70 BC Virgil, Roman poet, was born (d. 19 BC).
533 Byzantine general Belisarius made his formal entry into Carthage, having conquered it from the Vandals.
1582 Pope Gregory XIII implemented the Gregorian calendar. In Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, October 4 of this year was followed directly by October 15.
1764 Edward Gibbon observed a group of friars singing in the ruined Temple of Jupiter in Rome, which inspired him to begin work on The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
1793 Queen Marie-Antoinette was tried and condemned in a swift, pre-determined trial.
1815 Napoleon I of France began his exile on Saint Helena.
1844 Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher, was born (d. 1900).
1863 American Civil War: The H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a ship, sank during a test, killing its inventor, Horace L. Hunley.
1864 American Civil War: The Battle of Glasgow was fought, resulting in the surrender of Glasgow, Missouri and its Union garrison, to the Confederacy.
1877 Sir Geroge Grey, former Governor, became Premier of New Zealand.
1878 The Edison Electric Light Company began operation.
1880 Mexican soldiers killed Victorio, one of the greatest Apache military strategists.
1881 P. G. Wodehouse, British novelist, was born (d. 1975).
1888 The “From Hell” letter sent by Jack the Ripper was received by the investigators.
1894 Alfred Dreyfus was arrested for spying.
1908 John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-born US economist, was born (d. 2006).
1917 World War I: Dutch dancer Mata Hari was executed by firing squad for spying for the German Empire.
1920 Mario Puzo, American novelist, was born (d. 1999).
1924 Lee Iacocca, American industrialist, was born.
1928 The airship, the Graf Zeppelin completed its first trans-Atlantic flight.
1932 Tata Airlines (later to become Air India) made its first flight.
1934 The Soviet Republic of China collapsed when Chiang Kai-shek’s National Revolutionary Army successfully encircled Ruijin, forcing the fleeing Communists to begin the Long March.
1939 The New York Municipal Airport (later renamed La Guardia Airport) was dedicated.
1944 The Arrow Cross Party took power in Hungary.
1946 Nuremberg Trials: Hermann Göring poisoned himself the night before his execution.
1951 Mexican chemist Luis E. Miramontes conducted the very last step of the first synthesis of norethisterone, the progestin that would later be used in one of the first two oral contraceptives.
1953 British nuclear test Totem 1 detonated at Emu Field, South Australia.
1956 Fortran, the first modern computer language, was shared with the coding community for the first time.
1959 Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was born.
1965 Vietnam War: The National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam stages the first public burning of a draft card in the United States to result in arrest under a new law.
1966 Black Panther Party was created by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.
1970 Thirty-five construction workers were killed when a section of the new West Gate Bridge in Melbourne collapsed.
1970 Aeroflot Flight 244 was hijacked and diverted to Turkey.
1971 The start of the 2500-year celebration of Iran, celebrating the birth of Persia.
1979 Black Monday in Malta. The Building of the Times of Malta, the residence of the opposition leader Eddie Fenech Adami and several Nationalist Party clubs were ransacked and destroyed by supporters of the Malta Labour Party.
1987 The Great Storm of 1987 hit France and England.
1990 Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to lessen Cold War tensions and open up his nation.
1997 The Cassini probe launched from Cape Canaveral on its way to Saturn.
2003 China launched Shenzhou 5, its first manned space mission.
2003 The Staten Island Ferry boat Andrew J. Barberi ran into a pier at the St. George Ferry Terminal, killing 11 people and injuring 43.
2007 Seventeen activists were arrested in the Ureweara in New Zealand’s first anti-terrorism raids.
Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia