1497 Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, the point from where Bartholomew Diaz had previously turned back to Portugal.
1631 Mount Vesuvius, the famous Italian volcano, erupted, destroying 6 villages and killing 4,000 people.
1773 Revolutionaries dumped boxes of tea into Boston harbor to protest against the high taxes imposed by Britain. The event came to be called the 'Boston Tea Party'.
1775 Jane Austen, English novelist whose popular works include Sense and Sensibility, Prideand Prejudice, Mansfield Parkand Emma, was born.
1917 Arthur C. Clarke, the prolific science fiction writer, was born.
1971 The Pakistani army surrendered to the Indian army in Bangladesh.
2006 Time magazine named "You" – contributors of user-generated content to websites like YouTube and Wikipedia – as its Person of the Year, recognizing the role of the common man in the Information Age.
2008 Researchers announced the discovery of the ruins of an entire ancient city belonging to the Wari culture in northern Peru.