Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 2 March
1791: The optical telegraph (semaphore machine) was unveiled in Paris.
1808: The inaugural meeting of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society, was held in Edinburgh.
1836: Texas was proclaimed a republic, independent of Mexico.
1882: Robert MacLean tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Queen Victoria at Windsor.
1939: Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pope and took the name Pius XII.
1949: The first round-the-world non-stop flight was completed by Captain James Gallagher and his 13-man USAF crew. It took 94 hours, during which the plane, Lucky Lady II, was refuelled four times in flight.
1958: A British team led by Vivian Fuchs completed the first crossing of the Antarctic, covering 2,158 miles from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea in 99 days.
1969: The French-built supersonic airliner Concorde made its maiden flight from Toulouse.
1970: Southern Rhodesia broke away from Britain and became a republic under Ian Smith.
1978: Czech Vladimir Remek became the first non-Russian or non-American to go into space, when he was launched aboard Soyuz 28.
1986: The Queen signed the Australia Bill in Canberra, formally severing any Australian constitutional ties with Britain.
1988 A new political party was born when Liberals merged with the Social Democrats to form the Social and Liberal Democrats.
1990: Nelson Mandela was elected deputy president of the African National Congress.
1994: Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean retired from competitive skating after their disappointment in winning only the bronze medal at the Lillehammer Olympics in Norway.
1995: Financial dealer Nick Leeson, whose multi-million pound dealings on the high-risk derivatives market in Singapore bankrupted Barings Bank, was arrested at Frankfurt airport after a week-long manhunt.
1998: Data sent from the Galileo spacecraft indicated that Jupiter’s moon Europa had a liquid ocean under a thick crust of ice.
2002: As part of the US invasion of Afghanistan, Operation Anaconda began.
2006: Sir Menzies Campbell was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Daniel Craig, actor, 45; Mikhail Gorbachev, president, Soviet Union 1988-91, 82; Bryce Dallas Howard, actress, 32; Lord Howie of Troon, engineer, journalist, 89; John Irving, novelist, 71; Dame Naomi James DBE, author, yachtswoman, 64; Jon Bon Jovi, actor, singer, 51; James Purnell, former Labour Cabinet minister, 43; Lou Reed, musician, 71; Sir John Tusa, broadcaster, 77; Tom Wolfe, novelist, 82; Ian Woosnam OBE, golfer, 55.
Births: 1316 King Robert II, first of the House of Stewart; 1545 Sir Thomas Bodley, bibliophile, founder of the Bodleian Library, Oxford; 1900 Kurth Weill, composer; 1923 Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster; 1950 Karen Carpenter, sister of Richard in pop singing duo.
Deaths: 1791 John Wesley, founder of Methodism; 1797 Horace Walpole, novelist and historian; 1930 DH Lawrence, novelist; 1939 Howard Carter, Egyptologist who discovered tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922; 1999 Dusty Springfield, singer.