Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 24 December
1650: Edinburgh Castle surrendered to Oliver Cromwell.
1724: General George Wade was appointed Commander-in-Chief in Scotland after his report on the need for military roads in the country.
1798: Britain and Russia signed alliance against France.
1800: Plot was uncovered in Paris to assassinate Napoleon Bonaparte.
1814: United States and Britain signed Treaty of Ghent in Belgium, ending War of 1812.
1828: The trial of William Burke began in Edinburgh. The other body-snatcher, William Hare, turned king’s evidence and escaped trial. Burke was hanged on 28 January, 1829.
1904: The London Coliseum opened in St Martin’s Lane. It had the first revolving stage in Britain.
1914: The first air-raid on British soil took place – a bomb on Dover.
1922: The BBC broadcast The Truth About Father Christmas, by Phyllis M Twigg, the first play written for radio in Britain.
1924: Ahmed ben Zogu (later King Zog) overthrew the Albanian parliament and proclaimed a republic.
1937: Japanese troops captured Hangchow in China.
1942: Vichy French administrator of North Africa, Admiral Jean Darlan, assassinated in Algiers.
1951: Libya became independent federation under King Idris I.
1965: A meteorite weighing 100lb landed on Leicestershire.
1967: China conducted its seventh nuclear test.
1974: The Beatles’ partnership was legally dissolved.
1979: Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan as the Kabul government fell.
1988: Oil storage tanker Fulmar FSU broke free from its supposedly permanent mooring in the North Sea and drifted towards the neighbouring manned Clyde production platform for an hour before action could be taken.
1989: General Noriega of Panama sought political asylum in the Vatican diplomatic mission in Panama City and resistance from remaining loyalist troops collapsed.
1990: Iraq recalled its ambassadors to United States, United Nations and west European nations for urgent consultations as 15 January deadline for withdrawal from Kuwait approached.
1995: More than 300 people died when fire swept through school buildings in Sirsa, northern India.
1997: Ilich Ramirez, the international terrorist better known as Carlos the Jackal, was jailed for life in France for three killings.
2008: Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group, began a series of attacks on Democratic Republic of the Congo, massacring more than 400 people.
Ed Miliband, Labour Party leader, 45; Caroline Aherne, comedian, writer, actress, 51; Mary Higgins Clark, author of suspense novels, 87; Brian Dunbar, golfer, 51; Lemmy, rock singer (Motorhead), 69; Ricky Martin, pop musician, 43; Suzy Menkes OBE, fashion journalist, 71; Carol Vorderman MBE, broadcaster, 54; Philip Ziegler, biographer and historian, 85; Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series of books, 41; Louis Tomlinson, singer-songwriter (One Direction); Anil Kapoor, actor and producer, 58; Barry Elliott, comedian, one half of the Chuckle Brothers, 70; Jan Akkerman, musician (Focus); Marcelo Salas, footballer, 40; Ilham Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan, 53; Melissa Suffield, actress (EastEnders), 22; Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan 2004 to 2014; Ian Burden, musician (the Human League), 57; Nicholas Meyer, film director and producer, 69.
Births: 1166 King John of England; 1822 Matthew Arnold, poet, cultural critic and inspector of schools; 1905 Howard Hughes, American billionaire industrialist, film producer and recluse; 1914 John Muir, Dunbar-born naturalist and author; 1922 Ava Gardner, film actress; 1931 Jill Bennett, actress; 1932 Colin Cowdrey, Baron Cowdrey of Tonbridge, Kt, CBE, England Test cricketer and administrator.
Deaths: 1167 Genghis Khan, despotic Mongol leader; 1524 Vasco da Gama, explorer; 1660 Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange; 1863 William Thackeray, novelist; 1914 John Muir, conservationist; 1975 Bernard Hermann, composer; 1980 Karl Dönitz, German naval commander of Second World War; 1984 Peter Lawford, actor; 1994 John Osbourne, playwright; 2000 John Cooper CBE, racing car driver and co-founder of Cooper Car Company; 2000 Nick Massi, singer and guitarist of the Four Seasons; 2008 Harold Pinter CBE, playwright, director, actor and poet; 2008 Stanley Eveling, playwright, former television critic of The Scotsman; 2010 Elisabeth Beresford, children’s author, creator of the Wombles; 2012 Jack Klugman.