[The last eruption of Mount Fuji blanketed the region in 800 million cubic meters of volcanic ash, which (as the photo clearly shows) turned out to be the ideal thing for cherry trees.]
1431 - England's King Henry VI was crowned King of France at Notre Dame de Paris.
1497 - Vasco da Gama became the first European to round the Cape of Good Hope.
1575 - An earthquake took place in Chile, flooding the city of Valdivia; a similar - albeit much larger - earthquake in May 1960 resulted in a similar destruction of the Riñihuazo.
1653 - Oliver Cromwell was named Lord Protector of the Commonwealth.
1707 - The last recorded eruption of Japan's Mount Fuji took place.
1811 - The first two in a series of earthquakes occurred in the vicinity of New Madrid, Missouri, events which are thrillingly recounted in Simon Winchester's book A Crack in the Edge of the World.
1850 - The Charlotte-Jane and the Randolph brought the first of the Canterbury Pilgrims to Lyttelton, New Zealand.
1907 - America's Great White Fleet began its circumnavigation of the world at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt.
1920 - The Haiyuan earthquake, with a magnitude of 8.5, killed an estimated 200,000 in China's Gansu province.
1922 - Newly-elected Polish President Gabriel Narutowicz was assassinated by Eligiusz Niewiadomski at Warsaw's Zachęta Gallery.
1937 - Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe escaped from Alcatraz; if they were ever seen again, no one's telling.
1938 - Adolf Hitler instituted the Cross of Honor of the German Mother to reward Aryan women for their fecundity.
1946 - Léon Blum became Prime Minister of France for the third time.
1955 - Her Majesty The Queen opened The Queen's Building at London Airport.
1957 - Sir Feroz Khan Noon succeeded Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar as Prime Minister of Pakistan; he would remain in power until October 1958, when President Iskander Mirza declared martial law.
1971 - The surrender of the Pakistani army brought an end to both the Bangladesh War of Independence and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
1977 - Queen Elizabeth II opened the Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 station of the London Underground's Piccadilly Line, which connects central London to Heathrow Airport.
1985 - Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti were shot dead on the orders of John Gotti, who thereafter assumed leadership of the Gambino Family.
1989 - Walter LeRoy Moody began his terrorist bombing streak when he sent Judge Robert Smith Vance a bomb in the mail, instantly killing him near his home in Birmingham, Alabama; Vance was the third federal judge in history to be killed in the line of duty, after John H. Wood, Jr. and Richard J. Daronco.
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