Events, birthdays and anniversaries on 28 May
585 BC: A timely total eclipse of the sun decided the Battle of Mesopotamia between Medes (now Iran) and Lydians (now Turkey). The blackened sky was read as a sign of God’s anger and an immediate truce was called.
1841: Seven ministers of the Presbytery of Strathbogie were deposed by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for obeying the civil rather than the ecclesiastical law.
1887: Seventy-three miners died in firedamp explosion at Udston Colliery, Lanarkshire.
1907: The first Isle of Man motor cycle TT race was held.
1931: Swiss professor Auguste Piccard and Charles Kipfer became first men to reach the stratosphere, ascending in their balloon to 52,462ft.
1934: The first Glyndebourne Festival of opera opened with Mozart’s Figaro.
1940: Belgian King Leopold III surrendered to Germany.
1967: Francis Chichester arrived back at Plymouth after sailing round the world single-handed in Gipsy Moth IV.
1982: Pope John Paul II arrived at Gatwick Airport – the first reigning Pope to visit Britain.
1982: A youth was jailed for 12 years for rape at the end of Scotland’s first private prosecution since 1909.
1982: Paratroopers recaptured Goose Green and Darwin in Falklands conflict, taking 1,400 Argentine prisoners. They lost 17 men, including Lieutenant-Colonel H Jones, commanding officer.
1990: President Saddam Hussein of Iraq gave warning that he would use nuclear weapons against Israel in the event of an Israeli attack on any Arab country.
1990: First all-woman crew to race round the world crossed the Whitbread Round the World Race Southampton finishing line in their yacht, Maiden.
1991: Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front took power in Addis Ababa as civil war ended.
1993: Nurse Beverley Allitt was given 13 life sentences for murdering four children and attacking others in her care.
1995: Serb forces took hostage more than 350 United Nations peace-keeping personnel, including 33 Britons, and used them as human shields against attacks on their weapon supplies.
2002: Nato declared Russia a limited partner in the Western alliance.
2002: The Mars Odyssey found signs of large ice deposits on Mars.
2003: Peter Hollingworth became the first governor-general of Australia to resign his office as a result of criticism of his conduct.
2004: The Iraqi Governing Council chose Ayad Allawi, a long-time anti-Saddam Hussein exile, as prime minister of Iraq’s interim government.
2008: More than 100 countries, including Britain, agreed to scrap their stocks of cluster bombs. The United States refused to take part.
2010: In West Bengal, India, a train derailment and subsequent collision killed 141 passengers.
Births: 1738 Joseph Guillotin, French physician who advocated use of beheading machine; 1759 William Pitt the Younger, prime minister; 1779 Thomas Moore, Irish poet and musician; 1818 Pierre Beauregard, American Confederate general; 1908 Ian Fleming, novelist who created “James Bond”; 1911 Dame Thora Hird, actress; 1940 Maeve Binchy, Irish novelist.
Deaths: 1849 Anne Brontë, novelist (notably The Tenant of Wildfell Hall); 1937 Alfred Adler, psychiatrist and psychologist; 1972 Duke of Windsor, the abdicated King Edward VIII; 1984 Eric Morecambe, comedian; 1995 Jean Muir, dress designer; 2009 Terence Alexander, English film and television actor; 2010 Gary Coleman, American actor; 2014 Maya Angelou, author, poet, actress, singer, civil rights activist; 2015 Johnny Keating, Edinburgh-born musician, composer.