Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 17 March
St Patrick’s Day – national day of Ireland
1337: Edward, Duke of Cornwall, became the first man to be created a duke in England.
1649: Oliver Cromwell declared England a Commonwealth and abolished the position of king.
1776: American revolutionaries forced British to evacuate Boston, Massachusetts.
1830: Chopin gave the first performance of his Piano Concerto in F Minor, in Warsaw.
1876: The first ever recorded high jump of 6ft was made by the Hon Marshall Jones Brooks at Marston, near Oxford. He wore his top hat while jumping.
1883: Crofters Commission appointed by Royal Warrant.
1921: The first birth control clinic, founded by Doctor Marie Stopes, opened in London in face of bitter opposition.
1941: All single women aged 20 -21 were mobilised for war work.
1952: British Standards kite mark was born as post-war utility scheme ended.
1963: First Tristan da Cunha islanders returned home from Britain after the island’s volcano erupted in 1961.
1978: The oil tanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground on the coast of Brittany, and disgorged 220,000 tons of crude oil.
1989: Paul Channon, Transport Secretary, started up the tunnelling machine at the Dover end of the Channel tunnel.
1990: Scotland defeated England 13-7 at Murrayfield to win rugby’s Triple Crown, Grand Slam and the Calcutta Cup.
1991: Soviet Union voted in referendum on the future – 76 per cent of voters backed Mikhail Gorbachev’s plan for a new union.
1995: Gangland killer Ronnie Kray, serving a life sentence in Broadmoor, died in hospital after a heart attack, aged 61.
1996: The Queen visited Dunblane to meet the families of victims of the school massacre and led a minute’s silence at 9:30am in memory of the 16 children and teacher who died.
2000: Five-hundred members of a doomsday cult, the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, died in a mass suicide at a church in Kanungu, south-west Uganda.
2003: Labour MP Robin Cook resigned from the Cabinet in protest against prime minister Tony Blair’s decision to invade Iraq.
Clare Grogan, singer and actress, 52; Jeff Banks fashion designer, 71; Billy Corgan, rock singer, 47; Leslie-Anne Down, actress, 60; Patrick Duffy, actor, 65; Alan Johnson, Labour politician, 64; Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE, yachtsman, 75; Professor John Lill, pianist, 70; Dame Penelope Lively, novelist, 81; Rob Lowe, actor, 50; Alex MacDonald, Scottish football manager, 66; Frank McGarvey, Scottish footballer, 58; Sir Stuart Rose, executive chairman, Marks & Spencer 2008-11, 64; Kurt Russell, actor, 63; Max Stafford-Clark, British artistic director, Royal Court Theatre 1979-93, 73; Jim Telfer, Scottish rugby player and administrator, 73; Michael Whitaker, showjumper, 54.
Births: 1880 Captain Oates, Antartic explorer (and died on this day in 1912); 1911 Patrick Maitland, 17th Earl of Lauderdale, journalist, MP 1951-1959; 1938 Rudolf Nureyev, ballet dancer and choreographer.
Deaths: AD180 Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor; 1040 Harold I, King of the English; 1806 David Dale, Scottish industrialist; 1871 Robert Chambers, publisher; 1999 Rod Hull, entertainer; 2011 Michael Gough, actor.