49 BC – Julius Caesar’s general Gaius Scribonius Curio is defeated in the Battle of the Bagradas (49 BC) by the Numidians under Publius Attius Varus and King Juba of Numidia. Curio commits suicide to avoid capture.
79 – Mount Vesuvius erupts. The cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae are buried in volcanic ash (note: this traditional date has been challenged, and many scholars believe that the event occurred on October 24).
394 – The Graffito of Esmet-Akhom, the latest known inscription in Egyptian hieroglyphs, was written.
410 – The Visigoths under king Alaric I begin to pillage Rome.
455 – The Vandals, led by king Genseric, begin to plunder Rome. Pope Leo I requests Genseric not destroy the ancient city or murder its citizens. He agrees and the gates of Rome are opened. However, the Vandals loot a great amount of treasure.
1185 – Sack of Thessalonica by the Normans.
1200 – King John of England, signer of the first Magna Carta, marries Isabella of Angoulême in Bordeaux Cathedral.
1215 – Pope Innocent III declares Magna Carta invalid.
1349 – Six thousand Jews are killed in Mainz after being blamed for the bubonic plague.
1391 – Jews are massacred in Palma de Mallorca.
1456 – The printing of the Gutenberg Bible is completed.
1482 – The town and castle of Berwick upon Tweed is captured from Scotland by an English army
1516 – The Ottoman Empire under Selim I defeats the Mamluk Sultanate and captures present-day Syria at the Battle of Marj Dabiq.
1561 – Willem of Orange marries duchess Anna of Saxony.
1608 – The first official English representative to India lands in Surat.
1690 – Job Charnock of the East India Company establishes a factory in Calcutta, an event formerly considered the founding of the city (in 2003 the Calcutta High Court ruled that the city has no birthday).
1781 – American Revolutionary War: A small force of Pennsylvania militia is ambushed and overwhelmed by an American Indian group, which forces George Rogers Clark to abandon his attempt to attack Detroit.
1812 – Peninsular War: A coalition of Spanish, British, and Portuguese forces succeed in lifting the two-and-a-half-year-long Siege of Cádiz.
1814 – British troops invade Washington, D.C. and during the Burning of Washington the White House, the Capitol and many other buildings are set ablaze.
1815 – The modern Constitution of the Netherlands is signed.
1816 – The Treaty of St. Louis is signed in St. Louis, Missouri.
1820 – Constitutionalist insurrection at Oporto, Portugal.
1821 – The Treaty of Córdoba is signed in Córdoba, now in Veracruz, Mexico, concluding the Mexican War of Independence from Spain.
1857 – The Panic of 1857 begins, setting off one of the most severe economic crises in United States history.
1870 – The Wolseley expedition reaches Manitoba to end the Red River Rebellion.
1875 – Captain Matthew Webb became first person to swim the English Channel
1891 – Thomas Edison patents the motion picture camera.
1898 – Count Muravyov, Foreign Minister of Russia presents a rescript that convoked the First Hague Peace Conference.
1909 – Workers start pouring concrete for the Panama Canal.
1914 – World War I: German troops capture Namur.
1914 – World War I: The Battle of Cer ends as the first Allied victory in the war.
1929 – Second day of two-day Hebron massacre during the 1929 Palestine riots: Arab attacks on the Jewish community in Hebron in the British Mandate of Palestine, result in the death of 65–68 Jews and the remaining Jews being forced to leave the city.
1931 – France and the Soviet Union sign a neutrality/no attack treaty.
1931 – Resignation of the United Kingdom’s Second Labour Government. Formation of the UK National Government.
1932 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop (from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey).
1936 – The Australian Antarctic Territory is created.
1937 – Spanish Civil War: the Basque Army surrenders to the Italian Corpo Truppe Volontarie following the Santoña Agreement.
1937 – Spanish Civil War: Sovereign Council of Asturias and León is proclaimed in Gijón.
1941 – Adolf Hitler orders the cessation of Nazi Germany’s systematic T4 euthanasia program of the mentally ill and the handicapped due to protests, although killings continue for the remainder of the war.
1942 – World War II: The Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Japanese aircraft carrier Ryūjō is sunk and US carrier USS Enterprise heavily damaged.
1944 – World War II: Allied troops begin the attack on Paris.
1949 – The treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization goes into effect.
1950 – Edith Sampson becomes the first black U.S. delegate to the United Nations.
1954 – The Communist Control Act goes into effect, outlawing the American Communist Party.
1954 – Getúlio Dornelles Vargas, president of Brazil, commits suicide and is succeeded by João Café Filho.
1989 – Tadeusz Mazowiecki is chosen as the first non-communist Prime Minister in Central and Eastern Europe.
1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
1991 – Ukraine declares itself independent from the Soviet Union.
1994 – Initial accord between Israel and the PLO about partial self-rule of the Palestinians on the West Bank.
1998 – First radio-frequency identification (RFID) human implantation tested in the United Kingdom.
2001 – Air Transat Flight 236 runs out of fuel over the Atlantic Ocean (en route to Lisbon from Toronto) and makes an emergency landing in the Azores.
2004 – Eighty-nine passengers die after two airliners explode after flying out of Domodedovo International Airport, near Moscow. The explosions are caused by suicide bombers (reportedly female) from the Russian Republic of Chechnya.
2006 – The International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines the term “planet” such that Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet.