On this day: First coast-to-coast flight across the US
1174: Canterbury Cathedral was destroyed by fire.
1774: America’s first Continental Congress opened in Philadelphia.
1781: The Battle of Chesapeake Bay took place off the east coast of America between French and British fleets.
1800: French surrendered Malta to the British after a blockade by Nelson’s fleet.
1807: Britain seized the island of Heligoland from Denmark.
1889: Sixty-three miners died in an underground fire at Mauricewood Pit, Penicuik – the cause of which was never discovered. Most of them died from suffocation when smoke entered the ventilation system.
1901: William McKinley, United States president, was assassinated.
1905: The Treaty of Portsmouth was signed, ending the Russo-Japanese war.
1914: The first Battle of the Marne started.
1922: James Doolittle made the first American coast-to-coast flight, in 21 hours and 19 minutes.
1939: United States declared neutrality in the Second World War.
1944: The Allies liberated Brussels.
1963: Christine Keeler, one of the women at the centre of the Profumo scandal, was arrested and charged with perjury.
1969: ITV began broadcasting in colour.
1972: Arab terrorists, members of the Black September group, killed 11 Israelis at the Munich Olympic Games.
1989: A Boeing 737, missing for three days, was found in the Amazon jungle with 48 survivors.
1991: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was wound up when the Congress of People’s Deputies scrapped the old power structures built up over 70 years.
1995: Labour leader Tony Blair dismissed claims that he had tried to weaken his party’s stance on a devolved Scottish Parliament with tax-raising powers.
2000: Tuvalu joined the United Nations.
2005: Mandala Airlines Flight 091 crashed into a residential area of Sumatra, Indonesia, killing 104 people on board and 39 on the ground.
2007: Three suspected al-Qaeda terrorists were arrested in Germany after allegedly planning attacks on Frankfurt Airport and US military installations.
Paddy Considine, actor, 41; Johnny Briggs MBE, actor (Coronation Street), 79; Dick Clement OBE, British director and scriptwriter (notably Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen Pet), 77; Tracy Edwards MBE, round-the-world yachtswoman and author, 52; Werner Herzog, film director, producer, screenwriter and actor, 72; George Lazenby, actor, 75; Rose McGowan, actress, 41; Bob Newhart, satirist, 85; Mark Ramprakash MBE, cricketer, 45; Jane Sixsmith MBE, British hockey player, 47; Al Stewart, Scottish singer and songwriter, 69; Raquel Welch, actress, 74; Michael Keaton, actor, 63; Kim Yu-Na, Olympic champion ice skater, 24; Loudon Wainwright III, folk singer and songwriter, 68.
Births: 1638 Louis XIV, “Sun King” of France; 1750 Robert Fergusson, poet; 1826 John Wisden, English cricketer who launched Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanack; 1946 Freddie Mercury, singer and songwriter.
Deaths: 1548 Catherine Parr, wife of Henry VIII; 1931 John Thomson, Celtic goalkeeper who died following a collision in a match against Rangers; 1982 Gp-Captain Sir Douglas Bader, Battle of Britain fighter ace.