1517 - Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther posts his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church.
1861 - American Civil War: Citing failing health, Union General Winfield Scott resigns as Commander of the United States Army.
1864 - Nevada is admitted as the 36th U.S. state.
1892 - Arthur Conan Doyle publishes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
1912 - The Musketeers of Pig Alley, directed by D.W. Griffith, debuts as the first gangster film.
1922 - Benito Mussolini becomes the youngest Premier in the history of Italy.
1926 - Magician Harry Houdini dies of gangrene and peritonitis that developed after his appendix ruptured.
1936 - The Boy Scouts of the Philippines was formed.
1938 - Great Depression: In an effort to try restore investor confidence, the New York Stock Exchange unveils a fifteen-point program aimed to upgrade protection for the investing public.
1940 - World War II: Battle of Britain ends - The United Kingdom prevents Germany from invading Great Britain.
1941 - After 14 years of work, drilling is completed on Mount Rushmore.
1941 - World War II: The destroyer USS Reuben James is torpedoed by a German U-boat near Iceland, killing more than 100 United States Navy sailors.
1954 - Algerian War of Independence: The Algerian National Liberation Front begins a revolt against French rule.
1956 - Suez Crisis: The United Kingdom and France begin bombing Egypt to force the reopening of the Suez Canal.
1961 - In the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin's body is removed from Lenin's Tomb.
1968 - Vietnam War: Citing progress with the Paris peace talks, US President Lyndon B. Johnson announces to the nation that he has ordered a complete cessation of "all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam" effective November 1.
1984 - Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two Sikh security guards (riots soon broke out in New Delhi and nearly 2,000 innocent Sikhs were killed).
1994 - An American Eagle ATR-72 crashes in Roselawn, Indiana, after circling in icy weather, killing 64 passengers.
1996 - A Brazilian TAM Fokker-100 crashes into several houses in Sao Paulo, Brazil killing 98 including 2 on the ground
1998 - Iraq disarmament crisis begins: Iraq announces it would no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.
1999 - EgyptAir Flight 990 traveling from New York City to Cairo crashes off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, killing all 217 on-board.
1999 - Roman Catholic Church and Lutheran Church leaders sign the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, ending a centuries-old doctrinal dispute over the nature of faith and salvation.
1999 - An EgyptAir Boeing 767-300 crashes off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, killing 217
2000 - A Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400 crashes immediately after takeoff in Taipei, Taiwan killing 81
2000 - A chartered Antonov AN-26 explodes after takeoff in Northern Angola killing 50
2000 - The last Multics machine was shut down.
1345 - King Fernando of Portugal (†1383)
1391 - King Duarte of Portugal (†1438)
1620 - John Evelyn, diarist (†1706)
1632 - Johannes Vermeer, painter (he was actually baptised on that day, his birthdate is not confirmed) († 1675)
1795 - John Keats, British poet (†1821)
1815 - Karl Weierstraß, German mathematician († 1897)
1851 - Princess Louise of Sweden († 1926)
1860 - Juliette Low, founder of the Girl Scouts
1887 - Chiang Kai-shek, Nationalist Chinese leader († 1975)
1892 - Alexander Alekhine, chess player († 1946)
1896 - Ethel Waters, singer, actress († 1977)
1912 - Dale Evans, singer, actress († 2001)
1920 - Fritz Walter, German football player
1920 - Helmut Newton, photographer
1920 - Dick Francis, novelist
1922 - Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia
1922 - Barbara Bel Geddes, actress
1922 - Illinois Jacquet, musician
1925 - John Anthony Pople, British theoretical chemist
1927 - Lee Grant, actress
1930 - Michael Collins, American astronaut
1931 - Dan Rather, American news anchor
1936 - Michael Landon, actor († 1991)
1937 - Tom Paxton, folk music singer
1944 - Kinky Friedman, musician, novelist
1945 - Brian Doyle-Murray, American comedian and actor
1947 - Deidre Hall, soap opera actress
1947 - Frank Shorter, marathon runner
1949 - Stephen Rea, actor
1950 - Jane Pauley, news anchor
1950 - John Candy, Canadian comedian and actor († 1994)
1959 - Neal Stephenson, author
1961 - Peter Jackson, New Zealand film director
1961 - Larry Mullen, Irish drummer for the rock band U2
1963 - Rob Schneider, actor
1964 - Marco van Basten, Dutch football player
1966 - Adam Horovitz, singer ("The Beastie Boys")
1968 - Vanilla Ice, rap music singer
1448 - John VIII Palaeologus, Byzantine Emperor
1611 - Charles IX of Sweden
1732 - Victor Amadeus II of Savoy
1768 - Francesco Maria Veracini, composer
1879 - Jacob Abbott, American author
1926 - Harry Houdini, magician
1939 - Otto Rank, Austrian psychologist
1943 - Max Reinhardt, German director
1983 - George Halas, American football player, coach, team owner
1984 - Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India
1986 - Robert S. Mulliken, American physicist, chemist
1987 - Joseph Campbell, American author and expert on mythology
1988 - John Houseman, actor, director, teacher
1991 - Joseph Papp, theatrical producer
1993 - Federico Fellini, Italian director
1993 - River Phoenix, actor
1999 - Greg Moore, CART driver
2000 - Ring Lardner, Jr, American screenwriter
2001 - Régine Cavagnoud, ski athlete
2001 - Paul Warnke, politician
2002 - Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell), rapper (Run DMC)
2003 - Richard Neustadt, political historian
2003 - Semmangudy, famous Carnatic vocalist
Holidays and observances
Samhain (an approximate date)
October 30 - November 1 - December 31 - August 31 -- listing of all days
See Also: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December