1429: Seventeen-year-old Joan of Arc leads French forces to lift the English siege of Orleans, turning the Hundred Years War in favour of the French.
1663: In London, the first Theatre Royal in Drury Lane is opened under a charter granted by King Charles II.
1727: Jews are expelled from Ukraine by decree of Catherine I of Russia.
1765: HMS Victory, the British battleship and flagship of Lord Nelson, is launched at Chatham, Kent.
1770: Captain James Cook and his ship Endeavour leave Botany Bay to head northwards.
1821: British African Company is dissolved because of heavy expense, and Sierra Leone, Gambia and Gold Coast are taken over by British government to form British West Africa.
1832: Greece becomes an independent kingdom.
1888: George Eastman introduces his Kodak camera with the slogan: “You push the button, we do the rest.”
1908: Australia is granted its own coat of arms.
1915: Germans sink British liner Lusitania off Irish coast and more than 1100 people perish.
1920: Soviet Union recognises independence of Georgia.
1928: Age at which women can vote in Britain is lowered from 30 to 21.
1939: Germany and Italy announce military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.
1941: Glenn Miller and His Orchestra record Chattanooga Choo Choo for RCA Victor record label.
1943: Allied forces take Tunis and Bizerte, and Germans retire to Cap Bon Peninsula in World War II.
1945: May 7-8, Germany surrenders World War II and the Third Reich ceases to exist.
1954: Vietnamese forces overrun Dien Bien Phu, held by the French.
1960: Kliment Voroshilov is replaced as president of the Soviet Union by Leonid Brezhnev.
1963: US launches Telstar 2 communications satellite.
1970: Somalia nationalises all foreign oil companies and banks.
1975: US President Gerald Ford formally declares an end to the “Vietnam era”.
1980: Paul Geidel, convicted of second-degree murder in 1911, is released from prison in Beacon, New York, after serving 68 years and 245 days: the longest ever time served.
1984: A $US180 million out-of-court settlement is announced in the US Agent Orange class-action suit brought by Vietnam veterans who charged they suffered injury from exposure to the defoliant.
1990: Two Norwegian skiers become first people to reach the North Pole without dogs, vehicles or outside help.
1994: Legislators in Johannesburg take oaths of office as blacks and whites sit down together to govern for the first time in South Africa. Norway’s most famous painting, The Scream, by Edvard Munch, is recovered almost three months after it is stolen from an Oslo museum.
1995: Jacques Chirac, the conservative mayor of Paris, wins France’s presidency.
1996: The UN tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, opens the first international war crimes tribunal since Nuremberg. All Australian state governments agree to ban the sale, importation and possession of automatic and semiautomatic guns.
1997: Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic is convicted of 11 of 33 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the UN tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
1998: Germany’s Daimler-Benz agrees to buy Chrysler Corp in a $US38 billion ($A57.71 billion) deal, creating an automotive giant.
1999: Pope John Paul II arrives for a three-day visit to Romania, becoming the first pope to visit an Orthodox country since Christianity split into Orthodox and Catholic in 1054.
2000: Rebels in Sierra Leone use civilians as shields while fighting UN forces in the interior of the African country as they move towards the capital.
2001: Ronnie Biggs, who took part in Britain’s Great Train Robbery in 1963, ends 35 years on the run by returning to Britain from Brazil.
2003: Teams of US customs agents working with US soldiers in Iraq recover about 700 artefacts and 39,400 ancient manuscripts that had disappeared from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad during the US-led war.
2004: Vladimir Putin takes the oath of office for four more years as Russian president.
2005: Democratic Congressman Peter Rodino, who led the impeachment investigation of US President Richard Nixon, dies aged 95.
2006: Veteran Australian reporter Richard Carleton, 62, dies of a heart attack while covering the Beaconsfield miners story in Tasmania.
2007: Flamboyant British fashion icon Isabella Blow dies aged 48.
2008: Dmitry Medvedev is inaugurated as Russia’s president.
2009: Alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk loses his bid to get the US Supreme Court to stop his deportation to Germany.
2011: The Taliban unleash a major assault on government buildings throughout Afghanistan’s main southern city, Kandahar.
2012: Vladimir Putin is sworn in as Russia’s president for a third term after four years as prime minister.
2013: Film special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen dies in London, aged 92.
2014: Russian President Vladimir Putin softens his tone in the confrontation with the West, declaring that Russia has pulled its troops away from the Ukrainian border and calling for a delay in a referendum on autonomy in Ukraine’s restive east.
2015: The Conservatives win a majority in the British election, surprising many. David Cameron wins a second term as prime minister. Labor leader Ed Milliband and Liberal leader Nick Clegg resign.
2017: Emmanuel Macron becomes the youngest French head of state since Napoleon by defeating Marine Le Pen in the presidential election.
2019: Greens leader Richard Di Natale describes Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Coalition government as “extremist” for not taking tougher action to reduce emissions.
Robert Browning, English poet (1812-1899); Johannes Brahms, German composer (1833-1897); Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer (1840-1893); Rabindranath Tagore, Indian poet, Nobel laureate (1861-1941); Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslav president (1892-1980); Gary Cooper, US actor (1901-1961); Eva Peron, Argentine popular leader (1919-1952); Anne Baxter, US actor (1923-1985); Teresa Brewer, US singer (1931-2007); Peter Carey, Australian writer (1943); Robbie Knievel, US daredevil (1962); Traci Lords, British actor (1968); Mark Furze, Australian actor (1986).
THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
“There is no one who became rich because he worked on a holiday, and no one who became fat because he broke a fast” – Ethiopian proverb.