1768: Captain James Cook and his ship, the Endeavour, sail from England’s Plymouth Harbour, ordered to observe the transit of Venus and explore the Southern Ocean for “Terra Australia incognita”.
1847: Liberia is proclaimed an independent republic.
1883: The volcano Krakatoa erupts on the island Krakatau, near Indonesia, creating tsunami waves that kill more than 36,000 people.
1920: The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing American women the right to vote, is declared in effect.
1942: The German army reaches Stalingrad in Soviet Union during World War II.
1945: Japanese envoys board US battleship Missouri to receive surrender instructions at the end of World War II.
1957: The Soviet Union announces it has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.
2003: Rwandan President Paul Kagame (above) is the overwhelming winner of presidential elections. The election was the first since the 1994 genocide.
2008: Russia recognises the independence claims of two Georgian breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.