Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 2 December
1697: The rebuilt St Paul’s Cathedral formally opened.
1804: Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor Napoleon I of France.
1815: Britain and Rajah of Nepal signed peace treaty.
1823: United States declared the Monroe Doctrine, opposing European attempts to interfere in the Americas.
1852: Second French Empire proclaimed, with Napoleon III as emperor.
1875: Gelignite was patented by Nobel Peace Prize founder Alfred Nobel.
1901: King Camp Gillette patented the safety razor, and nearly went bankrupt, selling only 51 in his first year of trading.
1916: The lights of the Statue of Liberty were turned on by US president Woodrow Wilson.
1917: World’s first aircraft carrier, HMS Argus, launched.
1929: Britain’s first public telephone boxes came into service.
1932: “Bodyline” Test series began between England and Australia. English tactics of bowling at batsmen’s bodies caused several injuries and much tension.
1933: Fred Astaire’s first film released, with leading lady Joan Crawford. It was called Dancing Lady and the studio’s report on Fred read: “Can’t act, can’t sing, balding, can dance a little”.
1941: All single women aged 20-30 were called up for war work.
1942: The world’s first nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated at the University of Chicago, by physicists Enrico Fermi and Arthur Compton.
1966: Prime Minister Harold Wilson met Ian Smith on HMS Tiger off Gibraltar for talks on the independence of Rhodesia.
1971: Persian Gulf sheikhdoms formed United Arab Emirates.
1982: World’s first artificial heart was fitted, to a dentist, Dr Barney Clark, at University of Utah Medical Centre. He survived for six months.
1990: Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s centre-right coalition won crushing victory in first all-German elections since 1932.
1991: Shares in Robert Maxwell’s public companies, Mirror Group Newspapers and Maxwell Communication Corporation, were suspended as City concern mounted over his private finances.
1993: Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar shot and killed in Medellin.
1993: Nasa launches the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
1995: Barings Bank trader Nick Leeson jailed for six and a half years in Singapore for his role in the bank’s £860 million collapse.
1999: The UK devolved political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive.
Richard Quinn, Scottish jockey, 52; Connie Booth, actress and psychotherapist, 69; Nigel Calder, science writer, 82; John D Collins, actor, 71; Nelly Furtado, singer-songwriter, 35; Patricia Hewitt, MP, health secretary 2005-7, 65; Lucy Liu, actress, 45; Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal and chief butler of England, 57; Monica Seles, tennis player, 40; Britney Spears, pop singer, 32.
Births: 1837 Doctor Joseph Bell, Edinburgh doctor (believed to be the prototype of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective Sherlock Holmes); 1848 Mary Slessor, Aberdeen-born missionary in Nigeria; 1923 Maria Callas, opera singer.
Deaths: 1547 Hernán Cortés, conqueror of Mexico; 1814 the Marquis de Sade, aristocrat; 2008 Patrick Maitland, 17th Earl of Lauderdale, journalist, MP 1951-1959.