Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 11 March
1618: Margaret and Philippa Flower were burned at the stake in Lincoln for witchcraft. They put a curse on the man who convicted them, Judge Charles Holiment, who, when he heard about it, could not stop laughing and died in a hysterical fit.
1669: In one of the most violent of Mount Etna’s 250 recorded eruptions, a two-mile-wide river of lava poured towards Catania, 18 miles away. Citizens built a 60ft high wall to check the flow, but molten lava poured over the top, killing 20,000 people.
1682: The Royal Chelsea Hospital for Soldiers (Chelsea Pensioners) was founded by King Charles II. It was built by Sir Christopher Wren and opened in 1692.
1784: British signed peace treaty with Tippoo of Mysore in India.
1794: The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, opened.
1801: Paul I, Tsar of Russia, was strangled in a scuffle with his own officers who were conspiring to force his abdication.
1845: Maoris staged further uprisings against British rule in New Zealand.
1917: British forces captured Baghdad.
1920: Emir Feisal proclaimed King of an independent Syria.
1925: The musical comedy No No Nanette was premiered at the Palace Theatre, London, with Binnie Hale playing Nanette.
1935: The German air force, the Luftwaffe, was created by proclamation of Hermann Goering.
1938: German forces entered Austria.
1941: The United States Lend-Lease Bill was signed by president Franklin D Roosevelt. It enabled Britain to borrow millions of dollars to buy food and arms needed for the Second World War.
1942: General Douglas MacArthur pulled out of the Philippines as Japanese advanced, uttering the immortal words: “I shall return.”
1943: British Eighth Army repulsed heavy German counterattacks in Tunisia.
1945: The huge Krupps factory in Germany was destroyed when 1,000 Allied bombers took part in a daylight raid.
1969: Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel after death of Levi Eshkol. She resigned in 1974.
1985: The Al-Fayed brothers won control of the House of Fraser Group to become owners of Harrods.
1988: The Bank of England pound note, first introduced on 12 March, 1797, ceased to be legal tender in Britain at midnight. When the deadline for returning old notes was reached, it was estimated that some 70 million were still outstanding.
1989: An East German and his wife died trying to cross the Berlin Wall in a hot air balloon.
1990: Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to seek secession from the Soviet Union after declaring itself a sovereign state.
1990: Chile’s General Augusto Pinochet bowed out as president after 16 years of dictatorship.
1991: Pro-democracy activists in Kuwait demanded that the country’s government set a date for parliamentary elections.
2004: Two hundred people died when a series of bombs ripped through rush-hour trains at stations in Madrid. Al-Qaeda later claimed responsibility.
2006: Michelle Bachelet was inaugurated as first female president of Chile.
2009: Seventeen people were shot dead at the Winnenden school in Germany.
2011: An 8.9-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a ten-metre tsunami, killing more than 13,000 people.
Rupert Murdoch, publisher and newspaper proprietor, 84; Thora Birch, actress, 33; Peter Eyre, actor and designer, 73; David Gentleman, artist, engraver, lithographer and designer, 85; Alex Kingston, actress, 52; Johnny Knoxville, comic actor and daredevil (Jackass), 44; Lord (Nigel) Lawson of Blaby, chancellor of the Exchequer 1983-89, 83; Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, interior designer, 50; Bobby McFerrin, jazz singer, 65; Shane Richie, actor and game show host, 51.
Births: 1819 Sir Henry Tate, philanthropist and founder of the Tate Gallery, London; 1885 Sir Malcolm Campbell, holder of world land and water speed records; 1898 Dorothy Gish, actress; 1911 Sir Fitzroy Maclean, diplomat, soldier, politician and writer; 1916 Lord (Harold) Wilson of Rievaulx, prime minister 1964-70 and 1974-6; 1923 Louise Brough, winner of 13 Wimbledon titles; 1930 Lana Morris, actress; 1952 Douglas Adams, author.
Deaths: 1820 Sir Alexander Mackenzie (of Dunkeld), explorer of North America; 1936 Earl Beatty, admiral and commander at Battle of Jutland; 1955 Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin; 1957 Richard Byrd, aviator and polar explorer; 1997 Big Daddy (Shirley Crabtree), wrestler; 2007 Betty Hutton, actress; 2013 Tony Gubba, sports broadcaster; 2014 Bob Crow, trade union leader