Today is the 23rd day of 2023. There are 342 days left in the year.
1977: The TV miniseries Roots, based on the Alex Haley novel about an African American family's heritage, begins airing on ABC television. It becomes one of the most-watched shows in US history.
1368: China's Ming dynasty, which lasted nearly three centuries, begins as Zhu Yuanzhang is formally acclaimed emperor following the collapse of the Yuan dynasty.
1516: King Ferdinand II of Aragon, who with his late Queen Consort Isabella of Castile sponsored the first voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492, dies in Madrigalejo, Spain.
1542: King Henry VIII takes the title of King of Ireland.
1579: The Union of Utrecht is signed by the provinces of the Netherlands committed to carrying on resistance to Spain; it becomes the foundation of the state of the Netherlands.
1789: Georgetown University is established in present-day Washington.
1845: The US Congress decides all national elections will be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
1849: Dr Elizabeth Blackwell receives the first doctor of medicine degree awarded to an American woman.
1918: The Soviet Government officially severs relations with the Church.
1933: The 20th Amendment to the US Constitution, the so-called Lame Duck Amendment, is ratified as Missouri approves it.
1937: Seventeen Communist leaders confess in Moscow that they conspired with Leon Trotsky to undermine the Soviet regime of Josef Stalin in the "Great Purge".
1939: The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) is registered in Jamaica.
1944: Norwegian painter of The Scream, Edvard Munch dies near Oslo at age 80.
1950: The Knesset proclaims Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
1964: The 24th amendment to the US Constitution, eliminating the poll tax in federal elections, is ratified.
1968: North Korea seizes US Navy intelligence ship USS Pueblo, commanded by Lloyd "Pete" Bucher, and charges its crew with being on a spying mission; one sailor is killed and 82 are taken prisoner.
1973: US President Richard M Nixon announces that an accord has been reached in the Vietnam War.
1978: Rock musician Terry Kath, a key member of the group Chicago, accidentally shoots himself to death at age 31 following a party in Woodland Hills, California.
1985: Debate in Britain's House of Lords is carried live on television for the first time.
1989: Civilian commandos and army troops, backed by tanks, battle at the infantry base on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Surrealist artist Salvador Dali dies in his native Figueres, Spain, at age 84.
1991: The Angolan Government accepts a peace plan that ends a 15-year-old civil war with UNITA rebels.
1992: The Salvadoran legislature issues an amnesty for guerrilla fighters in a 12-year civil war, allowing them to return to society.
1993: Iraq denies its anti-aircraft batteries fired at US warplanes and again reaffirms a ceasefire it declared.
1996: Yigal Amir confesses in court to killing Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
1997: France's highest court rejects a final appeal and orders Maurice Papon, a former Vichy official, to stand trial for deporting Jews to death camps during World War II.
1998: Pakistani Mir Aimal Kasi is sentenced to death in Fairfax, Virginia, for a politically motivated ambush outside the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency that left two men dead; he is executed in November 2002.
2000: Over a million people march through downtown Madrid to call for peace after a car bomb attack is seen as a resurgence of Basque separatists' 32-year-old campaign of violence; nearly 800 people had been killed during this period.
2001: A new Administration in the Philippines moves to freeze the bank accounts of ousted President Joseph Estrada and begins a criminal investigation against him.
2002: A previously unknown militant group in Karachi, Pakistan, kidnaps The Wall Street Journal US newspaper reporter Daniel Pearl; the reporter, who had been working on a story about Islamist militant groups in that country, is later killed.
2005: With Tamil Tiger rebels claiming the Sri Lankan Government is blocking tsunami aid to rebel-controlled areas, Norwegian diplomats urge the two sides to create a joint body that would ensure fair distribution of humanitarian supplies.
2007: More than 100,000 mourners choke the streets of Istanbul for the funeral of Hrant Dink, the Armenian journalist who was gunned down in broad daylight on January 19 because of public statements made about the mass killings of Armenians by Turks in the early 20th century.
2008: Tens of thousands of Gazans pour into Egypt through a border fence blown up by militants — puncturing a gaping hole in Israel's airtight closure of the Gaza Strip and giving a boost to Hamas militants.
2008: Michael Chang, winner of the 1989 French Open, is elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame while IMG creator Mark McCormack and Tennis Week magazine founder Eugene Scott are selected posthumously.
2009: French President Nicolas Sarkozy orders a frigate deployed immediately to the waters off Gaza in an effort to fight arms smuggling and consolidate a fragile ceasefire.
2011: Allies and adversaries of President Hugo Chavez take to the streets of the capital by the thousands, staging rival demonstrations to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of Venezuela's democracy.
2012: France's Parliament votes to make it a crime to deny that the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks nearly a century before constituted a genocide, risking more sanctions from Turkey.
2013: The US and Canada object to the Palestinians' latest bid to capitalise on their upgraded UN status when their foreign minister speaks at the Security Council behind a nameplate that reads "State of Palestine". Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers fiery replies to Republican critics of the Obama Administration's handling of the deadly attack on a US mission in Benghazi, Libya. Cardinal Jozef Glemp, 83, the long-time head of Poland's influential Roman Catholic church at a time when it played a key role in the fight against communism, dies in Warsaw.
2014: Syria's Government says stopping terrorism — not talking peace — is its priority while the Western-backed Opposition says the "road to negotiations" is open, offering a glimmer of hope for a way to half the violence that killed 130,000 people.
2017: President Donald Trump withdraws the United States from the sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, using one of his first actions in office to reject a proposed accord that was eagerly sought by American allies in Asia.
Marie Henri Beyle Stendahl, French author (1783-1842); Edouard Manet, French artist (1832-1883); Jeanne Moreau, French actress (1928-2017); Derek Walcott, Caribbean poet and Nobel laureate (1930-2017); Rutger Hauer, Dutch-born actor (1944- ); Mariska Hargitay, US actress (1964-)
— AP/Jamaica Observer