- 1587 – Virginia Dare, granddaughter of Governor John White of the Colony of Roanoke, becomes the first English child born in the Americas.
- 1590 – John White, the governor of the Roanoke Colony, returns from a supply trip to England and finds his settlement deserted.
- 1868 – French astronomer Pierre Janssen discovers helium.
- 1877 – Asaph Hall discovers Martian moon Phobos.
- 1920 – The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing women's suffrage.
- 1938 – The Thousand Islands Bridge, connecting New York, United States with Ontario, Canada over the Saint Lawrence River, is dedicated by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- 1958 – Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita is published in the United States.
- 1963 – American civil rights movement: James Meredith becomes the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi.
- 1971 – Vietnam War: Australia and New Zealand decide to withdraw their troops from Vietnam.
- 1977 – Steve Biko is arrested at a police roadblock under the Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967 in King William's Town, South Africa. He would later die of the injuries sustained during this arrest bringing attention to South Africa's apartheid policies.
- 2005 – A massive power blackout hits the Indonesian island of Java, affecting almost 100 million people, the one of the largest and most widespread power outages in history.
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