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1499: Switzerland becomes an independent state.
1515: Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII, is born in Dusseldorf.
1529: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey is stripped of office as Lord Chancellor by Henry VIII.
1539: Death of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, aged 70.
1598: Playwright and poet Ben Jonson is indicted for manslaughter after a duel.
1711: French troops occupy Rio de Janeiro.
1735: Robert Walpole becomes the first British “Prime Minister” (actually First Lord of the Treasury) to live at 10 Downing Street.
1761: The coronation of George III.
1792: The French First Republic is formed by the National Convention.
1862: US President Abraham Lincoln says he will free slaves in all states on January 1.
1868: Race riots break out in New Orleans.
1869: Richard Wagner’s opera “Rheingold” premieres in Munich.
1885: Lord Randolph Churchill makes a speech in Ulster in opposition to Home Rule.
1896: Queen Victoria surpasses her grandfather George III as the (then) longest reigning monarch in British history.
1905: Race riot in Atlanta Georgia.
1906: Another race riot in Atlanta Georgia.
1908: Bulgaria declares independence from the Ottoman Empire.
1914: Louis Botha, premier of the Union of South Africa, assumes command of the armed forces after having dismissed General Beyers because of his resistance to aiding Britain in the war against Germany.
1927: Gene Tunney beats Jack Dempsey for the second time for the heavyweight boxing title. Dubbed the “long count” fight after Tunney was allowed to stay down for more than a 10 count when Dempsey didn’t retreat to a neutral corner. Dempsey retired after the fight.
1934: An explosion at Gresford Colliery in Wales, leads to the deaths of 266 miners and rescuers.
1943: British dwarf submarines attack Tirpitz.
1944: Boulogne is reoccupied by Allies.
1946: Evelyn Dick is charged with butchering her husband in Hamilton, Ontario.
1955: Britain’s first independent television station begins broadcasts. The first advertisement shown is for Gibbs SR toothpaste.
1960: Mali (formerly French Sudan) declares independence from France.
1966: Surveyor 2 crashes on the Moon.
1973: Henry Kissinger succeeds William Rogers as US Secretary of State. On the same day, the US wins the Ryder Cup at Muirfield.
1975: A series of 17 Provisional IRA bombs are detonated across Northern Ireland. On the same day an assassination attempt on US President Gerald Ford by Sara Jane Moore fails in San Francisco.
1980: Iraq bombs several Iranian air and military supply bases, including Tehran’s international airport. On the same day, John Lennon and Yoko Ono sign a recording contract with Geffen Records.
1981: Composer Harry Warren died aged 88. He wrote over 800 songs including ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, ‘You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby’, ‘Jeepers Creepers’, ‘That’s Amore’ and ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’.
1988: American swimmer Matt Biondi wins the 100m freestyle gold medal at the Seoul Olympics. On the same day, South Korean coaches attack the referee after disputing his decision in a boxing bout . The boxer stages a 67 minute sit-in inside the ring.
1989: An IRA bomb explodes at the Royal Marine School of Music in Deal, killing 10 young soldiers. On the same day, songwriter Irving Berlin (Israel Isidore Baline) dies aged 101.
1991: Singles chart:
- Everything I Do I Do It For You – Bryan Adams
- Let’s Talk About Sex – Salt N Pepa
- Insanity – Oceanic
- Love To Hate You – Erasure
- I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred
- Sunshine On A Rainy Day – Zoe
- Everybody’s Free – Rozalla
- Peace – Sabrina Johnston
- Charly – The Prodigy
- What Can You Do For Me – Utah Saints
- Use Your Illusion II – Guns n Roses
- Use Your Illusion I – Guns n Roses
- On Every Street – Dire Straits
- The Ultimate Collection – Marc Bolan and T Rex
- From Time To Time: The Singles Collection – Paul Young
- Out Of Time – REM
- Mr Lucky – John Lee Hooker
- Don’t Try This At Home – Billy Bragg
- Greatest Hits – Jason Donovan
- Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat – Jason Donovan and the Original London Cast
1993: The Supreme Soviet dismisses President Boris Yeltsin. On the same day, Ukrainian Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma resigns due to the “slow pace of reform”.
1996: Hollywood actress Dorothy Lamour (Mary Kaumeyer) dies aged 81.
1998: Serbian forces renew their assault against rebel fighters in Kosovo.
1999: Diana Ross is arrested on Concorde after an incident at Heathrow Airport. The singer claimed that a female security guard had touched her breasts. On the same day, actor George C Scott dies aged 71.
2001: BBC world affairs editor John Simpson becomes the only television reporter to broadcast from Taleban-held Afghanistan after being smuggled int the country as it prepares for a US attack.
2003: David Hempleman-Adams becomes the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an open-air, wicker-basket hot air balloon.
2004: Singer-songwriter Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), is escorted from a diverted transatlantic flight and refused entry into the US by FBI agents. His name showed up on a US watch list.
2005: Guitarist Jimmy Page was made an honorary citizen of Rio de Janeiro for his work helping its street children.
2013: 78 people are killed in a church suicide bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan.
2015: A US District Judge ruled that the original copyright to ‘Happy Birthday’ was invalid and the song would now be entirely in the public domain. On the same day, Volkswagen admits that 11 million cars have been wrongly programmed to appear to emit lesser emissions of carbon monoxide.
2016: Police officer Betty Shelby is charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting unarmed black man Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
2018: Musician and singer Chas Hodges died from pneumonia aged 74. On the same day, singer Rihanna is appointed as an ambassador for Barbados.
BIRTHDAYS: Fay Weldon, writer, 89; Toni Basil, singer/choreographer, 77; David Coverdale, singer (Whitesnake) 69; Richard Fairbrass, singer (Right Said Fred) 67; Nick Cave, singer-songwriter, 63; Andrea Bocelli, tenor, 62; Joan Jett (Larkin), guitarist/singer/songwriter, 62; Catherine Oxenberg, actress, 59; Adam Cairns, guitar/vocals (Therapy?) 55; Rupert Penry-Jones, actor, 50; Emmanuel Petit, French footballer, 50; Chesney Hawkes, singer, 49; Harry Kewell, footballer, 42; Billie Piper, actress, 38; Will Farquarson, bassist (Bastille) 37; Tatiana Maslany, actress, 35; Tom Felton, actor, 33.