[George Hayter was appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary to Queen Victoria and awarded a knighthood in 1841 as much for this image of her wedding as for the luminous portraits he made of her coronation in June 1838; click on the above image to revel in its exquisite detail.]
1258 - After Hulagu Khan sacked Baghdad the city fell to the Mongols, marking the destruction of the Abbasid Caliphate.
1355 - The St Scholastica's Day riot killed 93 in Oxford.
1542 - Catherine Howard, the fifth of Henry VIII's six wives, was confined to the Tower of London having been found guilty of adultery and convicted of treason.
1567 - Kirk o' Field House in Edinburgh was destroyed by an explosion; the strangled body of Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, was later found in a nearby orchard. The explosion is thought to have been a failed assassination attempt, while the strangulation proved a far more effective one.
1763 - The French and Indian War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1763), under the terms of which France ceded Quebec to Great Britain.
1798 - Louis Alexandre Berthier, Marshal of France under Napoleon Bonaparte, entered Rome unopposed in order to proclaim a Roman Republic, effectively divesting Pope Pius VI of his temporal authority.
1840 - Queen Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palace.
1863 - General Tom Thumb married Lavinia Warren - who had previously been wooed by Commodore Nutt - at New York City's Grace Episcopal Church.
1906 - HMS Dreadnought (1906) was launched by England's King Edward VII.
1920 - Jozef Haller de Hallenburg performed a symbolic wedding of Poland to the sea, celebrating restitution of Polish access to the open ocean.
1931 - New Delhi was named the capital of India; formerly the capital had been at Kolkata.
1933 - Primo Carnera knocked out Ernie Schaaf in the 13th round of a 15 round bout at Madison Square Garden; Schaaf died two days later of his injuries.
1941 - The world's first gold record was presented to Glenn Miller for Chattanooga Choo Choo, having moved 1.2 million units of the 78 rpm record since its May 7th release the previous year.
1949 - Arthur Miller's iconic play Death of a Salesman had its world premiere at the Morosco Theater in New York City; in its initial run the play ran for 742 performances, won six Tony Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
1964 - The aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (R21) collided with the destroyer HMAS Voyager (D04) off the south coast of the Australian state of New South Wales.
1967 - The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, clarifying the order of succession to the Presidency.
1981 - A fire at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel-casino killed eight and injured 198; although it had been the Hilton family's worst disaster to date, they would be responsible for an even greater calamity exactly seven days later.
1989 - Ron Brown was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee becoming the first African-American to lead a major American political party, nearly twenty years before the Republican Party had the same idea and elected Michael Steele.
2008 - A fire severely damaged Namdaemun, the first National Treasure of South Korea.
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