Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 27 January
Chinese New Year begins.
1778: Joseph Bramah patented the valved flush lavatory.
1822: Greek independence was proclaimed formally.
1879: Thomas Edison patented his electric lamp.
1913: Jim Thorpe, after crushing victories at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912, was stripped of his decathlon and pentathlon gold medals by the Olympic Committee following newspaper revelations that he was a “professional”.
1914: Haiti’s president, Michel Oreste, abdicated during revolt, and United States Marines landed to preserve order.
1926: John Logie Baird, the Scottish inventor, gave his first public demonstration of “true television” to members of the Royal Institution at his workshop in Soho, London.
1943: American bombers staged first all-US air raid on Germany – a daylight attack on Wilhelmshaven.
1943: Germany began civil conscription of women.
1950: United States agreed to provide arms to Nato members.
1964: France established diplomatic relations with China.
1967: Fire broke out aboard the spaceship Apollo 1 during the ground test at Cape Kennedy, killing Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.
1967: Round-the-world yachtsman Francis Chichester was knighted by the Queen on the quay at Greenwich. The sword that touched his shoulders belonged to Sir Francis Drake.
1973: The United States signed a ceasefire to end its military action in Vietnam.
1987: President Mikhail Gorbachev unveiled reform programme for Soviet Communist Party, including secret ballots to elect party officials.
1990: Baby Alexandra Griffiths was reunited with her parents two weeks after her abduction from St Thomas’s Hospital in London.
1995: Five thousand survivors of Auschwitz attended a service at the site of the Nazi concentration camp to mark the 50th anniversary of its liberation.
1996: Germany first observed International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
2004: Prime minister Tony Blair’s authority reached an all-time low when his 161 majority was reduced to five, with 72 Labour MPs voting against tuition fees for English universities.
Alan Cumming OBE, Aberfeldy-born actor, 49; Mohamed al-Fayed, chairman of Harrods, 81; Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Northern Irish peace campaigner and Nobel laureate, 70; Bridget Fonda, actress, 50; Nick Mason, drummer, founder member of Pink Floyd, 70; Alan Milburn, Labour MP 1992-2010, health secretary 1999-2003, 56; Eric Milligan, former Lord Provost of Edinburgh, 63; Mark Owen, singer (Take That), 42; Mike Patton, rock singer, 46; Rosamund Pike, actress, 35; Hugh Porter MBE, world cycling champion, 74; Lord (Brian) Rix of Whitehall, actor and charitable worker (notably Mencap), 90; Mimi Rogers (born Miriam Spickler), actress, 58.
Births: 1756 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer; 1757 Henry Greathead, lifeboat pioneer; 1832 Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson), mathematician and author, notably Alice In Wonderland.
Deaths: 1851 John Audubon, artist and naturalist; 1901 Giuseppe Verdi, opera composer; 1972 Mahalia Jackson, gospel singer; 1989 Sir Thomas Sopwith, aviation pioneer; 2004 Rikki Fulton, actor and entertainer 2010 JD Salinger, author.