1762 French Huguenot Jean Calas, who was wrongly convicted of killing his son, died after being tortured by authorities; the event inspired Voltaire to begin a campaign for religious tolerance and legal reform.
1804 Louisiana Purchase: In St. Louis, Missouri, a formal ceremony is conducted to transfer ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States.
1814 Napoleon I of France was defeated at the Battle of Laon in France.
1830 The KNI, the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, was created.
1831 The French Foreign Legion was established by King Louis-Philippe to support his war in Algeria.
1844 – Pablo de Sarasate, Spanish violinist and composer was born (d. 1908).
1847 Kate Sheppard, New Zealand suffragist, was born (d. 1934).
1848 The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified by the United States Senate, ending the Mexican-American War.
1869 The New Zealand Cross was created because New Zealand’s local military were not eligible for the Victoria Cross. Only 23 were awarded, all to men who served in the New Zealand wars, making it one of the rarest military honours in the world.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful telephone call by saying “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”
1906 Courrières mine disaster, Europe’s worst ever, killed 1099 miners in Northern France.
1912 Yuan Shikai was sworn in as the second Provisional President of the Republic of China.
1922 Mahatma Gandhi was arrested in India, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years in prison, only to be released after nearly two years for an appendicitis operation.
1933 – Elizabeth Azcona Cranwell, Argentinian poet and translator, was born (d. 2004).
1933 An earthquake in Long Beach, California killed 115 people and causes an estimated $40 million dollars in damage.
1945 The USA Army Air Force firebombed Tokyo, and the resulting firestorm killed more than 100,000 people.
1947 – Kim Campbell, Canadian lawyer and politician, 19th Prime Minister of Canada
1952 – Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, was born.
1952 Fulgencio Batista led a successful coup in Cuba and appointed himself as the “provisional president”.
1957 Osama bin Laden, Islamist and leader of al-Qaeda, was born (d. 2011).
1959 Tibetan uprising: Fearing an abduction attempt by China, 300,000 Tibetans surround the Dalai Lama’s palace to prevent his removal.
1964 Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, was born.
1969 James Earl Ray admitted assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. He later retracted his guilty plea.
1977 Rings of Uranus: Astronomers discover rings around Uranus.
1983 – Carrie Underwood, American singer-songwriter and actress, was born.
1980 – Formation of the Irish Army Ranger Wing
1990 In Haiti, Prosper Avril was ousted 18 months after seizing power in a coup.
1995 – Auckland Warriors debuted in the New South Wales Rugby League’s expanded Winfield Cup competition.
2006 The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived at Mars.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia