1639 Harvard College was named for clergyman John Harvard.
1764 Earl Grey, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1845).
1809 Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden was deposed in a coup d’état.
1862 The U.S. federal government forbade all Union army officers from returning fugitive slaves, thus effectively annulling the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and setting the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation.
1881 Alexander II of Russia was killed when a bomb was thrown at him.
1884 Sir Hugh Walpole, New Zealand-English novelist, was born (d. 1941).
1884 The Siege of Khartoum, Sudan began.
1897 San Diego State University was founded.
1900 – Second Boer War: British forces occupied Bloemfontein, Orange Free State.
1900 The length of the workday for women and children is limited by law to 11 hours in France.
1920 The Kapp Putsch briefly ousted the Weimar Republic government from Berlin.
1925 Scopes Trial: A law in Tennessee banned the teaching of evolution.
1926 – Carlos Roberto Reina, Honduran lawyer and politician, President of Honduras, was born (d. 2003).
1929 – Zbigniew Messner, Polish economist and politician, 9th Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, was born (d. 2014).
1933 Banks in the U.S. began to re-open after President Franklin D. Roosevelt mandated a “bank holiday“.
1935 – David Nobbs, English author and screenwriter, was born (d. 2015).
1938 – Erma Franklin, American singer, was born (d. 2002).
1939 Neil Sedaka, American singer and songwriter, was born.
1943 German forces destroyed the Jewish ghetto in Kraków.
1949 – Dame Sian Elias, New Zealand lawyer and politician, 12th Chief Justice of New Zealand, was born.
1954 – Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos, Guyanese-English politician, Secretary of State for International Development, was born.
1954 Battle of Điện Biên Phủ: Viet Minh forces attacked the French.
1956 – New Zealand won its first cricket test – playing against the West Indies at Eden Park.
1957 Cuban student revolutionaries stormed the presidential palace in Havana in a failed attempt on the life of President Fulgencio Batista.
1960 Adam Clayton, Irish bassist (U2), was born.
1969 Apollo 9 returned safely to Earth after testing the Lunar Module.
1986 Microsoft had its initial public offering.
1992 An earthquake registering 6.8 on the Richter scale killed more than 500 in Erzincan, eastern Turkey.
1995 – The world’s first Laughter Club was launched by Dr Madan Kataria, in Mumbai.
1996 Dunblane massacre: 16 children and 1 teacher were shot dead by Thomas Watt Hamilton who then committed suicide.
1997 India’s Missionaries of Charity chose Sister Nirmala to succeed Mother Teresa as its leader.
1997 The Phoenix lights were seen over Phoenix, Arizona by hundreds of people, and by millions on television.
2003 The journal Nature reported that 350,000-year-old footprints of an upright-walking human had been found in Italy.
2008 Gold prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange hit $1,000 per ounce for the first time.
2013 – Pope Francis was elected in the papal conclave to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.
2016 – An explosion in central Ankara, Turkey, killed at least 37 people and left 127 wounded.
2016 – Three gunmen attacked two hotels in the Ivory Coast town of Grand-Bassam, killing at least 18 people and injuring 33 others.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia