EVENTS, anniversaries, birthdays
1412: The Medici family were appointed official banker to the Papacy.
1547: Ivan the Terrible, first Russian to assume title of Tsar, was crowned.
1581: Penalties of high treason imposed by law in England on converts to Roman Catholicism.
1707: The Act of Union of the parliaments of England and Scotland was ratified.
1778: France recognised United States independence.
1909: Scottish doctor Alistair Mackay, along with fellow British explorers Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson, became the first humans to reach the South Magnetic Pole as part of the Nimrod Expedition.
1920: Prohibition started in United States with the banning of manufacture, sale or involvement with alcohol.
1925: Leon Trotsky was dismissed from chairmanship of Russia’s Revolutionary Council.
1928: Thomas Hardy was buried beside Charles Dickens in Westminster Abbey. His heart was buried in the grave of his first wife, Emma, in the churchyard at Stinsford in his beloved Wessex.
1950: Listen With Mother started on radio with Ann Driver setting nursery rhymes to music. The catchphrase, “Are you sitting comfortably?” originated in this series.
1957: The Cavern Club, venue of the Beatles’ first appearance, opened in Matthew Street, Liverpool.
1962: Shooting began for the first James Bond movie, Dr No.
1964: Thirteen Arab nations, meeting in Cairo, agreed to set up military command to strengthen Arab position on problems related to Israel.
1967: Closure announced of Boys’ Own Paper after 88 years of supplying adventure stories and “things for idle hands to do”.
1970: Muammar al-Gaddafi became ruler of Libya, four months after leading a coup against the monarchy.
1973: United States and North Vietnam declared ceasefire in Vietnam War in hopes of full peace pact.
1974: Jaws, by Peter Benchley, was published by Doubleday.
1980: Paul McCartney was jailed in Tokyo for possession of marijuana.
1985: Dorchester Hotel in London bought by Sultan of Brunei.
1989: The home secretary, Douglas Hurd, ordered Court of Appeal to re-examine convictions of Guildford Four, for pub bombings in 1974.
1991: United States planes bombed Baghdad as Operation Desert Storm began the liberation of Kuwait at midnight.
1996: Gunmen seized a ferry bound for Russia with 255 people on board in the Turkish port of Trabzon and threatened to blow it up unless Russia let Chechen rebels go free.
2001: Congolese president Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards.
2003: The Space Shuttle Columbia took off for its final mission. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.
2011: Marine Le Pen became leader of the National Front Party in Paris.
Births: 1853 Andre Michelin, tyre manufacturer; 1901 Fulgencio Batista, Cuban dictator; 1902 Eric Liddell, athlete; 1908 Ethel Merman, singer and actress; 1932 Diane Fossey, zoologist, primatologist and anthropologist; 1933 Susan Sontag, writer and filmmaker.
Deaths: 1794 Edward Gibbon, historian, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; 1935 Ma Barker, matriarch of Barker gang of criminals; 1942 Carole Lombard, screen goddess; 1998 Peter Diamand, director, Edinburgh Festival.