On this day: Free Church of Scotland settlement established at New Edinburgh | National day of Pakistan

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Events, birthdays and anniversaries from 23 March


National day of Pakistan.

1568: Treaty of Longjumeau ended Second War of Religion in France.

1695: Window Tax imposed in England.

1775: US statesman Patrick Henry made plea for American freedom from Britain, declaring: “Give me liberty or give me death.”

1848: Free Church of Scotland settlement established at New Edinburgh, later Dunedin, New Zealand, under the Rev Thomas Burns, nephew of the poet.

1866: First national athletic championships staged by Amateur Athletic Club at Beaufort House, London.

1918: Lithuania proclaimed its independence.

1919: The Fascist Party founded by Benito Mussolini in Milan.

1933: German Reichstag granted Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers until April, 1937.

1956: The foundation stone of Coventry Cathedral was laid by the Queen.

1956: Pakistan proclaimed an Islamic republic within the Commonwealth.

1965: US spacecraft Gemini 3 was launched, with Virgil Grissom and John Young on board.

1966: A Pope and an Archbishop of Canterbury met for the first time in 400 years.

1971: There were 64 divisions in the House of Commons on 23-24 March, a record number, with 57 between midnight and noon.

1986: Tens of thousands of Pakistanis swarmed through Rawalpindi, shouting anti-government and anti-US slogans.

1987: Willy Brandt resigned as chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic Party after 23 years.

1989: The Prince of Wales’s first winning racehorse, Devil’s Elbow, was disqualified by the Jockey Club for failing a dope test.

1995: Manchester United footballer Eric Cantona was jailed for two weeks (later reduced to 120 hours community service) for assaulting a fan at Crystal Palace.

1997: Five members of the Solar Temple sect committed suicide in Canada. In 1994, 53 members were found dead in Switzerland and Canada.

2001: The Russian Mir space station was disposed of, breaking up in the atmosphere before falling into the southern Pacific Ocean near Fiji.

2007: The Iranian Navy seized Royal Navy personnel in the waters between Iran and Iraq.

2010: British Gas employees voted for strike action over claims of “macho management”.


Sir Chris Hoy MBE, Olympic cycling legend, 37; Sir Roger Bannister, neurologist, world’s first sub four-minute miler (1954), 84; Sir Steven Redgrave, five-times Olympic gold medallist oarsman, 51; Princess Eugenie of York, 23. Damon Albarn, pop singer (Blur), 45; Mike Atherton, former England cricket captain 1993-98, 45; Norman Bailey, baritone, 80; Alan Bleasdale, playwright, 67; Barry Cryer OBE, comedian, 78; Chaka Khan, singer, 60; Sir Malcolm MacGregor of McGregor, 24th Chief of Clan Gregor, writer, 54.


Births: 1769 William Smith, engineer, surveyor, founder of British geology; 1876 Sir Muirhead Bone, Glasgow-born water colourist, etcher and war artist; 1910 Akira Kurosawa, film-maker; 1921 Donald Campbell, land and water speed record holder.

Deaths: 1801: Tsar Paul I, assassinated; 1842 Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle), novelist; 1981 Field Marshal Sir Claude John Auchinleck; 1981 Mike Hailwood, motorcycle racing champion; of 1995 Davie Cooper, Scotland and Rangers football player; 2011 Elizabeth Taylor DBE, actress.