Next Year’s News: 50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in March 2017 for you to write about

Monday, 19 September 2016

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in March 2017 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.

For more details about how to do this, download our free booklet:
Ditch Your Day Job – the easiest way to make a living as a writer.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.


The Date-A-Base Book 2016The listing below is a small sample of the entries for March from The Date-A-Base Book 2017
There are 357 anniversaries for March in the book (more than seven times more than are listed here). The book covers the whole of 2017 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.

400 years ago (21 Mar 1617?)
Death of Pocahontas, Native American daughter of Powhatan, paramount chief of the tribal nations in the Tsenacommacah, Virginia. She was captured by English settlers and held for ransom, but chose to stay with them and convert to Christianity rather than return to her own people. She married an English tobacco planter and moved to England with him. (Her funeral took place on this date, but her date of death is uncertain.)

300 years ago (2 Mar 1717)
The first ballet to be performed in England: The Loves of Mars and Venus by John Weaver, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London.

250 years ago (15 Mar 1767)
Birth of Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States.

200 years ago (4 Mar 1817)
James Monroe was inaugurated as the 5th President of the United States. He was the last president who was also a founding father.

200 years ago (8 Mar 1817)
The New York Stock Exchange was founded.

150 years ago (1 Mar 1867)
Nebraska became the 37th state of the USA.

150 years ago (2 Mar 1867)
The U.S. Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act (of four) following the end of the U.S. Civil War. States which had seceded from the Union had to meet the conditions of the Act before they would be readmitted.

150 years ago (5 Mar 1867)
Fenian Rising: failed Fenian uprisings against English rule took place in Cork, Limerick and Dublin, Ireland. 12 people were killed.

150 years ago (16 Mar 1867)
British surgeon Joseph Lister published the first article outlining his discovery of antiseptic surgery, in the medical journal The Lancet. He explained how his use of carbolic acid (now known as phenol) to sterilise instruments and clean wounds had significantly reduced infections.

150 years ago (21 Mar 1867)
Birth of Florenz Ziegfeld, American theatrical producer. Best known for the Ziegfeld Follies revue show, as well as a string of successful Broadway shows including Show Boat.

150 years ago (25 Mar 1867)
Birth of Arturo Toscanini, acclaimed Italian conductor.

150 years ago (30 Mar 1867)
The USA purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire for $7.2 million (£4.6 million) – about 2 cents per acre. (It became a U.S. state in 1959.)

100 years ago (2 Mar 1917)
The people of Puerto Rico were granted U.S. citizenship when U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act into effect.

100 years ago (2 Mar 1917)
Birth of Desi Arnaz, Cuban-born American bandleader, musician, actor and television producer. Husband of the actress Lucille Ball. Best known for his role as Ricky Ricardo in the TV sitcom I Love Lucy, and for his internationally acclaimed Latin music band, the Desi Arnaz Orchestra.

100 years ago (4 Mar 1917)
Jeannette Rankin from Montana took office as the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

100 years ago (6 Mar 1917)
Birth of Frankie Howerd, British comedian and comic actor. Best known for the stage show A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and the TV series Up Pompeii!, and as a member of the Carry On… team.

100 years ago (7 Mar 1917)
The world’s first jazz record was released: Livery Stable Blues by the Original Dixieland Jass Band. (The spelling of jass was changed to jazz later that year.)

100 years ago (8 – 12 Mar 1917)
The February Revolution, Petrograd (now St. Petersburg), Russia. This resulted in Tsar Nicholas II’s abdication (on 15th) and the end of the Russian Empire as Russia became a republic. (It is known as the February Revolution because Russia was still using the Julian calendar, under which the dates were 23rd – 27th February 1917.)

100 years ago (8 Mar 1917)
Death of Ferdinand, Graf von Zeppelin, German rigid airship manufacturer. Founder of the Zeppelin airship company.

100 years ago (16 – 18 Mar 1917)
World War I: Germany sank 3 U.S. ships in the Atlantic without warning: the SS Vigilancia, the SS City of Memphis and the tanker Illinois. On 2nd April U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared that enough was enough and asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany, which was granted on 6th April.

100 years ago (27 Mar 1917)
Birth of Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State (1977-–80).

100 years ago (31 Mar 1917)
The USA formally took possession of the Danish West Indies, which it purchased from Denmark under the Treaty of the Danish West Indies. The territory was renamed the U.S. Virgin Islands.

80 years ago (15 Mar 1937)
The first blood bank in the USA was established by Bernard Fantus at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, Illinois. (The world’s first blood bank was established in the Soviet Union in 1930.)

75 years ago (8 Mar 1942)
World War II: Dutch forces on Java surrendered to the Japanese.

75 years ago (8 Mar 1942)
World War II: the Bombing of Essen (Germany). The first attack on a German city by the British RAF following the Area Bombing Directive (14th February 1942) which authorised the bombing of civilian areas. A small number of houses were damaged or destroyed and 10 people were killed. (There were larger raids over the following two nights and later in the month.)

75 years ago (12 Mar 1942 – or 9th?)
Death of Robert Bosch, German engineer and industrialist. Founder of the Bosch company which developed the spark plug and magneto and later became one of the world’s largest engineering and electronics companies.

75 years ago (14 Mar 1942)
The first successful use of penicillin to treat a patient. Anne Miller, who was dying of streptococcal septicaemia, was given an injection of penicillin by doctors Orvan Hess and John Bumstead at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Connecticut, USA. She showed signs of improvement within 24 hours and made a full recovery. (Her treatment used up half of the USA’s entire stock of penicillin.)

75 years ago (16 Mar – 1 Apr 1942)
Holocaust: the Nazis began exterminating Jews in gas chambers. 15,000 Jews from the Lwów Ghetto in Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine) were transported by train to Belzec, where the first extermination camp began operating on 17th March.

75 years ago (19 Mar 1942)
The Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA) was established in the USA.

75 years ago (27 Mar 1942)
Capitol Records was established in Los Angeles, California, USA (as Liberty Records – it was renamed Capitol Records in May). It opened its first office on 4th June.)

60 years ago (4 Mar 1957)
The Standard & Poor 500 stock market index (commonly known as the S&P 500) was introduced.

60 years ago (6 Mar 1957)
The Gold Coast declared its independence from the UK and changed its name to Ghana. It was the first African nation to declare independence from European colonisation.

60 years ago (25 Mar 1957)
The Treaty of Rome was signed, creating the European Economic Community which was founded on 1st January 1958. (It was renamed the European Community in 1993 and was dissolved in 2009 having been replaced by the European Union).

50 years ago (6 Mar 1967)
The first North Sea gas was pumped ashore at Easington in County Durham, England. This led to a 10-year programme to convert all of the nation’s gas appliances from town gas (coal gas) to North Sea gas.

50 years ago (6 Mar 1967)
Death of Nelson Eddy, American baritone singer and actor. A crossover star of both opera and film musicals. The world’s highest-paid singer during his heyday. Best known for the films he starred in with Jeanette MacDonald, including Rose Marie, Maytime, New Moon and more. He introduced millions of young Americans to classical music and inspired many of them to take up musical careers.

50 years ago (18 Mar 1967)
Torrey Canyon oil spill, Cornwall, England. The supertanker SS Torrey Canyon hit a rock on a reef between the Cornish mainland and the Isles of Scilly while attempting to take a shortcut to South Wales. 32 million gallons of crude oil were spilled – the worst spill in UK history. Hundreds of miles of coastline were affected in the UK, France and Spain. The RAF and Royal Navy bombed the ship and attempted to set fire to the oil to burn it off, but met with limited success (25% of the bombs missed the large, stationary target). First-generation dispersal agents/detergents/solvents used on the spill were highly toxic. 15,000 sea birds were killed. The government was heavily criticised for its handling of the incident.

40 years ago (4 Mar 1977)
Vrancea earthquake (also known as the 1977 Bucharest earthquake), Eastern Carpathians. 1,578 people were killed and more than 11,300 injured, mainly in Bucharest, Romania. About 35,000 buildings were damaged, which led the Romanian government to impose stricter building standards on construction.

40 years ago (27 Mar 1977)
Tenerife airport disaster, Canary Islands. Two Boeing 747 jumbo jets collided on the runway in heavy fog. 583 people were killed – the deadliest accident in aviation history.

30 years ago (4 Mar 1987)
In a nationally televised address, U.S. President Ronald Reagan accepted full responsibility for the Iran-Contra scandal and admitted making mistakes, saying his heart and best intentions told him he did not trade arms for hostages, but the facts and evidence said he did.

30 years ago (6 Mar 1987)
The British ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsized off Zeebrugge, Belgium after it set sail with its bow doors open. 193 people were killed.

30 years ago (19 Mar 1987)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved AZT, a drug used in the treatment of AIDS and found to prolong the lives of patients.

25 years ago (3 Mar 1992)
Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence from Yugoslavia following a referendum held on 29th February and 1st March. (Independence was recognised internationally on 6th April, leading to the Bosnian War.)

25 years ago (5 Mar – 29 Apr 1992)
The trial of four Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers who were caught on videotape beating motorist Rodney King took place in Simi Valley, California, USA. The jury acquitted all 4 defendants of assault, acquitted 3 of them of using excessive force and could not agree a verdict of excessive force on the 4th defendant. The shock result is thought to have led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots (29th April) in which 53 people were killed.

25 years ago (9 Mar 1992)
Death of Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel (1977-–83). Joint winner of the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.

25 years ago (13 Mar 1992)
Erzincan earthquake, eastern Turkey. About 500 people were killed and 2,000 injured.

25 years ago (17 Mar 1992)
In a referendum the people of South Africa voted to back political reform and end apartheid.

20 years ago (13 Mar 1997)
The Net Book Agreement was abolished in Britain after being ruled anti-competitive by the Restrictive Practices Court. The agreement had allowed publishers to fix the price of books, preventing them from being sold at a discount. (Some retailers had deliberately damaged or defaced copies in order to sell obsolete stock at a lower price, as the agreement only covered books that were ‘new’.)

20 years ago (26 Mar 1997)
Police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate religious cult who had committed suicide in Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA. (Cult members apparently believed this would allow their souls to reach an alien spacecraft that was following Comet Hale-Bopp, and they would then be transported to a level of existence above human.)

10 years ago (4 Mar 2007)
2007 Estonian parliamentary election. This was the world’s first nationwide election in which online voting was allowed. The incumbent Prime Minister Andrus Ansip was re-elected. 3.4% of voters (30,275 citizens) voted online.

10 years ago (31 Mar 2007)
The first Earth Hour was held in Sydney, Australia. 2.2 million participants switched off all their non-essential electric lights for 1 hour – including the floodlights on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. In March 2008 it became a global event.


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Reviewers and bloggers wanted!

Monday, 12 September 2016

dab_cover_17We’re looking for reviewers and bloggers who would be interested in reviewing The Date-A-Base Book 2017.

The book gives details of more than 3,800 newsworthy anniversaries in 2017, including significant historic events, inventions, discoveries, births and deaths. We publish them months in advance to allow time for research, writing and editing.

We believe it’s the ideal reference/source book for writers, journalists, editors, TV and radio producers, researchers, film-makers, teachers, speakers, event planners and quiz setters.

If you’d be willing to review it, and your blog or website is aimed at this sort of audience, please contact us by email (mail@ideas4writers.co.uk) giving the address of your blog or website. We’ll send you a free PDF copy by return.

How to Win Short Story CompetitionsIf The Date-A-Base Book 2017 doesn’t appeal to you or your audience, how about How to Win Short Story Competitions? Ask for a free review copy of that one instead – or as well!

Thanks in advance for your help.

What If? 30 Creative Writing Prompts for September

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Hello! Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your writing brain. See what can you do with these! Some are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more, take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. you were actually a toy?

2. textbooks were written by people who’d failed their exams?

3. the fog cleared and everything was different?

4. it was closed to you but open to everyone else?

5. there was no wind?

6. there was a school where you could learn to do the impossible?

7. you were 3 seconds from disaster?

8. everyone would be calling you a hero tomorrow?

9. you would be on all the front pages tomorrow?

10. someone from your distant past was taking revenge on you?

11. you decided that 15 years was long enough?

12. everyone had forgotten by now?

13. you wrongly assumed that everyone had forgotten?

14. anything less than top marks was unacceptable?

15. top marks were unacceptable?

16. you were the victim of reverse discrimination?

17. it was well outside the margin of error?

18. the predictable became unpredictable?

19. you were recruited to work on a secret project that your boss knew nothing about?

20. a secret project you had been working on for years was finally revealed to the public?

21. the design/recipe had been changed without your knowledge?

22. you tried to publish a book that contained a banned sequence of words – but no one would publish it, nor would they tell you what the words were?

23. you were blacklisted because of your (real or supposed) religious or political convictions?

24. foreigners took over your neighbourhood, and they wanted you out?

25. every attempt you made to become a better person was thwarted?

26. you had more money than sense?

27. an alien walked past you in the street?

28. the animals all started speaking English?

29. it was the modern custom to greet people by yelling at them as loudly as possible?

30. everyone started muttering to themselves?

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50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in February 2017 for you to write about (and make money from)

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in February 2017 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.

For more details about how to do this, download our booklet: Ditch Your Day Job – the easiest way to make a living as a writer.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.


The Date-A-Base Book 2016The listing below is a small sample of the entries for February from The Date-A-Base Book 2017
There are 272 anniversaries for February in the book (more than five times more than are listed here). The book covers the whole of 2017 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.

600 years ago (23 Feb 1417)
Birth of Pope Paul II.

300 years ago (19 Feb 1717)
Birth of David Garrick, British actor, playwright, producer and theatre manager. Manager of London’s Drury Lane Theatre for 29 years, during which time it became one of the leading theatres in Europe.

150 years ago (3 Feb 1867)
Meiji became Emperor of Japan.

150 years ago (7 Feb 1867)
Birth of Laura Ingalls Wilder, American children’s writer. Best known for her Little House series, based on her childhood in a pioneer family in the American Midwest.

150 years ago (15 Feb 1867)
Johann Strauss’s waltz The Blue Danube was performed for the first time, in Vienna, Austria.

125 years ago (15 Feb 1892)
Birth of James Forrestal, the first U.S. Secretary of Defense (1947–-49). As U.S. Secretary of the Navy (1944-–47) he directed the huge naval expansion and procurement programmes of WWII. The world’s first supercarrier (aircraft carrier) was named USS Forrestal in his honour.

125 years ago (27 Feb 1892)
Death of Louis Vuitton, French businessman. Known for his luxury luggage products.

100 years ago (3 Feb 1917)
World War I: the American cargo ship Housatonic was sunk by a German submarine in the Atlantic. The crew were ordered into the lifeboats before the torpedo was fired, and all survived. (The Housatonic was formerly the German passenger ship SS Georgia. It was interned by the USA at the outbreak of the war and sold to a U.S. company for conversion into a cargo ship.)

100 years ago (5 Feb 1917)
The U.S. Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917 (also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act) on its 4th attempt, over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. It banned a wide range of ‘undesirables’ from entering the country. The most controversial part of the act banned immigration from large parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands (previously only the Chinese had been banned). Parts of it were repealed in 1943 (Chinese) and 1946 (Asian Indians and Filipinos) and it was superseded by the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952 (which covered Japanese, Koreans and other Asians).

100 years ago (11 Feb 1917)
Birth of Sidney Sheldon, Tony Award-winning American novelist and screenwriter. During his TV career he created popular shows including The Patty Duke Show, I Dream of Jeannie and Hart to Hart. He then became a best-selling crime/thriller novelist. His books include Master of the Game, The Other Side of Midnight and Rage of Angels.

100 years ago (12 Feb 1917)
Birth of Dom DiMaggio, (‘The Little Professor’), American baseball player (Boston Red Sox). Brother of Joe DiMaggio and Vince DiMaggio.

100 years ago (25 Feb 1917)
Birth of Anthony Burgess, British novelist, playwright, composer and literary critic . Best known for his novels A Clockwork Orange (adapted into a controversial film by Stanley Kubrick) and Earthly Powers.

80 years ago (11 Feb 1937)
The Flint (Michigan) sit-down strike against General Motors (GM) ended. This famous strike led to the formal establishment and recognition of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) trade union, and later to the unionisation of the entire U.S. car industry. (The strike had begun on 30th December 1936, and ended when GM agreed to recognise the UAW.)

75 years ago (1 Feb 1942)
Vidkun Quisling became Minister President of Nazi-occupied Norway. (This led to his conviction for treason and execution after the war in 1945.)

75 years ago (1 Feb 1942)
World War II – the Marshalls-Gilberts raids (Micronesia). The first offensive action by the U.S. Navy against Japan following the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Wake Island. Minor damage was inflicted on Japanese garrisons, but it helped raise U.S. morale. This raid led to the Battle of Midway in June.

75 years ago (8 – 15 Feb 1942)
World War II – the Battle of Singapore. Japanese victory, leading to the Japanese occupation of Singapore until September 1945. This battle included the Battle of Bukit Timah (10th – 12th February) and the Battle of Pasir Panjang (13th – 14th February) – both Japanese victories.

75 years ago (9 Feb 1942)
World War II: the Joint Chiefs of Staff was officially established in the USA.

75 years ago (9 Feb 1942)
World War II: ‘War Time’ (year-round Daylight Saving Time) went into effect in the USA. (Ended September 1945.)

75 years ago (9 Feb 1942)
World War II: soap rationing began in Britain so that supplies of fats and oils could be saved for food production.

75 years ago (17 Feb 1942)
Birth of Huey P. Newton, American political activist. Co-founder of the Black Panther Party – established following incidents of alleged police brutality and racism. Convicted of killing a police officer (later acquitted). Jailed for misappropriating public funds. (Shot dead in 1989.)

75 years ago (18 Feb – 4 Mar 1942)
World War II: the Sook Ching. Japanese forces massacred up to 100,000 Chinese in Singapore and Malaya. (The exact death toll is disputed.)

75 years ago (19 Feb 1942)
World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorising the military to relocate and intern Japanese Americans living along the Pacific coast.

75 years ago (22 Feb 1942)
World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines. He was the USA’s most experienced general and regarded as a symbol of the Allied resistance against the Japanese. If the Philippines fell, as seemed likely, he would be captured as a prisoner of war, which would benefit the Japanese. He was ordered to take command of U.S. forces in Australia instead. (He received the message on 23rd February and left the Philippines – with considerable reluctance – on 12th March, vowing to return to finish the job.)

70 years ago (7 Feb 1947)
The first of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in caves in Khirbat Qumran (now in the West Bank, Palestine).

70 years ago (25 Feb 1947)
Prussia was officially abolished and became part of Germany.

65 years ago (1 Feb 1952)
The British Post Office began using detector vans to track down users of unlicensed television sets.

65 years ago (6 Feb 1952)
Death of George VI, King of the United Kingdom. Succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth II.

65 years ago (17 Feb 1952)
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed its own atomic bomb and would carry out a test before the end of the year. (The test took place on 3rd October.)

50 years ago (3 Feb 1967)
Death of Joe Meek, Ivor Novello Award-winning British record producer and songwriter. He wrote songs for numerous artists. His best-remembered hit is Telstar by the Tornadoes. He also produced music for films. (Committed suicide after murdering his landlady.)

50 years ago (5 Feb 1967)
NASA launched its Lunar Orbiter 3 spacecraft to the Moon to photograph potential landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions.

50 years ago (10 Feb 1967)
The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted. It clarifies the procedure for dealing with presidential succession or disability and the appointment of the Vice President.

50 years ago (18 Feb 1967)
Death of J. Robert Oppenheimer, American theoretical physicist, educator and administrator. Known as the ‘father of the atomic bomb’. Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico (1943-–45). Director of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey (1947-–66).

50 years ago (28 Feb 1967)
Death of Henry Luce, American magazine publishing magnate who established Time, Life, Fortune, House & Home and Sports Illustrated. Husband of the playwright and politician Clare Boothe Luce.

40 years ago (12 Feb 1977)
The Boston Computer Society was founded in Massachusetts, USA, with over 30,000 members in 40 countries, including many notable computer pioneers. Several major organisations made important product announcements at its meetings. (Disbanded 1996.)

30 years ago (26 Feb 1987)
The Tower Commission published its report on the Iran-Contra affair. It criticised U.S. President Ronald Reagan for failing to properly supervise his national security staff and not being aware of their actions.

25 years ago (7 Feb 1992)
The Maastricht Treaty was signed, establishing the European Union (with effect from 1st November 1993).

25 years ago (10 Feb 1992)
American boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of raping Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington. (He served 3 years in prison.)

25 years ago (17 Feb 1992)
American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms by a court in Wisconsin. He was particularly notable for the gruesome nature of his crimes, which included cannibalism and necrophilia. (Beaten to death by a fellow inmate in November 1994.)

25 years ago (20 Feb 1992)
The English Premier League was founded, superseding the first division of the Football League.

25 years ago (20 Feb 1992)
Death of Dick York, American film and television actor. Best known for his role as Darrin Stephens in the TV sitcom Bewitched. (He was forced to quit the show due to back pain from an injury incurred while filming a movie, and spent much of his later years bedridden.)

25 years ago (25 – 26 Feb 1992)
Nagorno-Karabakh War – the Khojaly Massacre, Azerbaijan. Hundreds of civilians were killed by Armenian armed forces.

20 years ago (4 Feb 1997)
American actor and former football star O. J. Simpson was found liable for the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman at a civil trial in Santa Monica, California. (On 10th February he was ordered to pay a fine of $25 million and compensation of $8.5 million.)

20 years ago (4 Feb 1997)
Apple Computer bought Steve Jobs’ company NeXT, and Jobs returned to Apple as an adviser. Apple CEO Gil Amelio, who oversaw the purchase, was ousted in July 1997 and replaced by Jobs in September. (Jobs had been ousted from Apple, the company he co-founded, in 1985. NeXT’s operating system NeXTSTEP became the basis for Apple’s Mac OSX.)

20 years ago (21 Feb 1997)
The ‘Bridgewater Three’ were released. The 3 British men had been jailed for the 1978 murder of newspaper delivery boy Carl Bridgewater, but were released after their trial was ruled unfair. (A 4th man had also been convicted but he died in jail in 1981.)

20 years ago (22 Feb 1997)
Scientists at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland announced that they had successfully cloned a mammal for the first time: a sheep named Dolly (born 5th July 1996).

20 years ago (23 Feb 1997)
A large fire broke out on the Russian Space station Mir after an oxygen-generating canister malfunctioned.

20 years ago (26 Feb 1997)
Switzerland announced the establishment of the Swiss Humanitarian Fund (also known as the Swiss Fund for Needy Victims of the Holocaust). It distributed about £200 million ($315 million) to about 312,000 victims of the Nazi atrocities worldwide.

20 years ago (27 Feb 1997)
The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 came into effect in Britain. It banned the possession of most handguns. (All handguns were banned in February 1998 when the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 came into effect.)

20 years ago (27 Feb 1997)
Divorce was legalised in Ireland.

20 years ago (28 Feb 1997)
Ardabil earthquake, north-west Iran. More than 1,000 people were killed, 2,600 injured, and around 40,000 left homeless.


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Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

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What If? 31 Creative Writing Prompts for August

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Hello! Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your writing brain. See what can you do with these! Some are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more, take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. you couldn’t remember anyone’s face?

2. you couldn’t remember anyone’s name?

3. you were petrified of the unknown?

4. it was the beginning of the end?

5. something had gone wrong with your insurance payments, but you didn’t find out until you needed to make a claim?

6. you got two words confused with each other, but they meant the opposite thing (e.g. always and never)?

7. you used the wrong homonym (e.g. no instead of know) and it had major consequences?

8. you became the head of a new religious order?

9. you formed your own political party?

10. you launched a coup?

11. anyone who touched your nose died (possibly because you killed them)?

12. no one was sure whether you’d actually gone through with it?

13. you always left them wanting more?

14. your message was open to interpretation?

15. you had a heart of glass?

16. you liked to toy with people’s emotions?

17. you and a rival repeatedly ousted each other from a position you both desired?

18. you took in a lodger?

19. every time you checked the calendar it was tomorrow already?

20. you conspired with a friend to get what you both wanted?

21. you conspired with an enemy or rival to get what you both wanted?

22. the authorities denied it had happened?

23. you needed a licence or a certificate to show you had passed a test – for everything?

24. your home was disintegrating but the local authority and/or insurance company prohibited you from doing any work on it?

25. your local newspaper only contained one new story each week?

26. newspapers, magazines and books contained as many repeats and re-runs as TV?

27. a computer dating system went badly wrong?

28. all government decisions and laws were determined by an online referendum that everyone could take part in?

29. healthy food was free?

30. a celebrity came to work with you?

31. a celebrity applied for a job with your company but was less well qualified than another candidate?

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
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(Other currencies also accepted)

Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002

50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in January 2017 for you to write about (and make money from)

Monday, 18 July 2016

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in January 2017 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.

For more details about how to do this, grab a free copy of our ebook: Ditch Your Day Job – the easiest way to make a living as a writer.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.


The Date-A-Base Book 2016The listing below is a small sample of the entries for January from The Date-A-Base Book 2017
There are 340 anniversaries for January in the book (nearly seven times more than are listed here). The book covers the whole of 2017 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.

150 years ago (17 Jan 1867)
Birth of Carl Laemmle, pioneering German-born American film producer and distributor. Co-founder of Universal Pictures.

125 years ago (1 Jan 1892)
Ellis Island immigrant inspection station was officially opened in Upper New York Bay, USA. (It remained in operation until November 1954, by which time it had processed 12 million immigrants. It is now a museum and a part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.)

125 years ago (3 Jan 1892)
Birth of J. R. R. Tolkien, British novelist, poet, scholar and educator. Best known for his fantasy novels The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

125 years ago (18 Jan 1892)
Birth of Oliver Hardy, American comic actor (Laurel & Hardy).

100 years ago (5 Jan 1917)
Birth of Jane Wyman, Academy Award-winning American film and television actress, singer and dancer (Johnny Belinda [film], Falcon Crest [TV]). First wife of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

100 years ago (10 Jan 1917)
Birth of Jerry Wexler, American record producer and music journalist. Co-owner of Atlantic records. Vice-president of Warner Brothers Records. He coined the term ‘rhythm and blues’ and signed and/or produced many of the biggest acts from the 1950s to the 1980s.

100 years ago (10 Jan 1917)
Death of William F. Cody, (‘Buffalo Bill’), colourful American frontiersman and showman. Known for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, which made him a global star.

100 years ago (16 Jan 1917)
Death of George Dewey, American Admiral of the Navy (the highest ranked naval officer in U.S. history). Best known for his victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

100 years ago (19 Jan 1917)
Silvertown explosion, London Borough of Newham, UK. 50 tons of TNT exploded when a fire broke out at a munitions factory that was making explosives for WWI. 73 people were killed and over 400 injured. The blast was heard 100 miles away and substantial damage was caused to the local area, with up to 70,000 properties damaged and 900 destroyed.

100 years ago (24 Jan 1917)
Birth of Ernest Borgnine, Academy Award-winning American stage, film and television actor (From Here to Eternity, Bad Day at Black Rock, Marty, The Dirty Dozen, Ice Station Zebra, The Wild Bunch, The Poseidon Adventure, Airwolf [TV series]).

80 years ago (1 Jan 1937)
Speedometers, and safety glass in windscreens became compulsory in all vehicles in Britain.

75 years ago (1 Jan 1942)
World War II: 26 countries signed the Declaration of the United Nations in Washington, D.C., USA, pledging to employ their full resources against Hitler and the Axis powers.

75 years ago (2 Jan 1942)
World War II: Japanese forces captured Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

75 years ago (3 Jan 1942)
Birth of John Thaw, British actor (The Sweeney, Inspector Morse, Kavanagh QC, and many others). (Died 2002.)

75 years ago (6 Jan 1942)
Pan American Airways’ Pacific Clipper flying boat completed the first round-the-world trip by a commercial plane.

75 years ago (11 Jan 1942)
World War II: Japan invaded the Dutch East Indies and captured Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

75 years ago (16 Jan 1942)
Death of Carole Lombard, American actress. Noted for her comedy roles in a string of successful 1930s Hollywood movies. (Killed in a plane crash while promoting war bonds).

75 years ago (16 Jan 1942)
World War II: Japan began its invasion of Burma (now Myanmar).

75 years ago (20 Jan 1942)
Holocaust: the infamous Wannsee Conference was held in Germany. Nazi officials met to plan the ‘final solution to the Jewish question’.

75 years ago (21 Jan 1942)
Birth of Edwin Starr, American soul singer. Best known for the song War. (Died 2003.)

75 years ago (26 Jan 1942)
World War II: the first U.S. troops arrived in Europe. 4,508 soldiers from the 34th Infantry Regiment docked in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

75 years ago (29 Jan 1942)
The first episode of Desert Island Discs was broadcast on BBC radio in the UK. It is Britain’s longest-running radio show.

75 years ago (31 Jan 1942)
Birth of Derek Jarman, British avant-garde filmmaker (Jubilee, The Tempest, Caravaggio, War Requiem, Edward II and more). (Died 1994.)

60 years ago (1 Jan 1957)
Border Campaign (also known as Operation Harvest) – the IRA carried out a well-known raid on Brookeborough RUC barracks in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Two IRA volunteers, Seán South and Fergal O’Hanlon, were shot dead. (Their lives are now commemorated in Irish Republican songs.)

60 years ago (16 – 18 Jan 1957)
Operation Power Flite: the first non-stop around-the-world flight by a jet aircraft. Three Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses completed the flight in 45 hours and 19 minutes. (They required mid-air refuelling during the journey.)

60 years ago (16 Jan 1957)
The Cavern Club opened in Liverpool, UK. Initially a jazz venue, it became an important rock venue when the Beatles played there during their early years.

50 years ago (3 Jan 1967)
Death of Jack Ruby, American nightclub owner who shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald two days after the latter was arrested for the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

50 years ago (4 Jan 1967)
Death of Donald Campbell, British car and motorboat driver who broke 8 world speed records on land and water, emulating his father, Sir Malcolm Campbell. (Killed on Coniston Water while attempting to break the world water speed record.)

50 years ago (12 Jan 1967)
American psychology professor James Bedford became the first person to have his body cryonically preserved (frozen) following his death, with the intention of future resuscitation.

50 years ago (14 Jan 1967)
The Human Be-In took place in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, USA. The gathering of 20,000 (or 30,000) counter-culture tribes, gurus and rock musicians was a prelude to the Summer of Love.

50 years ago (15 Jan 1967)
The first Super Bowl was played. The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-–10 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in California.

50 years ago (16 Jan 1967)
Death of Robert J. Van de Graaff, prize-winning American physicist and educator. Best known for inventing the Van de Graaff generator, which generates a high-voltage electrostatic charge.

50 years ago (18 Jan 1967)
The ‘Boston Strangler’ (Albert DeSalvo) was sentenced to life in prison for murdering 13 women in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

50 years ago (27 Jan 1967)
Apollo 1 tragedy: three U.S. astronauts (Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee) were killed when their command module caught fire during a pre-launch test at Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Cause: electric arcs from exposed/worn wiring, combined with a pure oxygen atmosphere.)

50 years ago (27 Jan 1967)
The Outer Space Treaty was signed by the USA, UK and the Soviet Union. Countries which sign the treaty are barred from using space for anything other than peaceful purposes. The placement or testing of nuclear weapons in space is also banned. (The treaty came into effect on 10th October 1967 and has now been signed by more than 100 countries.)

50 years ago (29 Jan 1967)
The Mantra-Rock Dance, San Francisco, California, USA. Known as the ‘ultimate high’ and the ‘major spiritual event of the San Francisco hippie era’. Organised by followers of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the counterculture rock concert promoted and raised funds for the first Hare Krishna centre on the U.S. West Coast.

40 years ago (3 Jan 1977)
Apple Computer, Inc. was incorporated. (It was renamed Apple Inc. in 2007.)

40 years ago (6 Jan 1977)
British punk rock band the Sex Pistols were fired by their record company, EMI, after just 3 months because of their notorious behaviour. (They signed with A&M Records in March but were quickly fired again, and finally signed with Virgin Records in May.)

40 years ago (15 Jan 1977)
Kälvesta air disaster, Stockholm, Sweden. Linjeflyg Flight 618 crashed on its approach to Stockholm Bromma Airport, killing all 22 people on board. (Cause: ice build-up on the tailplane.) It was the worst air crash in Swedish history.

40 years ago (18 Jan 1977)
Granville rail disaster, Sydney, Australia. A crowded commuter train derailed and crashed into a bridge which collapsed onto two of the train’s carriages. 83 people were killed and 210 injured. It was the worst rail disaster in Australia’s history.

40 years ago (18 Jan 1977)
The previously unknown Legionella bacterium (which causes Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever) was identified for the first time. It was found in the air conditioning system of the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, where the first recorded outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease killed 34 people in July 1976.

40 years ago (20 Jan 1977)
Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as the 39th President of the United States.

30 years ago (20 Jan 1987)
Terry Waite, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s special envoy in the Middle East, was kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon while on a peace mission to negotiate the release of hostages. (Released November 1991.)

25 years ago (8 Jan 1992)
U.S. President George H. W. Bush vomited and collapsed at a state dinner at the Japanese Prime Minister’s residence in Tokyo. (Gastric ‘flu).

25 years ago (9 Jan 1992)
The discovery of the first two confirmed exoplanets was announced by astronomers Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail. The planets orbit the pulsar PSR B1257+12. (A third planet was confirmed there in 1994. Nearly 2,000 exoplanets have been discovered, orbiting over 1,200 stars.)

25 years ago (16 Jan 1992)
The Chapultepec Peace Accords were signed in Mexico, ending the 12-year civil war in El Salvador.

20 years ago (15 Jan 1997)
Princess Diana walked through a minefield in Angola, visited victims, and called for an international ban on landmines.

20 years ago (23 Jan 1997)
Madeleine Albright became the first female U.S. Secretary of State.

10 years ago (4 Jan 2007)
Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

10 years ago (11 Jan 2007)
China destroyed its Fengyun FY-1C weather satellite in a ballistic missile test. It created more than 2,800 items of high-velocity space debris, and was widely condemned.


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The Date-A-Base Book 2018 (preview edition)

Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Date-A-Base Book 2018 (preview edition) is now available to download from our members’ home page. Over 190 pages of anniversaries in 2018 for you to write about and make money from. (And get a good head start on everyone else!)

The preview contains 99% of the newsworthy birth and death anniversaries in 2018, plus some notable events that we copied across from previous editions.

Note: This edition is for ideas4writers lifetime members only.

If you aren’t a member yet, join here (for a very reasonable one-time-only fee): www.ideas4writers.co.uk/join.htm and get all 40 of our e-books!

The full version will go on sale in October.

What If? 31 Creative Writing Prompts for July

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Hello! Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your writing brain. See what can you do with these! Some are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more, take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. you misled someone in order to get their permission?

2. she was there again this morning?

3. she didn’t turn up for the meeting?

4. you hated everyone?

5. you could no longer work with your colleagues?

6. no one had ever heard of you?

7. you could choose to have an extra birthday each year?

8. you could choose to have an extra birthday at certain periods in your life?

9. you could skip a year?

10. you could fast-forward through the boring bits of your life?

11. you could rewind/replay part of your life?

12. someone committed a crime against you while you were on a reality TV show being filmed by multiple cameras?

13. you won a Nobel Prize?

14. you were nominated (possibly by yourself) for every prize you could find?

15. no one could be that lucky?

16. no one could be that unlucky?

17. no one was scared of it?

18. everyone was afraid of it?

19. everything took care of itself?

20. you couldn’t see the point?

21. you shrank by an inch per year once you reached 30 years of age?

22. you agreed to play a small role in a student’s film – but the film became an absolute blockbuster?

23. everything electronic burst into flames if you went near it?

24. you clicked on an innocent-looking link on a reputable website and it got you arrested?

25. you were asked to identify a body?

26. you were asked to take part in a police line-up?

27. you appeared in court as an expert witness?

28. the thing you’d been dreading turned out to be far worse than you’d expected?

29. the thing you’d been looking forward to turned out worse than you could ever have imagined?

30. you had no imagination?

31. you could only remember things if you sang them?

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(Other currencies also accepted)

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Here’s next year’s news … today!

Monday, 27 June 2016

advert480

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re testing this ad. What do you think? It should be appearing in writing magazines, Facebook ads … and just about everywhere else we can think of/afford in a few weeks’ time.

Does anything need tweaking? Does it stand out? Do you understand the message? Does it make you want to visit the website and find out more? We hope you’ll tell us before we spend a huge amount of money blasting it out to the world!

We tried a version with prices on, but as the currency exchange rate is fluctuating so much at the moment it didn’t really work. Would knowing the price make you more inclined to find out more about the book?

(The ebook is £9.99 which, as I write this, is US$13.21 or €11.99 – that’s around 10% lower than a week ago.)

By the way, thanks to the Brexit thing, this is a fantastic time to buy any of our books if you’re outside the UK. Or become a member and get all of our ebooks (current and future) for one stupidly low price. Grab a bargain while our country’s in a mess!

50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in December 2016 for you to write about (and make money from)

Monday, 20 June 2016

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in December 2016 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.

For more details about how to do this, grab a free copy of our ebook: Ditch Your Day Job – the easiest way to make a living as a writer.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.


The Date-A-Base Book 2016The listing below is a small sample of the entries for December from The Date-A-Base Book 2016
There are 277 anniversaries for December in the book (five times more than are listed here). The book covers the whole of 2016 from January to December and features more than 3,450 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.

If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2017 is also available.

250 years ago (5 Dec 1766)
British auctioneer James Christie held his first sale, in London. He went on to found Christie’s, the world’s oldest auction house.

250 years ago (29 Dec 1766)
Birth of Charles Macintosh, Scottish chemist. Known for his invention of a method for waterproofing fabric. The mackintosh waterproof coat is named after him.

200 years ago (2 Dec 1816)
The Philadelphia Savings Fund Society was founded. It was the first savings bank in the USA.

200 years ago (4 Dec 1816)
James Monroe was elected as the 5th President of the United States. (Inaugurated 4th March 1817.)

200 years ago (8 Dec 1816 – or 1813?)
Birth of August Belmont, German-born American banker, diplomat and horse breeder/trainer who helped establish thoroughbred horse racing in the USA. The annual Belmont Stakes horse race is named after him.

200 years ago (11 Dec 1816)
Indiana became the 19th state of the USA.

150 years ago (1 Dec 1866)
Death of Sir George Everest, Welsh surveyor and geographer after whom Mount Everest is named. Noted for his important role in the trigonometric survey of India.

125 years ago (15 Dec 1891)
The sport of basketball was invented by James Naismith, a physical education instructor, in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. The first game was played on 21st December.

125 years ago (26 Dec 1891)
Birth of Henry Miller, controversial American writer. Known for his semi-autobiographical novels that were frequently banned because of their explicit content. Best known for Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Black Spring and The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy.

100 years ago (7 Dec 1916)
David Lloyd George became British Prime Minister.

100 years ago (17 Dec 1916)
Birth of Penelope Fitzgerald, Booker Prize-winning British novelist, poet, essayist and biographer. Her novels include The Bookshop, Offshore and The Blue Flower.

100 years ago (18 Dec 1916)
Birth of Betty Grable, American film actress and dancer. Best known for her 1940s musicals. The favourite pin-up of U.S. servicemen during WWII – her image was painted on the sides of numerous bomber planes.

100 years ago (20 Dec 1916)
World War I – the Battle of Verdun (France) ended. French victory.

100 years ago (25 Dec 1916)
Death of Saint Albert Chmielowski, Polish saint. Founder of the Albertine Brothers and Sisters. Pope John Paul II wrote a play about him in 1949 called Our God’s Brother (long before he became pope) and he canonised him in 1989.

100 years ago (30 Dec 1916)
Death of Grigori (also spelled Grigory) Rasputin, Russian mystic and healer. A favourite of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra after healing their son, a haemophiliac, who was bleeding from an injury and expected to die. He became a powerful influence on the Russian court. (Murdered by a group of noblemen.)

90 years ago (7 Dec 1926)
The Italian Government passed the bachelors tax (effective from 1st January 1927) in an effort to combat the falling marriage rate. The funds were used to establish a national maternity and child welfare assistance plan. (The marriage rate did not increase and the tax was doubled in November 1928 and increased again in 1934 and 1936.)

80 years ago (2 Dec 1936)
Death of John Ringling, American circus founder (Ringling Brothers).

80 years ago (11 Dec 1936)
King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom abdicated to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson, a divorcee. His younger brother, the Duke of York, became King George VI.

80 years ago (18 Dec 1936)
The first live giant panda to be taken out of China arrived in San Francisco, California, USA. Named Su Lin, it had been captured as a 9-week-old cub by American socialite Ruth Harkness. She sold it to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. (It died of pneumonia in 1938, by which time she had already brought over a second panda.)

80 years ago (24 Dec 1936)
American physicist and physician John H. Lawrence administered the first radioisotope for medical treatment at the University of California, Berkeley. He used radioactive phosphorus-32 to treat a woman suffering from leukaemia. He became renowned for his pioneering treatment and is now known as the father of nuclear medicine.

80 years ago (30 Dec 1936)
The United Automobile Workers (UAW) staged the first sit-down strike in the USA. This led to the unionisation of the U.S. car industry.

75 years ago (1 Dec 1941)
The Civil Air Patrol was founded in the USA as a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.

75 years ago (5 Dec 1941)
World War II – the Battle of Moscow – the Soviet counter-attack. Soviet forces commanded by Georgy Zhukov launched a massive counter-offensive which drove the Germans out of Moscow, ending Operation Barbarossa (the German invasion of the Soviet Union.)

75 years ago (6 Dec 1941)
World War II: the Allies and Axis nations all began to declare war on each other. For a detailed timeline see: http://worldatwar.net/timeline/other/diplomacy39-45.html

75 years ago (7 Dec 1941)
World War II – the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Japan launched a surprise bomb attack on Pearl Harbor and other U.S. bases in the Pacific, and declared war on the USA and UK. Canada declared war on Japan. (The USA, UK, Netherlands and New Zealand declared war on Japan the following day. The War in Europe had now became a World War.)

75 years ago (12 Dec 1941)
Holocaust: German leader Adolf Hitler announced his plan to the exterminate the Jews at a meeting with senior Nazi Party officials at the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.

75 years ago (20 Dec 1941)
World War II: the Flying Tigers (officially the 1st American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force) took part in their first combat mission in Kunming, China. (They were later involved in the Burma Campaign. They had the highest kill ratio of all the Allied air forces in the Pacific Theatre. They were disbanded on 4th July 1942.)

75 years ago (26 Dec 1941)
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill that confirmed the date of Thanksgiving Day in the USA as the fourth Thursday in November.

70 years ago (11 Dec 1946)
UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, was established in New York City, USA.

70 years ago (19 Dec 1946 – 1 Aug 1954)
First Indochina War (also called the French Indochina War) The Vietnamese fought the French, who opposed Vietnamese independence. Viet Minh victory.

70 years ago (20 Dec 1946)
Frank Capra’s film It’s A Wonderful Life premièred in New York City, USA. (Released: 7th January 1947.)

60 years ago (2 Dec 1956)
Cuban Revolution: 82 members of the 26th of July Movement landed in Cuba after sailing from Mexico with the aim of overthrowing Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship. Their members included Fidel and Raúl Castro and Che Guevara. (They ousted Batista on 1st January 1959 and established a revolutionary socialist state. In October 1965 the 26th of July Movement became the Communist Party of Cuba, which continues to govern Cuba.)

60 years ago (12 Dec 1956)
The IRA began its Border Campaign in Northern Ireland. The campaign of guerrilla warfare aimed to overthrow British rule and establish a united Ireland. (The Campaign was officially called off on 26th February 1962, though it had long since petered out.)

60 years ago (17 Dec 1956)
Suez Crisis: petrol rationing was introduced in Britain. Motorists were limited to 200 miles per month; businesses to 300; and farmers, religious ministers and essential local authority workers to 600. Doctors, surgeons, midwives and disabled drivers were exempt from rationing. (Rationing ended on 14th May 1957.)

50 years ago (15 Dec 1966)
Death of Walt Disney, pioneering American film and television producer. Co-founder (with his brother Roy) of the Walt Disney Company. Creator of popular characters including Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Creator of Disneyland.

50 years ago (16 Dec 1966)
The UN declared apartheid a crime against humanity.

40 years ago (1 Dec 1976)
The Sex Pistols made their infamous appearance on Thames Television’s Today show, in which the host, Bill Grundy (who later claimed he was drunk), encouraged their foul language. The show was only broadcast in London, but made national headlines and the band became household names. Grundy was suspended and the incident effectively ended his career. (The Sex Pistols’ first national tour was due to begin on 3rd December but only about 7 of the scheduled 20 concerts took place as organisers and local authorities banned them from appearing and cancelled the gigs.)

40 years ago (2 Dec 1976)
Fidel Castro became President of Cuba.

30 years ago (1 Dec 1986)
The Guinness share-trading scandal began in Britain when the Government ordered an enquiry into the company’s affairs and raided its headquarters. It became one of the biggest trials of the 20th century.

30 years ago (17 Dec 1986)
Davina Thompson became the world’s first recipient of a heart, lung and liver transplant, at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, UK.

30 years ago (23 Dec 1986)
The experimental American plane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, became the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refuelling.

25 years ago (4 Dec 1991)
Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) went out of business.

25 years ago (5 Dec 1991)
A month after his death, British newspaper proprietor Robert Maxwell’s business empire collapsed with massive debts and allegations of fraud and misappropriation of pension funds.

25 years ago (6 Dec 1991)
Croatian War of Independence: during the Siege of Dubrovnik, Yugoslav People’s Army forces bombarded the Old Town, causing massive damage to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and provoking international condemnation. 13 civilians were killed. (This incident led to Serbia and Montenegro’s diplomatic and political isolation, and the international recognition of Croatia’s independence.)

25 years ago (10 Dec 1991)
The Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union, was agreed by the leaders of 12 European nations. It was signed on 7th February 1992 and came into effect on 1st November 1993.

25 years ago (26 Dec 1991)
The Soviet Union was officially dissolved. The 12 remaining Soviet republics became independent states.

20 years ago (5 Dec 1996)
The General Motors EV1 was released. It was the first modern electric car from a major manufacturer. (It was only available to lease, not to buy. It was discontinued in 1999.)

20 years ago (9 Dec 1996)
The United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme was implemented in Iraq.

20 years ago (10 Dec 1996)
South African President Nelson Mandela signed a new constitution, completing the transition from white minority rule to full democracy. (Effective from 4th February 1997.)

10 years ago (30 Dec 2006)
Death of Saddam Hussein, President/dictator of Iraq (1979-2003). (Executed for war crimes.)


Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
and get ALL our ebooks for just £49.95!

(or the equivalent in your local currency)

Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

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