1540: The first recorded horse-race meeting in Britain was held at the Roodeye Field, Chester.
1784: The Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland was formed in Fortune’s Tontin Tavern, Edinburgh.
1849: Rome was proclaimed a republic under Giuseppe Mazzini.
1855: Cloven hoofprints appeared overnight in South Devon. The prints were spread eight-and-a-half inches apart in a single line covering 100 miles – over fields, walls and roofs.
1891: Menelek, Emperor of Ethiopia, denounced Italian claims to a protectorate.
1916: Military conscription was first effective in Britain.
1939: The Home Office announced that it would provide steel-built tunnel shelters (the Anderson shelter) to thousands of homes in districts likely to be bombed. The shelters measured 6ft 6in by 4ft 6in.
1941: German troops under General Erwin Rommel crossed from Italy to North Africa.
1942: Soap rationing began in Britain.
1942: French liner SS Normandie was burned out in New York harbour.
1943: Battle for Guadalcanal ended in United States victory over Japanese.
1953: All but one of the crew of seven aboard the Fraserburgh lifeboat John and Charles Kennedy drowned when she capsized at the harbour entrance.
1962: Jamaica became independent nation within British Commonwealth.
1964: United Nations Secretary-General U Thant appealed to Ethiopia and Somalia to end hostilities in which hundreds had been reported killed.
1964: The Beatles’ live appearance on the Ed Sullivan show was watched by 70 million viewers.
1969: The Boeing 747 jumbo jet made its maiden flight. It entered service on 21 January, 1970.
1971: First British soldier killed in Northern Ireland since Provisional IRA troubles began.
1971: Earthquake in Los Angeles area of California killed at least 64 people.
1972: Prime minister Edward Heath declared state of emergency in Britain after month-long coal strike and ordered three-day week in industry to conserve fuel.
1973: Britain and East Germany established diplomatic relations.
1983: Shergar, the 1981 Derby winner, was stolen from his stable in County Kildare and a £2million ransom was demanded. The horse was never seen again.
1989: Forty unknown paintings by 18th-century artist William Blake were handed in at Christie’s London salerooms in a brown envelope – the Blake discovery of the century.
1990: Musician Evelyn Glennie and scientist Sir James Black were named Scots of the Decade.
1990: Kenyan Foreign Minister Robert Ouko was found murdered at his family farm.
1995: Poll showed Scots would vote “Yes” for a devolved Scottish parliament, by three to one.
1996: Two people died, more than 100 were injured and millions of pounds of damage caused when an IRA bomb attack in London’s Docklands shattered the Northern Ireland peace process.
2001: The American submarine USS Greeneville accidentally struck and sank the Ehime-Maru, a Japanese training vessel operated by the Uwajima Fishery High School.
2011: It was revealed that
women made up 49.4 per cent of Britain’s 24.2 million-strong workforce.
Mia Farrow, actress, 70; Virginia Fortune Ogilvy, Countess of Airlie, chairman, National Galleries of Scotland 1997-2000, 82; Brian Bennett OBE, pop drummer (The Shadows), 75; JM Coetzee, author and Nobel prizewinner, 75; Bernard Gallacher OBE, Scottish golfer, 66; Carole King, pop singer and songwriter, 73; Sandy Lyle MBE, Scottish golfer, 57; Joe Pesci, actor, 72; Amanda Roocroft, opera singer, 49; David Rotheray, guitarist (Beautiful South), 52; Gordon Strachan OBE, Scottish footballer and manager, 58; Dame Janet Suzman DBE, actress and director, 76; Clive Swift, actor, 79; Jason Weaver, jockey, 43.
Births: 1773 William Henry Harrison, ninth United States president; 1808 Sir Francis Pettit Smith, inventor of screw-propelled ships; 1863 Sir Anthony Hope, novelist (The Prisoner of Zenda); 1865 Mrs Patrick Campbell, actress; 1891 Ronald Colman, actor; 1922 Jim Laker, cricketer; 1922 Kathryn Grayson, actress; 1923 Brendan Behan, playwright; 1926 Dr Garret FitzGerald, prime minister, Irish Republic 1981-7.
Deaths: 1881 Fyodor Dostoyevsky, novelist; 1913 Sir George Reid, portrait painter; 1952 Norman Douglas, essayist and novelist; 1977 Sergei Ilyushin, aircraft designer; 1981 Bill Haley, rock’n’roll singer; 1984 Yuri Andropov, Soviet leader; 2002 Princess Margaret; 2007 Ian Richardson, actor; 2012 Josh Gifford, British racehorse trainer.