On this day: Mars Odyssey was launched

People gather to watch Delta II rocket launch the Mars Odyssey from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Picture: AFP/Getty
People gather to watch Delta II rocket launch the Mars Odyssey from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Picture: AFP/Getty
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EVENTS, birthday and anniversaries on April 7.

1652: Dutch under Jan van Riebeeck founded Cape Town in South Africa.

1739: Highwayman Dick Turpin was hanged in York. He was not a romantic figure in reality, but a cattle-thief, rapist and murderer.

1787: Mozart heard Beethoven, aged 17, play the piano and said: “Some day he will give the world something to talk about.”

1827: Friction matches, the invention of John Walker, a Stockton chemist, went on sale.

1853: Queen Victoria became the first monarch to have chloroform administered, for the birth of her eighth child, Prince Leopold.

1906: In Italy, Mount Vesuvius erupted, and destroyed the town of Attaiano, leaving hundreds dead and injured.

1911: Copyright Act, giving authors protection of their works for life plus 50 years, was approved by Parliament.

1930: The electric razor was patented by Jacob Schick.

1934: Scottish National Party was formed by the amalgamation of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party. Its first programme said: “The object of the party is self-government for Scotland on a basis which will enable Scotland as a partner in the British Empire with the same status as England to develop its national life to the fullest advantage.”

1934: Mahatma Gandhi suspended civil disobedience campaign in India.

1941: British forces under Archibald Wavell evacuated Benghazi in Libya.

1943: LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) was first synthesised by Albert Hoffman in his Swiss laboratory.

1945: United States aircraft carrier planes sank Japan’s largest battleship, the Yamato.

1948: The World Health Organisation was established.

1951: Only three out of 36 starters finished the Grand National. Nickel Coin won.

1956: Spain relinquished its protectorate over Morocco.

1966: United States hydrogen bomb lost from bomber was recovered in Mediterranean Sea off coast of Spain.

1968: Jim Clark, of Kilmany, near Cupar, twice world motor racing champion, was killed taking part in a Formula 2 race when his car slid off the rain-soaked Hockenheim track in West Germany and hit a tree.

1982: Britain declared 200-mile exclusion zone round the Falkland Islands.

1987: President Ronald Reagan said that American diplomats would not occupy the new embassy in Moscow until he was sure that it was secure from Soviet eavesdropping.

1994: Rwanda’s woman prime minister and 11 peacekeepers were murdered as decades of tribal violence reached a peak.

1995: A second inquest on the 1989 Marchioness Thames riverboat disaster decided the 51 victims were unlawfully killed.

1996: Gay rights activists attacked Cardinal Thomas Winning after he compared homosexuality to a physical handicap.

2001: Mars Odyssey was launched.

2003: American troops captured Baghdad; Saddam Hussein’s regime would fall two days later.

2008: An inquest jury in London ruled that Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed were unlawfully killed in Paris by the “gross negligence” of their drunken driver and a pack of paparazzi.


Russell Crowe, actor, 51; Dennis Amiss MBE, English cricketer and administrator, 72; Jackie Chan MBE, Hong Kong actor, 61; Francis Ford Coppola, film director, 76; Luca Cumani, Italian racehorse trainer, 66; Peter Fluck, satirist and puppeteer, 74; Gorden Kaye, British actor, 74; Martyn Lewis CBE, newscaster, 70; Andrew Sachs, actor, 85; Gerhard Schröder, German chancellor 1998-2005, 71; Michaela Strachan, television presenter, 49.


Births: 1506 St Francis Xavier, Jesuit missionary; 1770 William Wordsworth, poet; 1889 Gabriela Mistral, poet; 1891 Sir David Low, cartoonist; 1891 Ole Kirk Christiansen, Danish inventor of Lego; 1897 Walter Winchell, columnist; 1915 Billie Holiday, jazz singer; 1920 Pandit Ravi Shankar, Indian sitar player and composer; 1930 Cliff Morgan, Welsh rugby player and broadcaster; 1934 Ian Richardson, actor; 1939 Sir David Frost OBE, broadcaster.

Deaths: 1891 Phineas T Barnum, showman; 1928 James Garner, American actor; 1939 Joseph Lyons, Australian prime minister; 1947 Henry Ford, American car manufacturer; 1950 Walter Huston, American film actor;

1955 Theda Bara, silent screen actress; 1968 Jim Clark, Duns-born world motor racing champion (at Hockenheim racing circuit); 2010 Christopher Cazenove, British actor; 2012 Alexander Robert Leslie-

Melville, 14th Earl of Leven; 2014 John Shirley-Quirk CBE, bass-baritone; 2014 Peaches Geldof, socialite.