1405: Pope Pius II was born. Pope Gregory XII also died on this day in 1417, as did Pope Pius III, who died in 1503.

1697: Antonio Canale, better known as Canaletto, painter of architectural scenes of Venice and the Thames, was born in Venice.

1826: The last state lottery was held in Britain.

1842: The first telegraph cable was laid by Samuel Morse. It ran from Governor's Island to the Battery across New York harbour and lasted only 24 hours - 200 feet of it were wrecked when a ship weighed anchor.

1910: The trial of Dr Crippen began at the Old Bailey.

1922: The British Broadcasting Company was officially formed.

1926: Bing Crosby made his first commercial recording - I've Got The Girl.

1961: Henri Matisse's "Le Mateau" attracted big crowds when it went on show in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was not until 116,000 people had seen it, 46 days later, that someone noticed it was hanging upside down.

1977: German anti-terror troops stormed a high-jacked Lufthansa airliner at Magadishu, Somalia, killing three Palestinian terorists and freeing all hostages.

1989: San Francisco was hit by an earthquake which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale, killing at least 273 people and injuring 650.

On this day last year: Terminally ill woman Diane Pretty lost her High Court battle over the right to commit suicide with the help of her husband.

BIRTHDAYS: Chuck Berry, rock'n'roller, 76; Barry Gifford, novelist, 56; Martina Navratilova, tennis player, 46; Jean-Claude Van Damme, actor, 42; Wynton Marsalis, jazz trumpeter, 41; Erin Moran, actress, 41; Michael Stich, tennis player, 34.