On this day: Church of Scotland appoints first female Moderator

EVENTS, birthdays, anniversaries

On this day in 2003, the Church of Scotland appoints Dr Alison Elliot as the first female Moderator of the General Assembly. Picture: TSPL

1492: Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba and claimed it for Spain.

1538: The first university in the New world – the Universidade Santo Tomas de Aquinas – in Santo Domingo on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, was founded.

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1562: Battle of Corrichie, with defeat and death of the Earl of Huntly in arms against Queen Mary.

1636: Harvard University, named after English-born minister, John Harvard, was founded at Cambridge in Massachusetts.

1740: Ivan VI became Tsar of Russia.

1746: The cities of Lima and Callau, in Peru, were destroyed by an earthquake which killed 18,000.

1880: Doctor Henry Faulds, a Scots medical missionary working in Tokyo, published a letter in Nature which produced the first evidence that fingerprints taken directly from suspected persons and prints left at the scene of a crime could be used as medico-legal proof of guilt or innocence.

1893: The Royal Navy’s first destroyer, HMS Havock, went on trials.

1893: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conducted the first performance of his “Pathetique” Symphony.

1914: George Eastman announced the invention of a colour photograph process to be marketed by his Eastman Kodak Co.

1918: Czechoslovakia gained independence as Austria-Hungary broke up.

1922: Benito Mussolini took control of Italy’s government.

1939: Paisley-born Spitfire pilot Archie McKellar shot down the first German aircraft to be brought down over Scotland – a Heinkel 111, which came down near the village of Humbie, East Lothian, while it was on its way to attack Royal Navy ships anchored near the Forth Bridge.

1939: An explosion of coal dust at the Valleyfield Colliery, near Rosyth, Fife, killed 35 miners.

1940: Italy invaded Greece.

1954: The Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to Ernest Hemingway.

1958: The Queen’s speech at the state opening of parliament was televised for the first time.

1962: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev said he had ordered withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.

1965: Parliament passed a bill abolishing the death penalty for murder.

1971: The House of Commons voted in favour of Britain entering the Common Market by a majority of 112.

1988: Prince Charles said the British Library looked like an academy for secret police and the National Theatre resembled a nuclear power station in the middle of London.

1990: General Norman Schwarzkopf gave a warning that the Gulf conflict could be as bloody as Vietnam. A special Soviet envoy failed to persuade Saddam Hussein to withdraw Iraqi forces peaceably from Kuwait.

2003: The Church of Scotland ended centuries of male domination by appointing Dr Alison Elliot as the first female Moderator of the General Assembly.

2007: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner became the first woman elected president of Argentina.

Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft and philanthropist, 60; Sandy Clark, Scottish football coach and former player, 59; David Dimbleby, broadcaster, 77; Sir Ewen Fergusson, British ambassador to France 1987-92, Scotland rugby player, 83; Matt Smith, actor, 33; Dame Cleo Laine DBE, singer, 88; Alastair McDonald, Scottish radio and television presenter, folk singer, 74; Dame Joan Ann Plowright, the Baroness Olivier, DBE, actress, 86; Joaquin Phoenix, actor, 41; Kevin MacDonald, Glasgow-born film director, 48; Hank Marvin, lead guitarist with The Shadows, 74; Bernie Ecclestone, chief executive of the Formula One Group, 85.


Births: 1697 Canaletto, painter; 1794 Robert Liston, Linlithgow-born surgeon; 1903 Evelyn Waugh, writer; 1909 Francis Bacon, artist; 1925 Ian Hamilton Finlay CBE, Scottish poet, writer, artist and gardener; 1928 Lawrie Reilly, Scottish footballer.

Deaths: 1704 John Locke, philosopher; 1792 John Smeaton, civil engineer and lighthouse designer; 1840 John Thomson, Edinburgh-born landscape painter; 1998 Ted Hughes, author, Poet Laureate 1984-98; 2010 Gerard Kelly, Scottish comic actor.