1772: Robert Clive defended his administration of Bengal, in India, at a hearing in the House of Commons.
1806: Joseph Bonaparte became King of Naples.
1820: Duc de Richelieu re-established censorship in France.
1842: Ether was used as an anaesthetic for the first time, by American surgeon Doctor Crawford Long, of Jefferson, Georgia, when he removed a cyst from the neck of James Venable after administering sulphuric ether on a towel.
1855: End of Taiping rebellion in China.
1856: The Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Crimean War.
1863: Denmark incorporated Schleswig Holstein.
1863: Poland was divided into provinces by Russia.
1867: Alaska was bought by America from Russia for $7.2million.
1912: Sultan of Morocco signed a treaty making Morocco a French protectorate.
1933: James Hertzog formed national coalition in South Africa and was joined by Jan Smuts.
1940: Japan established puppet government in occupied China.
1951: Julius and Ethel Rosenburg found guilty in America’s first atom bomb spy trial.
1964: The seaside resort of Clacton was the scene of pitched battles by gangs of Mods and Rockers.
1966: United States embassy in Saigon was blown up by the Viet Cong with the loss of 13 lives.
1967: The tanker Torrey Canyon, which had gone aground on the Pollard Rock between the Isles of Scilly and Land’s End on 18 March, was bombed and destroyed.
1972: William Whitelaw became secretary of state for Northern Ireland as the province came under direct rule from London.
1981: United States president Ronald Reagan was wounded in an assassination bid outside Washington’s Hilton Hotel.
1987: Sunflowers, by Vincent van Gogh, was sold at auction by Christie’s for £24,750,000.
1990: Estonia’s parliament declared the Soviet Union an occupying power and pledged to seek full independence.
2006: The UK Terrorism Act 2006 became law.
2010: Scotland was battered by severe storms that forced the closure of several main road and rail links.
Warren Beatty, actor, 76; Tracy Chapman, singer and songwriter, 49; Eric Clapton CBE, guitarist, 68; Céline Dion, singer, 45; Graeme Edge, musician (Moody Blues), 72; John Gosden, British racehorse trainer, 62; Rolf Harris CBE, Australian broadcaster and artist, 83; Chris Paterson, Scottish rugby player, 35; Tom Sharpe, novelist, 85; Elizabeth Millicent Sutherland, 24th Countess of Sutherland, chief of Clan Sutherland, 92.
Births: 1746 Francisco de Goya, Spanish artist; 1820 Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty; 1840 Charles Booth, ship-owner and sociologist; 1844 Paul Verlaine, poet; 1853 Vincent Van Gogh, painter; 1880 Sean O’Casey, playwright; 1888 Julian Grenfell, poet; 1900 Ted Heath, bandleader; 1913 Frankie Laine, singer.
Deaths: 1840 George Bryan (“Beau”) Brummell, dandy; 1914 Tito Mattei, pianist, composer; 1925 Rudolph Steiner, social philosopher; 1950 Léon Blum, French prime minister; 1979 Airey Neave, MP (killed by car bomb); 1986 James Cagney, actor; 1987 Maria Von Trapp, whose story was basis for The Sound of Music; 2002 Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; 2004 Alistair Cooke KBE, journalist and broadcaster.