It happened today – this day in history – December 4

Mick Ferris
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1123: Death of Persian poet, astronomer, mathematician and philosopher Omar Khayyám.

1154: Nicholas Breakspear is elected Pope Adrian IV – the only Englishman to become Pope.

1259: Henry III and French King Louis IX sign the Treaty of Paris.

1534: Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent occupies Baghdad.

1679: Philosopher Thomas Hobbes dies of a stroke aged 91.

1816: James Monroe is elected fifth President of the US.

1829: Britain outlaws “suttee” in India (widow burning herself to death on her husband’s funeral pyre).

1844: James Knox Polk is elected President of the US.

1905: The government of Arthur Balfour resigns.

1930: The Vatican approves the rhythm method for birth control.

1942: US bombers strike the Italian mainland for the first time in the Second World War.

1952: Killer fogs begin in London and the term “Smog” is coined.

1956: The so-called ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ impromptu jam session took place at Sun Studios in Memphis with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.

1961: The female contraceptive pill becomes available on the NHS.

1965: Launch of Gemini 7 with astronauts Jim Lovell and Frank Borman.

1971: The Montreux Casino in Switzerland burnt to the ground during a gig by Frank Zappa when someone in the crowd fired a flare gun into the roof. The incident is immortalized by Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’. On the same day, the UVF explodes a bomb at Catholic-owned pub McGurk’s Bar in Belfast, killing 15 Catholic civilians and wounding 17 others.

1974: Existentialist author Jean Paul Sartre visits Red Army Faction leader Andreas Baader in prison.

1976: Guitarist Tommy Bolin died from a heroin overdose aged 25. On the same day, composer Benjamin Britten dies of heart failure aged 63.

1977: Jean-Bedel Bokassa crowns himself Emperor of the Central African Empire in a lavish ceremony costing US$20 million – one third of the nation’s budget.

1980: Two months after the tragic death of drummer John Bonham, Led Zeppelin announced they has disbanded.

1981: President Ronald Reagan signs an Executive Order on Intelligence allowing the CIA to engage in domestic counter-intelligence.

1987: Ivan Lendl wins his third straight season-ending ATP Masters Grand Prix tennis title by defeating Mats Wilander 6–2, 6–2, 6–3 in the final at Madison Square Garden.

1988: Actor Gary Busey is critically injured in a motorcycle crash.

1991: Muslim Shi’ites release last US hostage, Terry Anderson.

1993: Frank Zappa died of prostate cancer aged 52..

2000: Death of cricketer Colin Cowdrey aged 67.

2001: Marike de Klerk, ex-wife of former President F.W. de Klerk is murdered at her home in Cape Town.

2011: Death of Brazilian footballer Socrates (Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Sousa Vieira de Oliveira) aged 57. On the same day, Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s guitarist, dies aged 80.

2017: US Supreme Court allows President Trump’s travel ban to come into effect for six mostly Muslim countries. On the same day, Christine Keeler, whose involvement with Minister of War John Profumo caused a major scandal in 1963, died aged 75.

2018: Theresa May’s government suffers three parliamentary defeats in one day and is also found in contempt of Parliament for failing to publish report in full on Brexit.

BIRTHDAYS: Chris Hillman, musician (The Byrds) 75; Terry Woods, musician (The Pogues) 72; Southside Johnny (John Lyon), singer, 71; Jeff Bridges, actor, 70; Gary Rossington, guitarist (Lynyrd Skynyrd) 68; Paul McGrath, former footballer, 60; Marisa Tomei, actress, 55; Fred Armison, actor/comedian, 53; Adamski (Adan Tinley) musician, 52; Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) rapper, 50; Kate Rusby, folk singer/songwriter, 46; Tyra Banks, supermodel/TV presenter, 46.


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