1862 – American Civil War: Union forces defeat Confederate troops at Pea Ridge in northwestern Arkansas.
1876 – Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for an invention he calls the telephone.
1912 – Roald Amundsen announces that his expedition had reached the South Pole on December 14, 1911.
1936 – World War II (Prelude to): In violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles, Germany reoccupies the Rhineland.
1945 – World War II: American troops seize the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine River at Remagen.
1965 – Bloody Sunday: A group of 600 civil rights marchers are forcefully broken up in Selma, Alabama.
1968 – Vietnam War: The United States and South Vietnamese military begin Operation Truong Cong Dinh to root out Viet Cong forces from the area surrounding Mỹ Tho.
1986 – Challenger Disaster: Divers from the USS Preserver locate the crew cabin of Challenger on the ocean floor.
1989 – Iran and the United Kingdom break diplomatic relations after a row over Salman Rushdie and his controversial novel.
1994 – Copyright Law: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that parodies of an original work are generally covered by the doctrine of fair use.
2009 – The Kepler space observatory, designed to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars, is launched.
1934 – Willard Scott, American television broadcaster
1940 – Daniel J. Travanti, American actor
1942 – Tammy Faye Bakker, American televangelist (d. 2007)
1942 – Michael Eisner, American film studio executive
1960 – Joe Carter, American baseball player
1964 – Bret Easton Ellis, American writer
1964 – Wanda Sykes, American actress and comedienne
1999 – Stanley Kubrick, American film director (b. 1928)
2000 – Charles Gray, British actor (b. 1928)
2004 – Paul Winfield, American actor (b. 1941)