In 1488, Bartolomeu Dias of Portugal landed in Mossel Bay after rounding the Cape of Good Hope, becoming the first known European to travel so far south.
1534 - Irish rebel Silken Thomas (Thomas FitzGerald, 10th Earl of Kildare) was executed with his five uncles at Tyburn, London, by the order of Henry VIII.
1547 - Russian Tsar Ivan IV (17) married Anastasia Romanova.
1637 - Tulip mania collapsed in the United Provinces (now the Netherlands) as sellers could no longer find buyers for their bulb contracts.
1690 - The colony of Massachusetts issued the first paper money in the Americas.
1904 - A freak tidal wave struck Sandgate, Portsmouth and St Leonards.
1918 - Striking workers in Berlin were told to return to work or be shot.
1921 - Charlie Chaplin’s first film The Kid had its premiere in America.
1959 - Singers Buddy Holly (22), Richie Valens (17) and The Big Bopper (28) were killed in an air crash as they took off from Mason City, Iowa, on their way to Fargo.
1966 - The first rocket-assisted controlled landing on the Moon was made by Soviet space vehicle Luna IX.
1969 - Yasser Arafat was appointed leader of the PLO in Cairo.
1984 - John Buster and the research team at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center announced history’s first embryo transfer from one woman to another, resulting in a live birth.
1986 - Pope John Paul II visited Calcutta to meet Mother Teresa.
1989 - Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay since 1954, was overthrown in a military coup.
1995 - Astronaut Eileen Collins became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle as mission STS-63 got under way from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
1998 - A low-flying United States military plane caused the death of 20 people when it cut the cable of a cable-car near Trento, Italy.
2007 - The slaughter of 159,000 birds began at a farm in Suffolk after an outbreak of bird flu.