April Fool’s Day; in Scots, Hunt-the-Gowk.
1572: Start of Dutch War for Independence.
1852: Second Burmese War broke out after British ultimatum to King of Burma.
1908: The Territorial Force was formed. The name was changed to Territorial Army in 1920.
1918: The Royal Air Force was formed by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.
1937: India’s constitution went into effect but All-India Party abstained from forming government, demanding independence.
1947: School-leaving age was raised to 15 years in Britain.
1948: Britain’s electricity industry was nationalised.
1948: Berlin blockade began with Soviet troops interfering with traffic between Berlin and the Allied Western Zone.
1960: South African government banned African National Congress and Pan-African Congress.
1965: Greater London came into being, with 32 boroughs.
1973: VAT introduced.
1979: The last Royal Navy warship left Malta, ending British military ties with the island.
1980: Brighton opened a nudist beach.
1988: Sikh gunmen killed 37 people in India’s Punjab.
1990: The longest prison riot in British history began at Strangeways, Manchester. One remand prisoner died.
1991: Military side of Warsaw Pact was disbanded.
1991: Diego Maradona fled to Argentina before the Italian football authorities suspended him for taking drugs.
1992: President George Bush pledged the US would help finance a $24 billion international aid fund for the former USSR.
1999: Anthony Sawoniuk, 78, was sentenced to two life terms for the murder of 18 Jews during the Second World war, in Britain’s first full war crimes trial.
2001: Same-sex marriage became legal in the Netherlands.
2006: The Serious Organised Crime Agency, dubbed the “British FBI”, was created in UK.
2009: A Super Puma helicopter crashed into the North Sea about 15 miles off Peterhead, killing all 16 people on board.
2011: After protests against the burning of the Koran turned violent, a mob attacked a UN compound in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, killing 13 people.
Susan Boyle, West Lothian-born singer, 53; Jimmy Cliff, singer, 66; Chris Evans, disc jockey and presenter, 48; Anders Forsbrand, golfer, 53; David Gower OBE, cricketer and broadcaster, 57; Ali MacGraw, actress, 75; Michael Praed, actor, 54; Debbie Reynolds, actress, 82; Phillip Schofield, television presenter, 52; Barry Sonnenfeld, film director, 61; Hannah Spearritt, actress and pop singer (S Club 7), 33; J J Williams MBE, rugby player, 66.
Births: 1578 William Harvey, physician who discovered circulation of the blood; 1866 Ferruccio Busoni, composer; 1911 Jack Kane, Lord Provost of Edinburgh 1972-75; 1931 George Baker MBE, actor and writer; 1940 Alex Falconer, MEP 1984-99; 1949 Gil Scott-Heron, singer.
Deaths: 1917 Scott Joplin, ragtime pianist and composer; 1976 Max Ernst, surrealist painter; 1984 René Cutforth, journalist; 1984 Marvin Gaye, soul singer (shot dead by his father); 1994 Gordon Cameron, Scottish painter; 2004 Carrie Snodgrass, actress; 2010 John Forsythe, actor.