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1953: Queen Elizabeth II of Britain is crowned in Westminster Abbey, 16 months after the death of her father, King George VI.



1815: Napoleon Bonaparte issues a liberal constitution in France.

1863: During the Civil War, Union Major General William T Sherman writes a letter to his wife, Ellen, in which he commented, ^Vox populi, vox humbug ̄ (The voice of the people is the voice of humbug).

1897: Mark Twain, 61, is quoted by the New York Journal as saying from London that ^the report of my death was an exaggeration ̄.

1917: Brazil declares war against Germany and seizes German ships.

1941: Baseball’s ^Iron Horse ̄, Lou Gehrig, dies in New York of a degenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; he was 37.

1946: Italy holds a referendum which results in the Italian monarchy being abolished in favour of a republic.

1949: Transjordan is renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

1964: The Palestine Liberation Organization is formed.

1965: Almost 200 miners are killed in coal mine explosion near Fukuoka, Japan.

1966: US space probe Surveyor 1 lands on the moon and begins transmitting detailed photographs of the lunar surface.

1974: Jigme Singye Wangchuk is crowned King of Bhutan at age 18, becoming the youngest monarch in the world.

1979: Pope John Paul II arrives in his native Poland on the first visit by a pope to a Communist country.

1981: The Japanese video arcade game Donkey Kong is released by Nintendo.

1983: Half of the 46 people aboard an Air Canada DC-9 are killed after fire breaks out on board, forcing the jetliner to make an emergency landing at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

1986: For the first time, the public can watch the proceedings of the US Senate on television as a six-week experiment begins.

1987: US President Ronald Reagan announces he is nominating economist Alan Greenspan to succeed Paul Volcker as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

1996: Hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu makes his first speech since winning the Israeli election and pledges to continue peace talks with the Palestinians.

1997: Timothy McVeigh is convicted of murder and conspiracy in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. (McVeigh is executed in June 2001.)

1998: Space shuttle Discovery blasts into orbit from Cape Canaveral on NASA’s last mission to ailing Russian space station Mir.

1999: The African National Congress wins resoundingly in South Africa’s second post-apartheid elections.

2000: South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission grants amnesty to apartheid death squad commander Eugene de Kock and other former police in the killings of 14 people.

2002: Irish rock star Bono and US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill end 12-day tour of Africa, raising awareness of the problems faced by the world’s poorest continent.

2003: Mars Express, a European Space Agency craft carrying an unmanned, British-built probe to the planet Mars, is launched aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

2009: Brazilian military planes find a 3-mile (5-kilometre) path of wreckage in the Atlantic Ocean, confirming that an Air France jet carrying 228 people crashed in the sea.

2012: Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising that ousted him.

2015: FIFA President Sepp Blatter announces his resignation as head of soccer’s governing body just four days after being re-elected to the post amid a widening corruption scandal.



Jan Sobieski, king of Poland (1624-1698); Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade, French writer (1740-1814); Thomas Hardy, English writer (1840-1928); Charlie Watts, English drummer with the Rolling Stones (1941- ); Wayne Brady, actor-comedian (1972- ); Justin Long, actor (1978- ); Deon Richmond, actor (1978- )

! AP