534 BC – Thespis of Icaria became the first actor to portray a character onstage.
1227 – Polish Prince Leszek I the White was assassinated at an assembly of Piast dukes at Gąsawa.
1248 – Conquest of Seville by the Christian troops under King Ferdinand III of Castile.
1499 – Pretender to the throne Perkin Warbeck was hanged for reportedly attempting to escape from the Tower of London.
1531 – The Second war of Kappel resulted in the dissolution of the Protestant alliance in Switzerland.
1644 – John Milton published Areopagitica, a pamphlet decrying censorship.
1808 – French and Poles defeated the Spanish at battle of Tudela.
1837 – Johannes Diderik van der Waals, Dutch physicist and thermodynamicist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d. 1923).
1838 – Stephanos Skouloudis, Greek banker and politician, 97th Prime Minister of Greece, was born (d. 1928)
1859 – Billy The Kid, American outlaw, was born (d. 1881).
1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Chattanooga began.
1867 – The Manchester Martyrs were hanged for killing a police officer while freeing two Irish nationalists from custody.
1868 – Mary Brewster Hazelton, American painter, was born (d. 1953).
1876 – Tammany Hall leader William Marcy Tweed (better known as Boss Tweed) was delivered to authorities in New York City after being captured in Spain.
1887 Boris Karloff, British actor, was born (d. 1969).
1888 Harpo Marx, American comedian, was born (d. 1964).
1889 – The first jukebox went into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.
1890 – King William III of the Netherlands died without a male heir and a special law was passed to allow his daughter Princess Wilhelmina to become his heir.
1903 – Governor of Colorado James Peabody sent the state militia into the town of Cripple Creek to break up a miners’ strike.
1909 – Nigel Tranter, Scottish historian and author, was born, (d. 2000).
1910 – Johan Alfred Ander was the last person in Sweden to be executed.
1914 – Mexican Revolution: The last of U.S. forces withdrew from Veracruz.
1915 – Anne Burns, British aeronautical engineer and glider pilot, was born (d. 2001).
1916 – P. K. Page, English-Canadian author and poet, was born (d. 2010).
1918 – Heber J. Grant succeeded Joseph F. Smith as the seventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1922 – Võ Văn Kiệt, Vietnamese soldier and politician, 6th Prime Minister of Vietnam, was born (d. 2008).
1923 – Gloria Whelan, American author and poet, was born.
1925 – Elaine Horseman, English author and educator, was born (d. 1999).
1925 – José Napoleón Duarte, Salvadoran engineer and politician, President of El Salvador, was born(d. 1990).
1934 – An Anglo-Ethiopian boundary commission in the Ogaden discovered an Italian garrison at Walwal, well within Ethiopian territory which led to the Abyssinia Crisis.
1936 – The first edition of Life was published.
1940 – World War II: Romania became a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, officially joining the Axis Powers.
1943 – World War II: The Deutsche Opernhaus on Bismarckstraße in the Berlin was destroyed.
1946 – French Navy fire in Hai Phong, Viet Nam, killed 6,000 civilians.
1947 A civic funeral was held for the 41 victims of the Ballantynes Fire.
1949 – Alan Paul, American singer-songwriter and actor (The Manhattan Transfer)
1949 Sandra Stevens, British singer, member of pop group Brotherhood of Man, was born.
1955 – The Cocos Islands were transferred from the control of the United Kingdom to Australia.
1959 – General Charles de Gaulle, declared in a speech in Strasbourg his vision for a “Europe, “from the Atlantic to the Urals.”
1962 – Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelan union leader and politician, President of Venezuela, was born.
1963 – The BBC broadcast the first episode of Doctor Who (starringWilliam Hartnell) which is the world’s longest running science fiction drama.
1971 – Representatives of China attended the United Nations, for the first time.
1979 – Provisional Irish Republican Army member Thomas McMahon was sentenced to life in prison for the assassination of Lord Mountbatten.
1980 – A series of earthquakes in southern Italy killed approximately 4,800 people.
1981 – Iran-Contra Affair: Ronald Reagan signed the top secret National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), giving the Central Intelligence Agency the authority to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
1985 – Gunmen hijacked EgyptAir Flight 648, when the plane landed in Malta, Egyptian commandos stormed the jetliner, but 60 people died in the raid.
1992 Miley Cyrus, American actress and singer/songwriter, was born.
1993 – Rachel Whiteread won both the £20,000 Turner Prize award for best British modern artist and the £40,000 K Foundation art award for the worst artist of the year.
1996 – Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 was hijacked, then crashed into the Indian Ocean after running out of fuel, killing 125.
2001 – Convention on Cybercrime was signed in Budapest.
2003 – Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze resigned following weeks of mass protests over flawed elections.
2005 – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected president of Liberia and became the first woman to lead an African country.
2007 – MS Explorer, a cruise liner carrying 154 people, sank in the Antarctic Ocean south of Argentina after hitting an iceberg. There were no fatalities.
2009 – The Maguindanao massacre.
2010 – The Bombardment of Yeonpyeong on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea. The North Korean artillery attack killed 2 civilians and 2 South Korean marines.
2011 – Arab Spring: After 11 months of protests in Yemen, The Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a deal to transfer power to the vice president, in exchange for legal immunity.
2015 – Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle became the first rocket to successfully fly to space and then return to Earth for a controlled, vertical landing.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia