Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 12 September
1440: Eton College was founded by Henry VI for 25 poor and needy scholars. Prefects were warned to look out for “ill-kempt heads, unwashed faces, foul clothes”.
1801: Alexander I of Russia announced annexation of Georgia in Russia.
1835: The bass tuba was patented in Berlin.
1848: Switzerland adopted new constitution as a federal union with strong central government.
1879: Cleopatra’s Needle, an ancient Egyptian obelisk, 68ft 6in high in red granite, was presented to Britain and erected on the Thames Embankment. Inside the pedestal were placed some important reminders of the British Empire, including Bradshaw’s Railway Guide, Whitaker’s Almanack, a 2ft rule and 12 pin-ups of Victorian ladies.
1890: British South Africa Company founded Salisbury in Mashonaland, Rhodesia.
1895: The first successful controlled glider flight in Britain was made by Percy Sinclair Pilcher at Wallacetown Farm, Cardross, when he rose 12ft in a 45lb monoplane he built himself.
1910: First policewoman was appointed – Alice Wells of the Los Angeles police department.
1935: The American multi-millionaire Howard Hughes achieved the first of several aviation records he established before going into self-enforced seclusion. He flew a plane of his own design at 352.46mph.
1944: First US troops reached German soil in Second World War.
1953: Nikita Khrushchev became first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.
1960: MoT tests were introduced for cars in Britain.
1970: Concorde landed at Heathrow, London, for the first time, to a barrage of complaints about noise.
1974: Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by leaders of the armed forces.
1989: Poland elected its first non-Communist government since the Second World War.
2003: The United Nations lifted sanctions against Libya after that country agreed to accept responsibility and recompense the families of victims in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
2003: In Fallujah, US forces mistakenly shot and killed eight Iraqi police officers.
Sir Ian Holm CBE, actor, 83; Bertie Ahern, former prime minister of the Republic of Ireland (1997-2008), 63; Chip Beck, golfer, 58; Ángel Cabrera, golfer, 45; Ben Folds, singer and musician, 48; Wes Hall, West Indian cricketer and politician, 77; Scott Hamilton, jazz saxophonist, 60; Michael Ondaatje, novelist, 71; Rachel Ward, actress, 57; Jennifer Hudson, actress and recording artist, 33; Linda Gray, actress (Dallas), 74; Hans Zimmer, film composer and music producer, 47; Darren Campbell MBE, Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter, 41; Silke Hörner, Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer, 49; Maria Aitken, theatre director, actress and writer, 69.
Births: 1812 Richard Hoe, inventor of rotary printing press; 1818 Richard Gatling, inventor of first successful machine gun; 1888 Maurice Chevalier, actor and singer; 1906 Dmitri Shostakovich, composer.
Deaths: 1869 Dr Peter Roget, lexicographer, compiler of Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases; 1948 Rupert D’Oyly Carte, operatic impresario; 1977 Steve Biko, black South African activist; 1992 Anthony Perkins, actor; 1995 Jeremy Brett, actor.