EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on April 8.
1838: Brunel’s steamship Great Western left Bristol for New York on her maiden voyage under the command of Captain James Hosken.
1907: Britain and France signed convention confirming independence of Siam (Thailand).
1908: Herbert Henry Asquith became Liberal Prime Minister and held office until 7 December, 1916.
1913: First parliament of Chinese Republic opened.
1915: The Croix de Guerre, France’s military decoration for bravery in battle, was instituted.
1919: Russian communist army entered Crimea.
1939: Albania’s King Zog fled as Italian troops invaded his country.
1950: India and Pakistan signed pact at New Delhi on treatment of minorities.
1953: Jomo Kenyatta and five others were convicted of involvement with Mau Mau terrorism in the British colony of Kenya. Kenyatta stayed in detention until 1959 and was Kenya’s first president and prime minister.
1958: United States president Dwight D Eisenhower proposed mutual inspection as means of enforcing atomic test ban.
1961: Referendum in France approved a peace settlement with nationalist rebels in Algeria.
1962: Nearly 1,200 Bay of Pigs invaders were sentenced to 30 years in jail in Cuba.
1966: Leonid Brezhnev became Soviet leader.
1967: The Eurovision Song Contest was won by the British entry, Puppet On A String, sung by the shoeless Sandie Shaw.
1967: All but one of the 27 horses still running in the Grand National were involved in a pile-up at the 23rd fence. The exception, 100-1 shot Foinavon, ran on to win.
1986: Clint Eastwood was elected Mayor of Carmel in California.
1989: Norwegian authorities searched for evidence of radioactivity from Soviet nuclear submarine that caught fire and sank off northern Norway with the loss of more than 40 crew.
1990: Nick Faldo retained his Masters golf title at Augusta, United States, beating Ray Floyd at the second hole of a play-off.
1991: John Major introduced plan for United Nations-protected enclaves in northern Iraq as “safe havens” for thousands of Kurdish refugees exposed on Turkish border mountains.
1992: Yasser Arafat, Palestine Liberation chairman, survived plane crash in sandstorm in Libyan desert.
1992: Punch magazine folded after 151 years.
1992: Retired tennis great Arthur Ashe announced that he has Aids, acquired from blood transfusions during one of his two heart surgeries.
1993: The Salvation Army said it had lost £5m in an allegedly fraudulent investment scheme.
2002: A 300million worldwide television audience watched the Queen Mother’s funeral at Westminster Abbey. 200,000 people had queued for up to eight hours to walk through Westminster Hall over the four days of the lying in state.
2004: The Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement was signed by the Sudanese government and two rebel groups.
2008: The construction of the world’s first building to integrate wind turbines was completed in Bahrain.
2014: Voters in Quebec voted a resounfing “No” in a third referendum on independence from Canada, one of the worst ever electoral defeats for the main separatist party in the French-speaking province, Parti Quebecois.
Robin Wright, actress, 49; Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary-general 1997-2007, 77; Professor Sir John Arbuthnott, principal and vice-chancellor, Strathclyde University 1991-2000 and president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 76; Patricia Arquette, actress, 47; Hywel Bennett, ctor, 71; Mark Blundell, racing driver and commentator, 49; Emma Caulfield, actress, 42; Gordon Chisholm, Scottish footballer, 55; Steve Howe, guitarist, 68; Julian Lennon, musician, 52; Dame Vivienne Westwood DBE, fashion designer, 74; Baroness Young of Old Scone, life peer, 67.
Births: 1783 John Loudon, Cambuslang-born horticulturalist; 1893 Mary Pickford, silent film actress; 1903 Ilka Chase, novelist, playwright and actress; 1912 Sonja Henie, skater and actress; 1919 Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia 1964-79; 1930 Dame Dorothy Tutin, actress; 1918 Betty Ford, former first lady of the US; 1943 W Garth Morrison CBE, chief scout 1988-96, and Lord-Lieutenant for East Lothian.
Deaths: AD217 Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antonius), Roman emperor; 1614 El Greco, artist; 1861 Elisha Graves Otis, inventor of the safety-lift; 1950 Vaslav Nijinsky, ballet dancer; 1973 Pablo Picasso, painter and sculptor; 2010 Malcolm McLaren, musician, impresario, clothes designer; 2013 Baroness Thatcher, prime minister 1979-9.