218BC: Hannibal’s Cathaginian army defeated the Romans at the Battle of the Trebia during the second Punic War.
1271: Kublai Khan renamed his empire “Yuan”, marking the start of China’s Yuan dynasty.
1661: The ship Elizabeth, of Burntisland, was lost off the English coast with the Scottish state records aboard. They were being returned from London, to which they had been taken by Cromwell.
1774: Empress Maria Theresa, ruler of the Habsburg dominions, expelled Jews from Prague, Bohemia and Moravia.
1780: The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland was founded.
1799: George Washington’s body was interned at Mount Vernon.
1813: the British took Fort Niagara during the War of 1812.
1865: Slavery was finally abolished in United States.
1892: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite premiered in St Petersburg.
1903: United States-Panama treaty placed Canal Zone in American hands in perpetuity for annual rent.
1912: Piltdown Man was discovered in Sussex by Charles Dawson. The skull fragment was hailed as “missing link” in human evolution, but in 1953 was proved to be a forgery, a 600-year-old human skull and the lower jaw of an orangutan.
1946: House of Commons voted to nationalise railways, road haulage and ports.
1956: Japan was admitted to United Nations.
1958: The first voice transmitted back to Earth from outer space was a Christmas message by US president Dwight D Eisenhower, via a communications satellite.
1961: EMI records rejected the Beatles.
1969: The death penalty for murder was formally abolished in Britain.
1970: Divorce law went into effect in Italy despite opposition by Roman Catholic Church.
1979: Stanley Barrett became the first man to break the sound barrier on land. He reached 739.6mph in California.
1985: Syria rejected plea by United States to remove newly deployed anti-aircraft missiles along its border with Lebanon.
1994: Russian tanks began shelling Grozny, capital of the rebel state of Chechnya, after its leader failed to meet Boris Yeltsin’s ultimatum to lay down arms.
1995: A prison inspection team was withdrawn from Holloway Prison, in London, halfway through an inspection because it was so appalled at conditions for the 500 female inmates.
1999: Nasa launched into orbit the Terra platform carrying five Earth Observation instruments.
2007: Nick Clegg, 40, was elected leader of the Liberal Democratic Party following the resignation of Sir Menzies Campbell.
2010: Governmental protests began in Tunisia, beginning the 2010-2011 Middle East and North Africa protests.
2012: Six health workers dispensing polio vaccinations were gunned down in Pakistan.