On this day: Roald Amundsen reaches the South Pole

Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer, became the first man to reach the South Pole. Picture: Getty
Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer, became the first man to reach the South Pole. Picture: Getty
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EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on December 14.

867: Adrian II began his reign as Catholic pope.

1287: The Zuiderzee sea wall collapsed, causing more than 50,000 deaths, during St Lucia’s Flood in north-west Netherlands – the fifth-largest recorded flood in history.

1542: Princess Mary Stuart ascended to the Scottish throne at just six days old, following the death of her father, James V, and became Mary I (Mary, Queen of Scots).

1782: Charleston, South Carolina was evacuated by the British during the American Revolutionary War.

1877: Serbia joined Russia in war on Turkey.

1896: The opening of Glasgow District Subway’s six-and-a-half mile system with 15 stations.

1901: The first table tennis tournament took place at the Royal Aquarium, London.

1911: Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer, became the first man to reach the South Pole - 35 days ahead of Captain Robert Falcon Scott. His party of five travelled by dog-sled, starting with 52 dogs and eating 36 of them en route.

1913: Greece formally took possession of Crete.

1918: Women over 30 voted in a British general election for the first time; David Lloyd George’s coalition won a clear majority; Sinn Fein won in 73 of 105 Irish constituencies but refused to take up any of their seats in parliament, instead meeting at a Dail Eireann in Dublin.

1920: The first accident involving a scheduled airliner occurred when an aircraft bound for Paris crashed into a house in Golders Green, London, just after take-off from Cricklewood Airport, killing the crew of two and two of the six passengers.

1926: A nationwide police hunt ended for Agatha Christie, whose abandoned car had been found in Surrey, when she was identified at a Harrogate hotel.

1927: China and Soviet Union broke off relations.

1957: Nine miners died in explosion at Lindsay Colliery in Fife. The report on the disaster blamed “a match struck for the purposes of smoking”.

1959: Archbishop Makarios was elected first president of Cyprus.

1960: Convention was signed in Paris by 20 nations to form Atlantic Economic Community.

1967: University of Stirling was constituted by royal charter.

1969: The Jackson 5 made their TV debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.

1994: Axing of the London-Fort William sleeper was announced. It led to The Scotsman’s Save Our Sleeper campaign, and the service was later guaranteed for at least seven years.

2009: Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was taken to hospital after an assault left his face covered in blood following a rally in Milan.

2011: US President Barack Obama marked the end of the Iraq war with a speech at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, telling troops: “Welcome home!”

2012: Twenty-year-old gunman Adam Lanza shot to death 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Births: 1503 Nostradamus, apothecary and author of book of prophecies; 1730 James Bruce, Larbert-born explorer and discoverer of the source of the Blue Nile; 1775 Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald; 1895 King George VI, second son of George V and Mary; 1917 Alberto Morrocco, painter; 1920 Rosemary Sutcliff, novelist; 1924 Raj Kapoor, actor; 1935 Lee Remick, actress.

Deaths: 872 Pope Adrian II; 1542 James V of Scotland, father of Mary, Queen of Scots (at Falkland); 1715 Thomas Tenison, Atchbishop of Canterbury; 1799 George Washington, first US president; 1861 Albert, consort and husband of Queen Victoria; 1947 Stanley, first Earl Baldwin, three times prime minister; 1947 Will Fyffe, comedian (at St Andrews); 1963 Dinah Washington, singer and pianist; 1989 Andrei Sakharov, nuclear physicist and human rights activist; 2012 Kenneth Kendall, broadcaster; 2013 Peter O’Toole, actor.