1444 – Battle of Varna: The crusading forces of King Vladislaus III of Varna were crushed by the Turks under Sultan Murad II and Vladislaus is killed.
1483 Martin Luther, German Protestant reformer, was born (d. 1546).
1619 – René Descartes had the dreams that inspired his Meditations on First Philosophy.
1674 – Anglo-Dutch War: As provided in the Treaty of Westminster, Netherlands ceded New Netherlands to England.
1697 – William Hogarth, English artist, was born (d. 1764).
1728 – Oliver Goldsmith, English playwright, was born (d. 1774).
1735 – Granville Sharp, English abolitionist, was born (d. 1813).
1766 – The last colonial governor of New Jersey, William Franklin, signed the charter of Queen’s College (later renamed Rutgers University).
1775 – The United States Marine Corps was founded at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia by Samuel Nicholas.
1793 – A Goddess of Reason was proclaimed by the French Convention at the suggestion of Chaumette.
1821 – Cry of Independence by Rufina Alfaro at La Villa de Los Santos, Panama setting into motion a revolt which lead to Panama’s independence from Spain and to it immediately becoming part of Colombia.
1847 – The passenger ship Stephen Whitney was wrecked in thick fog off the southern coast of Ireland, killing 92 of the 110 on board.
1865 – Major Henry Wirz, was hanged, becoming the only American Civil War soldier executed for war crimes.
1868 The Matawhero ‘Massacre’: Te Kooti and his followers killed approximately 60 people – roughly equal numbers of Maori and Pakeha.
1871 – The Telegraph Department was cleared of charges instituted by Otago Daily Times editor George Barton who claimed in his newspaper that the government had been intercepting telegraphs for political gain.
1871 – Henry Morton Stanley located missing explorer and missionary, Dr. David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika, allegedly greeting him with the words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”.
1880 – Donald Sutherland ‘discovered’ the Sutherland Falls in Fiordland.
1880 Jacob Epstein, American sculptor, was born (d. 1959).
1898 – Beginning of the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898, the only instance of a municipal government being overthrown in US history.
1925 Richard Burton, Welsh actor, was born (d. 1984).
1940 Screaming Lord Sutch, English musician and politician, was born (d. 1999).
1942 – World War II: Germany invaded Vichy France following French Admiral François Darlan’s agreement to an armistice with the Allies in North Africa.
1944 Sir Tim Rice, English lyricist, was born.
1944 – The ammunition ship USS Mount Hood exploded at Seeadler Harbour, Manus, Admiralty Islands.
1945 – Heavy fighting in Surabaya between Indonesian nationalists and returning colonialists after World War II, was celebrated as Heroes’ Day (Hari Pahlawan).
1947 Greg Lake, British musician (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), was born.
1947 Dave Loggins, American songwriter and singer, was born.
1951 – Direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service began in the United States.
1954 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the USMC War Memorial (Iwo Jima memorial) in Arlington National Cemetery.
1958 – The Hope Diamond was donated to the Smithsonian Institution by New York diamond merchant Harry Winston.
1969 – National Educational Television in the United States debuted the children’s television programme Sesame Street.
1970 – The Soviet Lunar probe Lunokhod 1 was launched.
1971 – Khmer Rouge forces attacked the city of Phnom Penh and its airport, killing 44, wounding at least 30 and damaging nine aircraft.
1972 – Southern Airways Flight 49 from was hijacked and, at one point, was threatened with crashing into the nuclear installation at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
1975 – The 729-foot-long freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a storm on Lake Superior, killing all 29 crew on board.
1975 – United Nations Resolution 3379: United Nations General Assembly approves a resolution equating Zionism with racism.
1979 – A 106-car Canadian Pacific freight train carrying explosive and poisonous chemicals from Windsor, Ontario, derailed in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada just west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, causing a massive explosion and the largest peacetime evacuation in Canadian history and one of the largest in North American history.
1989 – Fall of the communist regime in Bulgaria.
1995 – In Nigeria, playwright and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwaand eight others from the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Mosop), were hanged by government forces.
1997 – WorldCom and MCI Communications announced a $37 billion merger (the largest merger in US history at the time).
2006 – Sri Lankan Tamil Parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj was assassinated in Colombo.
2007 – ¿Por qué no te callas? (Why don’t you shut up?) incident between King Juan Carlos of Spain and Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez.
2007 – 10,000–40,000 people marched toward the royal palace of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur to hand over a memorandum to the King demanding electoral reform.
2008 – Over five months after landing on Mars, NASA declared the Phoenixmission concluded after communications with the lander were lost.
2009 – Ships of the South and North Korean navies skirmished off Daecheong Island in the Yellow Sea.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia