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- It happened today – this day in history – December 8 - 08/12/2023
1669: Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, died.
1771: Scottish explorer Mungo Park was born near Stirling.
1846: Elias Howe patents the sewing machine.
1855: Sebastopol fell to Anglo-French forces after an 11-month siege.
1891: The song Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-E was copyrighted by a Canadian ex-bandsman named Henry J Sayers, who later admitted he had stolen it after hearing it played in a Missouri brothel.
1897: Marlborough Street Police Court in London fined taxi driver George Smith £1, making him the first person in Britain to be convicted for drink-driving after he drank three glasses of beer and drove his electric taxi on the pavement in Bond Street.
1945: Vidkun Quisling, the Premier of Norway during the Second World War, was sentenced to death for collaboration with the Nazis.
1965: Yale University published a map purporting to show that the Vikings discovered America in the 11th century.
1981: Picasso’s anti-war mural Guernica returned to Spain after 40 years custodianship in the US. Picasso refused to allow the painting to be shown in Spain until the restoration of democracy.
1988: German tennis player Steffi Graf became only the fifth person to complete the Grand Slam, winning the four top women’s tennis tournaments in the same calendar year.
2003: Sweden’s foreign minister Anna Lindh is fatally stabbed while out shopping.
2008: The Large Hadron Collider is fired up for the first time in Geneva.
BIRTHDAYS: Jose Feliciano, singer/guitarist, 74; Judy Geeson, actress, 71; Joe Perry, rock musician (Aerosmith), 69; Amy Irving, actress, 66; Carol Decker, singer (T’Pau), 62; Siobhan Fahey, singer, (Bananarama/Shakespeare’s Sister) 61; Colin Firth, actor, 59; Guy Ritchie, director, 51; Tim Stimpson, rugby union player, 46; Ryan Phillippe, actor, 45.