On this day: Josef Stalin ousted Leon Trotsky

In 1927 Josef Stalin, right, officially ousted his greatest rival, Leon Trotsky, from the Communist Party of Russia
In 1927 Josef Stalin, right, officially ousted his greatest rival, Leon Trotsky, from the Communist Party of Russia
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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.

BIRTHDAYS

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.

ANNIVERSARIES

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.