HIGHLIGHTS IN HISTORY ON THIS DATE:
1540 – Thomas Cromwell, principal adviser to King Henry VIII of England, is executed for treason.
1586 – First potatoes arrive in England from Colombia, brought by Sir Thomas Harriot.
1588 – Lord Admiral Howard of Effingham sends British fire ships to destroy Spanish Armada off Calais, France.
1655 – Cyrano de Bergerac, French poet, novelist and soldier, dies aged 36.
1741 – Italian violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi dies aged 63.
1742 – Peace of Berlin between Austria and Prussia ends first Silesian War. Silesia is a historical region that is now southwestern Poland.
1750 – Death of Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer and organist.
1794 – French revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre and 22 of his supporters are executed by guillotine before a cheering crowd in Paris.
1858 – For the first time fingerprints are taken as a means of identification, by William Herschel of the Indian Civil Service at Jungipur in India. He took the print of Rajyadhar Konai on the back of a contract.
1868 – Third Maori War breaks out in New Zealand. The 14th amendment to the US Constitution is ratified, granting citizenship to black people.
1904 – Russia’s Minister of Interior Vyacheslav Plehve is assassinated by a socialist.
1914 – World War I begins when Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.
1937 – Japanese seize Beijing in China and subsequently occupy it until 1945.
1945 – US Army bomber crashes into New York City’s Empire State Building, killing 14 people.
1965 – President Lyndon Johnson announces he is increasing the number of American troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000.
1973 – US launches Skylab-2 carrying astronauts Bean, Garriott and Lousma. They returned to earth after 59 days.
1976 – An earthquake kills more than 240,000 people and almost completely destroys the city of T’ang-shan in northeastern China.
1989 – India agrees to pull its peace-keeping troops out of Sri Lanka, two years after pushing through a ceasefire between separatist Tamil rebels and the Sri Lankan government.
1990 – Alberto Fujimori takes over as Peru’s president.
1994 – Former Coles Myer executive Graeme Richard Lanyon is sentenced to two years’ jail for conspiracy to defraud the company of more than $A4.5 million.
1998 – Backed by tanks, Serb forces drive ethnic Albanian fighters from their stronghold in Malisevo in central Kosovo.
2001 – Alejandro Toledo of the centrist Peru Possible Party is sworn in as president of Peru.
2005 – The Irish Republican Army formally announces an end to its armed campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland.
2006 – A federal appeals court in New York affirms the conviction and 25-year prison sentence of former WorldCom Inc chief executive Bernard Ebbers for orchestrating an $US11 billion accounting fraud that led to the largest US bankruptcy.
2010 – A passenger jet crashes into the hills overlooking the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, killing all 152 people aboard after the pilot of the Airbus apparently veers off course in poor weather.
2014 – Japan announces it will impose additional sanctions on Russia after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot out of the sky, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.
2015 – Boko Haram attacks in multiple northern Nigerian villages leave at least 29 dead.
2016 – Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announces the upcoming royal commission into youth detention in the Northern Territory will be headed by former Supreme Court judge Brian Ross Martin, who later quits after conflict of interest allegations emerge.
2017 – One person is killed and six others are injured after a man armed with a knife attacks people at a supermarket in the German city of Hamburg.
2018 – Pope Francis accepts the resignation as cardinal of Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, following allegations of sex abuse, including one involving an 11-year-old boy.
2019 – Australian swimmer Shayna Jack vows to clear her name after testing positive to a banned drug ahead of the world championships. She is later handed a four-year ban.
Ibn al-‘Arabi, Arab theologist (1165-1240); Beatrix Potter, British author and illustrator (1866-1943); Marcel Duchamp, French-born American painter (1887-1968); Albert Namatjira, Australian artist (1902-1959); Jacques Piccard, French deep sea explorer (1922-2008); Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, former US first lady (1929-1994); Sir Garfield Sobers, West Indies cricketer (1936-); Robert Hughes, Australian author and art critic (1938-2012); Jim Davis, Garfield US cartoonist (1945-); Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of Australia (1947-); Glenn A Baker, Australian rock-music historian (1952-); Lori Loughlin, US actor (1964-).
Thought For Today:
Verily, when the day of judgment comes, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done – Thomas a Kempis, German theologian (1380-1471).