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- 534 BC – Thespis of Icaria becomes the first recorded actor to portray a character onstage.
- 1248 – Conquest of Seville by the Christian troops under King Ferdinand III of Castile.
- 1499 – Pretender to the throne Perkin Warbeck is 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.
- 1510 – First campaign of Ottoman Empire against Kingdom of Imereti (modern western Georgia). Ottoman armies sack its capital Kutaisi and burn Gelati Monastery.
- 1531 – The Second war of Kappel results in the dissolution of the Protestant alliance in Switzerland.
- 1644 – John Milton publishes Areopagitica, a pamphlet decrying censorship.
- 1808 – French and Poles defeat the Spanish at battle of Tudela
- 1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Chattanooga begins – Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant reinforce troops at Chattanooga, Tennessee and counter-attack Confederate troops.
- 1867 – The Manchester Martyrs are hanged in Manchester, England for killing a police officer while freeing two Irish nationalists from custody.
- 1876 – Corrupt Tammany Hall leader William Magear Tweed (better known as Boss Tweed) is delivered to authorities in New York City after being captured in Spain.
- 1889 – The first jukebox goes into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.
- 1890 – King William III of the Netherlands dies without a male heir and a special law is passed to allow his daughter Princess Wilhelmina to become his heir.
- 1910 – Johan Alfred Ander becomes the last person to be executed in Sweden.
- 1914 – Mexican Revolution: The last of U.S. forces withdraw from Veracruz, occupied seven months earlier in response to the Tampico Affair.
- 1918 – Heber J. Grant succeeds Joseph F. Smith as the seventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- 1934 – An Anglo-Ethiopian boundary commission in the Ogaden discovers an Italian garrison at Walwal, well within Ethiopian territory. This leads to the Abyssinia Crisis.
- 1936 – Life magazine is reborn as a photo magazine and enjoys instant success.
- 1940 – World War II: Romania becomes a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, officially joining the Axis Powers.
- 1943 – World War II: The Deutsche Opernhaus on Bismarckstraße in the Berlin neighborhood of Charlottenburg is destroyed. It will eventually be rebuilt in 1961 and be called the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
- 1943 – World War II: Tarawa and Makin atolls fall to American forces.
- 1946 – French Navy fire in Hai Phong, Viet Nam, kills 6,000 civilians.
- 1955 – The Cocos Islands are transferred from the control of the United Kingdom to Australia.
- 1959 – General Charles de Gaulle, President of France, declares in a speech in Strasbourg his vision for a "Europe, "from the Atlantic to the Urals."
- 1963 – The BBC broadcasts the first ever episode of Doctor Who (starring William Hartnell) which is the world's longest running science fiction drama.
- 1971 – Representatives of the People's Republic of China attend the United Nations, including the United Nations Security Council, for the first time.
- 1972 – The Soviet Union makes its final attempt at successfully launching N-1 Rocket.
- 1972 – The intel 4004, first microporecesor was released.
- 1976 – Apneist Jacques Mayol is the first man to reach a depth of 100 m undersea without breathing equipment.
- 1979 – In Dublin, Ireland, Provisional Irish Republican Army member Thomas McMahon is sentenced to life in prison for the assassination of Lord Mountbatten.
- 1980 – A series of earthquakes in southern Italy kills approximately 3,000 people.
- 1981 – Iran-Contra Affair: Ronald Reagan signs the top secret National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), giving the Central Intelligence Agency the authority to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
- 1985 – Gunmen hijack EgyptAir Flight 648 while en route from Athens to Cairo. When the plane lands in Malta, Egyptian commandos storm the aircraft, but 60 people die in the raid.
- 1990 – The first all woman expedition to the South Pole (3 Americans, 1 Japanese and 12 Russians) sets off from Antarctica on the 1st leg of a 70 day, 1287 kilometre ski trek.
- 1993 – Rachel Whiteread wins 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 – Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 is hijacked, then crashes into the Indian Ocean off the coast of Comoros after running out of fuel, killing 125.
- 2001 – The Convention on Cybercrime is signed in Budapest, Hungary.
- 2003 – Rose Revolution: the Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze resigns following weeks of mass protests over flawed elections.
- 2004 – The Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, the largest religious building in Georgia, is consecrated.
- 2005 – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is elected president of Liberia and becomes the first woman to lead an African country.
- 2006 – A series of bombing kills at least 215 people and injures 257 others in Sadr City, making it the second deadliest sectarian attack since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003.
- 2007 – , a cruise liner carrying 154 people, sinks in the Antarctic Ocean south of Argentina after hitting an iceberg near the South Shetland Islands. There are no fatalities.
- 2009 – The Maguindanao massacre occurs in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, Mindanao, Philippines
- 2010 – The Bombardment of Yeonpyeong occurs on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea. The North Korean artillery attack kills 2 civilians and 2 South Korean marines.
- 2011 – Arab Spring: After 11 months of protests in Yemen, The Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh signs a deal to transfer power to the vice president, in exchange for legal immunity.
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