September 2 is the 245th day of the year (246th in leap years). There are 120 days remaining.
- 31 BC - Roman Civil War: Battle of Actium - Off the western coast of Greece, forces of Octavian defeat troops under Mark Antony and Cleopatra.
- 1649 - The Italian city of Castro is completely destroyed by the forces of Pope Innocent X, ending the Wars of Castro.
- 1666 - The Great Fire of London breaks out and burns for three days destroying 10,000 buildings including St. Paul's Cathedral.
- 1752 - The United Kingdom adopts the Gregorian Calendar, nearly two centuries later than most of Western Europe.
- 1789 - United States Department of the Treasury was founded.
- 1807 - British Navy bombards Copenhagen with fire bombs and phosphorus rockets to prevent Denmark from surrendering its fleet to Napoleon. 70% of the city was destroyed and 2000 citizens were killed.
- 1862 - American Civil War: President Abraham Lincoln reluctantly restores Union General George McClellan to full command after General John Pope's disastrous defeat at the Battle of Second Bull Run.
- 1864 - American Civil War: Union forces under General William T. Sherman enter Atlanta, Georgia a day after the Confederate defenders fled the city.
- 1870 - Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Sedan - Prussian forces defeat the French armies and take emperor Napoleon III and 100,000 of his soldiers prisoner at Sedan.
- 1885 - In Rock Springs, Wyoming, 150 white miners attack their Chinese coworkers, killing 28, wounding 15, and forcing several hundred more out of town.
- 1898 - Battle of Omdurman - British and Egyptian troops led by Horatio Kitchener defeat Sudanese tribesmen led by Khalifa Abdullah al-Taashi , thus establishing British dominance in the Sudan.
- 1901 - Vice President Theodore Roosevelt utters the famous phrase, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" at the Minnesota State Fair.
- 1935 - Labor Day Hurricane of 1935: A large hurricane hit the Florida Keys killing 423.
- 1939 - Following the invasion of Poland, Freie Stadt Danzig Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) ruled by Nazi leader Forster is annexed to Nazi Germany.
- 1944 - Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family are placed on the last transport train from Westerbork to Auschwitz. They arrive three days later.
- 1945 - World War II ends: The final official surrender of Japan was accepted by General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
- 1945 - Vietnam declares its independence forming the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam).
- 1963 - CBS Evening News becomes network television's first half-hour weeknight news broadcast, when the show is lengthened from 15 to 30 minutes.
- 1967 - The microstate Principality of Sealand unilaterally declared its independence.
- 1969 - The first automatic teller machine in the United States is installed in Rockville Centre, New York.
- 1987 - In Moscow, the trial of 19-year-old pilot Mathias Rust, who flew his Cessna airplane into Red Square in May 1987, begins.
- 1991 - The United States recognizes the independence of the Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
- 1995 - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opens in Cleveland, Ohio.
- 1998 - In Canada, pilots for Air Canada launch the first strike in company's history.
- 1998 - A McDonnell Douglas MD-11 airliner carrying Swissair Flight 111 crashes near Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia after taking off from New York City en-route to Geneva. All 229 people on board are killed.
- 1998 - A United Nations court finds Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, guilty of nine counts of genocide, marking the first time that the 1948 law banning genocide is enforced.
- 1830 - William P. Frye, American politician
- 1838 - Liliuokalani of Hawaii, Queen of the Hawaiian Islands (d. 1917)
- 1850 - Albert Spalding, American baseball player and sporting goods manufacturer
- 1853 - Wilhelm Ostwald, German chemist
- 1866 - Hiram Johnson, former Governor of California and political activist
- 1877 - Frederick Soddy, British chemist
- 1884 - Dr. Frank C. Laubach, Christian missionary and founder of Laubach Literacy
- 1917 - Cleveland Amory , author
- 1923 - Rene Thom, French mathematician
- 1924 - Daniel arap Moi, longtime president of Kenya.
- 1929 - Hal Ashby, film director
- 1934 - Dominic Chianese, actor
- 1936 - Andrew Grove, co-founder and chairman of Intel
- 1944 - Al Matthews, American actor (d. 2002)
- 1948 - Terry Bradshaw, American football player
- 1948 - Christa McAuliffe, American teacher, astronaut (d. 1986)
- 1951 - Mark Harmon, actor
- 1952 - Jimmy Connors, American tennis player
- 1961 - Eric Dickerson, American football Hall of Famer
- 1961 - Carlos Valderrama, Colombian football player
- 1964 - Keanu Reeves, American actor
- 1965 - Lennox Lewis, Canadian/British boxer
- 1966 - Salma Hayek, Mexican actress
- 1969 - Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey, R&B singer
- 1971 - Tommy Maddox, American football quarterback
- 1972 - Sergei Zholtok, professional ice hockey player
- 421 - Constantius III, Roman Emperor
- 1274 - Prince Munetaka, 6th Kamakura shogun in Japan (b. 1242)
- 1540 - Lebna Dengel , Emperor of Ethiopia
- 1764 - Revd Nathaniel Bliss, Astronomer Royal
- 1832 - Franz Xaver, Baron Von Zach, Scientific Editor, Astronomer
- 1834 - Thomas Telford, British civil engineer
- 1898 - Wilford Woodruff, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (b. 1807)
- 1921 - Anthony Francis Lucas Croatian-American oil exploration pioneer (b.1855)
- 1921 - Henry Austin Dobson, poet (b. 1840)
- 1934 - Alcide Nunez, jazz musician (b. 1884)
- 1937 - Pierre de Coubertin, French founder of the modern Olympic Games
- 1953 - US General Jonathan Wainwright, Medal of Honor recipient
- 1964 - Alvin York, most decorated American soldier of World War I
- 1981 - Andrija Maurovic, Croat illustrator (b.1901)
- 1973 - J. R. R. Tolkien, British writer (b. 1892)
- 1973 - Carl Dudley,American movie director (b. 1910)
- 1976 - Stanisław Grochowiak, Polish poet and dramatist (b. 1934)
- 1992 - Barbara McClintock, American geneticist
- 1997 - Rudolph Bing, opera manager
- 1998 - Allen Drury, author
- 2000 - Elvera Sanchez, Puertorican dancer
- 2000 - Curt Siodmak , science fiction author
- 2001 - Christiaan Barnard, South African heart surgeon
- 2001 - Troy Donahue , actor
- 2004 - Joan Oró, Scientist.
Holidays and observances
September 1 - September 3 - August 2 - October 2 - more historical anniversaries
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