In 837, Halley’s comet passed close to earth.
1668 - English poet John Dryden was appointed the first Poet Laureate, by Charles II.
1782 - Semi-metal Tellurium (Te) was discovered by Austro-Hungarian mineralogist Baron Franz Muller von Reichenstein.
1808 - William Henry Lane introduced tap dancing.
1829 - Parliament granted freedom of religion to Catholics.
1899 - Scrabble inventor Alfred Butts was born in New York.
1912 - The Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) was formed.
1919 - The Amritsar massacre took place in the Punjab; more than 1,000 people died.
1928 - London Zoo acquired a 100-year-old Chilean tortoise.
1932 - The German government banned the SS.
1936 - Luton Town footballer Joe Payne set a goal-scoring record when he scored 10 goals in one match against Bristol Rovers.
1949 - The Nuremberg Trials ended with 19 top aids to Adolf Hitler receiving up to 25 years for their part in war crimes against humanity.
1959 - The Vatican forbade Roman Catholics to vote for Communists.
1960 - The first navigational satellite was launched into Earth’s orbit.
1962 - Animal Magic with Johnny Morris was broadcast for the first time.
1964 - Sidney Poitier became the first black man to win an Oscar, for the 1963 film Lilies of the Field.
1970 - An oxygen tank exploded on Apollo 13, preventing a planned moon landing.
1992 - Neil Kinnock resigned as Labour Party leader, blaming the Conservative-backed press for his party’s defeat at the general election.
1997 - 21-year-old Tiger Woods became the first black golfer to win the US Masters, as well as becoming its youngest winner. He also scored the lowest total (270) and won by the biggest margin (12 strokes).
1998 - Dolly, the world’s first cloned sheep, gave natural birth to a healthy baby lamb.
2003 - Paula Radcliffe beat her own world record in the London Marathon.