1492: Christopher Columbus sighted his first land in discovering the New World, calling it San Salvador. He was convinced that the island was part of Japan.
1609: Three Blind Mice was published in London, believed to be the earliest printed secular song.
1822: Brazil became independent of Portugal.
1899: Mafeking was besieged by the Boers for 217 days.
1901: President Theodore Roosevelt renamed the Washington executive mansion the White House.
1928: An “iron lung” was used for the first time on a patient, in Boston, Massachusetts.
1934: Peter II became King of Yugoslavia after the assassination of his father, King Alexander.
1942: US forces defeated Japanese in Battle of Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal.
1945: Allied Control Council in Germany ordered dissolution of Nazi Party.
1948: Any Questions began on BBC radio.
1964: Army forces took control in South Vietnam, ousting government of Major Gen Nguyen Khanh in bloodless coup.
1984: Five people were killed by an IRA bomb in the Grand Hotel, Brighton, during the Conservative Party conference.
1990: Speaker of Egypt’s parliament and four security men were assassinated.
1992: The World Fair closed in Seville, Spain. It had 15 million visitors.
1997: Sidi Daoud massacre in Algeria; 43 killed at a fake roadblock.
1999: Pervez Musharraf took power in Pakistan from Nawaz Sharif through a bloodless coup.
1999: The former Soviet Republic of Abkhazia declared its independence from Georgia.
1999: The proclaimed six-billionth living human in the world was born.
2000: The USS Cole was badly damaged in Aden, Yemen, by two suicide bombers. Seventeen crew died and at least 39 were injured.
2002: More than 200 people died and 300 were injured when al-Qaeda terrorists bombed a nightclub in Bali.
2008: It was announced that Seve Ballesteros, the Spanish golfing legend, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
2010: An RSPCA survey revealed that 95 per cent of people said they would refuse to wear real fur.
Births: 1537 King Edward VI of England and Ireland; 1866 Ramsay MacDonald, Lossiemouth-born Labour prime minister; 1872 Ralph Vaughan Williams, composer; 1908 Paul Engle, novelist and playwright; 1910 Robert Fitzgerald, poet and translator; 1921 Jaroslav Droby, Wimbledon tennis champion; 1923 Jean Nidetch, founder of Weight Watchers; 1927 Antonia Rey, actress; 1929 Magnus Magnusson, quizmaster of BBC’s Mastermind 1972-97; 1935 Luciano Pavarotti, Italian tenor; 1942 Melvin Franklin, singer (the Temptations); 1963 Alan McDonald, Northern Ireland international footballer.
Deaths: 642 Pope John IV; 1492 Piero della Francesca, painter; 1576 Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor; 1674 Robert Herrick, poet; 1845 Elizabeth Fry, prison reformer; 1859 Robert Stephenson, engineer; 1870 Robert E Lee, Confederate army general; 1993 Leon Ames, actor; 1915 Edith Cavell, nurse (executed by Germans for helping Allied soldiers escape via Belgium); 1936 Bernard Bosanquet, Test cricketer who invented the googly; 1940 Tom Mix, actor; 1964 Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond; 1969 Sonja Henie, Olympic champion ice skater and actress; 1971 Gene Vincent, singer; 1985 Ricky Wilson, guitarist (B52s); 1996 René Lacoste, tennis champion, businessman and shirt designer; 1997 John Denver, singer and songwriter (air crash); 2001 Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone; 2002 Ray Conniff, bandleader; 2003 Willie Shoemaker, jockey; 2009 Ian Wallace OBE, singer, actor and broadcaster; 2010 Belva Plain, novelist.