1521 - The Diet of Worms began, at which Protestant reformer Luther was declared an outlaw by the Roman Catholic church.
1547 - England's King Henry VIII died. He was succeeded by his 9 year-old son, Edward VI.
1788 - The first British penal settlement was founded at Botany Bay.
1807 - London's Pall Mall became the first street lit by gaslight.
1871 - France surrendered in the Franco-Prussian War.
1878 - The first telephone switchboard was installed in New Haven, CT.
1878 - "The Yale News" was published for the first time. It was the first, daily, collegiate newspaper in the U.S.
1902 - The Carnegie Institution was established in Washington, DC. It began with a gift of $10 million from Andrew Carnegie.
1909 - The United States ended direct control over Cuba.
1915 - The Coast Guard was created by an act of the U.S. Congress to fight contraband trade and aid distressed vessels at sea.
1916 - Louis D. Brandeis was appointed by President Wilson to the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming its first Jewish member.
1918 - The Bolsheviks occupied Helsinki, Finland.
1922 - The National Football League (NFL) franchise in Decatur, IL, transferred to Chicago. The team took the name Chicago Bears.
1935 - Iceland became the first country to introduce legalized abortion.
1938 - The first ski tow started operation in Vermont.
1945 - During World War II, Allied supplies began reaching China over the newly reopened Burma Road.
1957 - The Brooklyn Dodgers announced that circus clown Emmett Kelly had been hired to entertain fans at baseball games.
1958 - Roy Campanella (Brooklyn Dodgers) was seriously injured in an auto accident in New York. He would never return to play again.
1958 - Construction began on first private thorium-uranium nuclear reactor.
1965 - General Motors reported the biggest profit of any U.S. company in history.
1973 - CBS-TV debuted "Barnaby Jones."
1980 - Six Americans who had fled the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979, left Iran using false Canadian diplomatic passports. The Americans had been hidden at the Canadian embassy in Tehran.
1982 - Italian anti-terrorism forces rescued U.S. Brigadier General James L. Dozier. 42 days before he had been kidnapped by the Red Brigades.
1986 - The U.S. space shuttle Challenger exploded just after takeoff. All seven of its crewmembers were killed.
1994 - In Los Angeles, Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg declared a mistrial in the case of Lyle Menendez in the murder of his parents. Lyle, and his brother Erik, were both retried later and were found guilty. They were sentenced to life in prison without parole.
1997 - Clive Davis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1998 - In Manilla, Philippines, gunmen held at least 400 children and teachers for several hours at an elementary school.
1999 - Ford Motor Company announced the purchase of Sweden's Volvo AB for $6.45 billion.
2002 - Toys R Us Inc. announced that it would be closing 27 Toys R Us stores and 37 Kids R Us stores in order to cut costs and boost operating profits.