On this day: Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor

A small boat rescues sailors from the USS 'West Virginia' after she had suffered a hit in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Picture: Fox/Getty

A small boat rescues sailors from the USS 'West Virginia' after she had suffered a hit in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Picture: Fox/Getty

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EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on 7 December

1732: The original Covent Garden Opera House, then called the Theatre Royal, opened in London.

1783: William Pitt the Younger became the youngest British prime minister, at 24.

1787: Delaware became the first state to ratify the US constitution.

1808: James Madison was elected the fourth US president.

1815: Marshal Ney, best known of Napoleon’s marshals, was shot in Paris for high treason.

1842: The New York Philharmonic Orchestra (then called the Philharmonic Society of New York) gave its first concert in the Apollo Rooms on Lower Broadway.

1889: Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera The Gondoliers premiered at the Savoy Theatre, London.

1898: A campaigner for women’s suffrage, Mrs Frances Bird-Loughton, blustered her way into the Sparrow’s Club in London, dressed in male clothes, and locked herself in the lavatories for 18 hours.

1909: A Royal proclamation was read creating the self-governing Union of South Africa, bringing together the four colonies of Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Transvaal and Orange River.

1911: Pigtails were abolished in China and the calendar was reformed.

1916: David Lloyd George succeeded Herbert Asquith as prime minister.

1917: USA declared war on Austria-Hungary.

1937: Carl Romme, minister of social affairs in the Netherlands, declared that married women were forbidden from working.

1937: Russian chess grandmaster Alexander Alekhine recaptured his title as world chess champion by defeating Max Euwe.

1941: Japanese aircraft attacked the United States Fleet at anchor in Pearl Harbor. The death toll amounted to almost 2,500.

1959: Eight members of the crew of the Broughty Ferry lifeboat, Mona, died when it went to the aid of the drifting North Carr light vessel in a gale.

1967: Otis Redding recorded Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay.

1972: Apollo 17 was launched.

1979: Charles Haughey elected prime minister of the Republic of Ireland for the first time, on the resignation of Jack Lynch.

1982: Charles Brooks, a prisoner at Forth Worth, Texas, was executed by being given a lethal injection, the first to die by that method in the United States.

1988: An earthquake destroyed the Armenian town of Spitak, killing about 50,000 people.

1991: More than 100 people were injured when as two trains crashed in the four-mile-long Severn Tunnel under the Bristol Channel.

2002: A fire destroyed 11 buildings in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, causing millions of pounds worth of damage. It burned for 36 hours.

2007: Former champion jockey Kieran Fallon and two other riders were cleared of race-fixing when an Old Bailey trial collapsed. They had been accused of conspiracy to defraud customers of betting exchange Betfair.

2008: All pork products made in the Irish Republic since September were recalled over fears they are contaminated with a toxic substance.

2009: Sir Richard Branson unveiled the rocket plane he would use to take fare-paying passengers into space.

Births: 521 Saint Columba, Irish missionary who spread christianity to Scotland; 1545 Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, 1st Duke of Albany, husband of Mary Queen of Scots; 1784 Allan Cunningham, writer (born in Keir, Dumfriesshire); 1915 Eli Wallach, actor; 1942 Harry Chapin, singer-songwriter.

Deaths: 43BC Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman orator (assassinated); 1817 William Bligh, captain of the Bounty; 1842 Thomas Hamilton, Scottish philosopher and writer; 1985 Robert Graves, poet; 1997 Billy Bremner, footballer

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