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284 - Diocletian was chosen as Roman Emperor.

1407 - A solemn truce between John, Duke of Burgundy and Louis of Valois, Duke of Orléans is agreed under the auspicies of John, Duke of Berry. Orléans would be assassinated three days later by Burgundy.

1490 - Joanot Martorell's book Tirant lo Blanc is published for the first time.

1695 - Zumbi, the last of the leaders of Quilombo dos Palmares in early Brazil, was executed.

1700 - Great Northern War: Battle of Narva - King Charles XII of Sweden defeats the army of Tsar Peter the Great at Narva.

1789 - New Jersey becomes the first U.S. state to ratify the Bill of Rights.

1820 - An 80-ton sperm whale attacks the Essex (a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts) 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America (Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby-Dick was in part inspired by this story).

1902 - Henri Desgrange and fellow journalist Géo Lefèvre dream up the idea of the Tour de France over lunch at the Café de Madrid in Paris.

1910 - Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero issues the Plan de San Luis Potosi, denouncing President Porfirio Díaz, declaring himself president, and calling for a revolution to overthrow the government of Mexico, effectively starting the Mexican Revolution.

1917 - World War I: Battle of Cambrai begins - British forces make early progress in an attack on German positions but are later pushed back.

1917 - Ukraine is declared a republic.

1940 - World War II: Hungary, Romania and Slovakia join the Axis Powers.

1943 - World War II: Battle of Tarawa begins - United States Marines land on Tarawa atoll in the Gilbert Islands and suffer heavy fire from Japanese shore guns and machine guns.


1945 - Nuremberg Trials: Trials against 24 Nazi war criminals start at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice.

1947 - The Princess Elizabeth marries Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey in London.

1952 - Slánský trials - a series of Stalinist and anti-Semitic show trials in Czechoslovakia.

1955 - Bo Diddley becomes the first African American performer to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. Apparently Sullivan was infuriated when Diddley sang his self-titled song instead of Tennessee Ernie Ford's hit, "Sixteen Tons".

1955 - RCA offers a $35,000 contract for Elvis Presley.

1962 - Cuban Missile Crisis ends: In response to the Soviet Union's agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ends the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.

1966 - Cabaret opens at the Imperial Theatre, New York.

1968 - Vietnam War: Eleven men comprising a Long Range Patrol team from F Company, 58th Infantry, 101st Airborne are surrounded and nearly wiped out by North Vietnamese army regulars from the 4th and 5th Regiment. The seven wounded survivors are rescued after several hours by an impromptu force made of other men from their unit.

1969 - Vietnam War: The Cleveland Plain Dealer publishes explicit photographs of dead villagers from the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

1974 - The United States Department of Justice files its final anti-trust suit against AT&T. This suit later leads to the break up of AT&T and its Bell System.

1979 - About 1,500 Terrorists revolt in Saudi Arabia at the site of the Kaaba in Mecca during the pilgramage and take about 6000 hostages in the Kaaba. The Saudi government received help from French special forces to put down the uprising.

1982 - Andy Kaufman was forever voted off of Saturday Night Live by a live phone poll.

1983 - In the U.S., an estimated 100 million people watch the controversial made-for-television movie The Day After, depicting a nuclear war and its effects on the United States.


1984 - SETI is founded.

1989 - Velvet Revolution: The number of protestors assembled in Prague, Czechoslovakia swells from 200,000 the day before to an estimated half-million.

1992 - In England, a fire breaks out in the Private Chapel room of Windsor Castle, rages for 15 hours, and seriously damages the northwest side of the building (an investigation found that the fire was ignited after a spotlight came into contact with a curtain over an extended period).

1993 - Savings and Loan scandal: The United States Senate Ethics Committee issues a stern censure of California senator Alan Cranston for his "dealings" with savings-and-loan executive Charles Keating.

1994 - The Angolan government and UNITA rebels sign the Lusaka Protocol in Zambia, ending 19 years of civil war (in 1995 localized fighting resumed).

1998 - A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declares accused terrorist Osama bin Laden "a man without a sin" in regard to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

1998 - The first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, was launched.

2001 - In Washington, D.C., U.S. President George W. Bush dedicates the United States Department of Justice headquarters building as the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building, honoring the late Robert F. Kennedy on what would have been his 76th birthday.

2003 - After the November 15 bombings, a second day of the 2003 Istanbul Bombings occurs in Istanbul, Turkey, destroying the Turkish head office of HSBC Bank AS and the British consulate.

2003 - Michael Jackson is arrested by police on charges of child molestation.


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