* 1249 - Andrew of Longjumeau was dispatched by Louis IX of France as his ambassador to meet with the Khan of the Mongols.
* 1279 - Afonso III of Portugal dies. His son Denis succeeds the Portuguese throne.
* 1568 - The entire population of the Netherlands - three million people - was sentenced to death by the Roman Catholic Church for heresy; see Eighty Years' War.
* 1742 - Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, becomes British Prime Minister.
* 1804 - First Barbary War: Stephen Decatur leads a raid to burn the pirate-held frigate USS Philadelphia.
* 1838 - Weenen Massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal were killed by Zulus.
* 1852 - Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established.
* 1857 - The National Deaf Mute College (later renamed Gallaudet University) is established in Washington, DC, becoming the first school for the advanced education of the deaf.
* 1859 - The French Government passes a law to set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize the pitch.
* 1862 - American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant captures Fort Donelson, Tennessee.
* 1866 - Spencer Compton Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington becomes the British Secretary of State for War
* 1868 - In New York City the Jolly Corks organization is renamed the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE).
* 1883 - Ladies' Home Journal is published for the first time.
* 1899 - President Félix Faure of France dies in office.
* 1918 - The Council of Lithuania unanimously adopts the Act of Independence, declaring Lithuania an independent state.[ABC?]
* 1923 - Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
* 1934 - Austrian Civil War ends with the defeat of the Social Democrats and the Republican Schutzbund
* 1934 - Commission of Government sworn in as form of direct rule for the Dominion of Newfoundland.
* 1936 - Elections bring the Popular Front to power in Spain.
* 1937 - Wallace H. Carothers receives a patent for nylon.
* 1940 - World War II: Altmark Incident: The German tanker Altmark, with 299 British prisoners, is boarded in neutral Norwegian waters by sailors from the British destroyer HMS Cossack and the prisoners set free, a breach of Norwegian neutrality at the beginning of World War II.
* 1943 - World War II: USSR reconquers Kharkov.
* 1945 - World War II: American forces land on Corregidor island in the Philippines.
* 1945 - World War II: First American Aircraft carrier strikes on Tokyo.
* 1945 - American forces recapture the Bataan Peninsula.
* 1957 - The "Toddlers' Truce", a controversial television closedown between 6.00pm and 7.00pm was abolished in the United Kingdom
* 1959 - Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba after President Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on January 1.
* 1961 - Explorer program: Explorer 9 (S-56a) launched.
* 1968 - In Haleyville, Alabama the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system goes into service.
* 1972 - NBA basketball player Wilt Chamberlain scores 30,000th point.
* 1978 - The first computer bulletin board system is created (CBBS in Chicago, Illinois).
* 1983 - The Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claim the lives of 71 people in Australia's worst ever fires.
* 1985 - The founding of Hezbollah.
* 1986 - The Soviet liner Mikhail Lermontov runs aground in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand.
* 1987 - The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi guard dubbed "Ivan the Terrible" in Treblinka extermination camp, starts in Jerusalem.
* 1991 - Gulf War: U.S. and UK war planes bomb the suburbs of Baghdad, injuring at least 11 civilians and killing three others.
* 1998 - China Airlines Flight 676 crashed into a residential area near by Chiang Kai-shek International Airport, killing 202 people, included all 196 on board and six on the ground.
* 1999 - In Uzbekistan a bomb explodes and gunfire is heard at the government headquarters in an apparent assassination attempt against President Islam Karimov.
* 1999 - Across Europe, Kurdish rebels take over embassies and hold hostages after Turkey arrested one of their rebel leaders, Abdullah Öcalan.
* 2005 - The Kyoto Protocol comes into force, following its ratification by Russia.
* 2005 - The National Hockey League cancels the entire 2004-2005 regular season and playoffs, becoming the first major sports league in North America to do so over a labour dispute.
* 2006 - The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army.
* 1032 - Emperor Yingzong of China (d. 1067)
* 1222 - Nichiren, Japanese founder of Nichiren Buddhism (d. 1282)
* 1497 - Philipp Melanchthon, German humanist and reformer (d. 1560)
* 1519 - Gaspard de Coligny, French Huguenot leader (d. 1572)
* 1543 - Kano Eitoku, Japanese painter (d. 1590)
* 1620 - Friedrich Wilhelm I of Brandenburg, Duke of Prussia (d. 1688)
* 1643 - John Sharp, English Archbishop of York (d. 1714)
* 1698 - Pierre Bouguer, French mathematician (d. 1758)
* 1710 - King Louis XV of France (d. 1774)
* 1727 - Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin, Austrian scientist (d. 1817)
* 1761 - Charles Pichegru, French general (d. 1804)
* 1802 - Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, American philosopher (d. 1866)
* 1804 - Karl Theodor Ernst von Siebold, German physiologist (d. 1885)
* 1812 - Henry Wilson, 18th Vice President of US (d. 1875)
* 1821 - Heinrich Barth, German explorer (d. 1865)
* 1822 - Sir Francis Galton, English explorer and biologist (d. 1911)
* 1824 - Peter Kozler, Slovenian cartographer and geographer (d. 1879)
* 1826 - Julia Grant, First Lady of the United States (d. 1902)
* 1826 - Joseph Victor von Scheffel, German poet (d. 1886)
* 1831 - Nikolai Leskov, Russian writer (d. 1895)
* 1834 - Ernst Haeckel, German zoologist and philosopher (d. 1919)
[coined the term ECOLOGY
* 1838 - Henry Adams, American historian and novelist (d. 1918)
* 1847 - Philipp Scharwenka, Polish-German composer (d. 1917)
* 1848 - Hugo de Vries, Dutch botanist (d. 1935)
[rediscovered Mendel principles of Heredity - The Green Genes...]
* 1856 - Rudolph Karstadt, German entrepreneur (d. 1944)
* 1856 - Willem Kes, Dutch conductor (d. 1934)
* 1866 - Vyacheslav Ivanov, a Russian poet (d. 1949)
* 1876 - George Macaulay Trevelyan, English historian (d. 1962)
* 1884 - Robert J. Flaherty, American filmmaker (d. 1951)
* 1886 - Van Wyck Brooks, American historian and critic (d. 1963)
* 1887 - Kathleen Clifford, American actress (d. 1962)
* 1898 - Katharine Cornell, American actress (d. 1974)
* 1901 - Vincent Coleman, American actor (d. 1971)
* 1901 - Chester Morris, American film actor (d. 1970)
* 1903 - Edgar Bergen, American ventriloquist (d. 1978)
* 1903 - George-Henri Lévesque, Quebec priest and sociologist (d. 2000)
* 1904 - George F. Kennan, American historian, diplomat and political policy-maker (d. 2005)
* 1909 - Hugh Beaumont, American actor (d. 1982)
* 1909 - Jeffrey Lynn, American actor (d. 1995)
* 1909 - Richard McDonald, American fast food pioneer (d. 1998)
* 1915 - Jim O'Hora, American college football coach (d. 2005)
* 1915 - Michael Relph, British film producer and director (d. 2004)
* 1916 - Bill Doggett, American jazz and rhythm and blues pianist and organist (d. 1996)
* 1918 - Patty Andrews, American singer
* 1921 - Jean Behra, French Formula One driver (d. 1959)
* 1921 - Araucaria, British crossword compiler
* 1921 - Vera-Ellen, American actress (d. 1981)
* 1925 - Carlos Paredes, Portuguese guitar master (d. 2004)
* 1926 - John Schlesinger, English film director (d. 2003)
* 1927 - June Brown, British actress
* 1927 - Tom Kennedy, American game show host
* 1929 - Gerhard Hanappi, Austrian footballer (d. 1980)
* 1931 - Ken Takakura, Japanese actor
* 1932 - Gretchen Wyler, American actress and dancer
* 1932 - Otis Blackwell, American songwriter and singer (d. 2002)
* 1932 - Harry Goz, American actor (d. 2003)
* 1932 - Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, President of Sierra Leone
* 1934 - Herbie & Harold Kalin, American singers (d. 2005-Harold / 2006-Herbie)
* 1934 - Marlene Hagge, American professional golfer
* 1935 - Sonny Bono, American entertainer (d. 1998)
* 1936 - Jill Kinmont, American skier
* 1937 - Yuri Manin, Russian mathematician
* 1938 - John Corigliano, American composer
* 1938 - Barry Primus, American actor
* 1941 - Kim Jong-il, North Korean leader
* 1943 - Brig Owens, American football player
* 1944 - Richard Ford, American novelist
* 1945 - Jeremy Bulloch, English actor
* 1945 - Frank Welker, American voice actor
* 1950 - Peter Hain, British politician
* 1950 - Kazuki Tomokawa, Japanese acid-folk singer
* 1951 - William Katt, American actor
* 1952 - Barry Foote, Major League Baseball player
* 1953 - George Martin, American footballer
* 1953 - Lanny McDonald, Canadian ice hockey player
* 1953 - Roberta Williams, computer game designer
* 1954 - Michael Holding, West Indian fast bowler cricket
* 1954 - Iain Banks, Scottish author
* 1954 - Margaux Hemingway, American actress and model (d. 1996)
* 1955 - Hunt Block, American actor
* 1956 - James Ingram, American singer
* 1957 - LeVar Burton, American actor
* 1958 - Ice-T, American rapper, songwriter, and actor
* 1958 - Lisa Loring, American actress
* 1958 - Oscar Schmidt, Brazilian basketball player
* 1959 - John McEnroe, American tennis player
* 1959 - Kelly Tripucka, American basketball player
* 1960 - Pete Willis, English guitarist (Def Leppard)
* 1961 - Andy Taylor, English musician (Duran Duran)
* 1963 - Dave Lombardo, Cuban drummer (Slayer)
* 1964 - Bebeto, Brazilian footballer
* 1964 - Christopher Eccleston, English actor
* 1967 - John Valentin, baseball player
* 1967 - Keith Gretzky, former hockey player; brother of Wayne Gretzky
* 1968 - Warren Ellis, British comic book writer
* 1969 - David Heath, American professional wrestler better known as Gangrel
* 1970 - D.J. Wallis, American fitness competitor
* 1972 - Jerome Bettis, American football player
* 1973 - Cathy Freeman, Australian athlete
* 1974 - Satyajit Salian, Still too early to assess impact on history
* 1975 - Nanase Aikawa, Japanese singer
* 1976 - Eric Byrnes, American baseball player
* 1976 - Kyo, Japanese singer (Dir en grey)
* 1977 - Ian Clarke, Irish computer programmer
* 1977 - Ahman Green, American football player
* 1978 - John Tartaglia, Broadway actor and Muppeteer
* 1979 - Valentino Rossi, Italian motorcycle racer
* 1980 - Ashley Lelie, American football player
* 1981 - Qyntel Woods, American basketball player
* 1982 - Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, American rapper
* 1983 - Tuomo Ruutu, Finnish hockey player
* 1247 - Heinrich Raspe, Landgrave of Thuringia (b. 1204)
* 1279 - King Afonso III of Portugal (b. 1210)
* 1391 - John V Palaeologus, Byzantine Emperor (b. 1332)
* 1531 - Johannes Stöffler, German mathematician and astronomer (b. 1452)
* 1560 - Jean du Bellay, French Catholic cardinal and diplomat
* 1710 - Esprit Fléchier, French writer and Bishop of Nîmes (b. 1632)
* 1721 - James Craggs the Younger, English politician (b. 1686)
* 1754 - Richard Mead, English physician (b. 1673)
* 1844 - Joseph Crosfield, English soap and alkali manufacturer (b. 1792)
* 1866 - Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, 19th Century Philosopher (b. 1802)
* 1898 - Thomas Bracken, New Zealand poet (b. 1843)
* 1899 - Félix Faure, President of France (b. 1841)
* 1907 - Giosuè Carducci, Italian writer, Nobel Prize Laureate (b. 1835)
* 1912 - St. Nikolai of Japan, Eastern Orthodox priest (b. 1836)
* 1917 - Octave Mirbeau, French writer (b. 1848)
* 1919 - Vera Kholodnaya, Russian film star (b. 1893)
* 1928 - Eddie Foy, American singer and dancer (b. 1856)
* 1932 - Ferdinand Buisson, French pacifist, Nobel Prize Laureate (b. 1841)
* 1967 - Antonio Moreno, Spanish-born actor (b. 1887)
* 1967 - Smiley Burnette, American actor, singer and songwriter (b. 1911)
* 1974 - John Garand, Canadian rifle engineer and manufacturer (b. 1888)
* 1975 - Morgan Taylor, American athlete (b. 1903)
* 1977 - Carlos Pellicer, Mexican poet (b. 1897)
* 1978 - E. Roland Harriman, American financier (b. 1895)
* 1980 - Erich Hückel, German physicist (b. 1895)
* 1988 - Jean Carignan, French Canadian fiddler (b. 1916)
* 1990 - Keith Haring, American artist (b. 1958)
* 1992 - Angela Carter, English writer (b. 1940)
* 1992 - Jânio Quadros, Brazilian politician (b. 1917)
* 1992 - Herman Wold, Swedish statistician (b. 1908
* 1996 - Roger Bowen, American actor (b. 1932)
* 1996 - Edmund G. Brown, Governor of California (b. 1905)
* 1996 - Brownie McGhee, American singer (b. 1915)
* 1997 - Chien-Shiung Wu, Chinese-American Physicist (b. 1912)
* 1999 - Michael Larson, Press Your Luck Big-winning contestant
* 2000 - Marceline Day, American actress (b. 1908)
* 2000 - Karsten Solheim, Norwegian-born engineer and inventor (b. 1911)
* 2000 - Lila Kedrova, Russian-born actress (b. 1918)
* 2001 - Bob Buhl, baseball player (b. 1928)
* 2001 - William Masters, American gynecologist and sexologist (b. 1915)
* 2002 - Walter Winterbottom, England football manager (b. 1913)
* 2003 - Eleanor "Sis" Daley, wife of Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley (b. 1907)
* 2004 - Shirley Strickland, Australian athlete (b. 1925)
* 2004 - Doris Troy, American singer (b. 1937)
* 2005 - Nicole DeHuff, American actress (pneumonia) (b. 1975)
* 2006 - Johnny Grunge, American professional wrestler (b. 1966)
* 2006 - Ernie Stautner, German-born American football player (b. 1925)
Holidays and observances
* Lithuania - Independence Day (1918)
* Kyoto Protocol Day (2005)
* Saint Elias and companions
* Remembrance of Lambertus
* Saint Juliana
* Saint Lucilla
* Saint Gilbert of Sempringham
* Saint Aganus
* Saint Honestus
* Saint Julian of Egypt
* Saint Onesimus
* February 16 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Anna Dynkns Birthday