1791: The optical telegraph (semaphore machine) was unveiled in Paris.
1808: The inaugural meeting of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society, was held in Edinburgh.
1836: Texas was proclaimed a republic, independent of Mexico.
1882: Robert MacLean tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Queen Victoria at Windsor.
1939: Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pope and took the name Pius XII.
1949: The first round-the-world non-stop flight was completed by Captain James Gallagher and his 13-man USAF crew. It took 94 hours, during which the plane, Lucky Lady II, was refuelled four times in flight.
1958: A British team led by Vivian Fuchs completed the first crossing of Antarctic, covering 2,158 miles from the Weddell to the Ross Sea in 99 days.
1969: The French-built supersonic airliner Concorde made its maiden flight from Toulouse.
1970: Southern Rhodesia broke away from Britain and became a republic under Ian Smith.
1978: Czech Vladimir Remek became the first non-Russian or non-American to go into space, launched aboard Soyuz 28.
1983: Compact Disc players and discs were released for the first time in the US and other markets. They had only been available in Japan before then.
1988: A new political party was born when Liberals merged with the Social Democrats to form the Social and Liberal Democrats.
1990: Nelson Mandela was elected deputy president of the African National Congress.
1994: Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean retired from competitive skating after their disappointment in winning only the bronze medal at the Lillehammer Olympics in Norway.
1995: Rogue trader Nick Leeson, whose multi-million pound dealings bankrupted Barings Bank, was arrested at Frankfurt airport after a week-long manhunt.
1998: Data sent from the Galileo spacecraft indicated Jupiter’s moon Europa had a liquid ocean under a thick crust of ice.
2006: Sir Menzies Campbell was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats.
2012: A tornado outbreak over a large section of the southern US and Ohio Valley resulted in 40 tornado-related deaths.
2014: Ukraine’s interim prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Russia had effectively declared war. The US said Russia had control of Crimea.
Daniel Craig, actor, 47; John Altman, actor, 63; Pat Arrowsmith, peace campaigner, 85; Mikhail Gorbachev, president, Soviet Union 1988-91, 84; Bryce Dallas Howard, actress, 34; Lord Howie of Troon, engineer and journalist, 91; John Irving, novelist, 73; Dame Naomi James DBE, author and yachtswoman, 66; Jon Bon Jovi, actor and rock singer, 53; Grace Kennedy, singer, 57; Sir John Tusa, broadcaster, 79; Tom Wolfe, novelist, 84; Ian Woosnam OBE, golfer, 57.
Births: 1316 King Robert II, first of the House of Stewart; 1900 Kurth Weill, German composer; 1923 Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster; 1942 Jon Finch, actor; 1942 Lou Reed, rock musician (The Velvet Underground); 1950 Karen Carpenter, sister of Richard in pop singing duo.
Deaths: 1606 Saint Nicholas Owen, English martyr; 1791 John Wesley, founder of Methodism; 1930 DH Lawrence, novelist; 1939 Howard Carter, Egyptologist; 1999 Dusty Springfield, singer.