Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 16 February
1659: Nicholas Vanacker wrote the first cheque, for £10, to have been drawn on a British bank.
1666: Holland signed treaty of alliance with Great Elector of Brandenburg.
1804: Force of US Marines slipped into Tripoli harbour, North Africa, and burned US Navy frigate Philadelphia which had been captured by pirates.
1871: Franco-Prussian War ended in defeat for France.
1873: Republic was proclaimed in Spain.
1932: Fianna Fáil party, headed by Eamon de Valera, won Irish general election.
1933: Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia, fearing German threats, reorganised Little Entente with permanent council.
1937: The word nylon was adopted by du Pont chemists for the textile fibre. Within a year the first nylon stockings were on sale.
1940: A boarding party from HMS Cossack rescued more than 300 British prisoners from the Altmark, a German naval auxiliary ship in Norwegian waters. The prisoners had all been taken from ships sunk by the Graf Spee.
1949: Chaim Weizmann was sworn in at Jerusalem as first president of state of Israel.
1953: South Africa instituted emergency powers under Public Safety Bill.
1959: Fidel Castro became prime minister of Cuba after overthrowing Batista regime.
1963: The Beatles went to number one in the pop charts for the first time with Please Please Me.
1965: A government report was published, based on the research of Dr Beeching, with plans to cut the British Rail network by half.
1967: Fiddler on the Roof musical premiered in London.
1974: Scottish Astrological Association founded in Edinburgh.
1976: A pile of bricks – depicted as a work of art – provoked criticism when it went on show at London’s Tate Gallery.
1978: Leon Spinks beat Muhammad Ali to win the world heavyweight boxing championship in Las Vegas.
1978: Japan and China signed $20 billion trade pact in Peking.
1989: Unemployment fell below two million for the first time since February 1981.
1990: Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, went into hiding against possible attempts by Muslims to carry out Ayatollah Khomeini’s order to kill him.
1990: Royal Navy wives marched through Plymouth and Portsmouth to oppose a Ministry of Defence decision to allow Wrens to go to sea.
1994: A radical shake-up of the Scottish court system proposed ‘voluntary’ fines for thousands of minor criminal offences.
1995: The government announced that Shell UK had been given permission to dump its Brent Spar North Sea oil platform in the mid-Atlantic. There were immediate protests at the decision.
1996: Rescue workers battled to prevent an environmental disaster off the Welsh coast after the oil tanker Sea Empress ran aground on its way into Milford Haven.
1998: China Airlines Flight 676 crashed into a road and residential area near Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in Taiwan, killing all 196 aboard and six more on the ground.
2006: The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) was decommissioned by the United States Army.
2011: Research by psychologists at Edinburgh Napier University revealed that the use of social network site Facebook could be the cause of stress.
Amanda Holden, actress and television personality, 44; Paul Bailey, novelist, 78; Jeremy Bulloch, actor, 70; John Cairney, Glasgow-born writer, actor and director, 85; Sir Anthony Dowell CBE, ballet dancer, director, Royal Ballet 1986-2001, 72; Christopher Eccleston, actor, 51; Laura Greene, television weather presenter, 43; David Griffiths, portrait painter, 76; Peter Hain MP, former work and pensions secretary and Welsh secretary, 65; Peter Hobday, radio presenter, 78; Michael Holding, West Indian cricketer, 61; Ian Lavender, actor, 69; Stephen McAllister, Paisley-born golfer, 53; John McEnroe, tennis champion and commentator, 56.
Births: 1740 Giambattista Bodoni, printer and typographer; 1876 George Macaulay Trevelyan, historian; 1884 Robert Flaherty, film director; 1898 Katherine Cornell, actress; 1918 Patty Andrews, singer (with Maxene and Laverne as The Andrews Sisters); 1934 Tom Gallacher, Scottish author, playwright; 1935 Sonny Bono, singer, songwriter, politician; Iain Banks, Scottish novelist.
Deaths: 1834 Lionel Lukin, lifeboat pioneer; 1891 Leo Delibes, composer; 1957 Sir Leslie Hore-Belisha, minister of transport responsible for introduction of Belisha beacons, Highway Code and driving tests; 1985 Henry Cabot Lodge, statesman; 1992 Angela Carter, novelist; 2007 Sheridan Morley, author, broadcaster, playwright and critic.