Today in History, 22/11

2014 - Ecuador guarantees political asylum to Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Highlights in history on this date:

1497 - Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama becomes first to sail around the Cape of Good Hope.

1699 - Treaty is signed by Denmark, Russia, Saxony and Poland for partition of Swedish Empire.

1718 - English pirate Edward Teach - better known as "Blackbeard" - is killed during a battle off the Virginia coast.

1906 - The SOS distress signal is adopted at the International Radio Telegraphic Convention in Berlin.

1935 - The flying boat, The China Clipper, leaves San Francisco on the first trans-Pacific airmail flight.

1943 - Lebanon is granted independence after two decades of French mandate rule.

1956 - The first Olympics held in the southern hemisphere opens in Melbourne with junior world mile record holder Ron Clarke lighting the flame.

1962 - Soviet Union announces end of combat-readiness alert of its armed forces, imposed at start of Cuban missile crisis.

1963 - US President John F Kennedy is assassinated as he rides in motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Vice-President Lyndon B Johnson becomes the 36th president.

1972 - US President Richard Nixon lifts 22-year-old ban on American travel to China.

1977 - The British and French supersonic airliner Concorde begins service out of New York's Kennedy International Airport.

1989 - Lebanese President Rene Mouawad is assassinated by a bomb.

1990 - British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, after being defeated by John Major in a ballot for Conservative Party leader, resigns after 11-1/2 years in office.

1992 - NATO warships begin a blockade of Yugoslav territorial waters and a ceasefire virtually collapses.

1993 - The Mexican Senate approves the North American Free Trade Agreement.

1994 - Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is placed under investigation in a bribery probe.

1997 - Michael Hutchence, lead singer of Australian band INXS, is found dead in a Sydney hotel room at the age of 37.

2000 - Four Palestinians are killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli troops near a Jewish settlement.

2002 - Officials cancel the Miss World pageant in Nigeria and move it instead to London after news that the African nation will host the event sparks deadly riots.

2005 - Conservative Angela Merkel takes power as Germany's first female chancellor and the country's first leader to grow up under communism in East Germany.

2006 - Nepal celebrates the end of a bloody 10-year communist insurgency by declaring a public holiday.

2007 - A transport strike that crippled France for nine days ends as rail workers around the country vote "yes" to return to the job.

2009 - Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber is hit by a car while competing in his multi-sport charity challenge in Tasmania.

2010 - Thousands of people are crushed during a festival in the Cambodian capital, leaving more than 330 dead and hundreds injured.

2012 - Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer quits Queensland's Liberal National Party.

2014 - Ecuador guarantees political asylum to Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for "as long as necessary".

2016 - AFL club Essendon agrees to pay settlements to 18 past and present players who lost earnings as a result of the supplements saga.

2017 - Dressed in the colours of the Indian flag, 58 army soldiers break the world record by riding on a motorbike at the same time.

2018 - Brexit moves one step close as Britain and the EU agree on a draft text that sets out a close post-Brexit economic relationship.

Today's Birthdays

Charles de Gaulle, French general-statesman (1890-1970); Terry Gilliam, UK filmmaker (1940-); Jamie Lee Curtis, US actress (1958-); Mariel Hemingway, US actress (1961-); Robbie Slater, Australian footballer (1964-); Fiona Richardson, Victorian politician (1966-2017); Boris Becker, German tennis player (1967-); Scarlett Johansson, US actress (1984-); Alden Ehrenreich, US actor (1989- ).

Thought For Today:

To conquer without risk is to triumph without glory - Pierre Corneille, French dramatist (1606-1684).