EVENTS, birthdays, anniversaries
1535: King Henry VIII assumed title of “Supreme Head of the Church” in England.
1559: The coronation of Queen Elizabeth I of England took place.
1759: The British Museum opened in Montague House, London.
1777: New Connecticut (now Vermont) declared independence from Britain.
1790: Fletcher Christian and eight fellow mutineers from the Bounty landed on Pitcairn Island, accompanied by six Tahitian men and 12 women.
1797: The first top hat was worn by its inventor, John Etherington, in London.
1861: The steam elevator was patented by Elisha Otis.
1867: Forty people died when ice on London’s Regents Park lake gave way.
1880: The first telephone directory was published by the London Telephone Company. It listed 255 subscribers.
1895: Tchaikovsky’s ballet, Swan Lake, premiered in St Petersburg.
1913: The first sickness benefit (10/- or 50p per week), unemployment benefit (7/-) and maternity benefit (30/-) were introduced in Britain.
1919: Twenty-one people were drowned when two million gallons of molasses flooded Boston, Massachusetts.
1943: The Pentagon, headquarters of the US Department of Defence, in Virginia, was opened.
1963: The BBC ended its ban on mentioning politics, royalty, religion and sex in comedy shows.
1968: Twenty died as gales swept Scotland.
1969: Twenty-five crew were killed and 85 wounded by explosions aboard US aircraft carrier Enterprise.
1970: The Republic of Biafra disbanded and joined Nigeria.
1971: The Aswan High Dam was officially opened in Egypt.
1973: Pope Paul VI had an audience with Israeli prime minister Golda Meir.
1976: Sara Jane Moore was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempting to shoot US president Gerald Ford.
1990: Bulgarian parliament abolished Communist Party’s monopoly on power.
1991: As a UN deadline for withdrawal from Kuwait arrived, Iraqi army newspaper al-Qadissiya published warning that Gulf war would “extend to the entire map of the Earth and wherever there are American and foreign interests hostile to Iraq”.
1991: The Queen, in her capacity as Queen of Australia, signed letters patent allowing Australia to become the first Commonwealth Realm to institute its own separate Victoria Cross award.
2001: Wikipedia, a free Wiki content encyclopedia, went online.
2005: An intense solar flare blasted X-rays across the solar system.
2009: The pilot of a United States Airways Airbus A320 forced to land on New York’s Hudson River after it hit a flock of birds was hailed as a hero after all 155 passengers and crew survived.
2013: A rocket attack on Aleppo University, Syria killed 83 people and injured 150 others.
Births: 1803 Marjorie Fleming, Scottish children’s writer and poet; 1913 Lloyd Bridges, actor; 1923 Ivor Cutler, Scottish poet, songwriter and humourist; 1929 Martin Luther King, American civil rights leader; 1948 Ronnie Van Zant, vocalist (Lynyrd Skynyrd).
Deaths: 1815 Emma, Lady Hamilton, mistress of Lord Horatio Nelson, hero of Trafalgar; 1990 Gordon Jackson, actor; 1993 Sammy Cahn, songwriter and musician; 1994 Harry Nilsson, singer-songwriter; 2007 Barbara Braden, actress and TV panelist. 2011 Susannah York, actress.