On this day: Forth Bridge officially opened
1789: First meeting of United States Congress was held, at Federal Hall in New York City.
1824: Royal National Lifeboat Institution was founded by Sir William Hillary.
1857: Peace of Paris ended British-Persian War, and Shah recognised independence of Afghanistan.
1882: The first electric tramcars ran in London, at Leytonstone.
1890: The Forth Bridge was officially opened by the Prince of Wales, who drove home the last rivet.
1917: German army began major withdrawal on Western Front.
1924: The song Happy Birthday To You was published by Clayton F Summy.
1941: British forces, assisted by local Norwegians, raided the German-occupied Lofoten Islands, destroying 11 ships.
1945: German radio reported that city of Dresden had been “wiped off the map” of Europe by Allied bombers.
1945: Soviet troops reached Baltic Sea in drive across Germany’s province of Pomerania.
1945: The Queen joined the ATS as Second Subaltern Windsor 230873.
1946: BBC Housewives’ Choice, presented by Robert McDermott, began.
1958: United States nuclear submarine Nautilus travelled under the ice cap at the North Pole.
1964: Malta became fully independent.
1965: Syria ordered nationalisation of nine oil companies, including affiliates of two US concerns.
1967: The first North Sea gas was pumped ashore at Easington, County Durham.
1970: French submarine Eurydice was lost in the Mediterranean off the Riviera, with the loss of crew of 57.
1972: Soviet Union signed agreement with Libya to develop and refine Libyan oil, a pact seen as a pressure tactic against Western oil companies.
1973: Eight Black September terrorists ended their occupation of Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, after killing three foreign diplomats.
1974: Edward Heath resigned as Conservative prime minister and a minority Labour government, led by Harold Wilson, took office.
1986: The first edition of Eddy Shah’s national newspaper, Today, was published.
1990: ANC loyalists overthrew the government of South African homeland of Ciskei.
1991: Flight Lieutenant John Peters, RAF pilot captured after his Tornado was shot down over Iraq on 17 January, was handed over to International Red Cross with two other British PoWs.
1994: Control of Celtic passed from the White-Kelly family dynasty, who had run the football club for 100 years, to tycoon Fergus McCann.
2001: A massive car bomb exploded in front of the BBC Television Centre in London, seriously injuring one person. The attack was attributed to the Real IRA.
2002: Canada banned human cloning, but permitted government-funded scientists to use embryos left over from fertility treatment or abortions.
2007: Approximately 30,000 voters in Estonai took advantage of electronic voting in Estonia, the world’s first nationwide voting where part of the vote-casting was allowed via the internet.
2011: Labour won the Barnsley Central by-election, with the Liberal Democrats relegated to sixth place behind Ukip and the BNP.
Patsy Kensit, actress, 47; Andrea Bowen, American actress, 25; Kenny Dalglish MBE, Scottish footballer and manager, 64; Evan Dando, rock singer and guitarist (Lemonheads), 48; James Ellroy, American crime writer, 67; Emilio Estefan, Cuban-American musician and producer, 62; Harvey Goldsmith CBE, impresario, 69; Bernard Haitink KBE, Dutch conductor, 86; Ralph Kirshbaum, cellist, 69; Adrian Lyne, film director, 74; Paula Prentiss, American actress, 77; Chris Rea, British rock musician, 64; Peter Skellern, composer and singer, 68; Shakin’ Stevens, pop singer, 67; Sam Taylor-Johnson OBE, artist and film-maker, 48.
Births: 1394 Prince Henry the Navigator, Portuguese voyager; 1678 Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, Italian composer and violinist; 1756 Sir Henry Raeburn, artist; 1835 Giovanni Schiaparelli, astronomer and author; 1885 William Foyle, bookseller and bookshop founder; 1923 Sir Patrick Moore, astronomer; 1928 Alan Sillitoe, writer; 1932 Miriam Makeba, singer and civil rights activist; 1936 Jim Clark, racing driver; 1944 ; Bobby Womack, soul singer.
Deaths: 1470 Sir Thomas Malory, author of Morte d’Arthur; 1852 Nikolai Gogol, playwright and novelist; 1915 William Willett, builder and promoter of “daylight-saving”; 1993 Albert Sabin, developer of oral polio vaccine; 2012 Paul McBride QC, Scottish criminal lawyer