On this day: Shergar stolen and ransomed for Â£2 million
EVENTS, birthdays, anniversaries
540: The first recorded horse-race meeting in Britain was held at the Roodeye Field, Chester, now called the Roodee.
1784: The Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland was formed in Fortune’s Tontin Tavern, Edinburgh.
1801: Peace of Luneville between Austria and France marked virtual destruction of Holy Roman Empire.
1849: Rome was proclaimed a republic under -Giuseppe Mazzini.
1916: Military conscription was first effective in Britain.
1929: Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Romania signed pact renouncing war.
1934: Balkan Pact was signed by Romania, Greece, Yugoslavia and Turkey.
1941: German troops under General Erwin Rommel crossed from Italy to North Africa.
1942: Soap rationing began in Britain.
1942: French liner SS Normandie was burned out in New York harbour.
1943: Battle for Guadalcanal ended in United States victory over Japanese.
1953: All but one of the crew of seven aboard the Fraserburgh lifeboat John and Charles Kennedy drowned when she capsized at the harbour entrance after escorting several yawls to safety in heavy seas. Hundreds of townspeople saw the tragedy.
1962: Jamaica became independent nation within British Commonwealth.
1964: The Beatles’ live appearance on the Ed Sullivan show was watched by 70 million viewers and heralded the arrival of Beatlemania in the United States.
1969: The Boeing 747 jumbo jet made its maiden flight. It entered service on 21 January, 1970.
1971: First British soldier killed in Northern Ireland since Provisional IRA troubles began.
1972: Prime minister Edward Heath declared state of emergency in Britain after month-long coal strike and ordered three-day week in industry to conserve fuel.
1973: Britain and East Germany established diplomatic relations.
1983: Shergar, the 1981 Derby winner, was stolen from his stable in County Kildare and a £2million ransom was demanded. The horse was never seen again.
1988: Iran said its warplanes shot down three Iraqi jets in daylight dogfights over the Gulf.
1990: The musician Evelyn Glennie and the scientist Sir James Black were named Scots of the Decade.
1990: The Kenyan Foreign Minister Robert Ouko was found murdered at his family farm.
1991: About 90 per cent of those voting in Lithuania’s referendum on independence voted in favour of secession.
1992: Stephen Hendry beat John Parrott 9-4 to win the Benson & Hedges Masters snooker championship.
1994: Scottish National Portrait Gallery reprieved.
1995: Poll showed that Scots would vote “Yes” for a devolved Scottish parliament, by a margin of three to one.
1773 William Henry Harrison, ninth United States president; 1863 Sir Anthony Hope, novelist (notably The Prisoner of Zenda);1923 Brendan Behan, playwright; 1926 Doctor Garret FitzGerald, prime minister, Irish Republic 1981-7.Deaths
1881 Fyodor Dostoyevsky, novelist; 1913 Sir George Reid, portrait painter; 1981 Bill Haley, rock’n’roll singer; 1984 Yuri Andropov, Soviet leader; 1997 Brian Connolly, Glasgow-born singer (Sweet); 2012 Josh Gifford, British racehorse trainer.