake centered on Grand Banks, breaks 12 submarine transatlantic telegraph cables and triggers a tsunami that destroys many south coast communities in the Burin Peninsula area.
1938 - Trade union members elect John L. Lewis as the first president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
1940 - World War II: German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano meet to discuss Benito Mussolini's disastrous invasion of Greece.
1943 - World War II: 440 Royal Air Force planes bomb Berlin causing only light damage and killing 131. The RAF lost nine aircraft and 53 aviators.
1959 - William Wyler's film Ben-Hur premieres at Loew's Theater in New York City.
1970 - US President Richard Nixon asks the United States Congress for US$155 million in supplemental aid for the Cambodian government (US$85 million was for military assistance in order to help prevent the overthrow of the government of Premier Lon Nol by the Khmer Rouge and North Vietnam).
1978 - Jonestown mass suicide: In Jonestown, Guyana, Jim Jones leads his People's Temple in a mass murder-suicide; 913 die, including 276 children.
1987 - Iran-Contra scandal: The United States Congress issues its final report on the Iran-Contra affair, stating that US President Ronald Reagan bore "ultimate responsibility" for wrongdoing by his aides and his administration exhibited "secrecy, deception, and disdain for the law."
1987 - Kings Cross fire: In London, 31 people die in a fire at the city's busiest underground station at King's Cross.
1988 - War on Drugs: US President Ronald Reagan signs a bill into law providing the death penalty for murderous drug traffickers.
1991 - Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon set Anglican Church envoys Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland free.
1993 - In South Africa, 21 political parties approve a new constitution.
1996 - World-renowned bird expert Tony Silva is sentenced to seven years in prison without parole for leading an illegal parrot smuggling ring.
1998 - Alice McDermott wins the National Book Award with her novel Charming Billy.
1999 - In College Station, Texas, 12 are killed and 28 injured at Texas A&M University when a huge bonfire under construction collapses.
1999 - In Jasper, Texas, 24-year old Shawn Allen Berry is sentenced to life in prison, becoming the third person convicted in the racially-motivated dragging death of James Byrd, Jr.
2002 - Iraq disarmament crisis: United Nations weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix arrive in Iraq.
1757 - William Blake, poet (d. 1827)
1786 - Carl Maria von Weber, composer (d. 1826)
1787 - Louis-Jacques Daguerre, inventor, photographer (d. 1851)
1836 - Sir William S. Gilbert, dramatist (d. 1911)
1836 - Cesare Lombroso, professor of psychiatry, founder of criminology (d. 1909)
1856 - Nikolai Nikolaevich Romanov, Grand Duke of Russia (d. 1929)
1860 - Ignacy Paderewski, pianist, composer (d. 1941)
1861 - Dorothy Dix, journalist, activist (d. 1951)
1874 - Clarence Day, American author (d. 1935)
1882 - Jacques Maritain, French philosopher (d. 1973)
1891 - Gio Ponti, Italian architect (d. 1979)
1897 - Patrick Blackett, English physicist, 1948 Nobel Prize in Physics (d. 1974)
1898 - Joris Ivens, filmmaker (d. 1989)
1899 - Eugene Ormandy, conductor (d. 1985)
1901 - George Gallup, statistician, opinion pollster (d. 1984)
1906 - Klaus Mann, publicist, dramatist and narrator (d. 1949)
1906 - George Wald, American chemist, 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1997)
1908 - Imogene Coca, actress, comedienne (d. 2001)
1909 - Johnny Mercer, lyricist (d. 1976)
1916 - Amelita Galli-Curci, opera soprano (d. 1963)
1923 - Alan Shepard, astronaut (d. 1998)
1935 - Alain Barrière
1935 - Rudolf Bahro, dissident (d. 1997)
1936 - Hank Ballard, musician (d. 2003)
1939 - Brenda Vaccaro, actress
1939 - Margaret Atwood, writer
1941 - Gary Bettenhausen, automobile racer
1941 - David Hemmings, British actor (d. 2003)
1942 - Linda Evans, actress
1944 - Susan Sullivan, actress
1948 - Andrea Marcovicci, singer, actress
1948 - Jack Tatum, American football star
1950 - Jameson Parker, cator
1958 - Warren Moon, Canadian football and American football star
1960 - Kim Wilde, singer
1963 - Dante Bichette, baseball player
1968 - Owen Wilson, actor
1886 - Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States
1962 - Niels Bohr, physicist
1965 - Henry A. Wallace, Vice President of the United States
1969 - Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr, patriarch of the Kennedy family
1976 - Man Ray, artist
1978 - Jim Jones, cult leader (suicide)
1982 - Duk Koo Kim, boxer
1987 - Jacques Anquetil, cyclist (cancer)
1994 - Cab Calloway, band leader
1999 - Paul Bowles, novelist
2002 - James Coburn, actor
Holidays and observances
In Catholicism, the feast of St Odo of Cluny, St Romanus of Antioch, St Mawes, and St Rose Phillipine Duchesne
November 17 - November 19 - October 18 - December 18 -- listing of all days
January, February, March, April, May, June, July,
August, September, October, November, December