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1781: William Herschel sees what he thinks is a comet but is actually the discovery of the planet Uranus.
1865: Confederate president Jefferson Davis signs a bill authorizing the use of slaves as soldiers in the American Civil War.
1868: The Senate begins the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.
1877: Chester Greenwood patents earmuffs, having invented them aged 15.
1881: Tsar Alexander II of Russia is assassinated by members of far-left terror group ‘People’s Will’ who throw a bomb at him in St Petersburg.
1900: British troops occupy Bloemfontein during the Boer War.
1901: Death of former US president Benjamin Harrison, aged 67.
1905: Mata Hari first performs her dance act at the Guimet Museum, Paris.
1918: Trotsky gains control of the Red Army.
1921: Mongolia declares independence from China.
1933: Joseph Goebbels becomes Nazi Germany’s Minister of Information and Propaganda.
1935: Driving tests are introduced in Britain.
1938: Austria is annexed into Nazi Germany in a process known as Anschluss.
1943: Nazis liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Kraków, Poland.
1961: Floyd Patterson KOs Ingemar Johansson in Round 6 for the heavyweight boxing title.
1965: Eric Clapton quits The Yardbirds. He is replaced by Jeff Beck.
1969: Apollo 9 returns to Earth.
1980: Serial killer John Wayne Gacy is sentenced to death in Illinois.
1986: Soyuz T-15 carries two cosmonauts to the Soviet space station Mir.
1987: John Gotti, boss of the Gambino crime family, is acquitted of racketeering.
1996: At Dunblane Primary School, in Scotland, 16 children and 1 teacher are shot dead by Thomas Hamilton who then commits suicide.
1998: English reggae and ska artist Judge Dread (Alex Hughes) died after collapsing as he walked off stage in Canterbury.
2005: Terry Ratzmann shoots and kills six members of the Living Church of God and the minister at Sheraton Inn in Brookfield, Wisconsin before killing himself.
2013: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected the new pope, taking the papal name Pope Francis.
2018: US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is sacked by Tweet from Donald Trump.
2019: Australian cardinal George Pell is sentenced to six years in prison for sexual abuse in Australia. On the same day, British MPs vote to reject a no-deal Brexit, defeating Theresa May’s government 321 votes to 278.
BIRTHDAYS: Mike Stoller, songwriter, 87; Neil Sedaka, singer/songwriter, 81; Bill Curbishley, manager of The Who, 78; William H Macy, actor, 70; Dana Delany, actress, 64; Adam Clayton, bassist (U2), 60; Edgar Davids, former footballer, 47.