In 1762, Great Britain entered the Seven Years’ War against Spain and Naples.
1853 - After having been kidnapped and sold into slavery in the American South, Solomon Northup regained his freedom; his memoir Twelve Years a Slave later became a bestseller.
1863 - Four-wheeled roller skates were patented by James Plimpton in New York.
1865 - The New York Stock Exchange opened its first permanent headquarters near Wall Street.
1884 - The socialist Fabian Society was founded in London. Early members included George Bernard Shaw.
1885 - The first surgical removal of an appendix was performed in Iowa, USA.
1887 - Thomas Stevens became the first man to cycle around the world.
1929 - Australian cricketer Don Bradman made his maiden test century against England in Melbourne.
1936 - The first pop music chart was compiled by American magazine Billboard.
1938 - A circus was televised for the first time.
1944 - Hitler announced the mobilisation of all children over the age of 10.
1958 - Sir Edmund Hillary reached the South Pole – the first overland explorer to do so since Captain Robert F Scott’s expedition in 1912.
1959 - Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon.
1961 - Copenhagen barbers went back to work after the longest strike in history – it had lasted since 1938.
1967 - Donald Campbell was killed a split second before breaking his own water speed record in his jet-powered boat, the Bluebird K7, on Coniston Water. His body was not recovered until 2001.
1972 - Rosie Heilbron became the first woman judge in Britain, at the Old Bailey.
1981 - Peter Sutcliffe, known as The Yorkshire Ripper, was arrested.
1982 - Erica Roe streaked at the England v Australia rugby match.
1986 - Thin Lizzy singer Phil Lynott died from heart failure at the age of 36.
2000 - Catherine Hartley became the first British women to walk across Antarctica to the South Pole.