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10th December

1768 The Royal Academy of Arts was founded with Joshua Reynolds becoming its first President.

1817 Mississippi became the 20th US state.

1845 Scottish civil engineer Robert Thompson patented pneumatic tyres.

1851 * Melvil Dewey, US librarian who devised the library cataloguing system.

1868 The first traffic lights in London came into operation near Parliament Square.

1901 On the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the first Nobel prizes were awarded.

1914 * Dorothy Lamour, US actress who starred in the 'Road' films with Bob Hope.

1919 The Smith brothers became the first pilots, to complete a flight from Britain to Australia.

1948 The United Nations General Assembly adopted its Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

1960 * Kenneth Branagh, British actor, and producer who starred in the film Henry V (1989).

1961 Alfred Luthuli, leader of the banned African National Congress, attacked South Africa's regime as he received the Nobel peace prize.

1963 * Jahangir Khan, world squash champion from 1981 - 1988, was born in Karachi.

1979 Stuntman Eddie Kidd did a "death-defying" motorcycle leap crossing an 80ft gap over a 50ft sheer drop above a viaduct on a 400cc motorcycle.

1981 A Mystery disease was causing increasing concern among medical practitioners in the United States. The unknown condition was eventually named as Aids

1988 Up to 45,000 people died and a further 500,000 are homeless after a devastating earthquake which ripped through Armenia.

1991 The leaders of the 12 EC nations signed the Maastricht Treaty.

2003 The Court of Appeal quashed the conviction of Angela Cannings, jailed in April 2002 for life for the murder of her two baby sons.

xxxx * = Date of birth

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