Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 15 October
1783: The first manned balloon ascent took place when Pilatre de Rozier rose 84ft in a hot-air craft before it reached the end of its tether.
1839: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were betrothed. She proposed to him and confided to her diary: “It was a nervous thing to do, but Albert could not propose to the Queen of England. He would never have presumed to take such a liberty.”
1851: The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace at London’s Hyde Park closed after five months.
1851: Gold was discovered in Melbourne, Australia.
1894: Alfred Dreyfus was arrested in France on treason charges.
1895: The first motor show in Britain was held at the Agricultural Showground, Tunbridge Wells.
1915: HMS Hawke was sunk off the east coast of Scotland by submarine action and more than 400 of her crew perished.
1917: Spy Mata Hari was shot in Paris, having been found guilty of espionage for the Germans.
1928: German dirigible Graf Zeppelin made first commercial flight across Atlantic, landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey, US.
1928: The voting age for women was reduced from 30 to 21 in Britain, equal with men.
1940: A 500lb bomb hit Broadcasting House, London, killing seven people. Bruce Belfrage was reading the news at the time, and paused for only a second before continuing.
1945: Pierre Laval, French leader of Vichy government’s collaboration with the Germans, was executed for treason.
1962: King Olav V of Norway arrived in Edinburgh on first royal state visit to Scotland since the Union of the Crowns.
1964: Nikita Khrushchev was replaced as First Secretary of Communist Party in Soviet Union.
1987: Fiji’s governor-general resigned, ending decade of allegiance by the South Pacific island to British crown.
1987: A hurricane killed 18, destroyed millions of trees and caused estimated £300 million of damage to buildings, mainly in south-east England.
1990: Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded Nobel Peace Prize.
1990: In France, a man’s foot was reattached to his leg after being stitched to his arm for seven months – a first in plastic surgery.
1993: Nelson Mandela and South African president FW de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to dismantle apartheid.
1995: There were fresh demands for boxing to be banned after Scottish bantamweight champion James Murray died in hospital from injuries he received in a British title fight in Glasgow two days earlier.
Sarah, Duchess of York, 54; Chris de Burgh, singer, 65; Richard Carpenter, singer, 67; Craig Chalmers, rugby player, 45; Andy Cole, footballer, 42; Elena Dementieva, Russian tennis player, 32; Bruno Senna, Brazilian racing driver, 30; Roscoe Tanner, American tennis player, 62; Stephen Tompkinson, actor, 48; Dominic West, actor (The Wire), 44.
Births: 70BC Virgil, poet; 1608 Evangelista Torricelli, Italian scientist who devised the barometer; 1686 Allan Ramsay, poet; 1880 Marie Stopes, Edinburgh-born scientist and sex education reformer.
Deaths: 1946 Hermann Goering, Nazi war criminal (suicide); 1964 Cole Porter, composer and lyricist; 1976 James McAuley, poet; 1998 Iain Crichton Smith, poet 2008 Eddie Thompson OBE, chairman of Dundee United FC.