Today the 227th day of 2012. There are 139 days left in the year.
1933: Following weeks of heavy downpour in Jamaica, the gullies of Kingston and St Andrew overflow, claiming more than 50 lives overnight.
1385: Portuguese, led by Blessed Nuno Alvares Pereira, defeat Castilians at Aljubarrota, securing the independence of Portugal.
1811: Paraguay declares itself independent of Spain; British occupy Java.
1900: International forces capture Beijing, China, relieving foreigners besieged there for 56 days during the Boxer Rebellion. More than 1,500 Europeans had been killed by the Boxers, who protested western influences. It marked the demise of western occupation in China.
1917: China declares war on Germany and Austria during World War I.
1935: The US Social Security Law is established. Two years later, the first insurance payments go out to retired and unemployed individuals.
1941: The Atlantic Charter is signed by England and the US, setting postwar goals, and establishing a permanent structure of peace. Fifteen countries endorse the charter.
1945: Japan stops fighting resulting in the end of World War II; Soviet Union signs treaty with Nationalist China, recognising independence of Outer Mongolia.
1947: Pakistan, including what is now Bangladesh, gains independence from Britain with Mohammed Ali Jinnah as governor-general.
1958: NATO countries announce relaxing trade restrictions with Soviet bloc and China, but US maintains trade embargo on China, North Korea and North Vietnam.
1968: Floods in India claim more than 1,000 lives in seven days.
1973: US bombing in Cambodia ends, marking official halt to 12 years of combat activity in Indochina.
1974: Greece withdraws troops from NATO after breakdown of Geneva peace talks and new fighting on Cyprus.
1980: A rash of jet hijackings to Cuba by Cuban refugees in the US continue when two Spanish-speaking men force a National Airlines flight from Miami to Puerto Rico to land at Jose Marti Airport in Havana.
1987: Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini threatens US with punishment, blaming it for death of hundreds of pilgrims in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
1990: King Hussein of Jordan flies to Washington in attempt to mediate US-Iraq confrontation; Syrian troops begin arriving in Saudi Arabia.
1998: Congolese President Laurent Kabila flees the capital, Kinshasa, as rebels advance through Congo.
2003: A massive power failure hits eight states in the Northeastern and Midwestern US and Eastern Canada, knocking out electricity in an area that is home to more than 50 million.
2005: A Cypriot airliner filled with vacationers slams into a hill near the ancient city of Marathon, killing all 121 people on board — including dozens of children — in Greece's deadliest plane crash, which initial signs show was caused by a technical problem.
2006: Fighting between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil insurgents and a suicide bombing kills dozens.
2008: US President George W Bush signs consumer-safety legislation that bans lead from children's toys, imposing the toughest standard in the world.
Hans Christian Oersted, Danish physicist (1777-1851); Ernest Thayer, US author, wrote Casey at the Bat (1863-1940); John Galsworthy, British novelist and Nobel laureate (1867-1933); Richard von Krafft-Ebing, German physician (1840-1902); Pierre Schaeffer, French composer (1910-1995); Max Klein, US painter, invented 'paint by numbers' (1915-1993); Gary Larson, US cartoonist The Far Side (1950-); Steve Martin, American actor (1945-); Marcia Gay Harden, US actress (1959-); Halle Berry, US actress (1966-).
— AP and the Jamaica Observer