On this day: Mini-cabs were introduced in London
1776: Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was first published.
1899: Chemist Felix Hoffmann patented the drug aspirin.
1902: British soldiers were given the right to wear spectacles.
1922: United States prohibited export of arms to China.
1926: The Shakespeare Memorial theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon burned out.
1930: Clarence Birdseye marketed the first frozen foods, in Massachusetts.
1945: Cologne fell to United States First Army.
1946: France recognised Vietnam as free state within Indochina Federation.
1953: GM Malenkov succeeded the late Joseph Stalin as Soviet premier.
1957: Former British colony of Gold Coast formed independent West African nation of Ghana.
1957: Israeli troops handed over Gaza Strip to UN force.
1961: Mini-cabs were introduced in London.
1965: US Defence Department announced 3,500 marines were being sent to South Vietnam.
1987: The Channel ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsized with her bow door open leaving Zeebrugge harbour, with 193 drowned.
1988: Three IRA terrorists were shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar.
1988: Thousands of Tibetans demanding independence started fires in the capital of Lhasa.
1990: Prestwick lost its monopoly as Scotland’s transatlantic gateway.
1992: The Conservatives said they would introduce a national lottery if they won the next election.
1996: The IRA said it was prepared for another 25 years of war if progress was not made in the Northern Ireland peace process.
1997: The House of Commons standards and privileges committee cleared the Conservative home secretary, Michael Howard, of an allegation that he accepted £1.5 million in bribes to order a government investigation into Mohamed al-Fayed’s takeover of Harrods.
2008: The Crown Office said it was to take no action against Wendy Alexander, the Scottish Labour leader, over her failure to register donations to her leadership campaign in 2007.
2008: A Palestinian gunman shot and killed eight students and critically injured 11 in a library, in Jerusalem, Israel.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, opera singer, 70; Tom Arnold, actor, 55; Jean Boht, actress, 78: Alan Davies, comedian and actor, 48; Kiki Dee, singer, 67; Dave Gilmour CBE, guitarist (Pink Floyd), 68; Moira Kelly, actress, 46; Judy Loe, actress, 67; Lorin Maazel, conductor, 84; Gabriel García Márquez, novelist, 87; Valentina Tereshkova, first woman in space, 77; John Noakes, television presenter, 80; Richard Noble OBE, Scottish former land-speed record holder, 68; Shaquille O’Neal, basketball player, 42; Mary Wilson, singer (The Supremes), 70.
Births: 1475 Michelangelo Buonarroti, Renaissance painter; 1619 Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, novelist and playwright; 1834 George du Maurier, novelist and artist; 1861 Samuel Franklin Cody, American aviator; 1906 Lou Costello, actor; 1917 Frankie Howerd, comedian.
Deaths: 1888 Louisa M Alcott, novelist; 1900 Gottleib Daimler, motor engineer; 1938 Pearl S Buck, novelist; 1941 Gutzon Borglum, sculptor noted for his work on Mount Rushmore of the faces of four presidents; 1961 George Formby, comedy singer; 1993 Sir Andrew Gilchrist, writer.