1590 - The Sultan of Morocco launched his successful attack to capture Timbuktu.
1644 - The Ming Chongzhen emperor committed suicide by hanging himself.
1792 - The guillotine was first used to execute highwayman Nicolas J. Pelletier.
1859 - Work began on the Suez Canal in Egypt.
1867 - Tokyo was opened for foreign trade.
1915 - During World War I, Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli in Turkey in hopes of attacking the Central Powers from below. The attack was unsuccessful.
1925 - General Paul von Hindenburg took office as president of Germany.
1945 - Delegates from about 50 countries met in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.
1953 - Dr. James D. Watson and Dr. Francis H.C. Crick suggested the double helix structure of DNA.
1954 - The prototype manufacture of the first solar battery was announced by the Bell Laboratories in New York City.
1957 - Operations began at the first experimental sodium nuclear reactor.
1971 - The country of Bangladesh was established.
1983 - The Pioneer 10 spacecraft crossed Pluto's orbit, speeding on its endless voyage through the Milky Way.
1990 - The U.S. Hubble Space Telescope was placed into Earth's orbit. It was released by the space shuttle Discovery.