1492: Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba and claimed it for Spain.
1538: The first university in the New world – the Universidade Santo Tomas de Aquinas – in Santo Domingo on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, was founded.
1562: Battle of Corrichie, with defeat and death of the Earl of Huntly in arms against Queen Mary.
1636: Harvard University, named after English-born minister, John Harvard, was founded at Cambridge in Massachusetts.
1740: Ivan VI became Tsar of Russia.
1746: The cities of Lima and Callau, in Peru, were destroyed by an earthquake which killed 18,000.
1880: Doctor Henry Faulds, a Scots medical missionary working in Tokyo, published a letter in Nature which produced the first evidence that fingerprints taken directly from suspected persons and prints left at the scene of a crime could be used as medico-legal proof of guilt or innocence.
1893: The Royal Navy’s first destroyer, HMS Havock, went on trials.
1893: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conducted the first performance of his “Pathetique” Symphony.
1914: George Eastman announced the invention of a colour photograph process to be marketed by his Eastman Kodak Co.
1918: Czechoslovakia gained independence as Austria-Hungary broke up.
1922: Benito Mussolini took control of Italy’s government.
1939: Paisley-born Spitfire pilot Archie McKellar shot down the first German aircraft to be brought down over Scotland – a Heinkel 111, which came down near the village of Humbie, East Lothian, while it was on its way to attack Royal Navy ships anchored near the Forth Bridge.
1939: An explosion of coal dust at the Valleyfield Colliery, near Rosyth, Fife, killed 35 miners.
1940: Italy invaded Greece.
1954: The Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to Ernest Hemingway.
1958: The Queen’s speech at the state opening of parliament was televised for the first time.
1962: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev said he had ordered withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.
1965: Parliament passed a bill abolishing the death penalty for murder.
1971: The House of Commons voted in favour of Britain entering the Common Market by a majority of 112.
1988: Prince Charles said the British Library looked like an academy for secret police and the National Theatre resembled a nuclear power station in the middle of London.
1990: General Norman Schwarzkopf gave a warning that the Gulf conflict could be as bloody as Vietnam. A special Soviet envoy failed to persuade Saddam Hussein to withdraw Iraqi forces peaceably from Kuwait.
2003: The Church of Scotland ended centuries of male domination by appointing Dr Alison Elliot as the first female Moderator of the General Assembly.
2007: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner became the first woman elected president of Argentina.
Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft and philanthropist, 60; Sandy Clark, Scottish football coach and former player, 59; David Dimbleby, broadcaster, 77; Sir Ewen Fergusson, British ambassador to France 1987-92, Scotland rugby player, 83; Matt Smith, actor, 33; Dame Cleo Laine DBE, singer, 88; Alastair McDonald, Scottish radio and television presenter, folk singer, 74; Dame Joan Ann Plowright, the Baroness Olivier, DBE, actress, 86; Joaquin Phoenix, actor, 41; Kevin MacDonald, Glasgow-born film director, 48; Hank Marvin, lead guitarist with The Shadows, 74; Bernie Ecclestone, chief executive of the Formula One Group, 85.
Births: 1697 Canaletto, painter; 1794 Robert Liston, Linlithgow-born surgeon; 1903 Evelyn Waugh, writer; 1909 Francis Bacon, artist; 1925 Ian Hamilton Finlay CBE, Scottish poet, writer, artist and gardener; 1928 Lawrie Reilly, Scottish footballer.
Deaths: 1704 John Locke, philosopher; 1792 John Smeaton, civil engineer and lighthouse designer; 1840 John Thomson, Edinburgh-born landscape painter; 1998 Ted Hughes, author, Poet Laureate 1984-98; 2010 Gerard Kelly, Scottish comic actor.