1593 - Playwright Thomas Kyd’s accusations of heresy led to an arrest warrant for Christopher Marlowe.
1652 - Rhode Island passed the first law in English-speaking North America, making slavery illegal.
1756 - The Seven Years’ War began when Great Britain declared war on France.
1803 - The United Kingdom revoked the Treaty of Amiens and declared war on France.
1812 - John Bellingham was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging for the assassination of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval.
1830 - The lawnmower was patented by Edwin Budding of Stroud.
1896 - A mass panic on Khodynka Field in Moscow during the festivities of the coronation of Russian Tsar Nicholas II resulted in the deaths of 1,389 people.
1910 - The Earth passed through the tail of Comet Halley.
1936 - An army revolt under Emilio Mola and Francisco Franco began the Spanish Civil war.
1936 - The BBC employed its first female announcers – Jasmine Bligh and Elizabeth Cowell.
1953 - American aviation pioneer Jackie Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier.
1955 - Wimpy opened its first store in London, introducing the hamburger to the capital.
1961 - Universities in Canterbury, Coventry and Colchester were created.
1964 - Mods and Rockers clashed at seaside resorts on the south coast of England.
1969 - Graham Hill won the Monaco Grand Prix for a record fifth time.
1990 - In France, a modified TGV train achieved a new rail world speed record of 515.3 km/h (320.2 mph).
1991 - Helen Sharman became the first Briton in space, aboard Soyuz TM-12.
1994 - It was announced that policemen’s truncheons were to be replaced with American-style batons.
2005 - A second photo from the Hubble Space Telescope confirmed Pluto has two additional moons, Nix and Hydra.