1431: Henry VI of England was crowned king of France.
1620: The Pilgrim Fathers arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
1653: After the execution of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England, turning himself into an uncrowned king for the next four years.
1659: George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle, a prominent English soldier and politician, demanded free parliamentary elections in Scotland.
1692: The National Debt introduced.
1707: The last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan.
1773: The Boston Tea Party - caused when angry rebels, dressed as Plains Indians, dumped 342 chests of tea, worth £18,000, from ships into Boston harbour as a protest against British taxation. The War of Independence had begun.
1809: Napoleon Bonaparte divorced Josephine after 13 years of marriage because she did not bear him a child.
1838: Boers defeated Zulus on Blood River, Natal.
1880: The Transvaal region declared itself as the Republic of South Africa.
1893: The Manchester Ship Canal was completed.
1905: The first edition of the showbusiness magazine Variety was published, launched by Sime Silverman as a weekly periodical covering vaudeville.
1913: Charlie Chaplin began his film career at Keystone for $150 per week.
1914: West Hartlepool, Scarborough and Whitby were bombarded by German cruisers.
1927: Don Bradman made his first-class cricket debut, playing for New South Wales against South Australia.
1929: The first all-talking feature film made in Britain. Called The Clue of the New Pin it featured John Gielgud as the villain.
1944: The Battle of the Bulge began in the Ardennes region of Belgium.
1940: Joe Louis retained his world heavyweight boxing title in Boston, by defeating Al McCoy, who threw in the towel after five rounds.
1945: Golfer Byron Nelson won the Glen Garden Open to record the highest number of PGA Tour wins in a season (18).
1954: Synthetic diamonds were produced at GEC’s laboratories in the United States.
1966: United Nations Security Council voted 11-0 to invoke economic sanctions against white minority government in Rhodesia.
1967: UN panel agreed on pact for rescue of astronauts in event of space mishaps.
1969: Hello Dolly, starring Barbra Streisand, premiered at the Rivoli theatre, New york.
1971: Bangladesh formally came into existence after East Pakistan surrendered in the war with India.
1988: Edwina Currie resigned as junior health minister as taxpayers faced bill of £40 million to help ailing poultry industry after she said that most eggs were infected with salmonella.
1991: Stella Rimington, 56, became the first woman to be made director-general of MI5.
2009: Scotland’s biggest airline, Flyglobespan, collapsed and was placed in administration.
Births: 1485 Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII; 1770 Ludwig van Beethoven, composer; 1775 Jane Austen, novelist; 1850 Fred Morley, England Test cricketer; 1899 Sir Noël Peirce Coward, playwright, actor; 1917 Sir Arthur C Clarke, science fiction writer.
Deaths: 1859 Wilhelm Grimm, author; 1916 Grigori Efimovich Rasputin, monk who wielded powerful influence over Russian Czarin (murdered); 1989 Lee Van Cleef, actor; 2001 Stuart Adamson, rock singer, guitarist (Big Country) and songwriter.