814 - Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, died.
1521 - The Diet of Worms began. The Protestant reformer Luther was outlawed by the Catholic Church.
1547 - Edward VI acceded to the throne, with the death of his father Henry VIII.
1596 - Buccaneer and explorer Francis Drake died from dysentery aboard his ship off Panama.
1613 - Galileo saw the undiscovered planet, Neptune, but didn’t realise what he had seen.
1788 - The penal colony at Botany Bay was founded.
1807 - London became the first city in the world to be illuminated by gas light, when lamps on Pall Mall were lit.
1829 - William Burke was publicly hanged for murder and supplying bodies to Edinburgh anatomist Dr Robert Knox.
1896 - The first speeding fine was given to a British motorist. Walter Arnold of Kent had been driving at 8mph in a 2mph built-up area.
1924 - The Moscow authorities announced Lenin’s body would be embalmed and put on permanent display.
1935 - Iceland became the first country to legalise abortion.
1946 - The first post-war bananas arrived in Britain.
1953 - Derek Bentley was hanged at Wandsworth Prison for the murder of a policeman. After a 45-year campaign, he received a full pardon in 1998.
1957 - Prince Charles had his first day at prep school.
1960 - The BBC broadcast ‘The Goon Show’ for the last time.
1983 - Singer Billy Fury died at the age of 42.
1986 - The American space shuttle ‘Challenger’ exploded shortly after lift-off, killing the five men and two women on board. Among the crew was teacher Christa McAuliffe, the first to fly in the ‘Citizen in Space’ programme.
1990 - ‘The Independent on Sunday’ was published for the first time.
1999 - The first of 4,000 prisoners were released from jail under an electronic tagging programme.
2000 - Boxer Mike Tyson beat Julius Francis in four minutes in Manchester.