1801: Cleopatra’s Needles rediscovered in Alexandria. One was moved to Thames Embankment in 1878, the other to Central Park, New York, in 1880.
1848: Greenwich Mean Time was adopted in Scotland.
1856: The Victoria Cross was instituted. The first medals were made of metal from guns captured from the Russians in the Crimean war.
1886: The first successful petrol-driven car, built by Karl Benz, was patented. It had three rubber-tyred wheels and went at 9.3mph. Benz crashed it into a brick wall during a demonstration.
1916: Germans staged first Zeppelin raid on Paris.
1919: Czechoslovak forces defeated Poles at Galicia, Poland.
1927: Park Lane Hotel, London, opened. It was the first hotel in Britain to provide a bathroom for every bedroom.
1942: Desert Island Discs, devised and presented by Roy Plomley, started on Radio 4.
1949: Britain granted de facto recognition to new state of Israel.
1950: First series of riots occurred in Johannesburg, provoked by South Africa’s racial policy.
1963: Britain was refused entry to European Common Market by France’s veto.
1975: Cost of colour television licences in Britain trebled from £6 to £18.
1985: Oxford University dons refused to grant Margaret Thatcher an honorary degree.
1990: Ousted East German Communist Party leader Erich Honecker arrested and ordered to stand trial for high treason.
1992: Boris Yeltsin announced further far-reaching cuts in Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
1996: President Jacques Chirac announced a “definitive end” to French nuclear weapons testing.
1996: La Fenice, Venice’s opera house, was destroyed by fire.
2002: In his State of the Union Address, president George W Bush described “regimes that sponsor terror” as an “Axis of Evil”, in which he included Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
2010: Former prime minister Tony Blair told the Chilcot inquiry, the public inquiry into the UK’s role in the Iraq War, that he had no regrets about supporting the US in toppling Saddam Hussein.
2012: RBS chief executive Stephen Hester decided not to accept the £963,000 shares-only bonus payment on offer to him due to “enormous political and media pressure”.
Roddy Frame, East Kilbride-born rock singer, 50; Jorg Albertz, footballer, 43; Tony Blackburn, disc jockey, 71; Leslie Bricusse, composer and lyricist, 83; Edward Burns, actor, 46; Peter Byrne, actor and director, 86; Heather Graham, actress, 44; Prof Germaine Greer, writer and broadcaster, 75; Tim Healy, actor, 62; Tom Selleck, actor, 69; Nicholas Turturro, actor, 52; Oprah Winfrey, actress and talk-show host, 60.
Births: 1737 Thomas Paine, social and political philosopher, author; 1749 William Sharp, engraver; 1817 John Callcott Horsley, artist who designed first commercial Christmas cards; 1850 Sir Ebeneezer Howard, originator of Garden City movement; 1860 Anton Chekhov, writer and playwright; 1862 Frederick Delius, composer; 1879 WC Fields, actor.
Deaths: 1820 King George III; 1837 Alexander Pushkin, novelist, poet and playwright; 1888 Edward Lear, artist and author; 1899 Alfred Sisley, artist; 1928 Earl Haig, army commander and founder of British Legion; 1939 WB Yeats, poet and playwright; 1963 Robert Frost, poet.