Today in History, 27/3

AAP and agencies
2015 - The state funeral of former prime minister Malcolm Fraser is held in Melbourne


1378 - Pope Gregory XI dies.

1625 - Death of King James I, the first Stuart king of England and the first to rule both England and Scotland.

1703 - Russia's Tsar Peter the Great founds St Petersburg.

1854 - In the Crimean War, France declares war on Russia.

1860 - ML Byrn of New York City is granted the first patent on a corkscrew (a "gimlet screw" with a t-shaped handle).

1899 - The first international radio transmission is sent when inventor Guglielmo Marconi sends a wireless message from England to France.

1923 - Death of Sir James Dewar, Scottish chemist and physicist whose inventions include the vacuum flask and cordite.

1945 - Germany launches its last V2 rocket, which crashes in Orpington, southeast of London.

1960 - Iraqi Premier General Kassem founds Palestine army.

1964 - UN peace force under Indian General Gyani takes over in Cyprus.

1968 - Yuri Gagarin, Soviet cosmonaut who flew the world's first manned space mission, is killed in the crash of training plane; Suharto, an army general, is elected as Indonesia's second president, replacing Sukarno, who lost power in March 1966.

1970 - Severe earthquake in western Turkey kills at least 1087 and leaves 90,000 homeless.

1976 - South Africa withdraws its military forces from Angola.

1977 - Two Boeing 747s, owned by KLM and Pan-Am, collide and burst into flames on runway at Tenerife in Canary Islands, killing 583 people.

1980 - Some 147 die when the Alexander Kielland, a floating platform for off-duty oil workers, capsizes in the North Sea.

1991 - Commandos storm a jetliner in Singapore with 120 passengers aboard, killing four Pakistani hijackers after a nine-hour stand-off.

1995 - Australians Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chapman win best costume design Oscar for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

2000 - Vladimir Putin is declared winner of the Russian presidential election, with more than 52 per cent of the vote.

2002 - Deaths of Oscar-winning filmmaker Billy Wilder, aged 95, US comedian Milton Berle, aged 93, and British actor-comedian Dudley Moore, aged 66.

2005 - A powerful earthquake off Indonesia's western coast triggers panic about a possible tsunami and kills about 300 people on Nias Island.

2010 - European landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the Colosseum fall dark, following Sydney's Opera House and Beijing's Forbidden City, in the Earth Hour global climate-change protest.

2013 - US bars purchasing information technology from any company linked to China, in its first real swipe at Beijing over its alleged hacking activities.

2015 - The state funeral of former prime minister Malcolm Fraser is held in Melbourne.

2017 - About 25,000 people are urged to evacuate low-lying areas of Mackay, with fears Cyclone Debbie will bring a devastating tidal surge to the region.

2018 - Sydney to Hobart sailing veteran John Fisher is presumed dead and lost at sea after falling overboard during a round-the-world yacht race.

2019 - A British man wanted in WA over drug-related offences is arrested in the Torres Strait after allegedly trying to flee Australia for Papua New Guinea on a jetski.


Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann, French administrator and city planner of Paris (1809-1891); Frederick Henry Royce, English auto engineer (1863-1933); Gloria Swanson, US actress (1899-1983); Michael York, English actor (1942-); Andrew Farriss, Australian musician of INXS fame (1959-); Quentin Tarantino, US film director (1963-); Mariah Carey, US singer (1970-); Fergie, US singer (1975-); Jessie J, British singer-songwriter (1988-); Kimbra, New Zealand singer (1990-).


Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us. - Bill Watterson, US cartoonist (1958-).