1520 – Martin Luther publicly burns papal edict demanding he recant.
1684 – Isaac Newton’s derivation of Kepler’s laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, is read to the Royal Society by Edmond Halley.
1768 – The first part of the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, the oldest continuously published and revised work in the English language, was published and advertised for sale in Edinburgh on this day in 1768.
1799 – Metric system first adopted in France.
1884 – “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain is first published in the UK and Canada.
1898 – Spanish-American War formally ended by the Treaty of Paris; US acquires Philippines, Puerto Rico & Guam.
1901 – First Nobel Peace Prizes awarded to Red Cross founder Jean Henri Dunant and peace activist Frederic Passy.
1936 – Edward VIII signs Instrument of Abdication, giving up the British throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
1948 – The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
1964 – Nobel Peace Prize presented to Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in Oslo.
1967 – American singer-songwriter Otis Redding, who was one of the great soul stylists of the 1960s, died in an airplane crash.
1996 – South African President Nelson Mandela signed a new constitution that completed a transition from a long period of white minority rule (apartheid) to full-fledged democracy.
Film: 1962 – David Lean’s film “Lawrence of Arabia”, based on life of T. E. Lawrence and starring Peter O’Toole, premieres at Odeon Leicester Square (Academy Awards Best Picture 1963).
2009 – On this day in 2009, “Avatar,” a 3-D science-fiction epic helmed by “Titanic” director James Cameron, makes its world debut in London and goes on to become the highest-grossing movie in history.
Music: 2016 – Bob Dylan is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature at a ceremony he does not attend in Stockholm.
Via Britannica / On This Day