It happened today – this day in history – December 14

872: John VIII elected as Catholic Pope.

1476: Vlad III Dracula dies in battle aged 45.

1503: Birth of astrologer Nostradamus (Michel de Nostre-Dam) in France.

1542: Princess Mary Stuart succeeds her father James V and becomes Queen Mary I of Scotland at 6 days old.

1702: The 47 Ronin, under the command of Ōishi Kuranosuke, avenge the death of their master.

1782: Charleston, South Carolina is evacuated by the British.

1799: George Washington, first president of the US, dies aged 66.

1812: The French invasion of Russia led by Napoleon officially ends with the French having lost as many as 530,000 troops.

1819: Alabama becomes the 22nd state of the Union.

1861: Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria dies aged 41.

1895: Birth of George VI at Sandringham..

1900: German Physicist Max Planck presents a theoretical derivation of his black-body radiation law, marking the birth of quantum physics. On the same day, France and Italy sign a secret agreement by which Italy recognizes France’s right to exploit Morocco in return for France’s conceding her the same right in Tripoli.

1903: The Wright brothers attempt to fly the Wright Flyer for the first time at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1911: Roald Amundsen’s expedition becomes the first to reach the South Pole.

1913: Greece formally takes possession of Crete.

1918: David Lloyd George’s coalition Government wins a clear majority in the general election. Sinn Féin candidates win 73 of 105 Irish seats, though all will refuse to take seats in Westminster.

1920: Jack Dempsey KOs Bill Brennan in Round 12 for the heavyweight boxing title in New York.

1927: Iraq gains independence from Britain.

1947: Former prime minister Stanley Baldwin dies aged 80.

1955: The Labour party elects Hugh Gaitskell as its new leader to succeed Clement Attlee.

1956: Singles chart:


  1. Just Walking In The Rain – Johnny Ray
  2. Green Door – Frankie Vaughan
  3. St Therese Of The Roses – Malcolm Vaughan
  4. Rip It Up – Bill Haley and his Comets
  5. Singing The Blues – Guy Mitchell
  6. My Prayer – The Platters
  7. Cindy Oh Cindy – Eddie Fisher
  8. A Woman In Love – Frankie Laine
  9. Hound Dog – Elvis Presley
  10. True Love – Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly

1962: Mariner 2, makes the first ever fly-by of the planet Venus and sends back radio signals over tens of millions of miles of space. On the same day, Bill Wyman makes his live debut with The Rolling Stones at the Ricky Tick Club in the Star and Garter Hotel in Windsor.

1963: Singer and pianist Dinah Washington died at the age of 39 from an overdose of sleeping pills.

1969: Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed

1969: Album chart:

  1. Let It Bleed – The Rolling Stones
  2. Abbey Road – The Beatles
  3. Motown Chartbusters Vol 3 – Various Artists
  4. Live In Las Vegas – Tom Jones
  5. To Our Children’s Children’s Children – The Moody Blues
  6. The Sound Of Music – Original Soundtrack
  7. Johnny Cash At St Quentin – Johnny Cash
  8. Engelbert Humperdinck – Engelbert Humperdinck
  9. Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin
  10. Oliver! – Original Soundtrack

1971: The Pakistan Army executes an estimated 1,111 of East Pakistan’s intellectuals during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

1972: Apollo 17, leaves the Moon, bringing an end to America’s programme of lunar exploration.

1980: At 2pm EST the world joins in 10 minutes silence in memory of John Lennon.

1981: Israel annexes the Golan Heights.

1984: NUM leader Arthur Scargill is found guilty of obstruction during a miners’ picket at a Yorkshire coal works.

1992: Lennox Lewis is given the WBC world heavyweight title when Riddick Bowe refuses to fight him.

1993: Film star Myrna Loy dies aged 88.

1995: The leaders of Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia sign the Dayton Accord in Paris to end more than three years of bitter conflict.

1999: Flash floods in Venezuela after torrential rainfall results in the deaths of thousands of people and causes a total collapse in the state infrastructure.

2003: President of Pakistan Pervez Musharaf narrowly escapes an assassination attempt.

2006: Co-founder of Atlantic Records Ahmet Ertegun died, aged 83, two months after falling into a coma following a fall backstage at a Rolling Stones concert in New York.

2008: US President George W Bush goes to Iraq and is almost struck by two shoes thrown at him by journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi during a press conference in Baghdad.

2011: Country music singer Billie Jo Spears dies of cancer age 74.

2012: 28 people, including 20 children, are shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

2013: Death of actor Peter O’Toole aged 81.

2017: British surgeon Simon Bramhall admits to branding the liver of two patients with his initials.

BIRTHDAYS: Jane Birkin, actress/singer, 74; Stan Smith, tennis star, 74; Cliff Williams, bassist (AC/DC) 71; Vicki Michelle, actress, 70; Mike Scott, singer-songwriter (The Waterboys) 62; Peter “Spider” Stacey, musician (The Pogues) 62; Natascha McElhone (Taylor), actress, 51; Beth Orton, singer-songwriter, 50; Toby Anstis, broadcaster, 50; Miranda Hart, actress, 48; Michael Owen, footballer, 41; Vanessa Hudgens, actress, 32; Awkwafina (Nora Lum), rapper/actress, 32.