On this day: Gertrude Ederle swims the Channel
EVENTS, birthdays, anniversaries
258: St Sixtus II ended his reign as Catholic Pope.
1497: Italian explorer John Cabot returned to Bristol from Newfoundland, the first European to come back from North America since the Vikings.
1661: The Treaty of the Hague was signed; the Dutch Republic sold New Holland (the northern portion of Brazil) to Portugal for 63 tonnes of gold.
1675: Russian Tsar Alexis banned anyone other than nobility from wearing foreign hair styles.
1806: The Holy Roman Empire ended. (It had not been holy, Roman, nor an empire). Francis II renounced the title as its emperor and became emperor of Austria.
1825: Bolivia was proclaimed an independent republic, after nearly 300 years of Spanish rule.
1844: The first press telegram in Britain was sent to the Times, announcing the birth at 7:50am of Prince Alfred to Queen Victoria.
1889: The Savoy Hotel in London was opened.
1890: Walter Kemmler, murderer, was the first man to die in the electric chair, at Auburn Prison, New York. It took eight minutes to work.
1896: France annexed Madagascar.
1914: Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia; Serbia declared war on Germany; French cavalry entered Belgium; Liege was bombed by German zeppelin.
1915: The Allies landed at Gallipoli.
1926: American Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel, crossing from Cape Gris Nez to Deal in 14 hours 30 minutes, almost two hours faster than her five male predecessors.
1945: With the approval of president Harry S Truman, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, from a Boeing B29 bomber, Enola Gay.
1948: Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands, known as the “Flying Housewife”, became the first woman to win four Olympic gold medals when she triumphed in the 100 metres, the 80m hurdles, 200m and 4x100m at Wembley Stadium, London.
1962: Jamaica became independent after being a British colony for more than 300 years.
1964: Prometheus, the world’s oldest tree, was cut down in Nevada, USA.
1965: The Beatles released their album Help! in the UK.
1965: Indian troops invaded Pakistan.
1966: Muhammad Ali retained his world heavyweight title when he knocked out Brian London in the third round after landing 11 punches in three seconds at the Earls Court Exhibition Hall in London.
1970: Kevin Murphy became the first Briton to swim the English Channel both ways non-stop, taking 35 hours and 10 minutes.
1972: Gary Player won his second US PGA Championship title at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan.
1979: Twelve-year-old Marcus Hooper become the youngest person to swim the English Channel.
1990: Nearly 400 Britons and Americans were rounded up in Kuwait and taken to Iraq as first part of “human shield”.
2011: More than 40 people were arrested after rioting saw police attacked and buildings and vehicles set alight in Tottenham, north London, following the fatal shooting by police of Mark Duggan on 4 August.
2011: A helicopter carrying US Navy SEALS was shot down in Afghanistan, killing 38.
Romola Garai, actress, 33; Geri Halliwell, ex-Spice Girl, 43; Sir Chris Bonington CBE, mountaineer and author, 80; Gordon J Brand, golfer, 60; Sir Gordon Howard Eliot Hodgkin CBE, artist, 83; Jennifer Lyons, actress, 38; Charles David Montagu Hay, 14th Marquess of Tweeddale, Hereditary Chamberlain of Dunfermline, 68; M Night Shyamalan, director and screenwriter, 45; Oliver Tobias, actor, 68; Kirsty Wade, athlete, 53; Barbara Windsor MBE, actress, 78; Michelle Yeoh, actress, 53; Robin van Persie, footballer, 32; Chelsee Healey, actress, 27; Billy Mayfair, golfer, 49.
Births: 1504 Matthew “Nosey” Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury 1559 to 1575; 1697 Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor; 1744 David Allan, Scottish genre painter; 1809 Alfred, Lord Tennyson, poet laureate; 1861 Edith Roosevelt, US First Lady; 1881 Sir Alexander Fleming, bacteriologist and discoverer of penicillin; 1911 Lucille Ball, actress and comedienne; 1917 Robert Mitchum, actor; 1922 Freddie Laker, airline entrepreneur; 1928 Andy Warhol, pop artist.
Deaths: 1623 Anne Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare; 1637 Ben Johnson, poet and dramatist; 1660 Diego Velásquez, painter; 1978 Pope Paul VI; 1995 Paul Nunn, mountaineer; 1996 Raymond “Ossie” Clark, fashion designer; 2000 Sir Robin Day, broadcaster; 2005 Robin Cook, foreign secretary 1999-2001; 2012 Marvin Hamlisch, composer and conductor.