On this day: Mao Tse-Tung’s widow committed suicide

Jiang Qing, a Mao Tse-Tung's widow and a member of the Gang of Four, committed suicide in 1991. The news was kept secret until June. Picture: Getty
Jiang Qing, a Mao Tse-Tung's widow and a member of the Gang of Four, committed suicide in 1991. The news was kept secret until June. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 14 May

1610: François Ravaillac, a fanatic, assassinated France’s King Henry IV, who was succeeded by Louis XIII, aged nine, with Maria de Medici, the Queen Mother, as Regent.

1643: Louis XIV ascended the French throne, aged four years 231 days, on the death of his father Louis XIII and reigned for more than 72 years.

1660: Charles II proclaimed restored king at Edinburgh.

1754: The Society of St Andrews Golfers was constituted, and became (in 1834) the Royal & Ancient Golf Club.

1791: British under Lord Cornwallis overthrew Tippoo of Mysore at Seringapatam in India.

1796: Edward Jenner made his first vaccination against smallpox, and laid the foundation for modern immunology.

1867: Diamonds were first discovered in South Africa.

1912: The Royal Flying Corps was established.

1921: The British Legion was founded in London by Earl Haig. It became the Royal British Legion in 1971.

1921: Fascists gained in Italian elections.

1931: Interest rate cut by Bank of England to 2.5 per cent in financial crisis.

1940: Anthony Eden, Secretary of State for War, broadcast an appeal to all men aged between 17 and 60 who could hold a rifle to enrol as Local Defence Volunteers (later called Home Guard) to oppose landings in Britain by German parachute troops. Some 400,000 joined in the first week.

1948: British mandate in Palestine ended, and an independent Jewish state of Israel was established with Chaim Weizmann as president and David Ben-Gurion as premier; Arab Legion of Transjordan invaded Palestine and entered Jerusalem.

1951: New law removed coloured (mixed race) people from voting registers in South Africa.

1964: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev opened Aswan Dam in Egypt.

1965: The Queen unveiled a memorial to the late president John F Kennedy at Runnymede.

1972: Okinawa reverted to Japan after 27 years under United States jurisdiction.

1977: Soviet newspaper Pravda warned West that any aid to China eventually would be used to start world conflict.

1987: Armed troops stormed Fiji parliament, declaring military government after kidnapping prime minister and his cabinet in South Pacific’s first coup.

1988: Iraqi warplanes attacked and set ablaze five ships at an offshore oil-loading terminal belonging to Iran.

1989: Archaeologists and actors protested as bulldozers prepared to cover the remains of the Rose Theatre, London, where Shakespeare’s first plays were said to have been performed.

1990: Gordon Wilson quit as leader of Scottish National Party.

1990: Tens of thousands of people marched in Paris in protest against desecration of 34 Jewish graves in southern France.

1991: Mao Tse-Tung’s widow, Jiang Qing, a Gang of Four member, committed suicide in Peking. China kept her death secret until 4 June.

1992: Police investigated large-scale thefts from a Bank of England depot where worn-out bank notes are destroyed.

2005: The former USS America, a decommissioned supercarrier of the United States navy, was deliberately sunk in the Atlantic Ocean after four weeks of live-fire exercises. She was the largest ship ever to be disposed of as a target in a military exercise.

2010: Labour MP Stephen Timms was stabbed in the stomach while holding a constituency surgery in east London.


David Byrne, Dumbarton-born rock singer (Talking Heads), 62; Sophie Anderton, model, 37; Francesca Annis, actress, 69; Ian Astbury, rock singer (The Cult), 52; Cate Blanchett, actress, 45; Hazel Blears, Labour MP, 58; Sir Chay Blyth CBE, Scottish round-the-world yachtsman, 74; Jack Bruce, Bishopbriggs-born rock musician (Cream), 71; Sofia Coppola, director and producer, 43; George Lucas, film director and producer (Star Wars), 70; Sir George Mathewson, chairman, Royal Bank of Scotland Group 2001-6, 74; Siân Phillips CBE, actress, 81; Tim Roth, actor, 53; Tony Stanger, Scottish rugby player, 46; Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, 30.


Births: 1686 Gabriel Fahrenheit, physicist and inventor of mercury thermometer; 1771 Robert Owen, Welsh industrialist and social reformer; 1926 Eric Morecambe, comedian; 1936 Bobby Darin, rock and roll singer, songwriter and actor.

Deaths: 1812 Duncan MacIntyre (Donnchadh Ban), gamekeeper, soldier, Gaelic poet; 1919 Henry John Heinz, food manufacturer and founder of company that bears his name; 1979 Jean Rhys, novelist; 1998 Frank Sinatra, singer and actor; 2003 Dame Wendy Hiller, actress; 2003 Robert Stack, actor (The Untouchables).