EVENTS, birthdays, anniversaries
1295: Treaty between King John Balliol of Scotland and King Philippe le Bel of France, made at Paris for mutual military help against the English – “the Auld Alliance.”
1707: The first Parliament of Great Britain met.
1740: James Short, optician, telescope maker and Fellow of the Royal Society, saw a satellite of Venus that appeared for some hours. No explanation can be given for the ghost star that has been seen by four other 17th and 18th century astronomers and is no longer visible.
1822: The Caledonian Canal, 60 miles long, was opened.
1861: Prince Albert laid foundation stone of the Industrial Museum in Chambers Street, Edinburgh, later to become the Royal Museum of Scotland.
1911: Winston Churchill took over as First Lord of the Admiralty.
1917: United States troops saw first action in First World War near Luneville, France.
1922: Lilian Gatlin became the first woman to fly across the United States, in 27 hours 11 minutes.
1942: The Battle of El Alamein in Egypt began with a barrage of a thousand guns aimed on Italian and German troops. Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery’s forces outnumbered them by almost two to one in both men and tanks, and they also gained control in the air. Rommel was forced to ignore Hitler’s victory-or-death command and 20,000 German troops became prisoners of war.
1946: First meeting of United Nations General Assembly took place in New York.
1954: Britain, France, United States and Soviet Union agreed to end occupation of Germany.
1962: Soviet Union issued warning that a US quarantine of arms shipments to Cuba risked a thermonuclear war.
1986: Britain broke diplomatic relations with Syria after jury convicted Arab man of trying to blow up an Israeli airliner.
1987: Lester Piggott, 11 times champion jockey and later a top trainer, was jailed for three years for tax evasion. He was later stripped of his OBE.
1989: Tens of thousands of Hungarians demanded end to communism on anniversary of 1956 uprising crushed by Soviet tanks.
1990: Israel barred Palestinians living in occupied territories from travelling to Israel after series of attacks on Jews and Arabs in that country.
1991: The House of Lords ruled that husbands could legally be convicted of raping their wives.
1992: British Airways announced it was taking over Dan-Air.
1997: A government watchdog bowed to pressure and agreed to re-examine childhood cancer clusters around Dounreay nuclear reactor.
1998: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian chairman Yasser Arafat reached a “land for peace” agreement.
2001: Apple announced launch of the iPod.
2002: Chechen terrorists seized the House of Culture theatre in Moscow and took 700 theatre-goers hostage.
2009: Due to strike action, the Royal Mail was forced to admit that it had a backlog of 30 million letters.
2012: BBC Ceefax was turned off as the UK’s digital switchover was completed. A series of graphics on Ceefax’s front page marked its 38 years on the BBC.
Christian Dailly, Scottish footballer, 42; Cat Deeley, television presenter, 39; Ang Lee, film director and producer, 61; Martin Luther King III, human rights advocate, 58; Pelé, former footballer, 75; Sam Raimi, film director, 56; Ryan Reynolds, Canadian actor, 39; Juan “Chi-Chi” Rodríguez, Puerto Rican golfer, 80; Miklós Németh, Olympic champion and former world record holder in javelin, 69; Christo van Rensburg, tennis player, 53; Alex Zanardi, racing driver and paracyclist, 49; Jimmy Bullard, footballer, 37; Wayne Rainey, multi world champion motor cyclist, 55; Betsy Nagelsen, tennis player, 59.
Births: 1715 Peter II, Tsar of Russia; 1817 Pierre Larousse, French lexicographer and encyclopaedist; 1905 Gertrude Ederle, first woman to swim the English Channel; 1931 Diana Dors, actress; 1942 Dame Anita Roddick, Body Shop founder.
Deaths: 42BC Brutus; 1915 WG Grace, cricketer; 1916 Sir Joseph Beecham, medicine pioneer; 1921 John Boyd Dunlop, Scottish veterinary surgeon and pioneer of pneumatic tyre; 1950 Al Jolson, singer and entertainer; 2014 Alvin Stardust (born Bernard William Jewry), singer and actor.