63 B.C.: Caesar Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor, is born Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus in Rome. He was adopted posthumously by his maternal great-uncle Gaius Julius Caesar following Caesar's assassination and ruled from Jan. 16, 27 B.C., until his death on Aug. 19, A.D. 14.
1642: The first commencement exercises take place at Harvard College.
1779: John Paul Jones, commander of the American warship USS Bon Homme, wins the Battle of Flamborough Head. During his engagement with HMS Serapis during the battle, Jones uttered, according to the later recollection of his first lieutenant, the legendary reply to a taunt about surrender from the British captain: "I have not yet begun to fight!"
1780: British Maj. John André is arrested as a spy by American soldiers, exposing Benedict Arnold's change of sides and plot to surrender the fort at West Point, N.Y., to the British.
1806: Lewis and Clark return to St. Louis after exploring the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
1838: Victoria Claflin Woodhull, a leader of the woman's suffrage movement in America, is born Victoria California Claflin in Homer, Licking County, Ohio. She was the first woman to start a weekly newspaper and, in 1872, became the first female candidate for president of the United States.
1845: The Knickerbockers Baseball Club, the first baseball team to play under the modern rules, is founded in New York City. The team was founded by Alexander Cartwright, considered one of the original developers of modern baseball.
1846: Astronomers Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier and Johann Gottfried Galle collaborate on the discovery of Neptune.
1889: Nintendo Koppai (later renamed Nintendo Company, Limited) is founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce and market the playing card game Hanafuda. The company eventually tried to branch out into several small niche businesses, including cab services, a love hotel chain, a TV network, instant rice, and toys, before shifting its attention to video games.
1909: "The Phantom of the Opera," a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, is first published as a serialization in the daily newspaper Le Gaulois.
1920: Actor Mickey Rooney, whose film, television, and stage appearances span nearly his entire lifetime, is born Joseph Yule Jr. in Brooklyn, N.Y. Rooney started out as a child performer and became movie star as a teenager, starring in a series of films portraying the character Andy Hardy and a string of successful musicals with close friend Judy Garland. Rooney's breakthrough dramatic role came as a 18-year-old in 1938's "Boys Town," co-starring with Spencer Tracy. His role earned him a special Juvenile Academy Award and he was named the biggest box-office draw in 1939, 1940 and 1941.
1926: Jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane is born in Hamlet, N.C. Considered one of the most significant saxophonists in jazz history, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz.
1930: Singer-songwriter and pianist Ray Charles, the soul and R&B music pioneer known for songs such as "I Got a Woman," "Georgia on My Mind," "I Can't Stop Loving You" and ""What'd I Say," is born Ray Charles Robinson in Albany, Ga.
1939: Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, the neurologist who became known as the founding father of psychoanalysis, dies at age 83 in London, England, of an intentional morphine overdose. Freud had been suffering from inoperable cancer of the mouth and arranged for his friend, fellow doctor Max Schur, to administer the fatal doses of the drug.
1941: During World War II, the first gas chamber experiments are conducted at Auschwitz. At least 1.1 million prisoners died at Auschwitz between 1941 and late 1944, around 90 percent of them Jewish.
1943: The Nazi puppet state the Italian Social Republic is founded during the later part of World War II. The second and last incarnation of the Fascist Italian state, it came into being after German forces freed the toppled Benito Mussolini from Allied imprisonment and installed him in the area of northern Italy still occupied by Germany.
1943: Singer-songwriter Julio Iglesias, one of the best selling Latin music artists in history, is born Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva in Madrid, Spain. Iglesias has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is perhaps best known for his 1984 duet with Willie Nelson, "To All the Girls I've Loved Before." He is also known as the father of fellow singer Enrique Iglesias.
1949: Singer-songwriter and rock musician Bruce Springsteen, whose hit songs include "Born to Run," "Hungry Heart," "Dancing in the Dark," "Born in the U.S.A." and "Glory Days," is born in Long Branch, N.J. Over the course of his career he has won 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes and an Academy Award, and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1952: Vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon makes his "Checkers speech," in which he defended himself against alleged improprieties relating to a fund established by his backers to reimburse him for his political expenses. During the half-hour television address, he said that no matter what anybody said, he planned to keep one gift he had received: a black-and-white dog who had been named Checkers by the Nixon children, thus giving the address its popular name.
1953: WD-40 is invented and recorded for the first time in the Rocket Chemical Company's logbook. The substance was created by the "Water Displacement 40th" test, thus earning its name. It was the first successful formula created by industrial chemist Norm Larsen for a lubricating penetrating oil intended to displace water for rust prevention. The product would first be packaged in cans and sold to the public in 1958 in San Diego, Calif., where the company was based.
1959: Actor Jason Alexander, best known for playing George Costanza on the sitcom "Seinfeld," is born Jay Scott Greenspan in Newark, N.J.
1962: "The Jetsons" premieres on ABC. The animated sitcom was the first program on the network to be carried in color.
1967: The song "People Are Strange" by The Doors is released as a single. The song would peak at No. 12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
1970: Singer-songwriter and guitarist Ani DiFranco is born in Buffalo, N.Y.
1986: Jim Deshaies of the Houston Astros sets a major-league record by striking out the first eight batters of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
1987: Dancer, choreographer, actor and director Bob Fosse dies of a heart attack at age 60 in Washington, D.C. Fosse won an unprecedented eight Tony Awards for choreography, as well as one for direction. He also was nominated for an Academy Award four times, winning for his direction of 1972's "Cabaret," beating out Francis Ford Coppola for "The Godfather" in the process. Some of his other movies include "Sweet Charity," "Lenny" and "All that Jazz."
1988: Jose Canseco of the Oakland Athletics becomes the first member of the 40–40 club by reaching a total of 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in a single season. He would ultimately finish the season with 42 home runs and 40 stolen bases, leading the American League in home runs and winning the AL MVP award. He's seen here in 2004.
1990: The rock duo Nelson, consisting of Rick Nelson's twin sons, Gunnar and Matthew, tops the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection," becoming the second generation of Nelsons to top the charts.
1994: "The Shawshank Redemption," starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, and written and directed by Frank Darabont, opens in theaters. The film would go on to earn seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor for Freeman, Best Adapted Screenplay for Darabont, and Best Picture.
1997: Elton John's re-written and re-recorded version of his song "Candle in the Wind," recorded as a tribute to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, is released in the U.S. It would became John's ninth U.S. No. 1 single, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks, and is the best-selling single in Billboard history.
1999: NASA announces that it had lost contact with the Mars Climate Orbiter due to a computer software error that caused the probe to approach Mars at an improperly low altitude, sending it into the planet's upper atmosphere where it disintegrated. The robotic space probe had been intended to study the Martian climate, atmosphere and surface changes on a mission that cost more than $327 million.
2002: The first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox ("Phoenix 0.1") is released.
2003: The Outkast album "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" is released. The double album, essentially two solo albums by the duo Big Boi and André 3000, featured the hit singles "Hey Ya!" and "The Way You Move," which both reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album also won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, making it the second hip hop album to win the award.
2008: Gunman Matti Saari kills 10 people before committing suicide at the Kauhajoki School of Hospitality in western Finland. Saari was a second-year student at the vocational school. The incident was the second school shooting in less than a year in Finland, the other being the Jokela school shooting in November 2007, in which nine people including the gunman were killed.
2011: The soap opera "All My Children" broadcasts its final episode on ABC, ending a 41-year run. It would be revived online less than two years later in a 30-minute format.