1492: Christopher Columbus sighted his first land in discovering the New World, calling it San Salvador.

1537: Edward VI, son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, was born. He succeeded his father when he was nine, but died at 15.

1609: Three Blind Mice was published in London, believed to be the earliest printed secular song.

1866: Ramsay MacDonald was born. In 1924 he became Britain's first Labour Prime Minister.

1872: Composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was born in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire.

1875: Modern-day Satanist Aleister Crowley - once dubbed "the wickedest man in the world" - was born in Leamington, Warwickshire.

1899: Mafeking was besieged by the Boers and was gallantly defended by Baden-Powell, until relieved 217 days later.

1901: President Theodore Roosevelt renamed the Executive Mansion 'The White House'.

1915: British nurse Edith Cavell was executed as a spy by German firing squad.

1984: Five people died, and 34 were injured, in an IRA bomb attack on the Grand Hotel in Brighton, where the Conservative Party conference was being held.

2002: 202 people died in bomb attacks on two nightclubs in Bali.

2007: Former US vice president Al Gore and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

2009: Edgar Allan Poe received a funeral in Baltimore, USA, 160 years after his death and 200 after his birth.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: The Government announced that plans to encourage home energy efficiency and clean power, drive take-up of electric cars and plant new forests were among their measures to tackle climate change.

BIRTHDAYS: Angela Rippon, broadcaster, 74; Robin Askwith, actor, 68; David Threlfall, actor, 65; Hugh Jackman, actor, 50; Stephen Lee, former snooker player, 44; Josh Hutcherson, actor, 26.