Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 17 December
1531: Pope Clement VII started Inquisition in Lisbon, Portugal.
1538: Pope Paul III excommunicated England’s King Henry VIII.
1843: The first print run of 6,000 copies of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol sold out in a week.
1903: Orville Wright made the first successful controlled flight in a powered aircraft, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1914: Abbas II was deposed, and Prince Hussein Kemel became Khedive of Egypt, over which Britain proclaimed a protectorate.
1922: Last British troops left Irish Free State.
1956: Petrol rationing was imposed in Britain after closing of the Suez Canal.
1962: Joint committee of the House of Lords recommended that peers should be allowed to renounce their titles.
1967: Harold Holt, the Australian prime minister, disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach, near Melbourne. His body was never found, fuelling many theories regarding his disappearance, ranging from suicide to abduction by a Chinese submarine
1967: Sir Alec Rose, a greengrocer, arrived in Australia after completing a solo sea voyage of 14,500 miles in his yacht The Lively Lady.
1973: Thirty-one people were killed after Arab guerrillas hijacked a German airliner at Rome airport.
1983: Car bomb exploded outside Harrods in Knightsbridge, London, killing six people and injuring 39.
1984: Band Aid’s Do they know it’s Christmas? was number one in the pop charts.
1986: Mrs Davina Thompson became the world’s first heart, lungs and liver transplant patient, at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge.
1990: Ravenscraig workers decided not to fight closure of hot strip mill and loss of 770 jobs.
1990: MPs voted against reintroducing the death penalty.
1991: In Blackpool, the Fun House at the resort’s pleasure beach was destroyed by fire.
2003: Ian Huntley was given two life sentences at the Old Bailey for the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman at Soham, Lincolnshire. His former girlfriend, Maxine Carr, was jailed for three and a half years for conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
2010: Street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire. The act became the catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution. The success of the Tunisian protests sparked protests in several other Arab countries.
Milla Jovovich, model and actress, 38; Simon Bates, disc jockey, 66; Pope Francis, 77; Brian Hayes, Australian radio presenter, 66; Bernard Hill, actor, 69; Dominic Lawson, journalist, 57; Mike Mills, musician (REM), 55 Paula Radcliffe, athlete, 40; Paul Rodgers, rock singer, 64; Peter Snell KBE, Olympic gold-medallist runner, 75; Tommy Steele OBE, singer and actor, 77.
Births: 1778 Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of miner’s safety lamp; 1873 Ford Maddox Ford, novelist and critic; 1945 Christopher Cazenove, actor.
Deaths: 1830 Simon Bolivar, South American revolutionary; 1907 Sir William Thomson, first Baron Kelvin of Largs, physicist and inventor who devised absolute temperature scales; 1917 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, first woman doctor and advocate of women’s rights to practise medicine; 1957 Dorothy (Leigh) Sayers, author; 1996 Ruby Murray, singer; 1997 Doctor Herrick Bunney, organist and master of music, St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh 1946-1996.