On this day: Jessica Watson sailed around the world

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 15 May
On this day in 2010 Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted. Picture: GettyOn this day in 2010 Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted. Picture: Getty
On this day in 2010 Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted. Picture: Getty

Whitsunday term day, the second term of the Scottish year, next after Candlemas.

1501: The first book of music using movable type was printed by Ottaviano Petrucci in Venice.

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1567: Marriage of Mary Queen of Scots and James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, at Holyroodhouse.

1571: Moscow was burned by the Tartars.

1602: Bartholomew Gosnold, navigator, discovered America’s Cape Cod.

1718: The world’s first machine-gun was patented by James Puckle, a London lawyer. A unique refinement was that it fired round bullets for Christians and square bullets for Turks.

1767: Genoa sold island of Corsica to France.

1800: George III had two escapes from assassination in one day in London. The first was in Hyde Park when a bullet intended for him hit a man standing alongside, the second was at Drury Lane Theatre when, as the audience cheered him, two bullets missed his head and hit the panel behind. The assailant was James Hatfield, who was found to be insane.

1903: Edward VII inaugurated the first London electric tram.

1928: The Flying Doctor service began in Queensland, Australia.

1929: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave its first awards in Los Angeles for outstanding achievement by actors, directors, writers, etc. These were later to become known as Oscars.

1936: Amy Johnson arrived in England after a record-breaking 12-day, 15-hour flight from London to Cape Town and back.

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1940: Nylon stockings went on sale in America. In the first eight hours, 72,000 pairs were sold in New York City alone.

1940: The Netherlands surrendered to Germany.

1941: Britain’s first jet-propelled aircraft, designed by Frank Whittle, flew for the first time at RAF Cranwell.

1948: New state of Israel was attacked by Egyptian planes and invaded in the north and east by troops from Lebanon and Transjordan.

1957: Britain dropped her first hydrogen bomb over Christmas Island in the South Pacific.

1960: Doctor Theodore Maiman flashed a beam of pure light out of a solid ruby crystal in a research laboratory in Malibu and discovered the laser.

1982: SAS commandos raided Pebble Island base on edge of Falklands archipelago, destroying Argentine aircraft.

1988: Soviet Union began withdrawing troops from Afghanistan after more than eight years of occupation.

1991: After a six-year ban for English football in Europe, Manchester United beat Barcelona to win the European Cup Winners Cup.

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1991: Edith Cresson became France’s first female prime minister.

1993: Siege at a Paris nursery school ended when commandos shot dead a gunman holding six children and their teacher hostage.

2008: California became the second US state after Massachusetts in 2004 to legalise same-sex marriage after the state’s own Supreme Court rules a previous ban unconstitutional.

2010: Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail, non-stop and unassisted around the world solo.

2011: Rangers gave departing manager Walter Smith the perfect send-off as they wrapped up a third consecutive Scottish Premier League.


Andy Murray OBE, Scottish tennis champion, 28; Madeleine Albright, United States secretary of state 1997-2001, 78; Aly Bain MBE, Scottish fiddler, 69; Ted Dexter CBE, English cricketer, 80; Brian Eno, musician (Roxy Music) and composer, 67; Mike Oldfield, musician and composer, 62; Zara Phillips MBE, equestrian world champion, daughter of the Princess Royal, 34; Sir Peter Shaffer CBE, playwright, 89; Ralph Steadman, cartoonist and illustrator, 79; Greg Wise, actor, 49.


Births: 1779 William Lamb (later Viscount Melbourne), statesman; 1856 Lyman Frank Baum, journalist and playwright (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz); 1859 Pierre Curie, scientist; 1887 Edwin Muir, poet and translator; 1890 Katherine Porter, author; 1905 Joseph Cotten, film actor; 1909 James Mason, actor; 1914 Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, reached the summit of Everest with Sir Edmund Hilary in 1953; 1926 Anthony Shaffer, playwright; 1932 Joseph Beltrami, Scottish lawyer.

Deaths: 1740 Ephraim Chambers, encyclopaedist; 1847 Daniel O’Connell, Irish Catholic political leader called “The Liberator”; 1886 Emily Dickinson, poet; 1895 Joseph Whitaker, publisher who founded Whitaker’s Almanack in 1869; 1967 Edward Hopper, artist; 1987 Rita Hayworth, film actress; 2008 Tommy Burns, football player and manager; 2012 John Murray, 11th Duke of Atholl.