EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on April 17.
National day of Syria
1421: More than 100,000 people drowned when the sea broke through dykes at Dort, in the Netherlands.
1491: Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain signed a contract with Christopher Columbus concerning his proposed voyage of discovery.
1521: Martin Luther, critical of Roman Catholic Church, appeared before Diet of Worms and was cross-examined by papal nuncio, Cardinal Alexander.
1847: The Educational Institute of Scotland was founded “to promote sound learning and advance the interests of education in Scotland”.
1860: The first world title fight took place near Farnborough when Tom Sayers took on the American John Heenan at a time when boxing was still regarded as a breach of the peace. It lasted 37 rounds and both men were seriously hurt. The match was declared a draw.
1888: The first formal meeting of the English Football League took place in the Royal Hotel, Manchester.
1937: A British attendance record at a football match was set when 149,547 watched Scotland play England at Hampden Park, Glasgow.
1953: How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?, sung by Lita Roza, reached number one in the charts.
1956: A £1 Premium Bond was introduced by Harold Macmillan, as chancellor of the Exchequer.
1957: Archbishop Makarios arrived back in Athens after an 13-month exile in the Seychelles.
1961: An attempt by Cuban rebels and American forces to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs and overthrow the Castro Communist regime, was repulsed.
1963: Greville Wynne, a British businessman, was found guilty in Moscow of spying. He was sentenced to three years in prison and five years in a labour camp.
1969: Everyone in Britain over the age of 18 was allowed to vote, 21 having been the minimum age since 1928.
1969: Bernadette Devlin became the youngest woman MP when elected for Mid Ulster, six days short of her 22nd birthday.
1975: Communists took over rule of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, as Cambodian War drew to end.
1980: Rhodesia became the independent nation of Zimbabwe.
1984: WPC Yvonne Fletcher was shot dead by terrorists outside the Libyan Embassy in London.
1988: Population control group said Earth faced environmental catastrophe unless developing nations stemmed rapid overpopulation.
1989: Nigel Lawson, the chancellor, rejected proposals for economic and monetary union within the European Community.
1991: Graeme Souness quit as manager of Rangers FC to return to Liverpool FC as manager.
1995: More than 300 passengers were rescued from a French catamaran ferry which hit a rock and began sinking off Jersey.
1996: The Duke and Duchess of York were granted a decree nisi, ending their ten-year marriage.
2009: Research revealed that being even moderately obese could cut as much as four years off a person’s life.
2014: Scotland’s biggest works of art, the Kelpies, near Falkirk – the creations of Glasgow artist Andy Scott – was launched with a spectacular special effects display including 100 different lames shooting into the air. It was the start of the first festival in Scotland dedicated to the legacy of pioneering conservationist John Muir, who died 100 years earlier.
Jennifer Garner, actress, 43; Victoria Beckham, singer and designer Spice Girl, 41; Chris Barber, jazz musician, 85; John Barrett MBE, tennis commentator, 84; Sean Bean, actor, 56; Damian Cronin, rugby player, 52; Clare Francis MBE, yachtswoman and novelist, 69; Bella Freud, fashion designer, 54; Nick Hornby, writer, 58; Olivia Hussey, actress, 64; Henry Kelly, game-show host, 69; James Last, bandleader, 86; Muttiah Muralitharan, cricketer, 43; Ricardo Patrese, racing driver, 61; Pete Shelley, singer/guitarist (Buzzcocks), 60; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, tennis player, 30.
Births: 1586 John Ford, dramatist; 1622 Henry Vaughan, poet; 1802 James Thom, Lochlee-born sculptor; 1882 Artur Schnabel, pianist; 1880 Sir Leonard Woolley, archaeologist; 1894 Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet leader; 1897 Thornton Wilder, novelist and playwright; 1929 Professor John Erickson, director of Defence Studies, Edinburgh University 1988-96.
Deaths: 1790 Benjamin Franklin, scientist and statesman who helped draft US Declaration of Independence; 1960 Eddie Cochran, rock’n’roll singer; 1984 General Mark Clark, commander of the United States 5th Army in Italy; 1998 Lady (Linda) McCartney, photographer, businesswoman, musician (wife of Beatle Paul); 2014 Gabriel García Márquez, novelist, 87.