Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 6 December
National day of Finland; national day of Spain.
1774: Austria introduced the first state system of education.
1887: Thomas Edison demonstrated the first gramophone in West Orange, New Jersey with a recording of himself reciting Mary Had a Little Lamb.
1917: At least 1,600 people died and more than 8,000 were injured in Halifax, Nova Scotia, when French and Belgian munitions ships blew up in the harbour after colliding.
1917: Finland proclaimed independence from Russian rule.
1925: Libyan frontier agreement was signed between Italy and Egypt.
1929: Women’s suffrage introduced in Turkey.
1941: US president Franklin D Roosevelt appealed for peace to Japan’s Emperor Hirohito – one day before Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbour.
1957: Watched by the world’s press, America’s first satellite launch failed when Vanguard rocket exploded on take-off.
1959: Twelve men drowned when the Aberdeen trawler George Robb went aground at Duncansby Head as winds reached Force 15 (110mph) round Scottish coasts. The 360-tonne Leith coaster Servus, bound for Wick, also became a total loss, but her crew of eight were rescued by the Cromarty lifeboat before she was driven ashore near Dunbeath Castle.
1963: Call girl Christine Keeler was sent to prison for nine months for perjury in the Profumo scandal.
1971: India recognised Bangladesh as an independent state and went to war with Pakistan, which was attempting to retain control of its former eastern province.
1990: Iraq decided to release all foreign hostages held since the start of the Gulf crisis.
1992: Swiss voters vetoed government-backed plan to move towards joining the European Community.
1995: Schools across Britain began taking beef off dinner menus as fears escalated about the dangers of humans catching mad cow disease.
2001: The Canadian province of Newfoundland was renamed “Newfoundland and Labrador”.
2005: David Cameron, 39, was elected leader of the Conservative Party.
2006: Nasa revealed photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyor suggesting the presence of liquid water on Mars.
Andrew Flintoff MBE, cricketer, 36; Dame Anne Begg DBE, MP for Aberdeen South, 58; Peter Buck, guitarist (REM), 57; Alberto Contador, cyclist, 31; Gordon Durie, Scottish footballer, 48; Gerry Francis, footballer and manager, 62; Geoff Hoon, former Labour Cabinet minister and MP 1992-2010, 60; Helen Liddell, former secretary of state for Scotland 2005-9, MP 1994-2005, 63; Peter Willey, cricketer and umpire, 64.
Births: 1421 Henry VI, only child of Henry V; 1896 Ira Gershwin, songwriter; 1912 Lord Emslie, Lord Justice-General of Scotland and Lord President of the Court of Session 1972-89; 1923 Dave Brubeck, jazz pianist and composer; 1938 Lord Lyell of Markyate, former attorney-general.
Deaths: AD342 St Nicholas, patron saint of Aberdeen; 1746 Lady Grizel Baillie (née Hume), poet, who concealed her outlawed father in Polwarth Kirk for over a month after Rye House plot; 1799 Joseph Black, Edinburgh-born chemist; 1882 Anthony Trollope, novelist; 1988 Roy Orbison, singer.