Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 4 February
National day of Sri Lanka.
1649: Charles II proclaimed king in Edinburgh.
1716: Prince James Francis Stuart, the Old Pretender, left Scotland.
1915: Britain announced a naval blockade of Germany.
1922: Japan agreed to restore Shantung to China.
1929: The first area of Green Belt was approved: five miles of land near Hendon, Middlesex.
1938: Adolf Hitler assumed office as Germany’s war minister and named Joachim von Ribbentrop as foreign minister.
1941: The 8,000-ton cargo ship Politician went aground on Eriskay, with a cargo of luxuries, including 250,000 bottles of whisky, bound for New Orleans and Kingston, Jamaica. The wreck was immortalised by Sir Compton Mackenzie in Whisky Galore, later made into an Ealing film comedy.
1945: Yalta Conference involving Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin began in the Crimea to find a policy among Allies for closing the war and coping with post-war government.
1948: Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, which had been a British Crown colony since 1802, became a self-governing dominion within the Commonwealth.
1953: Sweet rationing ended in Britain.
1962: Two Swiss climbers achieved the first winter ascent of the Matterhorn’s north face.
1971: Rolls-Royce declared itself bankrupt, brought down by a contract to design and manufacture the RB211 jet engine for the new Lockheed TriStar which had a hard bargain on price and penalty clauses.
1972: Britain and nine other nations recognised East Pakistan as independent nation of Bangladesh.
1974: Eighty-one per cent of UK miners voted for a national strike.
1981: The government announced it would sell half the shares in British Aerospace – nationalised in 1977 – as part of Margaret Thatcher’s policy to privatise nationalised industries.
1985: A Spanish officer unlocked a pair of green iron gates at the border between Spain and Gibraltar and ended a 16-year siege imposed on the Rock by General Franco in an attempt to transfer sovereignty of Gibraltar to Spain.
1987: The US regained the America’s Cup, when yacht Stars and Stripes beat the Australian Kookaburra III off Perth.
1990: New Zealand cricketer Richard Hadlee became first player to take 400 wickets in Test cricket.
1991: Winnie Mandela went on trial in Johannesburg on eight charges relating to kidnap of four township youths, one of whom was later killed.
1992: A coup d’état is led by Hugo Chávez Frías, against Venezuelan president Carlos Andrés Pérez.
1998: An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale in northeast Afghanistan killed more than 5,000.
2002: Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent cancer research charity, was founded.
2003: The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was officially renamed to “Serbia and Montenegro” and adopted a new constitution.
2004: Facebook, a mainstream online social network, was founded by Mark Zuckerberg.
2009: It was announced that Carol Thatcher, the daughter of former prime minister Baroness Thatcher, would no longer work on BBC’s The One Show after it was revealed she referred to a tennis player as a “golliwog” backstage during filming of the programme.
Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier), rock singer, 67; Gabrielle Anwar, British actress, 45; Granville Gordon, 13th Marquess of Huntly, premier marquess of Scotland and chief of the House of Gordon, 71; Natalie Imbruglia, singer and actor, 40; Dara O’Briain, Irish comedian and television presenter, 43; Dan Quayle, American politician, 68; Kimberly Wyatt, singer and dancer (Pussycat Dolls), 33.
Births: 1688 Pierre Marivaux, novelist and dramatist; 1864 Willie Park, junior, Musselburgh golfer; 1881 Fernand Léger, French artist; 1881 Voroshilov, Soviet army marshal and politician; 1895 Nigel Bruce, actor; 1902 Charles Lindbergh, American aviation pioneer; 1907 Dr (James) McIntosh Patrick, artist and etcher; 1912 Byron Nelson, golfer; 1915 Sir Norman Wisdom OBE, actor and comedian.
Deaths: AD211 Lucius Septimius Severus, Roman emperor; 1555 John Rogers, Protestant martyr (burnt at stake); 1790 William Cullen, professor of medicine and chemistry in the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh; 1881 Thomas Carlyle, historian, essayist and philosopher; 1962 Sir William Darling, former Edinburgh lord provost; 1976 Roger Livesey, actor; 1983 Karen Carpenter, musician; 1987 Liberace, pianist; 2013 Reg Presley, singer (The Troggs).