1531: King Henry VIII is recognised as Supreme Head of the Church in England.
1573: Francis Drake becomes the first Englishman to see the Pacific Ocean after plundering the Isthmus of Panama with two small ships.
1812: Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signs a redistricting law that favours his party — giving rise to the term “gerrymandering”.
1858: Fourteen-year-old Marie-Bernarde Soubirous (later St Bernadette of Lourdes) has her first vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, France.
1929: Lateran Treaty establishes an independent Vatican City.
1967: Military rule is imposed in Beijing during civil strife in China.
1975: Margaret Thatcher (above) becomes the first woman to head a British political party when she is elected leader of the Conservatives.
1990: African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela is released after 27 years in South African prisons.
1994: A NATO-enforced ceasefire takes hold in Sarajevo.
2012: US pop singer Whitney Houston is found dead in her Los Angeles hotel room aged 48.
2013: Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation, the first by a pontiff in more than half a millennium.