September 15 is the 258th day of the year (259th in leap years). There are 107 days remaining.
- 608 – Saint Boniface IV becomes Pope.
- 921 – Saint Ludmila is murdered at the command of her daughter-in-law at Tetin.
- 1514 – Thomas Wolsey is appointed Archbishop of York.
- 1556 – Vlissingen ex-emperor Charles V returns to Spain.
- 1584 – San Lorenzo del Escorial Palace in Madrid is finished.
- 1590 – Giambattista Catagna is elected as Pope Urban VII.
- 1620 – The Mayflower departs Plymouth, England
- 1644 – Giambattista Pamfili becomes Pope Innocent X, succeeding Pope Urban VII.
- 1656 – England & France sign peace treaty.
- 1683 – Germantown, Pennsylvania is founded by 13 immigrant families.
- 1776 – Revolutionary War: British land at Kip's Bay during the New York Campaign.
- 1789 – The United States Department of State is established (formerly known as Department of Foreign Affairs).
- 1812 – The French army under Napoleon reaches the Kremlin in Moscow.
- 1821 – Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador jointly declare independence from Spain.
- 1830 – The Liverpool to Manchester railway line opens. (see also deaths, below)
- 1831 – The locomotive John Bull operates for the first time in New Jersey on the Camden and Amboy Railroad.
- 1835 – The HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, reaches the Galapagos Islands.
- 1857 – Timothy Alder patents the typesetting machine.
- 1862 – Confederate forces capture Harpers Ferry, Virginia.
- 1873 – Franco-Prussian War: The last German troops leave France upon completion of payment of indemnity.
- 1883 – The Bombay Natural History Society is founded in Bombay (now Mumbai), India.
- 1894 – First Sino-Japanese War: Japan defeats China in the Battle of Ping Yang.
- 1914 – World War I: The Battle of Aisne begins between Germany and France.
- 1916 – World War I: Tanks are used for the first time in battle, at the Battle of the Somme.
- 1928 – Sir Alexander Fleming notices a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.
- 1928 – Tich Freeman becomes the only bowler to take 300 wickets in an English cricket season.
- 1931 – In Scotland, the two-day Invergordon Mutiny against Royal Navy pay cuts begins.
- 1935 – Nuremberg Laws deprive German Jews of citizenship.
- 1935 – Nazi Germany adopts a new national flag with the swastika.
- 1940 – World War II: The Battle of Britain ends with a Royal Air Force victory over the Luftwaffe.
- 1941 – The U.S. Attorney General rules that the Neutrality Act is not violated when U.S. ships carry war materiel to British territories, opening the door for the Lend-Lease Act.
- 1942 – World War II: The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Wasp is torpedoed at Guadalcanal.
- 1943 – Benito Mussolini forms a fascist government in Italy to rival Adolf Hitler's.
- 1944 – Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill meet in Quebec as part of the Octagon Conference to discuss strategy.
- 1945 – A hurricane in southern Florida and the Bahamas destroys 366 planes and 25 blimps at NAS Richmond.
- 1946 – The Brooklyn Dodgers are beating the Chicago Cubs, 2–0, in the 5th inning when a swarm of gnats causes the game to be postponed.
- 1947 – RCA releases the 12AX7 vacuum tube.
- 1948 – The F-86 Sabre sets the world aircraft speed record at 1080 km/h.
- 1949 – The radio series The Lone Ranger premieres on the ABC.
- 1950 – Korean War: United States forces land at Incheon, Korea.
- 1951 – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes closes on Broadway in New York City after 740 performances.
- 1952 – United Nations gives Eritrea to Ethiopia.
- 1953 – Frank Sinatra plays Bill Miller's Riviera in Ft. Lee, New Jersey.
- 1954 – The U.S. Postal Service issues its 2¢ Thomas Jefferson Liberty Series stamp.
- 1955 – The I Love Lucy episode featuring John Wayne premieres.
- 1956 – Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" tops the singles sales charts at #1.
- 1957 – West Germany holds its third parliamentary election. Konrad Adenauer remains chancellor.
- 1958 – A New Jersey commuter train crashes through a drawbridge, killing 48.
- 1959 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet leader to visit the United States.
- 1960 – Warren Spahn pitches a no-hitter for the New York Yankees.
- 1961 – Hurricane Carla strikes Texas with winds of 175 miles per hour.
- 1962 – The Soviet ship Poltava heads toward Cuba, one of the events that sets into motion the Cuban Missile Crisis.
- 1963 – The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing kills four children at an African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama.
- 1964 – The Beatles play at a public auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio.
- 1965 – The television series Lost in Space premieres.
- 1966 – The spaceship Gemini XI, with astronauts Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon aboard, returns to earth.
- 1967 – Former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to a sniper attack at the University of Texas, writes a letter to the United States Congress urging the enactment of gun control legislation.
- 1968 – The Soviet Zond 5 spaceship is launched, becoing the first spacecraft to fly around the Moon and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.
- 1969 – St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Steve Carlton sets a record by striking out 19 New York Mets in a single game.
- 1971 – In a game against the Houston Astros, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit his 636th career home run, tying Ty Cobb for the number three spot of most home runs driven in.
- 1972 – A magnitude 4.5 earthquake shakes Northern Illinois.
- 1973 – Secretariat wins the Marlboro Cup in world record time.
- 1974 – Air Vietnam flight 727 is hijacked, then crashes while attempting to land with 75 on board.
- 1975 – The French department of Corse (the entire island of Corsica) is divided into two departments: Haute-Corse and Corse-du-Sud.
- 1976 – Soyuz 22 carries two cosmonauts into earth orbit for eight days.
- 1978 – Muhammad Ali beats Leon Spinks for the heavyweight boxing title.
- 1980 – Paul McCartney releases Temporary Secretary.
- 1981 – The United States Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Sandra Day O'Connor to the United States Supreme Court.
- 1981 – The John Bull becomes the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when the Smithsonian Institution operates it under its own power outside Washington, DC.
- 1982 – The first issue of USA Today is published by Gannett.
- 1983 – Israeli premier Menachem Begin resigns.
- 1984 – Sharlene Wells (Utah), 20, crowned the 58th Miss America.
- 1985 – Willie Nelson's Farm Aid concert begins.
- 1986 – First broadcast of the TV show LA Law on NBC.
- 1987 – U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze sign a treaty to establish centers to reduce the risk of nuclear war.
- 1988 – Lillehammer, Norway upsets Anchorage, Alaska to host the 1994 Winter Olympics.
- 1989 – The U.S. Congress recognizes Terry Anderson's continued captivity in Beirut.
- 1990 – France announces it will send 4,000 troops to the Persian Gulf.
- 1991 – U.S. women's gymnastics team wins its first World Championship medal (silver).
- 1992 – Roberta Flack releases Chapter Two.
- 1993 – Liechtenstein Prince Hans-Adam II disbands parliament.
- 1994 – Muslim fundamentalists kidnap & behead 16 people in Algeria.
- 1998 – Telecommunications companies MCI Communications and WorldCom complete their $37 billion merger to form MCI WorldCom.
- 2004 – Davíð Oddsson the longest serving Prime Minister of Iceland, steps down after serving in office from 1991, and becomes minister for foreign affairs. At the time he was the longest serving PM in Europe
- 973 – Al-Biruni, mathematician (d. 1048)
- 1789 – James Fenimore Cooper, American novelist (d. 1851)
- 1857 – William Howard Taft, President of the United States and Supreme Court Justice (d. 1930)
- 1876 – Bruno Walter, German conductor (d. 1962)
- 1879 – Joseph Lyons, tenth Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1939)
- 1881 – Ettore Bugatti, automobile engineer and designer (d. 1947)
- 1883 – Esteban Terradas i Illa, Catalan mathematician, scientist, and engineer (d. 1950)
- 1889 – Robert Benchley, author (d. 1945)
- 1890 – Agatha Christie, English writer (d. 1976)
- 1890 – Frank Martin, Swiss composer (d. 1974)
- 1894 – Jean Renoir, film director (d. 1979)
- 1898 – J. Slauerhoff, Dutch poet and novelist
- 1901 – Sir Donald Bailey civil engineer who invented the Bailey Bridge (d. 1985)
- 1903 – Roy Acuff, country musician (d. 1992)
- 1907 – Fay Wray, actress (d. 2004)
- 1913 – John N. Mitchell, United States Attorney General and convicted Watergate criminal (d. 1988)
- 1914 – Adolfo Bioy Casares, writer (d. 1999)
- 1915 – Igor Cassini, fashion designer (d. 2002)
- 1922 – Jackie Cooper, actor, director
- 1924 – Bobby Short, jazz musician
- 1924 – Lucebert, Dutch painter and poet
- 1926 – Jean-Pierre Serre, French mathematician
- 1928 – Cannonball Adderley, saxophonist and bandleader (d. 1975)
- 1929 – Murray Gell-Mann, American physicist.
- 1933 – Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Spanish conductor
- 1933 – Henry Darrow, actor
- 1938 – Gaylord Perry, baseball player
- 1940 – Merlin Olsen, American football player and actor
- 1946 – Tommy Lee Jones, American actor
- 1946 – Oliver Stone, film director
- 1949 – Joe Barton, American politician
- 1961 – Dan Marino, American football player
- 1976 – Paul Thomson, drummer (Franz Ferdinand)
- 1984 – Prince Harry of Wales
- 1500 – John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury
- 1830 – William Huskisson, first rail fatality
- 1859 – Isambard Kingdom Brunel, engineer
- 1864 – John Hanning Speke, British explorer of Africa
- 1885 – Jumbo, P. T. Barnum's circus elephant (hit by a train)
- 1891 – Ivan Goncharov, Russian author
- 1893 – Thomas Hawksley, civil engineer
- 1926 – Rudolf Christoph Eucken, German writer (b. 1846)
- 1945 – Anton Webern, Austrian composer
- 1965 – Steve Brown, jazz musician (b. 1890)
- 1972 – Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1887)
- 1973 – King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden
- 1989 – Robert Penn Warren, American poet and novelist
- 2003 – Jack Brymer, British clarinetist
- 2003 – Josef Hirsal, novelist
- 2003 – Yetunde Price, sister of American tennis-players Venus and Serena Williams
- 2004 – Johnny Ramone, guitarist with The Ramones (prostate cancer) (b. October 8, 1948)
Holidays and observances
September 14 · September 16 · August 15 · October 15 · more historical anniversaries