On this date in history:
In 1587, Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded, charged with conspiring to kill England's Queen Elizabeth I.
In 1692, a doctor in Massachusetts Bay Colony said two village girls were possibly bewitched, a charge that set off the Salem witch trials.
In 1693, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., was granted a charter by Britain's King William III.
In 1725, Peter the Great, emperor of Russia, died and was succeeded by his wife, Catherine.
In 1915, D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, a landmark in the history of cinema and the first American full-length motion picture, opened in Los Angeles and was immediately a smash hit though many found its treatment of race offensive.
In 1933, two British Royal Air Force pilots landed at Walvis Bay, 800 miles north of Cape Town, South Africa, setting a non-stop flight record after traveling 5,175 miles from England.
In 1940, Nazis shot every 10th person in two Polish villages near Warsaw in reprisal for the deaths of two German soldiers.
In 1960, groundbreaking got underway for the first plaques installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which honored Olive Borden, Ronald Colman, Louise Fazenda, Preston Foster, Burt Lancaster, Edward Sedgwick, Ernest Torrence and Joanne Woodward.
In 1974, three U.S. Skylab astronauts ended an 84-day orbital flight.
In 1983, a group of gunmen stole one the world's most valuable racehorses, Shergar, from a stud farm in Ireland. The kidnappers demanded a $3.1 million ransom, but negotiations proved fruitless and the horse was never seen again.
In 1993, at least 132 people were killed when a Russian-made Tupolev jetliner flying for Iran Air Tours collided with a Sukhoi military aircraft near Tehran.
In 2002, the Olympic Winter Games opened in Salt Lake City.
In 2007, Anna Nicole Smith, a 39-year-old actor, model and tabloid fixture, was found dead in a Hollywood, Fla., hotel. Her death was attributed to accidental sedative overdose.
In 2013, Jeffrey Delisle, a junior Canadian naval officer who pleaded guilty to selling military secrets to Russia, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
In 2014, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would soon treat people in same-sex marriages the same as heterosexual couples in court cases, such as jointly filing for bankruptcy and declining to testify against a spouse.
In 2015, British singer Sam Smith won Song of the Year for Stay With Me, Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 57th annual Grammy Awards.
On this date in history: