On this day: King Edward VIII abdicates the throne

On this day in 1936, Edward VIII signed the instrument of abdication, relinquishing his throne to wed Wallis Simpson. Picture: BBC
On this day in 1936, Edward VIII signed the instrument of abdication, relinquishing his throne to wed Wallis Simpson. Picture: BBC
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EVENTS, birthdays, anniversaries

Grouse shooting season ends

1520: Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest, burned the Papal Bull excommunicating him.

1756: Robert Clive took Fulta, India, relieving British fugitives.

1768: The Royal Academy of Arts was founded. Joshua Reynolds first president.

1799: France became the first country to adopt the metric system.

1812: Mississippi was admitted as the 20th state of the Union.

1845: Pneumatic tyres patented by Robert Thomson.

1868: First edition of Whitaker’s Almanack published.

1868: London’s first traffic lights began functioning at Bridge Street, near Parliament Square. Resembling railway signals, they used semaphore arms and were illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps.

1898: Treaty of Paris between United States and Spain, ending the Spanish-American War.

1901: The first Nobel prizes were awarded, including the Peace Prize, presented jointly to Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross and inspiration behind the Geneva Convention, and French economist Frederic Passy.

1902: The Aswan Dam on the Nile opened.

1903: The Nobel Prize for physics was awarded jointly to Pierre and Marie Curie.

1907: Rudyard Kipling awarded the Nobel prize for literature, the first British writer to receive it.

1919: The Smith brothers, aviation pioneers, completed first flight from Britain to Australia.

1921: Albert Einstein won Nobel prize for physics.

1936: Edward VIII signed his Instrument of Abdication, by which he gave up the British throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

1937: Thirty-five passengers were killed and 179 injured in rail crash when points were blocked by snow on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line.

1941: British battleships Repulse and Prince of Wales were sunk off Malaya by Japanese aircraft.

1948: United Nations General Assembly adopted Convention of Genocide and Human Rights.

1949: Chiang Kai-Shek fled mainland China for Taiwan, where he set up a government-in-exile.

1963: Zanzibar became independent, after being a British protectorate since 1890.

1967: Former Cunard liner Queen Mary docked at Long Beach, California, at the end of her final cruise, to become a floating hotel.

1968: Boxer Joe Frazier retained his world heavyweight title by defeating Oscar Bonavena by unanimous decision after 15 rounds in Philadelphia.

1989: Czechoslovakia’s first non-communist government for 41 years came to power.

1994: the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Yitzhak Shamir, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat.

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – the first movie in the trilogy based on the books by JRR Tolkien – premiered in London.

2007: Former Daily Telegraph owner, Lord Black, was jailed for six and a half years in the US for stealing £3 million from the newspaper empire he built.

2010: 14.9 million people tuned in to watch the live episode of Coronation Street which marked the show’s 50th anniversary.

2013: Uruguay became the first country to legalise the growing, sale and use of marijuana.


Births: 1824 George MacDonald, minister, poet, author and mentor of Lewis Carroll; 1830 Emily Dickinson, poet; 1908 Olivier Messiaen, French composer; 1914 Dorothy Lamour, actress; 1928 Dan Blocker, actor (Bonanza);

Deaths: 1896 Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist and philanthropist, inventor of dynamite; 1911 Sir Joseph Hooker, botanist; 1928 Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scottish architect; 1946 Damon Runyon, writer; 1967 Otis Redding, singer; 1992 Dan Maskell, BBC’s “voice of Wimbledon” 2005 Richard Pryor, comedian