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3rd January

1521 Martin Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X.

1777 George Washington defeated the British at the Battle of Princeton.

1833 Britain seized control of the Falkland Islands.

1883 * Clement Atlee, British politician.

1888 Paper drinking straws were patented in the USA.

1888 * J.R.R. Tolkien, British author of Lord of the Rings.

1924 English explorer Howard Carter discovered the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen.

1958 Sir Edmund Hilary reached the South Pole overland.

1942 * John Thaw, British stage, film and television actor.

1956 * Mel Gibson, Australian film actor best known for his role in the Lethal Weapon movies.

1959 Alaska was bought from Russia becoming the 49th state in the United States.

1962 Pope John XXIII excommunicated Fidel Castro of Cuba.

1969 * Michael Schumacher, German two time Formula 1 World motor racing champion.

1971 The Open University began broadcasting on television.

1977 Former Home Secretary Roy Jenkins announced he was leaving Westminster politics to become Britain's first President of the European Commission.

1985 12,000 Ethiopian jews were airlifted to Israel.

1988 Margaret Thatcher became Britains longest serving 20th century Prime Minister.

1991 The Foreign Office expelled eight Iraqi diplomats from the UK following threats of attacks on Western targets.

xxxx * = Date of birth

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