Highlights in history on this date:
1666 - Holland signs treaty of alliance with Great Elector of Brandenburg.
1791 - First ship of the third fleet to Australia - the Mary Anne, carrying 150 female convicts - leaves England.
1804 - US Marines slip into Tripoli harbour and burn US Navy frigate Philadelphia, which had been captured by pirates.
1808 - France invades Spain in the Peninsular War.
1873 - Republic is proclaimed in Spain.
1918 - England's port of Dover is bombarded by German submarine in World War I.
1937 - Wallace H Carothers, a research chemist for Du Pont, receives a patent for the synthetic fibre nylon.
1942 - 22 members of the Australian Army Nursing Service and other survivors of the sinking of the SS Vyner Brooke are massacred by Japanese soldiers on Bangka Island.
1945 - US troops land on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines.
1948 - The US NBC-TV network begins airing its first nightly newscast.
1959 - Fidel Castro is sworn in as prime minister of Cuba after leading a guerrilla campaign that ousted right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista.
1960 - US nuclear submarine Triton begins its underwater round-the-world trip.
1978 - Japan and China sign $US20 billion trade pact in Beijing.
1983 - Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claim more than 70 lives.
1984 - Iran says it has broken through Iraqi defences at the start of what Tehran Radio describes as a "massive offensive".
1987 - John Demjanjuk goes on trial in Jerusalem, accused of being Ivan the Terrible, a guard at the Treblinka concentration camp in World War II.
1994 - An earthquake kills at least 134 people in Indonesia.
1995 - Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin agrees to gradually lift the closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and permit 15,000 Palestinian workers to return to their jobs in Israel.
1998 - A China Airlines Airbus A-300 jetliner returning from Bali crashes short of Taipei's airport, killing all 203 passengers and crew and seven people on the ground.
2000 - A former Bank of New York executive and her husband plead guilty to laundering billions of dollars from Russian bankers.
2002 - Australia wins its first-ever Winter Olympics gold medal when Stephen Bradbury triumphs in the 1000m short-track final in Salt Lake City after all the other skaters fell over.
2005 - The Kyoto Protocol on curbing human emissions of heat-trapping gases by 2012 comes into force, but is rejected by the US, the world's top polluter.
2010 - Two years of DNA testing show King Tutankhamun was a frail boy with a cleft palate and club foot who probably needed canes to walk, and that his parents were brother and sister.
2011 - Australian prime minister Julia Gillard makes history as the first foreign leader to address the New Zealand parliament.
2013 - Tropical Island Of Treasure, the reality TV show featuring Reeva Steenkamp, goes to air in South Africa, two days after she was shot dead by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius.
2016 - Australia's population officially reaches 24 million.
John Schlesinger, English film director (1926-2003); Sonny Bono, US congressman and singer (1935-1998); Kim Jong Il, North Korean leader (1941-2011); Ice-T, US actor-rapper (1958-); John McEnroe, US tennis player (1959-); Tammy MacIntosh, Australian actress (1970-); Cathy Freeman, Australian runner (1973-); Valentino Rossi, Italian motorcyclist (1979-); Agyness Deyn, British model (1983-); The Weeknd, Canadian singer-songwriter and producer (1990- ).
Thought For Today:
One does evil enough when one does nothing good. - German proverb.