1812: One of the worst winters on record began – and caused the defeat of Napoleon. During his retreat from Moscow, troops endured temperatures as low as -37C for 27 consecutive days.
1841: Edward VII, eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, was born. He was 61 when he was crowned.
1859: Flogging in the British Army was abolished.
1922: The SS – Schutzstaffel or “Protection Squad” – was formed in Germany.
1938: “Kristallnacht” in Germany, when Nazis burned 267 synagogues and destroyed thousands of Jewish homes and businesses, smashing windows – which gave the night its name.
1953: Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, author of Under Milk Wood, died aged 39, after falling into an alcoholic coma following 18 stiff whiskies.
1979: A computer fault led to a full-scale nuclear alert in the United States.
1989: The East German government lifted the Iron Curtain to allow free travel through the Berlin Wall.