1538 – Pope Paul III excommunicates Henry VIII of England. This is a consequence of Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon, and his marriage to Anne Boleyn, leading to England’s break with Rome. For more info on this, check on Anne Boleyn’s feature in my Fascinating women in History series!

1577 – Francis Drake sails from Plymouth, England, on a secret mission to explore the Pacific Coast of the Americas for English Queen Elizabeth I.

1777 – France formally recognizes the United States of America.

1938 – Otto Hahn discovers the nuclear fission of the heavy element uranium, the scientific and technological basis of nuclear energy – thus opening the “Atomic Age” in the history of mankind.

1969 – The United States Air Force closes its study of UFOs, stating that sightings are generated as a result of “A mild form of mass hysteria, Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetuate a hoax or seek publicity, psychopathological persons, and misidentification of various conventional objects.”

1989 – The first episode of television series The Simpsons, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”, airs in the United States.

2010 – Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire. This act became the catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring.