Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 27 December
1831: Admiralty survey ship HMS Beagle set out from Plymouth, with Charles Darwin on board, on the famous scientific round-the-world voyage that was to last five years.
1887: Chewing gum patented.
1904: Premiere of JM Barrie’s play, Peter Pan, at the Duke of York Theatre, London.
1927: Leon Trotsky expelled from Communist Party as Josef Stalin’s faction won at All-Union Congress.
1944: United States forces smashed across German Bulge in Belgium and relieved US troops under siege at Bastogne.
1945: International Monetary Fund established, with headquarters in Washington.
1945: Foreign ministers of Britain, United States and Soviet Union, meeting in Moscow, called for provisional democratic government in Korea.
1949: The Netherlands’ Queen Juliana signed document granting Indonesia sovereignty after more than three centuries of Dutch rule.
1956: UN fleet began clearing the Suez Canal after the Suez War.
1965: Huge waves capsized BP oilrig Sea Gem off the mouth of the Humber in North Sea. Thirteen died, but many men were away on Christmas leave.
1975: Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts came into force.
1978: Spain became a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.
1979: Russian armed forces invaded territory of neighbouring Afghanistan after coup d’etat, which overthrew president Hafizullah Amin of Afghanistan.
1985: Terrorists targeted holiday travellers in simultaneous attacks on Israel’s El Al airline at Rome and Vienna airports, killing 16 and wounding more than 100.
1989: US soldiers blasted rock music and news bulletins about Panama at the Vatican embassy in Panama City in an effort to drive General Manuel Noriega from his refuge there.
1991: Defence ministers of Commonwealth of Independent States agreed on common military policy.
1995: Glasgow recorded its lowest ever temperature of -18ºC and police warned people to stay at home. Braemar was the coldest place in Britain, at -20.1ºC.
2002: The firm Clonaid announced it had successfully cloned a human being, although it never presented verifiable evidence.
Simon King OBE, natural history film director and presenter, 52; Janet Street-Porter, journalist and broadcaster, 68; Irene Adams, Baroness Adams of Craigielea, MP 1990-2005, 67; William Waldorf Astor, 4th Viscount Astor, 63; Christopher Benjamin, actor, 80; Maryam d’Abo, actress, 54; Gérard Depardieu, actor, 66; Duncan Ferguson, Scottish footballer, 43; Polly Toynbee, journalist and broadcaster, 68; Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaican sprinter, 28; José Cuevas, world welterweight boxing champion; Mike Heron, Edinburgh-born musician (the Incredible String Band), 72; Les Maguire, pianist (Gerry & the Pacemakers), 73.
Births: 1748 William Marshall, composer of Scottish fiddle music; 1761 Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly, member of Scottish clan Barclay and Russian Minister of War; 1822 Louis Pasteur, French scientist; 1901 Marlene Dietrich, actress.
Deaths: 1800 Hugh Blair, Edinburgh-born church minister and author; 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet; 1924 William Archer, Scottish journalist and drama critic.