Edward of Caernarvon became the first English Prince of Wales in 1301. Supporters of Girolamo Savonarola burned cosmetics, art and books in the Bonfire of the Vanities in 1497. The strongest earthquake in the recorded history of the US occurred along the New Madrid fault line in southeastern Missouri in 1812, measuring 8.3 on the Moment Scale. Emile Zola was put on trial for libel in 1898 for publishing J'Accuse. The Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1992 and, last year, bush fires killed 173 people in Victoria, in what is now the worst natural disaster in Australian history.
Born today: Thomas More (1478-1535), Thomas Killigrew (1612-1683), Charles Dickens (1812-1870), Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), Eubie Blake (1887-1983), Gay Talese (1932), Pete Postlethwaite (1945) and Eddie Izzard (1962).