1776 - American Revolution: Battle of Valcour Island - On Lake Champlain near Valcour Island, a British fleet led by Sir Guy Carleton defeats 15 American gunboats commanded by Brigadier General Benedict Arnold. Although nearly all of Arnold's ships are destroyed, the two day-long battle will give Patriot forces enough time to prepare defenses of New York City.
1809 - Along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee, explorer Meriwether Lewis dies under mysterious circumstances at an inn called Grinder's Stand.
1811 - Inventor John Stevens' boat, the Juliana, begins operation as the first steam-powered ferry (service between New York, New York, and Hoboken, New Jersey).
1862 - American Civil War: In the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart and his men loot Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, during a raid into the north.
1890 - In Washington, DC, the Daughters of the American Revolution is founded.
1899 - Boer War begins: In South Africa, a war between the United Kingdom and the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State erupts.
1906 - San Francisco public school board sparks United States diplomatic crisis with Japan by ordering Japanese students to be taught in racially segregated schools.
1929 - JC Penney open Store #1252 in Milford, Delaware, making it a nationwide company with stores in all 48 states.
1939 - Manhattan Project: US President Franklin D. Roosevelt is presented with a letter signed by Albert Einstein urging the United States to rapidly develop an atomic bomb program.
1942 - World War II: Battle of Cape Esperance - On the northwest coast of Guadalcanal, United States Navy ships intercept and defeat a Japanese fleet on their way to reinforce troops on the island.
1950 - The Federal Communications Commission issues the first license to broadcast television in color, to CBS (RCA will successfully dispute and block the license from taking effect, however).
1954 - Vietnam War: The Viet Minh take control of North Vietnam.
1958 - Pioneer program: NASA launches the lunar probe Pioneer 1 (the probe falls back to Earth and burns up).
1962 - Second Vatican Council: Pope John XXIII convenes the first ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church in 92 years.
1968 - Apollo program: NASA launches Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission, with astronauts Wally Schirra, Don Fulton Eisele and R. Walter Cunningham aboard. Goals for the mission include the first live television broadcast from orbit and testing the lunar module docking maneuver.
1975 - Saturday Night Live is broadcasted for the first time (George Carlin is the guest host).
1984 - Margaret Thatcher survives an IRA bomb.
1984 - Aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes the first American women to perform a space walk.
1986 - Cold War: US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Reykjavik, Iceland, in an effort to continue discussions about scaling back their intermediate missile arsenals in Europe (the talks break down in failure).
1998 - A Congo Air Lines Boeing 727 is shot down by rebels in Kindu, Democratic Republic of the Congo killing 40
2002 - Bomb attack in a shopping mall in Vantaa, Finland. See Myyrmanni bombing.
1582 - Johannes Fleischer, botanist
1815 - Pierre Napoleon Bonaparte
1844 - Henry Heinz, food manufacturer († 1916)
1872 - Harlan F. Stone, Chief Justice of the United States († 1946)
1884 - Eleanor Roosevelt, American human rights activist, First Lady († 1962)
1885 - François Mauriac, writer († 1970)
1895 - Jakov Gotovac, Croatian, composer,(† 1982)
1918 - Jerome Robbins, choreographer († 1998)
1919 - Art Blakey, jazz drummer († 1990)
1925 - Elmore Leonard, novelist
1928 - Marquis Alfonso de Portago, Grand Prix driver († 1957)
1932 - Dottie West, country music singer († 1991)
1939 - Maria Bueno, tennis star
1949 - Daryl Hall, musician
1956 - Nicanor Duarte Frutos, President of Paraguay
1961 - Steve Young, American football star
1965 - Moby, musician
1966 - Luke Perry, actor
1969 - Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands
1969 - Ty Murray, rodeo star
1982 - Jermaine V. Mitchell, Rap musician
1985 - Michelle Trachtenberg, actress
1989 - Michelle Wie, golf prodigy
1531 - Huldreich Zwingli, Swiss Protestant leader
1779 - Casimir Pulaski, Polish fighter for American independence
1809 - Meriwether Lewis, explorer
1896 - Anton Bruckner, Austrian composer
1896 - Edward White Benson, British archbishop
1940 - LluÝs Companys, Spanish President of Generalitat of Catalonia, shot at Montju´c Castle, Barcelona.
1961 - Chico Marx, American comedian
1963 - Edith Piaf, French singer
1963 - Jean Cocteau, writer
1977 - MacKinlay Kantor, author
1985 - Orson Welles, American movie director
1991 - Redd Foxx, comedian, actor
1996 - Lars Ahlfors, Finnish mathematician
2000 - Donald Dewar, main author of the Scotland Act and initial First Minister of the Scottish Parliament
Roman Empire - Meditrinalia is held in honor of Meditrina
USA - National Coming Out Day (not a federal holiday)
See Also: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
October 10 - October 12 - September 11 - November 11 - more historical anniversaries