Today is the 229th day of 2012. There are 137 days left in the year.
2008: Usain Bolt wins the 100 metres gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in a world record time of 9.69 seconds
1570: John Sigismund Zapolya of Transylvania signs secret treaty with Holy Roman Empire to achieve independence from Turkey, but renounces control over much of Hungary.
1896: British protectorate in Ashanti, West Africa, is proclaimed.
1960: Britain grants independence to Crown Colony of Cyprus, with Archbishop Makarios as President.
1962: The US recognises Jamaica's independence with the establishment of the American Embassy in Kingston. Irving Cheslaw is Chargé d'Affaires.
1964: Maj Gen Nguyen Khan takes over presidency of South Vietnam, ousting Maj Gen Duong van Minh.
1974: Turkish invaders of Cyprus complete division of island into two areas.
1977: Elvis Presley, known as the King of rock 'n' roll, is found dead at his home in Memphis, Tennessee.
1990: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev restores citizenship of exiled writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
1991: UN and South African government agree on amnesty terms for political exiles, clearing the way for an estimated 40,000 refugees to return to South Africa.
1996: France takes a tough position on African immigrants, saying those who arrive illegally — including 10 on the 43rd day of a hunger strike — will not be allowed to stay.
1999: Russia's lower house of parliament approves Vladimir Putin as the country's new president.
2002: Monsoon floods in South Asia kill more than 900 people and displace or maroon some 25 million more over the next two months.
2003: Ugandan military ruler Idi Amin, 78, who presided over an eight-year reign of terror from 1971-1979, where an estimated 300,000 people were killed and tortured to death; dies of multiple organ failure.
2004: Venezuelans vote to keep President Hugo Chavez in office in a popular referendum, following a long and bitter campaign by his opposition to oust him.
2005: A chartered jet filled with tourists returning home to the French Caribbean island of Martinique crashes in western Venezuela, killing all 160 people on board.
2007: A powerful 7.9-magnitude earthquake shakes Peru's coast near the capital, toppling buildings, setting off landslides, killing at least 500 and injuring at least 827.
2008: President Leonel Fernandez of Dominican Republic is sworn in for a third term.
2009: Prime Minister Gordon Brown affirms Britain's commitment to Afghanistan on a weekend in which roadside bombs kill five more soldiers, pushing the UK death toll past 200.
2010: A Boeing 737 jetliner filled with vacationers crashes in a thunderstorm and breaks apart as it slides onto the runway on a Caribbean island near Colombia. Only one of the 131 people on board dies, and the island's governor calls it a miracle.
2011: The leaders of France and Germany call for greater economic discipline and unity among European nations but decline to take immediate financial measures seen by many investors as the only way to halt the continent's spiralling debt crisis.
Jean de la Bruyere, French essayist-novelist (1645-1696); Menachem Begin, Israeli prime minister (1913-1992); Shimon Peres, Israeli prime minister (1923-); Eydie Gorme, US singer (1932-); Bruce Beresford, Australian film director (1940-); Suzanne Farrell, US ballerina (1945-); Madonna, US pop singer (1958-); Steve Carell, actor (1962-).