Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 23 October
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 was 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.
1897: First Post Office motor van, a Daimler, went into service in London.
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: Andrew Bonar Law became British prime minister. Because of ill-health he was replaced by Stanley Baldwin after seven months.
1922: Lillian Gatlin became the first woman to fly across the United States, in 27 hours and 11 minutes.
1941: Premiere of the Walt Disney cartoon film Dumbo, about a flying elephant, in New York.
1942: The Battle of El Alamein in Egypt began with a barrage of a thousand guns aimed at 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.
1953: Federal Constitution of Rhodesia and Nyasaland went into effect.
1954: Britain, France, United States and Soviet Union agreed to end occupation of Germany.
1958: Soviet Union approved loan to United Arab Republic for Aswan Dam, in Egypt.
1962: Soviet Union issued warning that a US quarantine of arms shipments to Cuba risked a thermonuclear war.
1970: World record speed for rocket-engine car set at 631mph by American Gary Gabelich on Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
1972: Access credit cards were launched in Britain.
1975: Leading cancer expert Professor Gordon Fairley was killed when a car bomb exploded as he walked past the parked Jaguar of his next-door neighbour, Hugh Fraser, MP.
1983: Suicide terrorists blew up United States Marine headquarters building at Beirut Airport, Lebanon, and nearby French headquarters with bomb-laden trucks, killing 241 US Marines and 58 Frenchmen.
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.
2012: BBC Ceefax was turned off.
Cat Deeley, television presenter, 38; Christian Dailly, Scottish footballer, 41; Briana Evigan, American actress, 28; Izabel Goulart, Brazilian model, 30; Steve Harmison MBE, English cricketer, 36; Ang Lee, film director and producer, 60; Martin Luther King III, American human rights advocate, 57; Pelé (born Edson Arantes do Nascimento), Brazilian footballer, 74; Sam Raimi, film director, 55; Ryan Reynolds, Canadian actor, 38; Juan “Chi-Chi” Rodríguez, Puerto Rican golfer, 79; Jessica Stroup, American actress, 28; Dwight Yoakam, American country singer, 58; William Barron Hilton, retired chairman and president of Hilton hotels, 87; Andoni Zubizarreta, former goalkeeper, 53; Jimmy Bullard, footballer, 36.
Births: 1715 Peter II, Tsar of Russia; 1773 Lord Jeffrey, judge and literary critic; 1817 Pierre Larousse, French lexicographer and encyclopaedist; 1835 Adlai Stevenson I, US vice president; 1844 Robert Bridges, Poet Laureate in 1913; 1893 Gummo Marx, vaudeville performer, theatrical agent and member of the Marx Brothers; 1900 Douglas Jardine, captain of England cricket team on “bodyline” tour of Australia in 1932-33; 1905 Gertrude Ederle, first woman to swim the English Channel; 1925 Johnny Carson, TV host; 1931 Diana Dors, actress.
Deaths: 1915 WG Grace, cricketer; 1921 John Boyd Dunlop, Scottish veterinary surgeon and pioneer of pneumatic tyre; 1939 Zane Grey, writer of western novels; 1944 Prof Charles Glover Barkla, Edinburgh physicist and Nobel prize-winner for work on X-rays.