EVENTS, birthdays, anniversaries
1531: Pope Clement VII started Inquisition in Lisbon, Portugal.
1538: Pope Paul III excommunicated England’s King Henry VIII.
1718: Britain, France and Austria declared war on Spain, which began the War of the Quadruple Alliance (they were later joined by the Dutch Republic). The war lasted until 1920.
1790: The Aztec Calendar Stone was found, buried under the main square in Mexico City, during repair work which was being done to the city’s cathedral.
1843: The first print run of 6,000 copies of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol sold out in a week.
1903: Orville Wright made the first successful controlled flight in a powered aircraft, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1914: Abbas II was deposed, and Prince Hussein Kemel became Khedive of Egypt, over which Britain proclaimed a protectorate.
1922: Last British troops left Irish Free State.
1939: The German cruiser Graf Spee was scuttled by its crew off Uruguay.
1956: Petrol rationing was imposed in Britain after closing of the Suez Canal.
1967: Harold Holt, the Australian prime minister, disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach, near Melbourne. His body was never found, fuelling many theories regarding his disappearance, ranging from suicide to abduction by a Chinese submarine
1973: Thirty-one people were killed after Arab guerrillas hijacked a German airliner at Rome airport.
1983: Car bomb exploded outside Harrods in Knightsbridge, London, killing six people and injuring 90.
1984: Band Aid’s Do they know it’s Christmas? was number one in the pop charts.
1986: Mrs Davina Thompson became the world’s first heart, lungs and liver transplant patient, at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge.
1990: Ravenscraig workers decided not to fight closure of hot strip mill and loss of 770 jobs.
1990: MPs voted against reintroducing the death penalty.
1991: In Blackpool, the Fun House at the resort’s pleasure beach was destroyed by fire.
2003: Ian Huntley was given two life sentences at the Old Bailey for the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman at Soham, Lincolnshire. His former girlfriend, Maxine Carr, was jailed for three and a half years for conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
2010: Street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire. The act became the catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution. The success of the Tunisian protests sparked protests in several other Arab countries.
2012: Jiroeman Kimura of Japan, aged 116 years, was verified as the world’s oldest man.
Births: 1778 Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of miner’s safety lamp; 1873 Ford Maddox Ford, novelist and critic; 1914 Mushtaq Ali, Indian Test cricketer; 1926 Stephen Lewis, actor and comedian (Inspector Blake – “Blakey” – in On the Buses); 1939 James Booker, R&B and jazz musician; 1931 Dave Madden actor; 1937 Kerry Packer, media tycoon; 1939 Eddie Kendricks, singer-songwriter (the Temptations); 1941 Dave Dee, singer-songwriter (Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich); 1945 Christopher Cazenove, actor.
Deaths: 1187 Pope Gregory VIII; 1830 Simon Bolivar, South American revolutionary; 1907 Sir William Thomson, first Baron Kelvin of Largs, physicist and inventor who devised absolute temperature scales; 1917 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, first woman doctor and advocate of women’s rights to practise medicine; 1957 Dorothy (Leigh) Sayers, author; 1996 Ruby Murray, singer; 1997 Doctor Herrick Bunney, organist and master of music, St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh 1946-1996; 1999 Grover Washington jnr, jazz saxophonist; 2010 Captain Beefheart, musician, singer-songwriter; 2011 Kim Jong-iI, dictator of North Korea.