EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on December 22
401: St Innocent I began his reign as Catholic pope.
1715: James Stuart, the Old Pretender, landed at Peterhead after his exile in France.
1849: The execution of Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky was called off at the last second, upon the receipt of a note from Tsar Nicholas I, commuting his sentence to ten years of hard labour in siberia.
1894: Alfred Dreyfus, French officer found guilty of selling military secrets, was sent to Devil’s Island, although innocent. His conviction sparked the Dreyfus Affair, and he was eventually exonerated.
1916: Ministry of Pensions established.
1929: Round-table conference opened between British viceroy and Indian party leaders on dominion status for India.
1939: A train crach in Magdeburg, Germany, resulted in 125 deaths.
1942: Adolf Hitler signed the order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon.
1943: The government said there were only enough turkeys available for one family in ten.
1956: Last British-French forces left Port Said, Egypt, after Suez War.
1963: Greek liner Laconia caught fire and sank in North Atlantic with loss of 150 lives.
1965: 70mph speed limit was imposed on British roads.
1972: An earthquake of magnitude 6.25 struck Managua, Nicaragua, leading to more than 12,000 deaths.
1974: The London home of former prime minister Edward Heath was bombed. He was not at home at the time. Nobody admitted to the bombing but the Provisional IRA were believed to be responsible.
1975: Pro-Palestinian terrorists ended 20-hour siege of Vienna, took hostages and airliner provided by Austria, and began flight that took them to several Middle East capitals.
1978: Thailand adopted its constitution.
1988: South Africa signed accord at United Nations under which Namibia became independent.
1989: Romanian revolution overthrew president Nicolae Ceausescu, who fled Bucharest with his wife Elena. The Queen cancelled Ceausescu’s honorary knighthood.
1990: Lech Walesa was sworn in as Poland’s first popularly elected president since the Second World War.
1992: A Libyan Airlines Boeing 727 disintegrated on its approach to Tripoli Airport, with 158 lives lost. the disaster was blamed on a collision with a Libyan MIG-23UB fighter plane.
1994: Britain lost its battle with the European Community to keep Spanish boats out of some of the UK’s richest fishing grounds.
2001: Richard Reid attempted to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.
2014: Six people died in Glasgow city centre when the driver of a council bin lorry fell ill and the vehicle went out of control, careering into crowds of Christmas shoppers.
Births: 1696 James Oglethorpe, British MP, general, explorer and founder of the state of Georgia; 1858 Giacomo Puccini, operatic composer; 1888 J Arthur Rank, film magnate; 1912 Lady Bird Johnson, US First Lady; 1930 Sir Peter Hall CBE, theatre director and founder of Royal Shakeaspeare Company; 1949 Maurice Gibb CBE, singer (Bee Gees); Robin Gibb CBE, singer (Bee Gees).
Deaths: 1603 Mehmet III, sultan of Ottoman Empire; 1880 George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist; 1940 Nathaniel West, novelist; 1943 Beatrix Potter, writer of children’s books; 1965 Richard Dimbleby, television commentator; 1979 Darryl F Zanuck, film producer and executive; 1989 Samuel Beckett, novelist, playwright, poet and theatre director; 1993 Alexander MacKendrick, Scottish film director (Whisky Galore); 2002 Joe Strummer, rock singer and lyricist (The Clash); 2014 Joe Cocker OBE, British singer, 70.