On this day: Caledonian Railway opened | The first British parliament of the 20th century opened
A selection of historical events from the 15 February
1848: Caledonian Railway opened.
1898: US battleship Maine was blown up by a mine while on a goodwill tour to Havana, resulting in the short Spanish-American War.
1901: The first British parliament of the 20th century opened with a new member for Oldham named Winston Churchill.
1922: The Permanent Court of International Justice held its first sitting at The Hague.
1928: After 70 years of research, the Oxford English Dictionary was completed at a cost of £30,000.
1933: An attempt was made on the life of US president-elect Franklin D Roosevelt in Miami by an unemployed Italian bricklayer who said his hobby was shooting at – and, because he was a poor shot, missing – heads of state. He also aimed inaccurately at King Victor Emmanuel, of Italy.
1942: Singapore surrendered to Japan. “A heavy and far-reaching military defeat,” said Winston Churchill of the loss of the fortress which cost £50 million.
1944: Allied aircraft bombed Monte Cassino monastery in Italy.
1945: British troops reached the Rhine.
1952: The funeral of King George VI took place at Windsor.
1971: Shops were in total confusion as the change-over to decimal currency came into effect in Britain.
1981: Football League games were first played on a Sunday.
1982: The Ocean Ranger oil rig sank off Newfoundland with the loss of all 84 on board.
1990: Britain and Argentina agreed to resume diplomatic relations broken since Falklands hostilities.
1991: Offer by Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait if Gulf solution was linked to Israeli withdrawal from West Bank and Gaza was dismissed by George Bush, the United States president, as “cruel hoax”, and by John Major, the prime minister, as “bogus sham”.
1995: Rioting English football hooligans forced a match with the Republic of Ireland in Dublin to be abandoned.
1996: The Scott Inquiry into the arms-to-Iraq affair found that government ministers had misled Parliament by secretly relaxing an arms embargo.
2001: First draft of the complete human genome was published in Nature.
2003: Protests against the Iraq war took place in more than 600 cities worldwide. It was estimated that between eight million to 30 million people participated, making it the largest peace demonstration in history.
Jane Seymour OBE, actress, 62; John Adams, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, 66; Claire Bloom, actress, 82; Ali Campbell, singer (UB40), 54; Alex Borstein, actress, 42; Matt Groening, The Simpsons creator, 59; Gerald Harper, actor and broadcaster, 84; Desmond Haynes, West Indian cricketer, 57; Glyn Johns, music producer, 71; Edward McGuire, Glasgow-born composer, flautist with Whistlebinkies folk group, 65; Clare Short, MP, international development secretary 1997-2003, 67.
Births: 1564 Galileo Galilei, astronomer; 1723 John Witherspoon, Gifford-born signatory of the American Declaration of Independence; 1874 Sir Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer; 1882 John Barrymore, actor.
Deaths: 1928 Herbert Henry Asquith, Earl of Oxford and Asquith, Liberal Party leader and Prime Minister 1908-1916; 1965 Nat King Cole, singer; 1984 Ethel Merman, singer and actress; 1984 Tommy Cooper, comedian; 1988 Frederick (Fritz) Loewe, composer.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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