On this day: Space shuttle Atlantis launched

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 8 July

On this day in 2011 the end of an era was signalled as the space shuttle Atlantis launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Picture: Getty

1296: Abdication of King John Balliol at Montrose.

1792: France declared war on Prussia.

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1833: Turkey and Russia signed Treaty of Hunkar Iskelesi, a defensive alliance under which Sultan agreed to close Dardanelles Straits to all but Russian warships.

1884: The National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children was founded.

1918: National Savings stamps went on sale in Britain.

1920: Britain annexed East African Protectorate as Kenya Colony.

1940: Norwegian government located to London after 62 days of fighting Nazi invaders in Second World War.

1950: US General Douglas MacArthur was named commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea.

1965: Ronald Biggs, one of the Great Train robbers, scaled the wall of Wandsworth Prison with a rope ladder and landed on a furniture van outside. He had served 15 months of his sentence. He settled in Brazil but returned to Britain, gave himself up in 2001 and died last year.

1967: Air and ground fighting broke out between Israel and Egypt along Suez Canal.

1969: Bishops and priests of Church of England defeated proposal for reunification with Methodist Church.

1987: Defiant political prisoners marched out of South Korea prisons and demanded release of all other government opponents.

1992: Mike Gatting and 15 other English cricketers suspended for five years for touring South Africa had their bans lifted.

1996: Martina Hingis became the youngest Wimbledon champion at the age of 15 years and 282 days when she and Helen Sukova won the women’s doubles.

2007: Boeing unveiled its first 787 in a roll-out ceremony at its Everett assembly factory.

2007: Roger Federer of Switzerland equalled Björn Borg’s Wimbledon record when he won his fifth successive singles title.

2010: Former Labour Party deputy leader John Prescott was introduced to the House of Lords as Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull.

2011: The space shuttle Atlantis launched from Florida on a 12-day mission, marking the final project in the space shuttle programme.


Kevin Bacon, actor, 56; Beck (born Beck Hansen), pop musician, 44; Sophia Bush, actress, 32; Billy Crudup, actor, 46; Sourav Ganguly, cricketer, 42; Anjelica Huston, actress, 63; Robbie Keane, Irish footballer, 34; Sarah Kennedy MBE, television presenter, 64; Dame Ellen MacArthur, round-the-world record-breaking sailor, 38; Pauline Quirke, actress, 55; Russell Taylor MBE, cartoonist, 54; Milo Ventimiglia, actor, 37; Brian Walden, MP 1964-74 and broadcaster, 82; Matthew Wright, TV presenter and journalist, 49; Steve Lawrence, American singer and actor, 79; Jeffrey Tambor, actor, 70.


Births: 1831 John Pemberton, inventor of Coca-Cola; 1836 Joseph Chamberlain, Liberal statesman; 1838 Count Zeppelin, German airship pioneer; 1839 John D Rockefeller, philanthropist; 1885 Hugo Boss, fashion designer; 1934 Marty Feldman.

Deaths: 975 Edgar, king of England; 1623 Gregory XV, Italian pope; 1726 John Ker, Scottish spy; 1822 Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet; 1957 William Cadbury, chocolate maker; 1967 Vivien Leigh, actress; 1994 Kim Il Sung, president of North Korea; 1999 Pete Conrad, astronaut; 2006.