Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 8 April
1838: Brunel’s steamship Great Western left Bristol for New York on her maiden voyage under Captain James Hosken.
1907: Britain and France signed convention confirming independence of Siam (Thailand).
1908: Herbert Henry Asquith became Liberal Prime Minister and held office until 1916.
1919: Russian communist army entered the Crimea.
1939: Albania’s King Zog fled as Italian troops invaded his country.
1953: Jomo Kenyatta and five others were convicted of involvement with Mau Mau terrorism in the British colony of Kenya. Kenyatta stayed in detention until 1959 and became Kenya’s first president and prime minister.
1958: United States president Dwight D Eisenhower proposed mutual inspection as means of enforcing atomic test ban.
1961: Referendum in France approved a peace settlement with nationalist rebels in Algeria.
1962: Nearly 1,200 Bay of Pigs invaders were sentenced to 30 years in jail in Cuba.
1966: Leonid Brezhnev became Soviet leader.
1967: The Eurovision Song Contest was won by the British entry, Puppet On A String, sung by the shoeless Sandie Shaw.
1967: All but one of the 27 horses still running in the Grand National were involved in a pile-up at the 23rd fence. The exception, 100-1 shot Foinavon, ran on to win.
1986: Clint Eastwood was elected Mayor of Carmel in California.
1989: Norwegian authorities searched for evidence of radioactivity from Soviet nuclear submarine that caught fire and sank off northern Norway with the loss of more than 40 crew.
1990: Nick Faldo retained his Masters golf title at Augusta, beating Ray Floyd at the second hole of a play-off.
1992: Yasser Arafat, Palestine Liberation chairman, survived plane crash in sandstorm in Libyan desert.
1992: Punch magazine folded after 151 years.
1992: Retired tennis great Arthur Ashe announced he has Aids, acquired from blood transfusions during heart surgery.
2002: A 300 million worldwide television audience watched the Queen Mother’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.
2008: The construction of the world’s first building to integrate wind turbines was completed in Bahrain.
Robin Wright, actress, 48; Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary-general 1997-2007, 76; Professor Sir John Arbuthnott, principal and vice-chancellor, Strathclyde University 1991-2000 and president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 75; Patricia Arquette, actress, 46; Hywel Bennett, actor, 70; Mark Blundell, racing driver and commentator, 48; Gordon Chisholm, Scottish footballer, 54; Julian Lennon, musician, 51; Alec Stewart OBE, English cricketer, 51; Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE, fashion designer, 73; Baroness Young of Old Scone, life peer, 66.
Births: 1783 John Loudon, Cambuslang-born horticulturalist; 1893 Mary Pickford, silent film actress; 1919 Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia 1964-79; 1918 Betty Ford, former first lady of the US; 1943 W Garth Morrison CBE, chief scout 1988-96, and Lord-Lieutenant for East Lothian.
Deaths: AD217 Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antonius), Roman emperor; 1614 El Greco, artist; 1950 Vaslav Nijinsky, ballet dancer; 1973 Pablo Picasso, painter and sculptor; 2013 Baroness Thatcher, prime minister 1979-9.