EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on December 21
Winter solstice begins.
1121: Pope Honorious II was elected.
1620: The Pilgrim Fathers went ashore from the Mayflower at what is now New Plymouth, Massachusetts.
1832: Egyptian/Syrian forces routed Turkish army at Battle of Konieh in Anatolia.
1846: The first rotary printing press to be used in Britain was patented by Augustus Applegarth.
1846: Robert Liston used anaesthetic (ether) for the first time in a British surgical operation at University College Hospital, London, to perform a leg amputation.
1872: HMS Challenger set off from Portsmouth on the first global marine research expedition, organised by the Royal Society in collaboration with Edinburgh University. The voyage lasted three and a half years and covered 68,890 miles.
1892: Brandon Thomas’s farce Charley’s Aunt opened at the Royalty Theatre, London.
1898: Radium was discovered by scientists Pierre and Marie Curie.
1906: The first broadcast in the United States played Handel’s Largo.
1913: The first crossword puzzle published, in the weekend supplement of the New York World, compiled by Liverpool-born Arthur Wynne.
1921: Russia and Turkey formed alliance.
1937: The premiere of the Walt Disney cartoon film Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs took place in Los Angeles.
1942: British Eighth Army reoccupied Benghazi in Libya.
1953: Iran’s former premier Mohammed Mossadegh was sentenced to three years in prison for trying to lead revolt against Shah.
1958: General Charles de Gaulle, France’s prime minister, was elected first President of the Fifth Republic.
1960: Saudi Arabia’s Premier Emir Faisal resigned, and King Saud took over government.
1968: Launch of Apollo 8 space mission with Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders.
1975: Terrorists raided meeting of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) in Vienna, Austria. Eleven delegates and others were taken hostage, and two guards were killed.
1987: More than 2,000 people died in a ferry disaster in the Philippines, the worst maritime episode since the sinking of the Titanic.
1988: Pan-Am flight 103 was blown up in mid-air by a terrorist bomb and crashed on Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, killing all 259 on board and 11 people on the ground.
1994: Mexican volcano Popocatepetl, dormant for 47 years, erupted gases and ash.
2004: A suicide bomber killed 22 people at the forward operating base next to the main US military airfield at Mosul, Iraq, the single deadliest suicide attack on American soldiers.
2010: A survey revealed that cash would be the ideal Christmas present for two-thirds of Brits.
Births: 1795 Robert Moffat, Ormiston-born missionary; 1803 Sir Joseph Whitworth, mechanical engineer; 1804 Benjamin Disraeli, first Earl of Beaconsfield, three times prime minister; 11879 Josef Stalin, Soviet leader; 1918 Frank Hampson, creator of “Dan Dare”; 1920 Kel Nagle, Australian golfer; 1921 Bill Reid, Glasgow-born VC; 1940 Greville Starkey, British jockey; 1946 Carl Wilson, guitarist and singer (The Beach Boys).
Deaths: 1375 Giovani Boccaccio, Italian poet and author; 1835 Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, MP, organiser of the First Statistical Account of Scotland; 1940 Scott Fitzgerald, novelist; 1945 General George Patton, American war hero (car crash); 2013 David Coleman OBE, sports commentator; 2014 Billie Whitelaw CBE, actress.