The city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was founded by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Mendoza.
Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk, the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, was rescued after four years alone on an island off the coast of Chile.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican War, was signed. In the treaty, Mexico ceded to the United States a huge portion of what is today the American West and Southwest, including California and New Mexico.
The Cardiff Giant was revealed to be a hoax.
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs was formed.
The first gathering at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsatawney, Pa. to wait for the groundhog's shadow occurred.
James Joyce's Ulysses was published.
Nazi troops surrendered in the World War II Battle of Stalingrad.
Idi Amin became dictator of Uganda.
The Abscam scandal was revealed.
South African President F. W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela.
Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel stepped down after 13 years.