962 Pope John XII crowned Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor.
1653 New Amsterdam (later renamed The City of New York) was incorporated.
1709 Alexander Selkirk was rescued after being shipwrecked on a desert island, inspiring the book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.
1790 The U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time.
1812 Russia established a fur trading colony at Fort Ross, California.
1829 William Stanley, inventor and engineer, was born (d. 1909).
1848 Mexican-American War: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed.
1848 California Gold Rush: The first ship with Chinese emigrants arrives in San Francisco, California.
1876 The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs of Major League Baseball was formed.
1880 The first electric street light was installed in Wabash, Indiana.
1882 James Joyce, Irish author, was born (d. 1941).
1882 The Knights of Columbus were formed in New Haven, Connecticut.
1887 In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day was observed.
1899 The Australian Premiers’ Conference decided to locate Australia’s capital (Canberra) between Sydney and Melbourne.
1901 Queen Victoria’s funeral took place.
1905 Ayn Rand, Russian-born American author and philosopher, was born (d 1982).
1913 Grand Central Station opened in New York City.
1922 Ulysses by James Joyce was published.
1925 – The Charlevoix-Kamouraska earthquake struck northeastern North America.
1931 – Les Dawson, British comedian, was born (d. 1993).
1934 The Export-Import Bank of the United States was incorporated.
1935 Leonarde Keeler tested the first polygraph machine.
1940 David Jason, English actor, was born.
1943 – World War II: The Battle of Stalingrad ended as Soviet troops accepted the surrender of 91,000 remnants of the Axis forces.
1946 The Proclamation of Hungarian Republic was made.
1947 Farrah Fawcett, American actress, was born (d. 2009).
1948 Al McKay, American guitarist and songwriter (Earth, Wind & Fire), was born.
1967 The American Basketball Association was formed.
1974 The men’s 1500-metre final at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games was called the greatest middle distance race of all time. Tanzanian Filbert Bayi won in a new world record time of 3 minutes 32.16 seconds. New Zealand’s emerging middle distance star John Walker came second, also breaking the existing world record. The remarkable feature of this race was the fact that the third, fourth (New Zealander Rod Dixon) and fifth place getters ran the fourth, fifth, and seventh fastest 1500m times to that date. The national records of five countries – Tanzania, Kenya, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand – were all broken in this race.
1974 The F-16 Fighting Falcon flew for the first time.
1976 The Groundhog Day gale hits the north-eastern United States and south-eastern Canada.
1989 Soviet war in Afghanistan: The last Soviet Union armored column left Kabul.
1989 Satellite television service Sky Television plc launched.
1990 F.W. de Klerk allowed the African National Congress to function legally and promised to release Nelson Mandela.
2007 Four tornadoes hit Central Florida, killing 21 people.
2007 – Widespread flooding in Jakarta, began, eventually killing 54 and causing more than US$400 million in damages.
2009 – The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe devalued the Zimbabwean dollarfor the third and final time, making Z$1 trillion now only Z$1 of the new currency (this is equivalent to Z$10 septillion before the first devaluation).
2012 – The ferry MV Rabaul Queen sank off the coast of Papua New Guinea near the Finschhafen District, with an estimated 300 people missing.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia