1521 - Martin Luther was excommunicated by the Catholic Church for inventing Protestantism.
1777 - American General George Washington defeated British General Lord Cornwallis at the Battle of Princeton.
1888 - The waxed paper drinking straw was patented by Marvin Stone in Washington DC.
1892 - JRR Tolkein was born.
1900 - the new Royal Yacht, Victoria and Albert, capsized as it left Southampton docks.
1911 - Three armed anarchists fought troops in the Siege of Sidney Street, in London’s East End.
1918 - Ernest Rutherford revealed he had managed to split the atom.
1925 - Benito Mussolini announced he was taking dictatorial powers over Italy.
1958 - Sir Edmund Hilary reached the South Pole.
1959 - Alaska was admitted as the 49th US state.
1971 - Open University programmes began on radio and television.
1992 - Martin Offiah moved from Widnes to Wigan for a record £440,000 making him the most valuable player in rugby league history.