1651: Charles II, defeated by Cromwell at Worcester, fled to France, after famously escaping from Cromwell's forces by hiding in an oak tree.

1777: British commander General Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga in the American War of Independence.

1849: Frederic Chopin, Polish pianist and composer, died of tuberculosis in Paris, aged 39.

1860: The first professional golf tournament was held at Prestwick, Scotland, and won by Willie Park.

1899: British troops defeated the Boers at Glencoe.

1931: Mobster Al Capone was jailed for 11 years for tax evasion.

1956: Calder Hall in Cumbria, Britain's first large-scale atomic energy station, was opened by The Queen.

1960: The News Chronicle newspaper ceased publication.

1989: San Francisco was hit by an earthquake which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale.

1991: Four ITV companies, TV-am, Thames, TVS and TSW, lost their licences under changes announced by the Independent Television Commission.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: A couple who had sex in a pizza delivery shop as staff worked on the other side of the counter awaited their sentences.

BIRTHDAYS: Jim Smith, former footballer and manager, 78; Margot Kidder, actress, 70; Rob Marshall, director, 58; Ziggy Marley, reggae singer, 50; Wyclef Jean, singer/songwriter, 49; Anil Kumble, former cricketer, 48; Eminem, rapper/actor, 46; Matthew Macfadyen, actor, 44.