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27th December

1571 * Johannes Kepler, German astronomer.

1822 * Louis Pasteur, French chemist and bacteriologist who developed a vaccine for rabies.

1831 Charles Darwin set sail in the Beagle on his voyage of scientific discovery.

1904 The first performance of John Barrie's Peter Pan was held in London.

1904 * Marlene Dietrich, German actress who starred in the film Blue Angel (1930).

1927 Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party.

1945 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was established in Washington.

1948 * Gerard Depardieu, French film actor.

1949 The Netherlands transferred sovereignty to Indonesia after more than 300 years of Dutch rule.

1960 France completed a third nuclear test in the Sahara desert in Africa.

1965 Four men were killed and nine still missing after Britain's first North Sea drilling rig capsized.

1975 The Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts came into force in Britain.

1977 Thousands of people flock to UK cinemas to watch the long-awaited blockbuster, Star Wars.

1984 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was voted "Woman of the Year" on Radio 4's "Today" programme.

1985 At least 16 people were killed and more than 100 injured during twin terrorist attacks at Rome and Vienna airports.

1989 Egypt resumed full diplomatic relations with Syria, after a ten year break.

1996 Rwanda's first genocide trial opened for the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis in 1994.

2004 Ukraine's "orange revolutionaries" celebrated as opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko was declared winner of the presidential election.

xxxx * = Date of birth

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