1768 - The Royal Academy of Arts was founded in London by George III. Joshua Reynolds was the first President.
1799 - France adopted the metre as its official unit of length.
1845 - Pneumatic tyres were patented by Scottish civil engineer Robert Thompson.
1868 The first traffic lights were installed, outside the Palace of Westminster. Resembling railway signals, they used semaphore arms and were illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps.
1869 - The first American legislation came into force in Wyoming. It gave women the right to vote.
1883 - There was a blue moon.
1898 - Cuba became independent of Spain, following the Spanish-American war.
1901 - The first Nobel prizes were awarded.
1907 - Rudyard Kipling won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
1928 - London’s Piccadilly Circus underground station opened.
1932 - Thailand became a constitutional monarchy.
1936 - Britain’s new king, Edward VIII, abdicated because of his love affair with American divorcee Wallis Simpson. He was succeeded by his brother, George VI.
1946 - The government announced plans to set up a tourist board.
1950 - Dr Ralph Bunche became the first African-American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for his work efforts in mediation between Israel and nearby Arab states the previous year.
1956 - Television broadcasting time was extended to include 6pm to 7pm.
1963 - A six-year-old Donny Osmond made his singing debut on the Andy Williams Show.
1966 - The first McDonalds in Belarus opened. Police used truncheons to beat off the marauding crowds.
1979 - Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1982 - The Jam performed for the last time, in Brighton.
1984 - The first planet outside the solar system was discovered.
2000 - Olympic rower Steve Redgrave was voted BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.