1493 Christopher Columbus left the New World, ending his first journey.
1642 King Charles I of England sent soldiers to arrest members of Parliament, commencing England’s slide into civil war.
1698 Most of the Palace of Whitehall, the main residence of the English monarchs, was destroyed by fire.
1785 Jacob Grimm, German philologist and folklorist (one of the Brothers Grim), was born (d. 1863).
1809 – Louis Braille, French teacher of the blind and inventor of braille, was born (d. 1852)
1813 Isaac Pitman, English inventor, was born (d. 1897).
1854 The McDonald Islands were discovered by Captain William McDonald aboard the Samarang.
1865 The New York Stock Exchange opened its first permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad near Wall Street in New York City.
1869 Te Kooti was defeated at Nga Tapa.
1878 Sofia was emancipated from Ottoman rule.
1878 Augustus John, Welsh painter, was born (d. 1961).
1884 The Fabian Society was founded in London.
1885 The first successful appendectomy was performed by William W. Grant on Mary Gartside.
1931 – William Deane, Australian judge and politician, 22nd Governor-General of Australia, was born.
1947 – Rick Stein, English chef and television presenter, was born.
1948 – Burma regained its independence from the United Kingdom.
1958 Sir Edmund Hillary led a New Zealand party to the South Pole.
1958 Sputnik 1 fell to Earth from its orbit.
1959 Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon.
1964 – Dame Susan Devoy, New Zealand squash player, Race relations Commissioner, was born.
1965 Cait O’Riordan, British musician (The Pogues), was born.
1972 Rose Heilbron became the first female judge to sit at the Old Bailey in London.
1975 Elizabeth Ann Seton became the first American-born saint.
1991 – Olivia Tennet, New Zealand actress, was born.
2004 Spirit, a NASA Mars Rover, landed successfully on Mars.
2007 The 110th United States Congress elected Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history.
2010 – The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building was officially opened.
2013 – A gunman killed eight people in a house-to-house rampage in Kawit, the Philippines.
Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.