1287 - King Alfonso III of Aragon invades Minorca.
1377 - Pope Gregory XI moves the Papacy back to Rome from Avignon.
1524 - Beginning of Giovanni da Verrazzano's voyage to find a passage to China.
1562 - France recognizes the Huguenots under the Edict of Saint-Germain.
1595 - Henry IV of France declares war on Spain.
1605 - First publication of Don Quixote.
1648 - England's Long Parliament passes the Vote of No Addresses, breaking off negotiations with King Charles I and thereby setting the scene for the second phase of the English Civil War.
1773 - Captain James Cook and his crew become the first Europeans to sail below the Antarctic Circle.
1781 - American Revolutionary War: Battle of Cowpens – Continental troops under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan defeat British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton at the battle in South Carolina.
1799 - Maltese patriot Dun Mikiel Xerri, along with a number of other patriots, is executed.
1852 - The United Kingdom recognizes the independence of the Boer colonies of the Transvaal.
1873 - A group of Modoc warriors defeat the United States Army in the First Battle of the Stronghold, a part of the Modoc War.
1885 - A British force defeats a large Dervish army at the Battle of Abu Klea in the Sudan.
1893 - The Citizen's Committee of Public Safety, led by Lorrin A. Thurston, overthrows the government of Queen Liliuokalani of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
1899 - The United States takes possession of Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean.
1904 - Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard receives its premiere performance at the Moscow Art Theatre.
1912 - Sir Robert Falcon Scott (Scott of the Antarctic) reaches the South Pole, one month after Roald Amundsen.
1913 - Raymond Poincaré is elected President of France.
1917 - The United States pays Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
1929 - Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Crisler Segar, first appears in the Thimble Theatre comic strip.
1941 - Kuomintang forces under orders from Chiang Kai-Shek open fire at communist forces, resuming the Chinese Civil War after World War II.
1945 - Soviet forces capture the almost completely destroyed Polish city of Warsaw.
1945 - The Nazis begin the evacuation of the Auschwitz concentration camp as Soviet forces close in.
1945 - Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg disappears in Hungary while in Soviet custody.
1946 - The UN Security Council holds its first session.
1949 - The Goldbergs, the first sitcom on American television, first airs.
1950 - The Great Brinks Robbery – 11 thieves steal more than $2 million from an armored car Company's offices in Boston, Massachusetts.
1961 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers a televised farewell address to the nation three days before leaving office, in which he warns against the accumulation of power by the "military-industrial complex".
1966 - A B-52 bomber collides with a KC-135 Stratotanker over Spain, dropping three 70-kiloton nuclear bombs near the town of Palomares and another one into the sea in the Palomares incident.
1973 - Ferdinand Marcos becomes "President for Life" of the Philippines.
1977 - Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore is executed by a firing squad in Utah, ending a ten-year moratorium on Capital punishment in the United States.
1982 - "Cold Sunday" in the United States would see temperatures fall to their lowest levels in over 100 years in numerous cities.
1985 - British Telecom announces the retirement of the United Kingdom's red telephone boxes.
1989 - Stockton massacre: Patrick Purdy opens fire with an assault rifle at the Cleveland Elementary School playground, killing five children and wounding 29 others and one teacher before taking his own life.
1991 - Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm begins early in the morning. Iraq fires 8 Scud missiles into Israel in an unsuccessful bid to provoke Israeli retaliation.
1991 - Harald V becomes King of Norway on the death of his father, Olav V.
1994 - 1994 Northridge Earthquake: A magnitude 6.7 earthquake hits Northridge, California.
1995 - The Great Hanshin earthquake: A magnitude 7.3 earthquake hits near Kobe, Japan, causing extensive property damage and killing 6,434 people.
1996 - The Czech Republic applies for membership of the European Union.
1997 - A Delta 2 carrying a GPS2R satellite explodes 13 seconds after launch, dropping 250 tons of burning rocket remains around the launch pad.
1998 - Paula Jones accuses President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment.
2001 - President Bill Clinton posthumously raises Meriwether Lewis' rank from Lieutenant to Captain.
2002 - Mount Nyiragongo erupts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, displacing an estimated 400,000 people.
2007 - The Doomsday Clock is set to five minutes to midnight in response to North Korea nuclear testing.