EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on February 17.
1540: Scotland’s gypsies were given recognition by King James V.
1813: Prussia’s Frederick William III declared war on France.
1863: The International Red Cross was founded in Geneva by Swiss philanthropist Jean Henri Dunant. Its original title was The Committee for Aid to Wounded Soldiers.
1867: The first ship passed through the Suez Canal.
1868: Scottish Reform Bill introduced.
1897: Britain rejected Austro-Russian proposal for blockade of Piraeus in Greece.
1904: Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly was first produced, in Milan.
1916: British and French forces captured Germany’s African colony of Cameroon.
1923: The inner chamber of the tomb of Tutankhamun was opened at Luxor in the presence of officials of the Egyptian government and archaeologists led by Lord Carnarvon.
1936: British-Irish trade pact ended tariff war.
1944: White Paper was issued outlining National Health Service for Britain.
1959: Queen Elizabeth gave Marlborough House to the nation for use as a Commonwealth Centre.
1965: United States spacecraft Ranger 8 was launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida, and made crash-landing on Moon three days later after sending back more than 7,000 pictures.
1972: House of Commons voted by a majority of eight in favour of Britain joining the European Common Market.
1972: Volkswagen cars broke the record held by the Model T Ford by selling the 15,007,034th production model of the Beetle.
1989: Frozen carcasses of apes, antelopes, monkeys, squirrels and aardvarks were seized by Dutch customs from a cargo vessel en route from Africa to supply restaurants in Belgium and Germany.
1989: Scientists stated that levels of ozone-depleting gases over the Arctic were 50 times higher than had been predicted by computer.
1990: East Germany announced it would take down a 600ft section of the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate, which would be the first section with no official controls.
1996: In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, world champion Garry Kasparov beat the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match.
1996: Nasa’s Discovery Program began as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifted off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid, 433 Eros.
2003: The London Congestion Charge scheme began.
2006: A mudslide occurred in Southern Leyte, Philippines; the official death toll was set at 1,126.
2008: Kosovo declared independence.
2009: Texan billionaire and cricket promoter Sir Allen Stanford was charged over a $8 billion (£5.6 bn) investment fraud. English cricket bosses promptly pulled out of sponsorship talks with Sir Allen.
Rebecca Adlington, double Olympic swimming gold medallist 2008, 26; Michael Bay, film director, 50; Lord Drummond Young, QC, Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, 65; Andrew Bruce, 11th Earl of Elgin and 15th Earl of Kincardine, Lord Lieutenant of Fife 1987-99, 91; Brenda Fricker, actress, 67; Prunella Gee, actress, 65; Paris Hilton, hotel heiress and actress, 34; Barry Humphries, entertainer (Dame Edna Everage) and author, 81; Michael Jordan, basketball player, 52; Julia McKenzie, actress and singer, 74; Norman Pace, comedian and actor, 62; Lou Diamond Phillips, actor, 53; Ruth Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, crime novelist, 85; Denise Richards, actress, 44; Patricia Routledge, actress, 86; Renee Russo, actress, 61; Benjamin Whitrow, actor, 78.
Births: 1653 Arcangelo Corelli, composer; 1766 Thomas Robert Malthus, economist; 1781 René Laennec, physician who invented the stethoscope; 1842 William Fritze, composer; 1849 Selwyn Image, artist; 1864 Andrew B (Banjo) Paterson, poet, journalist and author (Waltzing Matilda); 1872 Sir Ernest Davis, philanthropist; 1877 Andre Maginot, architect of Maginot Line in France; 1902 Marian Anderson, opera singer; 1934 Sir Alan Bates, actor; 1941 Gene Pitney, country and western singer.
Deaths: 1673 Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin), French playwright; 1796 James MacPherson, author of the Ossianic poems: Fragments of Ancient Poetry, Collected in the Highlands of Scotland; 1890 Christopher Sholes, inventor of the typewriter; 1909 Geronimo, last Apache chief to surrender; 1934 Albert I, King of the Belgians; 1980 Graham Sutherland, artist; 2010 Kathryn Grayson, film actress; 2013 Richard Briers, actor.