On this day: Heyerdahl’s papyrus|1st Volkswagen

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for the 25th of May

Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl set out to prove ancient Egyptians could have sailed the Atlantic. Picture: Getty

1424: Gold and silver mines in Scotland became Crown property.

1521: Martin Luther was banned by Edict of Worms for his religious beliefs.

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1733: John Kay, Richard Arkwright’s assistant and a former clockmaker, patented the flying shuttle to operate on Arkwright’s spinning frame.

1805: France’s Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned King of Italy.

1834: Sikhs captured Peshawar from British in India.

1865: Surrender of last Confederate army at Shreveport, Louisiana, ended United States Civil War.

1887: British East Africa Company was chartered.

1913: Emily Duncan became Britain’s first woman magistrate.

1917: German aircraft killed 76 civilians in bombing raids along the south-east coast of England.

1924: United States president Calvin Coolidge signed bill limiting immigration to the US and excluding Japanese.

1933: Australia claimed one-third of Antarctic continent.

1938: The first Volkswagen car was completed in Wolfsburg, Germany.

1942: German forces began their drives for Stalingrad and the Caucasus.

1950: Petrol rationing ended in Britain after ten years.

1966: British Guiana became independent Latin American nation of Guyana.

1969: Apollo 10 splashed down in the Pacific after travelling 600,000 miles, and arrived 25 seconds late.

1969: Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian, set out in papyrus craft Ra to prove ancient Egyptians could have sailed the Atlantic.

1973: An Icelandic gunboat shelled and holed a British trawler.

1987: Sri Lankan troops began major operation against Tamil rebels on Jaffna Peninsula.

1988: South African president PW Botha’s National Party celebrated 40 years in power.

1989: The BBC broadcast the 10,000th episode of the daily radio serial The Archers, with Terry Wogan and Dame Judi Dench as guests.

1992: Russia’s Constitutional Court ordered president Mikhail Gorbachev, or a substitute, to represent the Communist Party in a trial on its right to exist.

1994: Former Ministry of Defence official Gordon Foxley was jailed for four years for taking more than £1 million in bribes from overseas armaments firms.

1995: Scotland opened their World Rugby Cup programme with a 89-0 victory over Ivory Coast. Skipper Gavin Hastings scored a world record 44 points.

1998: The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of immigrants, was mainly in the state of New Jersey, not New York.

2004: The New York Times published an admission of journalistic failings, saying its flawed reporting and lack of scepticism towards sources during the build-up to the 2003 war in Iraq helped promote the belief that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

2004: The United States Army veteran Terry Nichols was found guilty of 161 state murder charges for helping carry out the Oklahoma City bombing.


Hazel Irvine, Scottish television presenter, 49; Helena Bonham Carter CBE, actress, 48; Zola Pieterse (nee Budd), South African athlete, 48; Roy Dotrice OBE, actor, 91; Howard Goodall CBE, composer, 56; Pam Grier, actress, 65; Alan Hollinghurst, novelist, 60; Lenny Kravitz, retro rock guitarist, 50; Alec McCowen CBE, actor and writer, 89; Stevie Nicks, singer-songwriter, 66; Patsy Palmer, actress (EastEnders), 42; Michael Portillo, MP 1984-1997 and 1999-2005, and broadcaster, 61; Lord Stevens of Ludgate, chairman, United News & Media 1981-99, 78; Philip Michael Thomas, actor, 65; Matt Stone, actor and writer (South Park), 43; Philip Treacy, fashion designer, 47.


Births: AD 673 The Venerable Bede, English historian and scholar (in Barrow); 1623 Sir William Petty, economist; 1799 Aleksander Pushkin, poet and novelist; 1859 AE Housman, poet; 1867 Princess Mary of Teck, who became Queen Mary, wife of George V; 1886 Al Jolson, American entertainer; 1904 George Formby, actor and ukulele-playing entertainer; 1907 John Wayne (born Marion Michael Morrison), actor; 1908 Robert Morley, actor and dramatist; 1909 Matt Busby, football manager; 1920 Peggy Lee (born Norma Deloris Egstrom), actress, singer, composer and author.

Deaths: AD604 St Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury; 1703 Samuel Pepys, diarist and civil servant; 1883 Sir Edward Sabine, astronomer; 1939 Charles Mayo, surgeon and co-founder of Mayo Clinic Foundation; 1943 Edsel Ford, president of Ford Motor Co; 1951 Lincoln Ellsworth, scientist and explorer of Arctic and Antarctic.