585BC: A timely total eclipse of the sun decided the Battle of Mesopotamia between Medes (now Iran) and Lydians (now Turkey). The blackened sky was read as a sign of God’s anger and an immediate truce was called.
1841: Seven ministers of the Presbytery of Strathbogie were deposed by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for obeying the civil rather than the ecclesiastical law.
1842: Britain’s first public library was opened in Frederick Street, Salford, Manchester.
1887: Seventy-three miners died in firedamp explosion at Udston Colliery, Lanarkshire.
1907: The first Isle of Man motor cycle TT race was held.
1919: Armenia declared its independence.
1931: Swiss professor Auguste Piccard and Charles Kipfer became first men to reach the stratosphere, ascending in their balloon to 52,462ft.
1934: The first Glyndebourne Festival of opera opened with Mozart’s Figaro.
1934: The Dionne quins (Emilie, Yvonne, Marie, Cecile and Annette) were born in Callander, Ontario.
1937: A National Government was formed under the leadership of Neville Chamberlain.
1940: Belgian King Leopold III surrendered to Germany.
1967: Francis Chichester arrived back at Plymouth after sailing round the world single-handed in Gipsy Moth IV.
1982: Pope John Paul II arrived at Gatwick Airport – the first reigning Pope to visit Britain.
1982: A youth was jailed for 12 years for rape at the end of Scotland’s first private prosecution since 1909.
1982: Paratroopers recaptured Goose Green and Darwin in Falklands conflict, taking 1,400 Argentine prisoners. They lost 17 men, including Lieutenant-Colonel H Jones, commanding officer.
1987: Mathias Rust, a 19-year-old West German, flew his small aircraft through Soviet air space from Helsinki to Moscow, landing in Red Square.
1990: President Saddam Hussein of Iraq gave warning that he would use nuclear weapons against Israel in the event of an Israeli attack on any Arab country.
1990: First all-woman crew to race round the world crossed the Whitbread Round the World Race Southampton finishing line in their yacht, Maiden.
1991: Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front took power in Addis Ababa as civil war ended.
1992: The British arm of Olympia & York, developers of London’s Canary Wharf, was put into administration.
1993: Nurse Beverley Allitt was given 13 life sentences for murdering four children and attacking others in her care.
1995: Serb forces took hostage more than 350 United Nations peace-keeping personnel, including 33 Britons, and used them as human shields against attacks on their weapon supplies.
2002: Nato declared Russia a limited partner in the Western alliance.
2002: The Mars Odyssey found signs of large ice deposits on Mars.
2008: More than 100 countries, including Britain, agreed to scrap their stocks of cluster bombs. The US refused to take part.
Carey Mulligan, actress, 29; David Baddiel, comedian, novelist and television presenter, 50; Carroll Baker, actress, 83; Jesse Bradford, actor, 35; Faith Brown, comedienne and impressionist, 70; Michelle Collins, actress, 53; Roland Gift, singer (Fine Young Cannibals) and actor, 53; Rudolph Giuliani, mayor of New York 1994-2001, 70; Gladys Knight, singer-songwriter, 70; Sondra Locke, actress, 70; Kylie Minogue, pop singer and actress, 46; Julie T Wallace, actress, 53; John Fogerty, musician (Creedence Clearwater Revival), 69; Ekaterina Gordeeva, Russian four-time world and twice Olympic ice-skating champion, 43.
Births: 1738 Joseph Guillotin, French physician who advocated use of beheading machine; 1759 William Pitt the Younger, prime minister; 1779 Thomas Moore, Irish poet and musician; 1818 Pierre Beauregard, American Confederate general; 1908 Ian Fleming, novelist who created “James Bond”; 1911 Dame Thora Hird, actress; 1930 Julian Slade, composer (Salad Days); 1935 Richard Van Allan CBE, opera singer; 1940 Maeve Binchy, Irish novelist.
Deaths: 1843 Noah Webster, lexicographer and originator of Webster’s Dictionary in 1828; 1849 Anne Brontë, novelist (notably The Tenant of Wildfell Hall); 1937 Alfred Adler, psychiatrist and psychologist; 1972 Duke of Windsor, the abdicated King Edward VIII; 1984 Eric Morecambe, comedian; 1995 Jean Muir, dress designer; 2009 Terence Alexander, English film and television actor; 2010 Gary Coleman, American actor.