1520 – Portuguese maritime explorer Ferdinand Magellan led the first European expedition to navigate the Strait of Magellan.
1611 – The first recorded performance of William Shakespeare's play The Tempest was held at the Palace of Whitehall in London, exactly seven years to the day after the first certainly known performance of his tragedy Othello was held in the same building.
1755 – A 9.0 Mw earthquake and subsequent tsunami destroyed Lisbon, killing 10,000–100,000 people in Portugal and Morocco.
1800 – John Adams became the first U.S. President to take residence in the Executive Mansion, later re-named the White House.
1928 – The current 29-letter Turkish alphabet was established to replace the Ottoman Turkish alphabet as the official writing system of the Turkish language.
1954 – The "Front de Libération Nationale" began the Algerian War of Independence against French rule.
1959 – After being struck in the face with a hockey puck, Jacques Plante played the rest of the game wearing a goalie mask, now an everyday equipment for goalkeepers in ice hockey.
1963 – Le Quang Tung, loyalist head of South Vietnam's Special Forces, was executed in a US-backed coup against President Ngo Dinh Diem following a period of religious unrest.
1963 – The Arecibo Observatory, with the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, officially opened in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
1998 – The European Court of Human Rights was instituted as a permanent court with full-time judges to monitor compliance by the signatory parties of the European Convention on Human Rights.
1795 – French Revolution: Under the terms of a new constitution that was ratified during the aftermath of the Reign of Terror and the subsequent Thermidorian Reaction, the Directory succeeded the National Convention as the executive government of France.
1889 – The Dakota Territory, an organised incorporated territory of the United States, was split and admitted to the Union as the states of North and South Dakota.
1909 – Lambda Chi Alpha, today one of the largest men's general fraternities in North America, having initiated more than 270,000 members, was founded at Boston University.
1917 – British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration, proclaiming British support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
1932 – The Australian military began a "war" against Emus, a flightless native bird blamed for widespread damage to crops in Western Australia.
1936 – BBC Television Service launched the world's first regular, public all-electronic television service with a high level of image resolution which became known as high-definition television.
1947 – Industrialist and aviator Howard Hughes flew the "Spruce Goose", the largest flying boat ever built, on its maiden flight from the coast of Long Beach, California, US.
1963 – President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam was assassinated, marking the culmination of a coup d'état led by Duong Van Minh.
1988 – The Morris worm, the first computer worm distributed via the Internet to gain significant mainstream media attention, was launched by Cornell University student Robert Tappan Morris from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
1995 – Former South African Minister of Defence Magnus Malan and 10 other former senior military officers were arrested and charged with murdering 13 people in the KwaMakhutha massacre in 1987.
2000 – Aboard Expedition 1, American astronaut William Shepherd and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko became the first resident crew to arrive at the International Space Station.
1793 – French playwright, journalist and outspoken feminist Olympe de Gouges was guillotined for her revolutionary ideas.
1838 – The Times of India, the world's largest circulated English language daily broadsheet newspaper, was founded as the The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce.
1848 – A new constitution drafted by Johan Rudolf Thorbecke was proclaimed, severely limiting the powers of the monarchy of the Netherlands.
1887 – The Coimbra Academic Association, Portugal's oldest students' union, was founded at the University of Coimbra in Coimbra.
1942 – World War II: The Allies defeated the Axis at the Second Battle of El Alamein, Egypt, turning the tide in the North African Campaign by ending Axis hopes of taking control of the Suez Canal and thus gaining access east to the Middle Eastern oil fields.
1948 – The Chicago Tribune published the erroneous headline "Dewey Defeats Truman" in its early morning edition shortly after incumbent U.S. President Harry S. Truman officially upset the heavily favored Governor of New York Thomas Dewey in the U.S. presidential election.
1957 – The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik 2 spacecraft, carrying Laika the Russian space dog as the first living creature from Earth to enter orbit.
1971 – The UNIXProgrammer's Manual was first published.
1979 – Five members of the U.S. Communist Workers Party were shot and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party while in a protest in Greensboro, North Carolina.
1991 – The paramilitary death squad Grupo Colina massacred at least fifteen people in the Barrios Altos neighbourhood of Lima, Peru.
1996 – Abdullah Çatli, a drug trafficker, a contract killer, and a leader of the ultra-nationalist Nationalist Movement Party, was killed in a car crash near Susurluk, Balikesir Province, Turkey, sparking the Susurluk scandal which exposed the depth of the state's complicity in organised crime.
2007 – Pakistani President and Chief of Army Staff Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency across Pakistan, suspending the Pakistani Constitution.
1737 – The Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Italy, currently the oldest active opera house in Europe, was inaugurated.
1791 – Northwest Indian War: In the most severe defeat ever suffered by the United States at the hands of American Indians, the Western Confederacy won a major victory at the Battle of the Wabash near present-day Fort Recovery in Ohio.
1852 – Count Cavour became Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, which soon expanded to become the Kingdom of Italy.
1869 – Nature, one of the oldest and most reputable general purpose scientific journals, was first published.
1889 – Menelik II, who would later introduce several technological and administrative advances into Ethiopia under his reign, was crowned Emperor.
1890 – London's City and South London Railway, the first deep-level underground railway in the world, opened, running a distance of 5.1 km (3.2 mi) between the City of London and Stockwell.
1918 – The German Revolution began when forty thousand sailors took over the port of Kiel.
1979 – Hundreds of Iranian students supporting the Iranian Revolution seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran, beginning a 444-day hostage crisis.
1984 – Dell was founded as PC's Limited by University of Texas at Austin student Michael Dell to sell IBM PC-compatible computers from his off-campus dormitory room.
1995 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir while at a peace rally at the Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv.
1138 – Ly Anh Tong was enthroned as emperor of Vietnam at the age of two, starting a 37-year reign.
1605 – Thomas Knyvet arrested explosives expert Guy Fawkes and foiled Robert Catesby's Gunpowder Plot to destroy the Houses of Parliament in London during the State Opening.
1688 – Prince William of Orange landed at Brixham in Devon, on his way to depose his father-in-law King James II, the last Catholic monarch of England.
1757 – Seven Years' War: Prussian forces led by Frederick the Great defeated the allied armies of France and the Holy Roman/Austrian Empire at the Battle of Rossbach.
1768 – North American Indians and the British Empire signed the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, adjusting the boundary line between Indian lands and British colonial settlements that was previously established by the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
1838 – The collapse of the Federal Republic of Central America began with Nicaragua seceding from the union.
1854 – Crimean War: Despite being severely outnumbered, and fighting in heavy foggy conditions, the allied armies of the United Kingdom and France defeated the Russians at present-day Inkerman, Ukraine.
1913 – King Otto of Bavaria was deposed by his cousin, Prince Regent Ludwig, who assumed the title Ludwig III of Bavaria.
1916 – Emperors Wilhelm II of Germany and Franz Joseph of Austria issued the Act of November 5th, proposing the creation of a Kingdom of Poland, which would actually be a puppet state allied to and controlled by them.
1917 – St. Tikhon of Moscow was elected Patriarch of Moscow and of the Russian Orthodox Church.
1967 – The Hither Green rail crash occurred on the British railway system in London, killing 49 people and injuring 78 others.
1984 – Morning Ireland, Ireland's most listened to radio programme, was broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 for the first time.
2007 – Chang'e 1, the first unmanned spacecraft of the China National Space Administration's Lunar Exploration Programme, entered into lunar orbit.
1632 – King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden was killed in the Battle of Lützen during the Thirty Years' War.
1860 – Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican Party candidate to win the U.S. presidential election.
1865 – Months after the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse effectively ended the American Civil War, the CSS Shenandoah became the last Confederate combat unit to surrender after circumnavigating the globe on a cruise on which it sank or captured 38 vessels.
1869 – In the first official American football game, Rutgers College defeated the College of New Jersey, 6–4, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, US.
1917 – World War I: Canadian forces captured Passendale, Belgium, after three months of fighting against the Germans at the Third Battle of Ypres.
1935 – Before the Institute of Radio Engineers in New York, American electrical engineer and inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong presented his study on using frequency modulation for radio broadcasting.
1962 – The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 1761, condemning South Africa's apartheid policies.
1963 – Nguyen Ngoc Tho was appointed to head the South Vietnamese government by the military junta of General Duong Van Minh, five days after the latter deposed and assassinated President Ngo Dinh Diem.
1971 – The United States Atomic Energy Commission conducted the largest underground nuclear test in U.S. history, code-named Cannikin, on Amchitka Island in the Aleutians.
1975 – Demonstrators in Morocco began the Green March to Spanish Sahara, calling for the "return of the Moroccan Sahara."
1985 – In Bogotá, Colombia, the Palace of Justice siege left 115 people dead, including all the April 19 Movement rebels that took over the Palace of Justice, and 11 Supreme Court justices that had been held hostages.
1986 – Attempting to land at Sumburgh Airport in Shetland, Scotland, carrying workers returning from the Brent oilfield, a Boeing 234LR Chinook crashed into the sea, killing 45 people.
1999 – Although opinion polls had clearly suggested that the majority of the electorate favoured republicanism, the Australian republic referendum was defeated, keeping the Australian monarch as the country's official head of state.
1665 – The London Gazette, the oldest surviving English language newspaper, was first published as the Oxford Gazette.
1811 – American forces led by Indiana Territory Governor William Henry Harrison defeated the forces of Shawnee leader Tecumseh's growing American Indian confederation at the Battle of Tippecanoe near present-day Battle Ground, Indiana.
1885 – Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the first transcontinental railroad across Canada, concluded with financier and politician Sir Donald Smith driving in the "last spike" in Craigellachie, British Columbia.
1917 – Vladimir Lenin led a Bolshevik insurrection against the Provisional Government of Alexander Kerensky, starting the Bolshevik Revolution, the second phase of the overall Russian Revolution.
1940 – Four months after the bridge's completion, the middle section of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge across the Tacoma Narrows in the U.S. state of Washington collapsed in a windstorm, due partially to mechanical resonance.
1987 – Zine El Abidine Ben Ali deposed and replaced Habib Bourguiba as President of Tunisia, declaring him medically unfit for the duties of the office.
1990 Mary Robinson was elected President of Ireland, the first woman and the first non-Fianna Fáil candidate in the history of contested Irish presidential elections to do so.
1991 – Professional basketball player Magic Johnson announced his retirement from the game because of his infection with HIV.
1996 – NASA launched the Mars Global Surveyor.
2000 – Hillary Rodham Clinton was elected as a U.S. Senator, becoming the first U.S. First Lady to win public office in the United States.
1519 – Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés entered Tenochtitlan where Aztec tlatoani Moctezuma II welcomed him with great pomp as would befit a returning god.
1520 – Following a successful invasion of Sweden by Danish forces under Christian II of Denmark, scores of Swedish leaders were executed in Stockholm despite Christian's promise of general amnesty.
1576 – The provinces of the Habsburg Netherlands signed the Pacification of Ghent, a peace treaty with the rebelling provinces Holland and Zeeland, and also an agreement to form an alliance to drive the occupying Spanish out of the country.
1620 – Thirty Years' War: An army of 15,000 Bohemians and mercenaries were routed by 27,000 men of the combined armies of the Holy Roman Empire and of the Catholic League at the Battle of White Mountain near Prague.
1861 – American Civil War: The USS San Jacinto stopped the British mailship Trent and arrested two Confederate envoys en route to Europe, sparking a major diplomatic crisis between Great Britain and the United States.
1895 – German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range that is known today as X-rays.
1923 – Adolf Hitler, Erich Ludendorff and other members of the Kampfbund started the Beer Hall Putsch, a failed attempt to seize power in Germany.
1942 – The North African Campaign of World War II: Operation Torch began when American and British forces invaded French North Africa.
1965 – Journalist Dorothy Kilgallen was found dead in her New York City townhouse, in what was rumored to be a murder due to the information she had regarding controversial stories such as the John F. Kennedy assassination.
1987 – A Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb exploded during a Remembrance Sunday ceremony in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, killing at least eleven people and injuring sixty-three others.
1996 – Operation Clambake became one of the first websites to host the secretive OT III documents describing the Scientology story of Xenu, leading the Church of Scientology to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to force Google to remove the site from their indexes.
2002 – The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, forcing Iraq to disarm or face "serious consequences".
1330 – The Battle of Posada between Basarab I of Wallachia and Charles I Robert of Hungary began near the present-day border of Oltenia and Severin, Romania.
1799 – The coup of 18 Brumaire led by Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès and Napoléon Bonaparte deposed the French government, replacing the Directory with the Consulate.
1861 – The first documented Canadian football match was played at University College, University of Toronto.
1872 – The Great Boston Fire began, eventually destroying over 750 buildings and causing US$ 73.5 million in damages in Boston, Massachusetts.
1888 – Mary Jane Kelly was murdered in London, widely believed to be the fifth and final victim of the notorious unidentified serial killer Jack the Ripper.
1918 – German Emperor William II abdicated, Prince Maximilian of Baden resigned as Chancellor, and Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the Weimar Republic.
1938 – Kristallnacht began in Nazi Germany as a part of Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic policy, leading to the murder of over 90 Jews, and the arrest and deportation of over 25,000 others to concentration camps.
1953 – Cambodia gained independence from France and became a constitutional monarchy under King Norodom Sihanouk.
1965 – In the Northeast Blackout of 1965, several U.S. states and parts of Canada were hit by a series of blackouts lasting up to 13½ hours.
1967 – Rolling Stone, the American-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics and popular culture, was first published.
1967 – French comic book heroes Valérian and Laureline first appeared in the pages of Pilote magazine.
1989 – East Germany announced the opening of the inner German border and the Berlin Wall, marking the symbolic end of the Cold War, impending collapse of the Warsaw Pact, and beginning of the end of Soviet communism.
1993 – War in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Croatian Defence Council forces destroyed the Stari Most, a 16th-century bridge crossing the river Neretva in the city of Mostar.
2005 – Suicide bombers attacked three hotels in Amman, Jordan, killing a total of about 60 people and injuring at least 115 others.
2009 – Joe Cada became the youngest champion of the World Series of Poker's main event.
1444 – The Ottoman Empire under Sultan Murad II defeated the Polish and Hungarian armies under Władysław III of Poland and John Hunyadi at the Battle of Varna near Varna, Bulgaria, in the final battle of the Crusade of Varna.
1775 – The United States Marine Corps was founded as the Continental Marines by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress during the American Revolutionary War.
1865 – Henry Wirz, the superintendent of the Confederacy's Andersonville Prison, was hanged as per a controversial conviction, becoming the only American Civil War soldier executed for war crimes.
1871 – "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?": Journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley located missing missionary and explorer David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika in present-day Tanzania.
1945 – Indonesian National Revolution: Following the killing of the British officer Brigadier Mallaby a few weeks prior, British forces began their retaliation by attacking Surabaya, Indonesia.
1969 – The first episode of the children's television series Sesame Street premiered on public broadcasting television stations in the United States, to adulatory reviews, some controversy, and high ratings.
1975 – The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 3379, which equated Zionism with racism.
1975 – The SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior with the loss of 29 lives.
1995 – Playwright and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others from the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People were executed by the Nigerian military government.
2007 – At the Ibero-American Summit in Santiago, Chile, King Juan Carlos I of Spain asked President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez "¿Por qué no te callas?" after Chávez repeatedly interrupted a speech by Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
1675 – German polymath Gottfried Leibniz employed integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of the function .
1839 – The Virginia Military Institute, currently the oldest state military college in the United States, was founded.
1880 – Australian bank robber and bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged in Melbourne.
1918 – End of World War I: Canadian soldier George Lawrence Price was killed in action minutes before the armistice treaty signed by Germany and the Allies came into effect.
1920 – The Unknown Warrior was buried in Westminster Abbey, London, beginning the modern trend of establishing Tomb of the Unknown Soldier memorials across the world.
1926 – Route 66, the "Main Street of America" running from Chicago to Los Angeles, was established.
1930 – A patent was awarded to Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd for their invention, the Einstein refrigerator.
1934 – The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Australia, was opened.
1960 – A coup attempt by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam against President Ngo Dinh Diem was crushed after Diem falsely promised reform, allowing loyalists to rescue him.
1965 – Southern Rhodesia, led by Prime Minister Ian Smith, unilaterally declared independence from the United Kingdom to become Rhodesia.
1975 – During a constitutional crisis in Australia, Governor-General John Kerr dismissed the government of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and dissolved Parliament for a double dissolution election.
1999 – The House of Lords Act was given Royal Assent, removing most hereditary peers from the British House of Lords.
2004 – Yasser Arafat, the first President of the Palestinian National Authority, died in a military hospital near Paris.
1028 – Future Byzantine empress Zoe married Romanos III Argyros according to the wishes of the dying Constantine VIII.
1893 – Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary of British India, and Abdur Rahman Khan, Amir of Afghanistan, signed the Durand Line Agreement, establishing what is now the international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
1927 – Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in undisputed control of the Soviet Union.
1936 – The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, connecting San Francisco and Oakland, California across San Francisco Bay, opened to traffic.
1942 – World War II: The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, the decisive engagement in a series of naval battles between Allied and Japanese forces during the months-long Guadalcanal campaign in the Solomon Islands, began.
1948 – The International Military Tribunal for the Far East sentenced former Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tojo and other military and government officials from the former Empire of Japan to death for committing war crimes during World War II.
1970 – The Oregon Highway Division attempted to destroy a rotting beached sperm whale near Florence, Oregon, with explosives, leading to the exploding whale incident.
1991 – In Dili, East Timor, Indonesian forces opened fire on student demonstrators protesting the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, killing at least 250 people.
1993 – President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev issued a decree "about introducing the national currency of the Republic of Kazakhstan", leading to the establishment of the Kazakhstani tenge three days later.
2006 – Although the Georgian government declared it illegal, South Ossetia held a referendum on independence, with about 99 percent of voters supporting to preserve the region's status as a de facto independent state.
1002 – St. Brice's Day massacre: King Ethelred II ordered the massacre of all Danes in England.
1642 – First English Civil War: The Royalist army engaged the much larger Parliamentarian army at the Battle of Turnham Green near Turnham Green, Middlesex.
1927 – The Holland Tunnel, connecting New York City's Manhattan with Jersey City, New Jersey, under the Hudson River, opened.
1954 – Great Britain defeated France at the Parc des Princes in Paris to win the first Rugby League World Cup.
1965 – The steamship SS Yarmouth Castle burned and sank about 60 miles (100 km) northwest of Nassau, Bahamas, killing about 90 people.
1970 – The Bhola tropical cyclone hit the densely populated Ganges Delta in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), killing an estimated 500,000 people.
1982 – South Korean boxer Duk Koo Kim suffered fatal brain injuries during a match with American Ray Mancini near Las Vegas' Caesars Palace, leading to significant rule changes in the sport.
1982 – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Constitution Gardens in Washington, D.C., was dedicated.
1985 – The volcano Nevado del Ruiz erupted, causing a volcanic mudslide that buried Armero, Colombia, and killed approximately 23,000 people.
1992 – The High Court of Australia ruled in Dietrich v The Queen that although there is no absolute right to have publicly funded counsel, in most circumstances a judge should grant any request for an adjournment or stay when an accused is unrepresented.
2000 – Joseph Estrada became the first President of the Philippines to be impeached after he was accused of taking a sum of 400 million pesos in bribes from illegal gambling sources.
2007 – An explosion hit the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City, the Philippines, killing Congressman Wahab Akbar and at least four others.
1817 – Bolívar's War: Colombian seamstress Policarpa Salavarrieta was executed in Bogotá for working as a spy for the revolutionary forces in New Granada.
1889 – New York World reporter Nellie Bly embarked on her successful attempt to travel Around the World in Eighty Days, eventually completing her journey in only 72 days.
1910 – Aviator Eugene Burton Ely performed the first takeoff from a ship, flying from a makeshift deck on the USS Birmingham in Hampton Roads, Virginia, US.
1940 – World War II: Coventry Cathedral and much of the city centre of Coventry, England, were destroyed by the German Luftwaffe during the Coventry Blitz.
1971 – NASA's Mariner 9 reached Mars, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet.
1984 – Cesar Climaco, mayor of Zamboanga City, the Philippines, was assassinated.
1990 – Germany and Poland signed the German–Polish Border Treaty, confirming their border at the Oder-Neisse line, which was originally defined by the Potsdam Agreement in 1945.
2003 – Astronomers Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz discovered the trans-Neptunian object 90377 Sedna.
655 – Penda of Mercia was defeated by Oswiu of Northumbria at the Battle of the Winwaed in modern-day Yorkshire, England.
1864 – American Civil War: Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman began his "March to the Sea", inflicting significant damage to property and infrastructure on his way from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia.
1889 – Emperor Pedro II of Brazil was overthrown in a coup led by Deodoro da Fonseca.
1920 – The first general assembly of the League of Nations was held in Geneva, Switzerland, with 41 founding members.
1935 – The Commonwealth of the Philippines was officially established, with Manuel L. Quezon inaugurated as its president.
1968 – Vietnam War: American forces launched Operation Commando Hunt, a large-scale bombing campaign to prevent the People's Army of (North) Vietnam from transporting personnel and supplies along the Ho Chi Minh trail.
1971 – Intel released the 4004 4-bit central processing unit, the world's first commercially available microprocessor, capable of executing approximately 60,000 instructions per second.
1976 – René Lévesque and the Parti Québécois took power to become the first Quebec government of the 20th century that was clearly in favour of independence from Canada.
1985 – Northern Ireland peace process: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the Irish Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, giving the Irish Government an advisory role in Northern Ireland's government.
1988 – The world's first International Fairtrade Certification Mark, Max Havelaar, was launched in the Netherlands.
1988 – The Soviet Buran spacecraft, a reusable vehicle built in response to NASA's Space Shuttle programme, was launched, unmanned, on her first and only space flight.
1384 – Jadwiga was officially crowned as "King of Poland" instead of "Queen" to reflect the fact that she was a sovereign in her own right and not merely a royal consort.
1532 – Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire: Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro orchestrated a surprise attack in Cajamarca, Peru, capturing Sapa Inca Atahualpa.
1805 – War of the Third Coalition: At the Battle of Schöngrabern, Russian forces under Pyotr Bagration delayed the pursuit by French troops under Joachim Murat.
1885 – After a five-day trial following the North-West Rebellion, Louis Riel, Canadian rebel leader of the Métis and "Father of Manitoba", was executed by hanging for high treason.
1907 – Two years after the failed attempt by the Five Civilised Tribes in the Indian Territory to achieve U.S. statehood, they joined with the Oklahoma Territory to become the 46th U.S. state to enter the union.
1938 – Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann first synthesised the psychedelic drug LSD at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland.
1959 – The Sound of Music, a musical co-written by Rodgers and Hammerstein based on Maria von Trapp's book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
1973 – U.S. President Richard Nixon signed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorisation Act, authorising the construction of the Alaska Pipeline, an oil pipeline connecting the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Alaska.
1979 – The first line of Bucharest Metro, the M1 Line, opened from Timpuri Noi to Semanatoarea in Bucharest, Romania.
1981 – About 30 million people watched Luke Spencer and Laura Webber marry on the American television show General Hospital, the highest-rated hour in soap opera history.
2002 – The first case of the respiratory disease Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was recorded in Guangdong, China.
794 – The Japanese Emperor Kammu changed his residence from Nara to Kyoto, beginning the Heian period.
1558 – Elizabeth I became Queen of England and Ireland, marking the beginning of the Elizabethan era.
1592 – Sigismund III Vasa, who was already King of Poland, became the King of Sweden following his father John III.
1796 – French Revolutionary Wars: French forces defeated the Austrians at the Battle of the Bridge of Arcole in a manoeuvre to cut the latter's line of retreat.
1855 – Explorer David Livingstone became the first European to see Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world, on what is now the Zambia–Zimbabwe border.
1869 – The Suez Canal, which allows water transportation between Europe and Asia by linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, opened to shipping.
1889 – Pedro II of Brazil was forced into exile following a republican coup.
1905 – Influenced by the result of the Russo-Japanese War, the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire signed the Eulsa Treaty, effectively depriving Korea of its diplomatic sovereignty.
1950 – Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was enthroned as Tibet's head of state at the age of fifteen.
1969 – Cold War: Representatives from the Soviet Union and the United States met in Helsinki to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.
1970 – American inventor Douglas Engelbart received the patent for the first computer mouse.
1989 – Police quelled a student demonstration in Prague, sparking the Velvet Revolution aimed at overthrowing the Czechoslovakian communist government.
1997 – Sixty-two people were killed by terrorists outside the Deir el-Bahri, one of Egypt's top tourist attractions, in Luxor.
2005 – Il Canto degli Italiani officially became the national anthem of Italy almost sixty years after it was provisionally chosen following the Birth of the Italian Republic.
1302 – Pope Boniface VIII issued the Papal bull Unam sanctam, proclaiming "there is one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside of which there is neither salvation nor remission of sins".
1307 – William Tell, a legendary marksman in Switzerland, is said to have successfully shot an apple on his son's head with a single bolt from his crossbow.
1905 – Prince Carl of Denmark became Haakon VII, the first King of Norway after the personal union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved.
1928 – Walt Disney's Steamboat Willie, the first completely post-produced synchronised sound animated cartoon, was released.
1978 – Jim Jones led more than 900 members of the Peoples Temple to mass murder/suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, hours after some of its members assassinated U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan.
1985 – Calvin and Hobbes, a comic strip by Bill Watterson featuring six-year old Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes, was first published.
1987 – An underground fire killed 31 people at London's busiest underground station at King's Cross St Pancras.
1991 – Croatian War of Independence: Yugoslav People's Army forces captured the Croatian city of Vukovar, ending an 87-day siege.
1999 – Texas A&M University's Aggie Bonfire collapsed, killing 12 people and injuring 27 others, and causing the university to officially declare a hiatus on the 90-year-old annual event.
1493 – Christopher Columbus became the first European to land on Puerto Rico, naming it San Juan Bautista after John the Baptist.
1816 – The University of Warsaw, currently the largest university in Poland, was established as The Royal University of Warsaw after Warsaw was separated from Kraków, the oldest and most influential Polish academic centre.
1863 – American Civil War: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
1941 – World War II: The Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German auxiliary cruiser HSK Kormoran destroyed each other off the coast of Western Australia in the Indian Ocean.
1942 – World War II: Soviet troops launched Operation Uranus at the Battle of Stalingrad, with the goal of encircling Axis forces, turning the tide of the battle in the Soviet Union's favor.
1955 – The National Review, one the most widely read and influential American conservative magazines, was first published.
1969 – Playing for Santos against Vasco da Gama at Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian football player Pelé scored his 1000th goal on a penalty kick.
1977 – TAP Portugal Flight 425 crashed while attempting to land at Madeira Airport in Funchal, Madeira, killing over 130 people on board.
1994 – The first National Lottery draw in the United Kingdom was held.
1999 – Shenzhou 1, China's first unmanned test flight of the Shenzhou spacecraft, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Alxa League, Inner Mongolia.
2005 – Iraq War: A group of United States Marines allegedly committed a massacre on twenty-four people in the town of Haditha in Iraq.
284 – Diocletian became Roman Emperor, eventually establishing reforms that brought an end to the Crisis of the Third Century.
1695 – Zumbi, the last of the leaders of Quilombo dos Palmares in early Brazil, was executed.
1820 – The American whaleship Essex sank 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) west of the western coast of South America after it was attacked by a sperm whale.
1902 – While discussing how to promote the newspaper L'Auto during a lunch meeting in Paris, sports journalists Henri Desgrange and Géo Lefèvre came up with the idea of holding a cycling race that later became known as the Tour de France.
1910 – Francisco I. Madero promulgated the San Luis Plan, starting a revolt against President Porfirio Díaz that marked the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.
1917 – World War I: The Battle of Cambrai in France began with British forces having initial success over Germany's Hindenburg Line.
1943 – World War II: The Battle of Tarawa began with American forces landing on Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands and suffering heavy fire from the Japanese.
1945 – The Nuremberg Trials of 24 leading Nazis involved in the Holocaust and various war crimes during World War II began in Nuremberg, Germany.
1952 – The Slánský trial, a show trial against Czech General Secretary Rudolf Slánský and 13 other members of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, was held.
1979 – A group of armed insurgents attacked and took over the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, declaring that one of their leaders, Muhammad bin abd Allah al-Qahtani, was the Mahdi, the prophesied redeemer of Islam.
1783 – The first successful untethered flight by humans in a hot air balloon was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in Paris.
1894 – First Sino-Japanese War: Advanced elements of the First Division of the Japanese Second Army killed an estimated 20,000 Chinese servicemen and civilians in the coastal city of Lüshunkou.
1910 – The crews of the Brazilian warships Minas Geraes, São Paulo, Bahia, and Deodoro mutinied in what became known as the Revolt of the Whip.
1920 – Irish War of Independence: On Bloody Sunday in Dublin, the Irish Republican Army killed more than a dozen British intelligence officers known as the Cairo Gang, and the Auxiliaries of the Royal Irish Constabulary opened fire on players and spectators at a Gaelic football match in Croke Park.
1962 – The Sino-Indian War ended after the Chinese People's Liberation Army declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew to the prewar Line of Actual Control, returning all the territory they had captured during the conflict.
1964 – The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, a suspension bridge connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York City at the Narrows, opened to traffic, becoming the largest suspension bridge in the world at the time.
1970 – Vietnam War: American forces began Operation Ivory Coast, raiding the Son Tay prison camp in Son Tay, North Vietnam, in an attempt to rescue about 70 American POWs that were thought to be held in there.
1974 – Explosives placed in two central pubs in Birmingham, England, killed 21 people and injured 182 others, and eventually led to the arrest and imprisonment of six people who became known as the Birmingham Six.
1977 – "God Defend New Zealand" became New Zealand's second national anthem, on equal standing with "God Save the Queen", which had been the traditional one since 1840.
1980 – Over 83 million people watched the Dallas TV episode "Who Done It" to find out "Who shot J.R.?".
1996 – A propane explosion at the Humberto Vidal shoe store in Río Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico, killed 33 people and wounded 69 others when the building collapsed.
1718 – Blackbeard the pirate was killed in battle by a boarding party of British sailors off the coast of North Carolina, ending his reign of terror in the Caribbean.
1831 – After a bloody battle with the military causing 600 casualties, rebellious silkworkers seized Lyon, France, beginning the First Canut Revolt.
1858 – American land developer William Larimer, Jr. placed cottonwood logs to stake a claim on a hill overlooking the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek in present-day Colorado, naming the site Denver.
1869 – The Cutty Sark, one of the last sailing clippers ever to be built, was launched at Dumbarton in Scotland.
1887 – The first college lacrosse game was played between New York University and Manhattan College.
1963 – Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States aboard Air Force One hours after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
1967 – The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 242 in the aftermath of the Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.
1975 – Two days after the death of Francisco Franco, Juan Carlos was declared King of Spain according to the law of succession promulgated by Franco.
1986 – Mike Tyson defeated Trevor Berbick to claim the heavyweight boxing championship of the World Boxing Council, and became the youngest boxing champion of the world.
1988 – The first B-2 stealth bomber of the United States Air Force was first displayed in public at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.
1995 – Toy Story, the first feature film created using only computer-generated imagery, was released.
2004 – Massive protests started in cities across Ukraine, resulting from allegations that the Ukrainian presidential election between sitting Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and leader of the opposition coalition Viktor Yushchenko was rigged.
2005 – Angela Merkel assumed office as the first female Chancellor of Germany.
1499 – Perkin Warbeck, a pretender to the English throne during the reign of King Henry VII of England, was hanged after reportedly attempting to escape from the Tower of London.
1644 – In opposition to licensing and censorship during the English Civil War, John Milton's Areopagitica was published, arguing for the right to free expression.
1890 – William III of the Netherlands died without a living male heir, allowing his ten-year-old daughter Wilhelmina to succeed him to the Dutch throne.
1955 – The Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean came under Australian control.
1963 – The first episode of Doctor Who premiered on BBC television, with William Hartnell in the title role, eventually becoming the longest-running science fiction television show in the world.
1971 – The People's Republic of China was given China's permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
1980 – An earthquake struck the village of Conza, Italy, killing 2,914 people, injuring more than 10,000 and leaving 300,000 homeless.
1985 – Omar Rezaq and two others from the Abu Nidal terrorist group hijacked EgyptAir Flight 648 over the Mediterranean Sea.
1996 – Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 was hijacked by three Ethiopians seeking political asylum, then crashed into the Indian Ocean near Comoros after running out of fuel, killing 125 of the 175 people on board.
2003 – Rose Revolution: Eduard Shevardnadze resigned as President of Georgia following weeks of mass protests over disputed election results.
1190 – Conrad of Montferrat became de jure uxoris King of Jerusalem after marrying Queen Isabella I.
1642 – Dutch explorer Abel Tasman reached Tasmania. He named the island Anthoonij van Diemenslandt after Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies Anthony van Diemen.
1859 – On the Origin of Species by British naturalist Charles Darwin was first published, and sold out its initial print run on the first day.
1863 – American Civil War: As part of the Chattanooga Campaign in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Union forces captured Lookout Mountain, helping them to begin breaking the Confederate siege of the city.
1922 – Irish Civil War: Author and Irish nationalist Robert Erskine Childers was executed by firing squad by the Irish Free State for illegally carrying an automatic pistol.
1963 – Businessman Jack Ruby shot and fatally wounded Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, while he was being transferred to jail, fueling conspiracy theories on the matter.
1971 – After collecting a ransom payout of US$200,000, "D. B. Cooper" leaped out of the rear stairway of the airplane he had hijacked over the Pacific Northwest and disappeared.
1974 – A group of paleoanthropologists led by Donald Johanson discovered a 3.2-million-year-old skeleton of an Australopithecus afarensis in the Afar Depression in Ethiopia, nicknaming it "Lucy" after The Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".
1034 – After Malcolm II of Scotland died at Glamis, Duncan, the son of his second daughter, instead of Macbeth, the son of his eldest daughter, inherited the throne to become the King of Scots.
1120 – William Adelin, the only legitimate son of King Henry I of England, drowned in the White Ship Disaster, leading to a succession crisis which brought down the Norman monarchy of England.
1177 – Troops led by King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem destroyed forces led by Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard, saving the Crusader states from invasion.
1795 – Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last King of Poland, was forced to abdicate after the Third Partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth by Austria, Prussia, and Russia.
1863 – American Civil War: Confederate forces were defeated at the Battle of Chattanooga in Chattanooga, Tennessee, opening the door to the Union's invasion of the Deep South.
1936 – Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, agreeing that if the Soviet Union attacked one of them, they would consult each other on what measures to take "to safeguard their common interests".
1947 – McCarthyism: Executives from movie studios agreed to blacklist ten screenwriters and directors who were jailed for contempt of Congress for refusing to give testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee.
1952 – Agatha Christie's mystery play The Mousetrap opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London, eventually the longest initial continuously running play in the world.
1960 – The Mirabal sisters, who opposed the dictatorship of military strongman Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, were beaten and strangled to death.
1970 – Japanese author Yukio Mishima committed the ritual suicide seppuku at the Japan Self-Defence Forces headquarters in Tokyo after an unsuccessful attempt to inspire the soldiers to stage a coup d'état to restore the powers of the Japanese Emperor prior to the 1947 constitution.
1984 – Band Aid, a supergroup consisting of over 30 leading pop musicians of Britain and Ireland, recorded the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in a Notting Hill studio to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.
1992 – Legislators in Czechoslovakia voted to dissolve their country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, effective January 1, 1993.
2000 – A 7 Ms earthquake struck Baku, Azerbaijan, killing 26 people and injuring over 400 others.
43 BC – Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Mark Antony formed the Second Triumvirate alliance.
1778 – An expedition led by James Cook reached Maui, the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands.
1805 – The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain, carrying the Llangollen Canal over the River Dee in northeast Wales, opened.
1842 – The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, USA, was founded as an all-male institution by members of the Roman Catholic Congregation of Holy Cross.
1865 – Chincha Islands War: Chilean forces defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Papudo, a naval engagement in the Pacific Ocean north of Valparaíso, Chile.
1917 – Unable to resolve disputes with Eddie Livingstone, owner of the Toronto Blueshirts, the other ice hockey clubs of Canada's National Hockey Association officially agreed to leave that sports league and to form a new one: the National Hockey League.
1939 – The Soviet Red Army shelled Mainila, and then claimed that the fire originated from Finland across a nearby border, giving them a casus belli to launch the Winter War a few days later.
1942 – World War II: Josip Broz Tito and the Yugoslav Partisans convened the first meeting of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia at Bihac in northwestern Bosnia.
1970 – About 38 mm (1.5 in) of rain fell in one minute at Basse-Terre in Guadeloupe, the most intense rainfall in a short period recorded by modern methods.
2008 – A coordinated group of shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai began, ultimately killing a total of 173 people and wounding more than 300 others.
1095 – At the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade, declaring holy war against the Muslims who had occupied the Holy Land and were attacking the Eastern Roman Empire.
1815 – As specified by the Congress of Vienna, the Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland was signed for the newly recreated Polish state that was under Russian control.
1868 – American Indian Wars: George Armstrong Custer's 7th U.S. Cavalry defeated Chief Black Kettle and the Cheyenne Indians on the Washita River near present-day Cheyenne, Oklahoma.
1895 – Swedish chemist and industrialist Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, setting aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prize after his death.
1926 – Restoration of Colonial Williamsburg in the Historic Triangle on the Virginia Peninsula, United States, began.
1971 – The Soviet space orbiter Mars 2 became the first man-made object to reach the surface of Mars when it malfunctioned and crashed onto the planet's surface.
1975 – Members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army assassinated Ross McWhirter, co-founder of the Guinness Book of Records, a few weeks after McWhirter offered a £50,000 reward for information leading to a conviction for several recent high-profile bombings that were publicly claimed by the IRA.
1978 – San Francisco mayor George Moscone and openly gay supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated by supervisor Dan White.
1999 – The Labour Party defeated the governing National Party in the New Zealand general election, making the Labour Party's Helen Clark the first female to win the office of Prime Minister at an election.
2001 – The Hubble Space Telescope detected sodium in the atmosphere of the extrasolar planet HD 209458b, the first planetary atmosphere outside our solar system to be measured.
2005 – French oral and maxillofacial surgeon Bernard Devauchelle performed the world's first partial face transplant on a living human, replacing Isabelle Dinoire's face after her Labrador retriever mauled her.
1443 – Rebelling against the Ottoman Empire, Skanderbeg and his forces liberated Kruja in Middle Albania and raised the Albanian flag.
1520 – Three ships under the command of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean from the now-eponymous Strait of Magellan, becoming the first Europeans to sail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.
1660 – At London's Gresham College, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, Christopher Wren and other leading scientists founded a learned society now known as the Royal Society.
1785 – The United States signed the first Treaty of Hopewell with the Cherokee Indians, laying out a western boundary for white settlement.
1905 – Irish nationalist Arthur Griffith first presented his Sinn Féin Policy, declaring that the 1800 Act of Union of Great Britain and Ireland was illegal.
1919 – Nancy Astor, the first woman to serve as a Member of Parliament in the British House of Commons, was elected in a by-election.
1920 – Thirty-six local Irish Republican Army volunteers killed seventeen members of the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary, marking a turning point in the Irish War of Independence.
1942 – A fire in Boston's Cocoanut Grove nightclub killed over 490 people and injured hundreds of others.
1943 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin met at the Tehran Conference to discuss war strategy against the Axis powers.
1979 – Air New Zealand Flight 901 crashed into Antarctica's Mount Erebus, killing all 257 people on board.
1990 – After being elected as leader of the British Conservative Party one day earlier, John Major officially succeeded Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
1994 – Convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was beaten to death by a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin.
1998 – The current Constitution of Albania, sanctioning a parliamentary republic, people's sovereignty, fundamental rights of the citizens, and other important points, was ratified via a voter-approved referendum.
1777 – El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, the first civil settlement in the Spanish colony of Alta California, was founded as a farming community.
1781 – The crew of the overcrowded British slave ship Zong killed 133 African slaves by dumping them into the sea in order to claim insurance.
1830 – The November Uprising, an armed rebellion against Russia's rule in Poland, broke out in Warsaw.
1847 – Whitman massacre: Oregon missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman along with about a dozen others were killed by Cayuse and Umatilla Native American tribes, sparking the Cayuse War.
1854 – The Eureka Flag was flown for the first time during the Eureka Stockade rebellion in Australia.
1864 – American Indian Wars: A 700-man Colorado Territory militia attacked a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho, killing 133 Cheyenne and Arapaho men, women, and children.
1877 – Thomas Edison demonstrated the phonograph, his invention for recording and replaying sound, for the first time.
1890 – The Diet of Japan, Japan's bicameral legislature modelled after both the German Reichstag and the British Westminster system, first met after the Meiji Constitution went into effect.
1899 – FC Barcelona, one of the most successful clubs in Spanish football, was founded by Swiss football pioneer Joan Gamper.
1929 – American explorer Richard Evelyn Byrd and three others completed the first flight over the South Pole.
1944 – Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas at the Johns Hopkins Hospital performed the first Blalock-Taussig shunt operation to treat blue baby syndrome.
1947 – The United Nations General Assembly voted to approve the Partition Plan for Palestine, a plan to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict in the British Mandate of Palestine by separating the territory into Jewish and Arab states.
1987 – Korean Air Flight 858 exploded over the Andaman Sea after two North Korean agents left a time bomb in an overhead compartment, killing all 115 people on board.
1700 – Great Northern War: Swedish forces led by King Charles XII defeated the Russian army of Tsar Peter the Great at the Battle of Narva.
1786 – Peter Leopold Joseph, Grand Duke of Tuscany, promulgated a penal reform that made his country the first sovereign state to abolish the death penalty.
1853 – Russian battleships led by Pavel Nakhimov destroyed an Ottoman fleet of frigates at the Battle of Sinop in Sinop, Turkey, precipitating the Crimean War.
1936 – The Crystal Palace, built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, was destroyed by fire.
1939 – The Winter War broke out as the Soviet Red Army invaded Finland and quickly advanced to the Mannerheim Line, an action judged as illegal by the League of Nations.
1942 – World War II: Imperial Japanese Navy warships defeated United States Navy forces during a nighttime naval battle near the Tassafaronga area on Guadalcanal.
1954 – In Sylacauga, Alabama, USA, the Sylacauga Meteorite crashed through a roof and hit a woman taking an afternoon nap in the only documented case of a human being hit by a rock from space.
1962 – Burmese diplomat U Thant became the Secretary-General of the United Nations, after serving as Acting Secretary-General following the death of Dag Hammarskjöld in September of that year.
1979 – The Wall, a rock opera and concept album by Pink Floyd, was first released.
1993 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act into law, requiring purchasers of handguns to pass a background check.
1999 – Protests by anti-globalisation activists against the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Seattle forced the cancellation of its opening ceremonies.
2004 – Longtime Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings finally lost on his 75th appearance, leaving him with US$2,520,700, the most winnings on any game show ever played.
2005 – John Sentamu was enthroned as Archbishop of York, becoming the first member of an ethnic minority to serve as an archbishop in the Church of England.