Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 21 January
AD304: Saint Agnes was martyred at the age of 13. A Roman girl, she refused to marry the husband chosen by her father, so he had her burnt at the stake.
1506: Formal founding of the Swiss Guard, the Vatican papal guard.
1793: Louis XVI, King of France since 1774, was guillotined in the Place de la Revolution after being found guilty of treason.
1922: Provisional Irish parliament voted narrowly to approve treaty with Britain and so begin independence moves.
1936: Edward VIII was proclaimed king.
1942: German forces started offensive in western African desert in Second World War.
1954: Nautilus, first US nuclear submarine, launched at Groton in Connecticut.
1970: Five members of the crew of the Fraserburgh lifeboat, the Duchess of Kent, a non-self-righting type, were lost when she was turned over by a freak wave 36 miles off Kinnaird Head while escorting a Danish fishing vessel to safety. The only survivor was picked up by a Russian trawler.
1970: Iraq foiled attempt to overthrow its government and executed 12 men.
1988: Microlight pilot Brian Milton touched down in Darwin, Australia, 51 days after leaving London dockland in 440cc aircraft Dalgety Flyer.
1990: John McEnroe was disqualified from the Australian Open and fined £4,000 for swearing at officials.
1992: UN Security Council urged Libya to surrender two agents indicted by United States in bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which crashed on Lockerbie.
1996: Palestinians on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip chose Yasser Arafat as their first democratically elected leader after almost 30 years of military and political struggle.
2004: Nasa’s MER-A (the Mars Rover Spirit) ceased communication with mission control. The problem lay in the management of its flash memory and was fixed remotely from Earth on 6 February.
2008: Black Monday in worldwide stock markets. The FTSE-100 had its biggest ever one-day points fall, European stocks closed with their worst result since 11 September 2001, and Asian stocks dropped by as much as 14 per cent.
Emma Bunton, Spice Girl, 38; Geena Davis, actress, 58; Plácido Domingo, tenor, 73; Peter Fleming, tennis player, 59; Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, Minister of State, Scottish Office, 2001-2, 72; Alex McLeish, Scottish football manager; 55; Jack Nicklaus, golf championr, 74; Billy Ocean, singer, 64; Brian O’Driscoll, rugby player, 35; Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, President of the Supreme Court 2009-12, 76; Seona Reid CBE, former director, Glasgow School of Art, 64; Martin Shaw, actor, 69.
Births: 1824 Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, American Confederate general; 1855 John Moses Browning, inventor of the automatic pistol and machine-gun; 1905 Christian Dior, fashion designer; 1912 Sir Laurence Whistler, artist and poet; 1925 Benny Hill, comedian.
Deaths: 1836 Leo Delibes, composer; 1924 Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov), founder Bolshevism, Soviet Communist leader; 1950 George Orwell (pen-name of Eric Arthur Blair), author; 1959 Cecil B DeMille, film director; 1999 Susan Strasberg, actress; 2013 Michael Winner, film director and columnist.