In 534 BC, Thespis of Icaria became the first recorded actor to portray a character on stage.
1499 - Pretender to the throne Perkin Warbeck was hanged for reportedly attempting to escape from the Tower of London. He had invaded England in 1497, claiming to be the lost son of King Edward IV of England.
1867 - The Manchester Martyrs were hanged in Manchester for killing a police officer while freeing two Irish nationalists from custody.
1889 - The first jukebox went into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.
1890 - King William III of the Netherlands died without a male heir. A special law was passed to allow his daughter, Princess Wilhelmina, to succeed him.
1955 - The Cocos Islands were transferred from the control of the United Kingdom to that of Australia.
1963 - The BBC broadcast An Unearthly Child, starring William Hartnell, the first episode of the science-fiction television serial of the same name and the first episode of Doctor Who, which is now the world’s longest running science fiction drama.
1971 - Representatives of the People’s Republic of China attended the United Nations, including the security council, for the first time.
1976 - Apneist Jacques Mayol became the first man to reach a depth of 100 metres undersea without breathing equipment.
1979 - In Dublin, Provisional IRA member Thomas McMahon was sentenced to life in prison for the assassination of Lord Mountbatten.
1992 - The first smartphone, the IBM Simon, was introduced at COMDEX in Las Vegas.
1993 - Rachel Whiteread won both the £20,000 Turner Prize award for best British modern artist and the £40,000 K Foundation art award for the worst artist of the year.
1996 - Renowned author Roald Dahl died of a blood disease. He was 79.
2005 - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected president of Liberia and became the first woman to lead an African country.