211: Roman Emperor Septimus Severus dies, leaving the Roman Empire in the hands of his two quarrelsome sons, Caracalla and Geta.
1194: Ransom is paid to Leopold of Austria for the release of Richard I after two years as a captive.
1494: Birth of French satirist Francois Rabelais.
1503: Death of Queen Elizabeth, consort of Henry VII.
1789: The first US electoral college chooses George Washington as president.
1794: The French National Convention proclaims an end to slavery.
1797: An earthquake in Quito, Ecuador kills 41,000.
1859: One of the oldest known copies of the Bible, “The Codex Sinaiticus” (Sinai Bible), is seen in Egypt by Constantin von Tischendorf who takes the manuscript home with him.
1861: Jefferson Davis is elected President of the Confederacy in the American Civil War.
1865: Robert E Lee is named general-in-chief of Confederate forces.
1913: Birth if American civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
1933: German President Paul von Hindenburg limits freedom of the press
1938: Adolf Hitler seizes control of the German army and puts Nazis in key posts.
1945: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta in the Crimea to discuss the final phase of World War II.
1948: Sri Lanka declares independence from Britain.
1949: Failed assassination attempt on Shah of Persia.
1961: Angola War of Independence begins.
1969: The Palestine National Congress appoints Yasser Arafat chairman of the PLO.
1971: Rolls Royce declares itself bankrupt.
1974: A Provisional IRA bomb explodes on a bus in West Yorkshire carrying British Army soldiers and some of their family members. On the same day, heiress Patty Hearst is kidnapped from her apartment in California by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
1975: Jazz, blues, songwriter and saxophonist Louis Jordan died aged 66.
1976: XII Winter Olympic Games open in Innsbruck, Austria. On the same day, Hua Guofeng becomes Premier of the People’s Republic of China.
1982: Singer Alex Harvey died after suffering a heart attack while waiting to board a cross channel ferry.
1983: Karen Carpenter died aged 32 of a cardiac arrest at her parent’s house in California. The coroner’s report gave the cause of death as imbalances associated with anorexia.
1987: Death of pianist Liberace (Władziu Valentino Liberace) aged 67.
1990: Richard Hadlee takes his 400th test wicket.
1994: Merlene Ottey runs a world record 50m indoor (6.00 sec).
1996: Former Milli Vanilli member Rob Pilatus was hospitalised after a man hit him over the head with a baseball bat in Hollywood while he was trying to steal the man’s car.
1998: Microsoft CEO Bill Gates gets a pie thrown in his face in Brussels.
1999: Unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo is shot dead by four plainclothes New York City police officers on an unrelated stake-out, inflaming race-relations in the city.
2004: Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room.
2013: Reg Presley lead singer with The Troggs and writer of the hit ‘Love Is All Around’ died aged 71. On the same day, Paris annuls a 213 year-old law banning women from wearing trousers.
2016: Earth Wind and Fire singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger and bandleader Maurice White died. On the same day, Van Morrison was knighted at Buckingham Palace by the Prince of Wales.
BIRTHDAYS: Alice Cooper (Vincent Furnier) singer-songwriter, 72; Phil Ehart, drummer (Kansas) 69; Patrick Bergin, actor, 69; Tim Booth, singer (James) 60; Natalie Imbruglia, singer/actress, 45; Kimbery Wyatt, dancer (Pussycat Dolls) 38.