[From a castle on a hill built in 1191, Monaco has grown into an international banking centre, while its princely family the House of Grimaldi has provided France all the fun of a royal family with none of the responsibility.]
871 CE - At the Battle of Ashdown, Ethelred of Wessex and the man who would one day be known as Alfred the Great defeated an invading army of Danes commanded by Halfdan Ragnarsson - killing his fellow king, Bagsecg, in the process.
1297 - Monaco attained its sovereignty when (as the legend has it) Francesco Grimaldi captured the Rock of Monaco from the Genoese after arriving at the gates of Palace of Monaco with his cousin Rainier I, Lord of Cagnes, while both of them were dressed as Franciscan monks; the tiny principality has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi ever since.
1499 - France's King Louis XII married Anne of Brittany, apparently.
1734 - George Frideric Handel's Ariodante had its premiere at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden.
1790 - President George Washington delivered the first State of the Union Address in New York City, which was then the US capital.
1811 - Charles Deslandes led an unsuccessful slave revolt in St. Charles and St. James, Louisiana.
1835 - The US National Debt was $0 for the only time, under President Andrew Jackson.
1877 - Lakota chief Crazy Horse, Cheyenne chief Two Moons, and their warriors fought a battle with Nelson A. Miles of the US Cavalry at the Battle of Wolf Mountain in what was then the Montana Territory.
1912 - The African National Congress was founded.
1918 - US President Woodrow Wilson announced his Fourteen Points for the aftermath of World War I at the Paris Peace Conference - an event best recounted in Margaret Macmillan's Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World.
1926 - Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud became the King of Hejaz, renaming it Saudi Arabia.
1940 - Food rationing was introduced in Britain during World War II.
1962 - Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, was exhibited in the United States for the first time, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the story of the greatest cultural exchange in American history - brokered by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who charmed France's Minister of Cultural Affairs Andre Malraux to do it - was recently told by Margaret Leslie Davis in the pages of Vanity Fair, in an excerpt from her book Mona Lisa in Camelot.
1975 - Ella Grasso became Governor of Connecticut, the first woman to become governor of any state who didn't follow her husband into the job.
1979 - The oil tanker Betelgeuse exploded in Ireland's Bantry Bay, resulting in the so-called Betelgeuse Incident.
1989 - Japan's Showa era ended with the death of Emperor Hirohito; the Heisei era began with the accession of Emperor Akihito.
1991 - A 16-year-old from Richardson, Texas, Jeremy Wade Delle shot himself in front of his English class, inspiring one of Pearl Jam's best-known songs, Jeremy.
2002 - US President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act; it's been leaving children behind ever since.
2004 - The RMS Queen Mary 2 - the largest passenger ship ever built - was christened by her namesake's granddaughter, Elizabeth II.
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