Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 15 December
1806: Napoleon Bonaparte entered Warsaw.
1916: French defeated Germans in Battle of Verdun, which resulted in the deaths of 364,000 Allied soldiers and 338,000 Germans.
1939: Nylon was first produced commercially in the United States.
1957: UN rejected Greek proposal that Cyprus was entitled to self-determination.
1958: Last steam locomotive made at Crewe works, No92250, was the 7,331st steam loco built there since 1843.
1961: Adolph Eichmann, the Nazi who organised the execution of millions of Jews, was sentenced to death after a four-month trial in Jerusalem. He was hanged on 31 May, 1962.
1961: UN General Assembly voted to admit Chinese People’s Republic.
1964: The Maple Leaf adopted as national flag of Canada.
1965: US Mariner spacecraft relayed data about Venus as it flew past that planet.
1969: City status was conferred on Swansea.
1973: John Paul Getty III was released by kidnappers in Italy who had held him for five months and cut off his ear.
1979: Deposed Shah of Iran flew from US to “temporary” exile in Panama.
1982: Gibraltar’s frontier with Spain was opened to pedestrians after 13 years.
1985: Street battles broke out in Johannesburg between police and anti-apartheid crowd demanding freedom for Nelson Mandela.
1988: A script of the only play written by George Orwell sold at Sotheby’s for £4,400.
1989: Panamanian Assembly named Manuel Noriega head of government and declared “a state of war” with the US.
1991: Liz McColgan was voted BBC television’s sports personality of the year.
1993: John Major and Irish premier Albert Reynolds signed a joint declaration aimed at bringing peace to Ulster.
2000: The third reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant was shut down.
2001: The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened after 11 years and £20 million to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean.
2004: David Blunkett resigned as home secretary over claims he helped the nanny of his former lover, Kimberly Quinn, get a visa.
Michelle Dockery, actress, 33; Don Johnson, actor, 65; Frankie Dettori MBE, jockey, 44; Michael Bogdanov, theatre director, 76; Clive Brittain, racehorse trainer, 80; Dave Clark, drummer and founder of the Dave Clark Five, 72; Ida Haendel CBE, violinist, 86; Joe Jordan, Cleland-born footballer, coach and TV commentator, 63; Henrietta Knight, racehorse trainer, 68; Edna O’Brien CBE, novelist, 84; Paul Simonon, bass guitarist (The Clash), 59; Martin Skrtel, footballer, 30; Stuart Townsend, actor and director, 42; Charlie Cox, actor, 32; Michael Le Vell, actor (Coronation Street), 50; Cindy Birdsong, singer (the Supremes), 75; Roman Pavlyuchenko, footballer, 33.
Births: AD37 Nero, fifth Roman Emperor; 1832 Gustave Eiffel, designer of tower; 1892 J Paul Getty, oil magnate; 1899 Harold Abrahams CBE, Olympic champion sprinter; 1913 Doctor Robert McIntyre, physician and politician, SNP’s first MP and president 1958-80.
Deaths: 1263 King Haakon IV of Norway; 1675 Jan Vermeer, artist; 1890 Sitting Bull, chief of the Sioux; 1943 Thomas “Fats” Waller, jazz pianist.