Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 17 November
1307: William Tell is reputed to have shot an apple off his son’s head.
1882: The Royal Astronomer witnessed an unidentified flying object from the Greenwich Royal Observatory. It was described as “a strange celestial visitor – a circular object glowing green”.
1913: First vessels passed through the Panama Canal. More than 25,000 lives were lost during the construction.
1914: It was announced that income tax was to be doubled in the United Kingdom to finance the war against Germany.
1922: Siberia voted for union with the USSR on the same day that Britain elected its first Communist MP – JT Walton-Newbold, standing for Motherwell.
1954: General Gamal Abdel Nasser became head of state in Egypt after the fall of president Muhammad Naguib.
1958: The 9,500-ton Swiss cargo ship Nyon was wrecked on rocks at St Abb’s Head.
1959: Prestwick and Renfrew airports became the first to offer duty-free goods in Britain. London Heathrow followed soon afterwards.
1964: Britain said it would ban arms exports to South Africa.
1970: Russia’s Luna 17 landed on the Sea of Rains on the Moon and released the first Moon-walker vehicle.
1970: The Sun pictured its first Page Three girl, Stephanie Rahn.
1972: Former Argentine dictator Juan Peron returned to his homeland after 17 years of exile.
1976: China set off its largest nuclear explosion in atmosphere.
1989: British journalist David Blundy was shot dead in crossfire while reporting on the civil war in El Salvador.
1993: The Republic of Ireland became the only team from the British Isles to qualify for football’s World Cup Finals in the United States.
1994: Albert Reynolds resigned as Irish prime minister in a row involving the president of the high court, Harry Whelehan, who also quit.
1996: Russian space probe Mars 96 crash-landed in the Pacific after its booster rockets failed soon after take-off.
2008: Pirates seized a Saudi-owned oil tanker in the Indian Ocean off the Kenyan coast. The vessel was carrying two million barrels – more than a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s daily output.
2010: More than 100 homes were evacuated in Cornwall as heavy rain and gale-force winds caused flooding and travel disruption.
Jack Vettriano OBE, Scottish artist, 63; Sir Malcolm Bruce, Scottish Liberal Democrat MP, 70; Danny DeVito, actor, 70; David Emanuel, fashion designer, 62; Fenella Fielding, actress, 87; Sarah Harding, singer (Girls Aloud), 33; Lauren Hutton, American actress and model, 71; Sophie Marceau, French actress and author, 48; Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, actress, 56; Jonathan Ross OBE, broadcaster, 54; Martin Scorsese, film director, 72; Rachel McAdams, actress, 36; Nani, Portuguese footballer, 28; Tom Ellis, actor (EastEnders), 36; Gordon Lightfoot, folk-rock and country singer-songwriter, 76; Harry Lloyd, actor, 31; Greg Rutherford MBE, British Olympic gold medal-winning longjumper, 28; Debbie Thrower, TV presenter and newsreader, 57; Jilly Johnson, model and singer (Blonde on Blonde), 61; Martin Barre, rock musician (Jethro Tull), 68.
Births: 1685 Pierre Gaultier, explorer, fur trader and military officer; 1755 Louis XVIII, king of France; 1887 Viscount Montgomery, Second World War general; 1901 Lee Strasberg, actor who evolved the “method” acting technique; 1906 Betty Bronson, actress; 1906 Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda motor company; 1925 Sir Charles Mackerras CBE, conductor; 1925 Rock Hudson, actor; 1930 Bob Mathias, double gold medal-winning Olympic athlete; 1936 John Wells, writer, actor, director; 1937 Peter Cook, actor and comedian; 1939 Auberon Waugh, columnist; 1940 Luke Kelly, folk singer and Musician (The Dubliners).
Deaths: 1558 Queen Mary Tudor; 1796 Catherine the Great; 1823 Thomas Erskine, Whig politician and Lord Chancellor; 1858 Robert Owen, social reformer and founder of co-operative movement; 1865 James McCune Smith, physician, author and abolitionist; 1917 Auguste Rodin, sculptor; 1929 Dick Lilley, England Test wicketkeeper; 1937 Jack Worrall, Australian Rules footballer and Test cricketer; 2006 Ferenc Puskas, footballer; 2006 Ruth Brown, singer-songwriter and actress; 2013 Doris Lessing, novelist, playwright, poet; James P Johnson, pianist and composer.