Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 8 January
1661: Publication of first Scottish newspaper, Mercurius Caledonius. It promised coverage of “the Affairs now in Agitation in Scotland, with a Survey of Foreign Intelligence”, but ceased on 28 March, after only nine issues.
1815: The Battle of New Orleans, the last battle between Britain and America, in which Andrew Jackson defeated General Sir Edward Pakenham’s forces, came to an end.
1886: The Severn Tunnel, joining England and Wales and the longest in Britain at four miles 624 yards, opened.
1889: Doctor Herman Hollerith of New York patented an electrically operated computer to process data. The company he formed to market his invention would evolve into the giant IBM.
1959: General Charles de Gaulle was proclaimed president of the French Fifth Republic.
1972: British military families began evacuation from Malta as the struggle with premier Dom Mintoff over future of strategic naval base on the island intensified.
1982: Spain ended its siege of Gibraltar and reopened the frontier. In return, Britain agreed to talks on the colony’s future and ended its opposition to Spain’s joining the EEC.
1989: British Midland 737 crashed into M1 embankment near Kegworth, Leicestershire, killing 47 people.
1991: South-west Water Authority fined £10,000 for supplying poisoned water to Camelford, Cornwall, in July, 1988.
1992: The closure of the Ravenscraig steelworks complex by September was confirmed by British Steel, with the loss of 1,220 jobs.
1996: Almost 500 schools in Scotland remained closed as a result of flood damage from burst pipes.
2004: The RMS Queen Mary 2, the largest passenger ship ever built, was christened by her namesake’s granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.
2011: An attempted assassination of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and subsequent shooting in Casas Adobes, Arizona at a Safeway grocery store killed six people and wounded 13, including Giffords.
2012: Winds of up to 165mph hit Scotland, leaving 60,000 homes without power.
David Bowie, singer and actor, 68; Dame Shirley Bassey DBE, singer, 78; Michelle Forbes, actress, 50; Andrew Hardie, Baron Hardie, former Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland and Lord of Session, 69; Mike Harwood, golfer, 56; Prof Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist and author, 73; R Kelly, singer, 48; Ron Moody, actor, 91; Lord May of Oxford, president of the Royal Society 2000-05, 79; Sam Riley, actor, 35; Kim Jong-un, ruler of North Korea, 32; Boris Avrukh, chess grandmaster, 37.
Births: 1824 Wilkie Collins, detective story writer; 1862 Frank Doubleday, printer and publisher; 1908 William Hartnell, actor, the first Doctor Who; 1934 Roy Kinnear, actor; 1935 Elvis Presley, singer; 1935 Ian Bargh, Ayrshire-born jazz pianist and composer; 1941 Graham Chapman, comedian.
Deaths: 1107 Edgar, King of Scotland; 1324 Marco Polo, Venetian merchant traveller; 1337 Giotto, artist; 1642 Galileo Galilei, mathematician and astronomer; 1707 John Dalrymple, 1st Earl of Stair, Scottish nobleman who played crucial role in Treaty of Union between Scotland and England; 1941 Baron Baden-Powell, founder of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides; 1996 François Mitterrand, French president.