1626: Manhattan Island, a borough of New York City, was bought from the local Indians by Peter Minuit for goods and trinkets to the equivalent of $24.
1839: House of Commons passed bill to suspend Jamaica’s Constitution after riots due to emancipation of slaves.
1840: The first adhesive British stamps, for general use – the penny black and twopenny blue – were issued by the Post Office.
1851: American mechanical engineer Linus Yale patented the lock which bears his name.
1882: Lord Cavendish and Thomas Henry Burke were assassinated by Fenian “Invincibles” in Phoenix Park, Dublin.
1882: United States banned Chinese immigration for ten years.
1941: Joseph Stalin became Soviet premier.
1942: The song White Christmas, by Irving Berlin, was published. It became the greatest selling record of all time.
1954: Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile on the Iffley Road track in Oxford, in three minutes 59.4 seconds.
1959: The Cod War between Britain and Iceland over fishing rights intensified when Icelandic gunboats fired live ammunition at British trawlers.
1966: Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were found guilty of the Moors murders.
1972: The first all-women race under Jockey Club rules, the Goya Stakes, was run over nine furlongs at Kempton Park.
1989: Chinese students sent new appeal to government and Communist Party for dialogue on their demands for democracy and an end to corruption.
1994: The Queen and President Mitterrand of France opened the Channel Tunnel.
1996: Stephen Hendry won the Embassy world professional snooker championship for the sixth time, beating Peter Ebdon 18-12 in Sheffield.
1999: The new Scottish Parliament was elected, with 56 Labour MSPs, 35 SNPs, 18 Conservatives, 16 Liberal Democrats, one Green, one Scottish Socialist and one Independent.
2010: The general election took place, but resulted in Britain’s first hung parliament since 1974 with the Conservatives ending up the leading party on 306 seats.
Tony Blair, prime minister 1997-2007, 60; George Clooney, American actor and director, 52; Richard Cox, American actor, 65; Alan Dale, New Zealand actor, 66; Joanna Dunham, British actress, 77; Neil Foster, English cricketer, 51; Lord (John) Hutton, former Labour Cabinet minister, 58; Bob Seger, American rock singer, 68; Graeme Souness, Scottish footballer, manager and pundit, 60.
Births: 1758 Maximilien Robespierre, French revolutionary leader; 1856 Sigmund Freud, Austrian pioneer of psychoanalysis; 1861 Sir Rabindranath Tagore, Hindu poet and Nobel prize-winner; 1895 Rudolph Valentino, silent screen actor; 1913 Stewart Granger, actor; 1915 Orson Welles, film actor, writer and director.
Deaths: 1862 Henry David Thoreau, writer and naturalist; 1870 Sir James Simpson, obstetrician and pioneer of chloroform; 1910 King Edward VII; 1952 Maria Montessori, physician and educationist; 1987 William Casey, CIA director; 1992 Marlene Dietrich, film actress; 1999 Johnny Morris, naturalist and broadcaster.