1687: The first Huguenots set sail from France for the Cape of Good Hope, to escape religious persecution. They took with them vines and created the South African wine industry.
1695: The window tax was imposed, which resulted in many being bricked up.
1879: American inventor Thomas A Edison gave the first demonstration of his electric incandescent light in New Jersey.
1904: The steamer Stromboli collided with the Glasgow steamer Kathleen, loaded with iron ore, at Garvel Point, Greenock. Both sank and two of the Kathleen’s engineers drowned.
1911: Marie Curie received her second Nobel prize.
1915: Armoured cruiser Natal blew up and sank at her moorings in the Cromarty Firth. About 350 officers and men died along with 13 civilians, including children attending a Hogmanay party on board. Of the 283 survivors picked up, several died later.
1923: Chimes of London’s Big Ben were first broadcast.
1927: The use of the lance was abandoned in British Army except for ceremonial occasions.
1929: Seventy children, aged between five and 14, were crushed, trampled or suffocated to death when panic broke out at a matinee in the Glen Cinema, in Paisley. The audience of children stampeded for the exit when some smoke from a smouldering film blew into the auditorium.
1935: Charles Darrow patented his board game Monopoly, which he had first invented in 1933.
1945: The Home Guard defence force was disbanded.
1946: End of Second World War was proclaimed officially by American president Harry S Truman.
1964: Indonesia’s president, Sukarno, threatened to quit United Nations if Malaysia was given seat on Security Council.
1991: Soviet Union formally ceased to exist at midnight.
1995: Tens of thousands of homes across Scotland were flooded when frozen water pipes thawed out after record low temperatures.
1996: A safety review of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay party was ordered after 600 people were treated in hospital when crash barriers collapsed. The 350,000 revellers left behind 100 tons of rubbish.
2008: Sixty-two people died in a fire in a nightclub in the Thai capital, Bangkok. More than 100 others were injured.
Alex Salmond, MP, leader, SNP, First Minister, 59; Sir Michael Bonallack OBE, golfer, secretary, R&A Golf Club 1983-99, 79; Sir Alex Ferguson CBE, football manager, 72; Roy Greenslade, Professor of Journalism at City University London, 67; Sir Anthony Hopkins CBE, actor, 76; Tess Jaray, artist and designer, 76; Val Kilmer, actor, 54; Sir Ben Kingsley CBE (born Krishna Bhanji), actor, 70; Sarah Miles, actress, 72; Andy Summers, guitarist (The Police), 71.
Births: 1720 Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie), in Rome; 1779 Dr Peter Roget, lexicographer; 1860 John Taliaferro Thompson, inventor of the tommy-gun; 1869 Henri Matisse, painter, sculptor; 1880, George Marshall, statesman who originated Marshall Aid Plan; 1935 Jeff Torrington, Gorbals-born writer; 1943 John Denver, singer and songwriter.
Deaths: 1719 John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal, for whom Charles II built the Greenwich Observatory; 1985 Ricky Nelson, singer (air crash).